by Jay Traugott
The Volkswagen Jetta is the sedan of choice for those who didn't want a Golf hatchback. They still desired that crisp driving feel from the German automaker but aren't attracted to the five-door body style. That's where the traditional sedan comes into play. For the 2022 model year, VW has given the seventh-generation a thorough rework that includes updated styling inside and out plus a new engine.
The 2022 Jetta doesn't look dramatically different from the outgoing model year, but the changes are important. It's great to know VW hasn't abandoned the Jetta entirely, as is the case with the larger Passat. Sedan sales aren't what they used to be and aren't expected to recover. Crossovers are the body style of choice these days. But the Jetta is pressing on for now and it's more competitive and value-packed than ever. As the best-selling VW for over three decades, the Jetta is still finding millions of satisfied owners.
See trim levels and configurations:
1.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
The overall design of the seventh-generation Jetta doesn't change much for model year 2022 but there are some notable enhancements. Up front, the new bumper has a new grille boasting a pair of chrome bars running through the VW logo. LED headlights and daytime running lights are now standard while projector LEDs are optional.
Moving to the side, you'll find standard chrome window trim. The new-for-2022 Sport trim features a black window surround with matching mirror caps. LED taillights are also standard fare. A restyled rear bumper, new 16-inch wheel designs, and seven new body colors, such as Kings Red Metallic, Oryx White Metallic, and Rising Blue Metallic, round off the list of updates. The Sport wears 17-inch alloy wheels.
VW has updated the outgoing Jetta's 1.4-liter turbocharged four-pot, internally referred to as EA211, to displace 1.5-liters. This is the same engine found in the new VW Taos compact crossover. Instead of 147 horsepower, the improved turbo engine makes 158 hp. Torque remains the same at 184 lb-ft. Power goes to the front wheels through either a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Among the engine revisions are APS coated cylinder liners, a map-controlled cooling module, and an upgraded high-pressure injection system. The strut-type front suspension with a torsion rear beam setup remains unchanged, as do all other major mechanical underpinnings. The new-for-2022 Sport gets a few upgrades, though, employing the XDS differential from the GLI to improve its handling.
Perhaps the most significant interior update is the newly standard Volkswagen Digital Cockpit instrument cluster with an 8-inch display screen and WiFi capability. The MIB3 infotainment system is standard on the top trim, as are wireless charging and wireless App-Connect.
Styling-wise, you'll find new cloth seats as standard with contrasting stitching throughout. Leatherette and leather surfaces are optional with the available Volcano Brown and black two-tone palette. A leatherette-wrapped steering wheel, and heated and ventilated front seats are standard. Features like a sunroof, a Beats Audio premium sound system, and 10-color ambient lightning are among the list of options.
Impressively, the IQ.Drive driver-assistance technology can be tacked on to any Jetta trim (it's standard from mid-trim SE and up) and we expect a majority of buyers will want this due to it bundling systems like Forward Collision Warning, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Active Blind Spot Monitor, and Rear Traffic Alert.
VW has not released pricing at this time, but we don't expect it to drastically change from the 2021 model, which begins at $18,995. It'd be nice if the new base price remains below $20k. A fully-loaded model currently tops off at around $28,000. Sales are due to get underway this fall, so pricing should be revealed soon. The bargain to look out for will be the Sport, which slots in as the second cheapest offering despite a clear performance focus.
The Jetta's main rivals still remain, though they too have either been completely redesigned or updated. Among them are the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Subaru Impreza, and Hyundai Elantra. Domestic offerings like the Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cruze were dropped entirely not long ago without successors.
The most popular competitors of 2022 Volkswagen Jetta: