2022 Volkswagen Jetta
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First Drive: 2022 Volkswagen Jetta Review

Volkswagen’s popular compact sedan gains a 2022 refresh, a bigger turbo engine, and a more powerful GLI model. Here’s what shoppers can expect from the new Jetta’s pricing, interior, power and performance.

Key Features:

  • Remarkable Efficiency
  • Comfortable Ride
  • Decent Value

Direct Competitors:

  • Honda Civic
  • Toyota Corolla
  • Hyundai Elantra

Forty years ago, Volkswagen added a trunk to their little Golf hatchback and called it the Jetta. In North America especially, it became a very popular car, rating as the best-selling VW here for many years, but that was before the age of SUVs. 

Today, the Jetta continues as the last proper car left for sale in Volkswagen’s Canadian line up, where even the venerable Golf has now been replaced by a small crossover model. With the highest nameplate recognition in VW Canada’s showrooms, it makes sense that they keep it a competitive model, and for 2022 the Jetta receives some notable updates to achieve just that.

VW Jetta 2022 price and trims

There’s not a segment of the auto industry that presents a better value than the machines being offered by the compact sedan group. The level of finishes, refinement and features baked into cars like the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Hyundai Elantra would’ve been found on premium luxury models only a few years ago. Volkswagen’s Jetta fits in with these competitors offering tremendous value for buyers, costing less than $30,000 even when lavishly equipped.

2022 Jetta | Photo: VW 

2022 Jetta starts at $22,895 for entry-level Trendline trim

Starting at $22,895, the entry point Trendline trim with a six-speed manual transmission costs a little more than a base Corolla or Elantra, but is better-equipped for the investment. Conversely, the sales leading Civic has seen recent price increases that push it a few thousand dollars beyond the Jetta. Adding the 8-speed automatic costs $1,400.

The middle trim Comfortline Jetta starts at $25,895 for the stick-shift, and $27,295 for the automatic, and with Volkswagen’s full driver assistance and active safety suites included, it should be the volume leader of the lineup. Top trim Highline Jettas come only with the automatic and are $29,895, fully loaded.

For 2022, Volkswagen has added an optional Sports Package for $1,400 for Comfortline models, giving them different wheels, a sportier bumper fascia, sunroof and a stiffer suspension.

The sportier GLI is $31,895 with the manual, and a still very reasonable $33,295 with a performance-oriented dual-clutch automatic.

2022 Volkswagen Jetta interior

2022 Jetta | Photo: VW 

Our first-drive event featured GLI and Highline trim Jettas, both wearing supple leather seating that’s heated front and rear, and ventilated up front, too. There’s a heated steering wheel as well, but that feature has now even been added to the most affordable Jetta models. 

On paper, the overall interior dimensions for head room, legroom and shoulder room, front and back are generous, but not class-leading. Still, thanks to the Jetta’s more conservative (aka ‘boxy’) styling, it feels very spacious, even in the rear seat where the roof line doesn’t slope down aggressively the way it does in some of the competitors’ models that put form over function. At 399 L the Jetta’s trunk offers an impressive amount of room to swallow a lot of luggage.

2022 Jetta | Photo: VW 

For 2022, all Jetta models get a digital gauge display, lending to the overall premium feel of the cabin. And while the base model gets a small 6.5-inch touch screen infotainment display, it still features standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Upper trims benefit from a larger 8-inch display, wireless connectivity and wireless smartphone charging. 

Performance & drive impressions 

In 2019, for this seventh generation, Volkswagen did away with the more sophisticated independent rear suspension for a simpler torsion beam. Enthusiasts were concerned that this would diminish the sporty personality Jetta drivers had enjoyed in earlier models, and to a certain extent, that’s the case. When driven quickly around the curves, the Jetta exhibits some body roll and can become a little upset if the pavement isn’t smooth. 

2022 Jetta | Photo: VW 

Steering feel is reasonable within this class of cars, but the Jetta impresses far more as an affordable Euro luxury sedan (even if it is built in Mexico) with its supple ride and solid feel. It makes a great highway cruising machine, comfortably eating up kilometers with ease.

More horsepower from the 2022 Jetta’s larger turbo engine

The bigger news comes under the hood where last year’s 1.4 L turbocharged 4-cylinder has been swapped out for the slightly-larger 1.5T from the Volkswagen Taos crossover. Horsepower has been increased by a negligible 11 hp to 158, while torque remains at 184 lb-ft. The latter is the number that really matters and the Jetta remains among the torquiest cars in the class resulting in lively acceleration around town, and decent passing power. And despite its diminutive size, the engine is decently smooth and quiet. 

The 8-speed automatic is a great transmission with smooth but swift gear changes. And while the automatic Jettas deliver excellent fuel efficiency with ratings of 7.7 / 5.7 / 6.8 L/100 km (city/highway/combined), it’s the stick shift that’s actually the highway efficiency champ with a figure of 5.5 L/100 km, making it among the very best in the class and giving it a range of nearly 1,000 km out of its 51 L tank.

Jetta GLI’s improved 2.0L turbo

2022 Jetta GLI | Photo: VW 

Naturally, the GLI’s more powerful, carry-over 2.0L turbo four-cylinder is thirstier, but coupled with the adaptive, performance-tuned suspension, it’s the highest performance Jetta. Still, its personality leans more toward sporty luxury sedan rather than fire-breathing sports car.

Verdict: is the new 2022 VW Jetta worth it?

The conservatively handsome Jetta, in any of its trims, offers excellent value. For basic transportation at less than $23,000, the Comfortline is not only a seriously economical choice, but it’s got the features most buyers are looking for in a new car, but probably wouldn’t expect at this price point.

Plus, the Jetta offers sensational fuel efficiency. Step up through the trims and the equipment levels increase significantly, making the Jetta a genuinely luxurious car for the money. Factor in Volkswagen’s claim that the Jetta is the least costly car in the segment for maintenance and it becomes a very compelling choice that deserves to be on the short list of anyone shopping the compact sedan segment. 

2022 Jetta GLI | Photo: VW 

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