2022 Volkswagen Jetta – Re- Driven Review – Miss Passat?

2022 Volkswagen Jetta 1.5T SE: new updates to this accomplished family car. Starting MSRP = $21k

PEOPLE’S CAR STILL INTO CARS : Notch another unceremonious send-off for an internal combustion powered family sedan earlier this year. This time the North American Volkswagen Passat has bitten the dust. During three decades in the role of sole volume European mid size family sedan in the U.S., the Passat never found solid footing as either too pricey a German import or too watered down a Tennessee NMS product. No big loss, right? Soon the on-the-market ID.4 battery electric crossover will be joining the VW Atlas & Atlas Cross Sport full size sport utilities on the Chattanooga assembly line.

Say what one will about the demand for EVs and SUVs, it is a truly improved MQB Mk.7 VW Jetta which has eaten Passat’s lunch. The current Jetta GLI is a bonafide hot Q-car, imbued with plenty of Golf GTI attributes at a bargain price.

This year marks power and interior enhancements to a  Volkswagen Jetta Mk.7 Teutonic compact sedan, which Roadblazing.com editors in 2019 assessed as a “more flavorful butter for People’s Car Maker’s American bread” Time then to consider whether these improvements can make the transition from Passat to 2022 Jetta SE owner that much more palatable.

2022 Volkswagen Jetta SE Driving Hits : (difference(s) vs. 2019 Jetta 1.4T in parentheses)

  • new Gen.2 EA211 1.5 TFI engine: +100 cc, +11 hp, = torque vs. 2019 VW Jetta 1.4T
  • 158 hp; 184 lb-ft @ 1750 rpm
2022 Volkswagen Jetta 1.5T SE: 11 additional horsepower in 100 cc larger turbo gasoline engine gets pretty frisky + 34 MPG combined
  • A real torque converter 8-speed manumatic transaxle; Smooth 6-speed manual = standard on S, Sport trims
  • Moves briskly: estimated 7.1 seconds 0-60 mph acceleration
  • 34 combined miles per gallon (vs. 36 MPG for 2019 Jetta 1.4T)
  • 500+ miles fuel tank range
  • MQB platform permits tauter body control despite softer damping
  • 17″ inch alloy wheels (16″ on S), 205/55 H-rated M+S tires, 4 wheel ABS disc brakes, front vented
  • Cabin impressively immune to road & drivetrain noise

2022 Volkswagen Jetta SE Driving Misses:

  • Automatic transaxle shifts lazily at low speeds
  • Start/ stop idle (defeatable)
  • Rear torsion beam rather than VW Jetta GLI‘s independent rear setup
  • Occasional rear axle tramp
  • Little steering road feel
  • Braking body dive
  • Low all-season tire dry grip

What the 2022 Volkswagen Jetta SE Driving Has Got:

  • Low price: from $21,360 (incl. destination) for a 6-speed manual 2020 Volkswagen Jetta S. Add $800 for the 8-speed automatic transaxle. As tested 2022 Jetta SE price w/ destination = $26,335.
  • Expressive wide hood valleys; Inboard arrow headlights; Lateral boomerang wrap around taillights; Prominent tandem body creasing, with upper crease extending to taillamps; Beveled trunk lid deck, with prominent curve rear bumper cover.
2022 Volkswagen Jetta 1.5T SE: tri-bar grille, grey Bow Tie lower air dam inserts = new for ’22
2022 Volkswagen Jetta 1.5T SE: lower rear fascia grey Bow Tie inserts replace former simulated dual corner trapezoid exhaust outlets
  • New for ’22: Tri instead of quad bar darkened eggcrate grill; Smoother mid fascia; Front and rear dark grey “bow tie” lower fascia inserts; Segmented front headlamps; Taillight lens swaps amber for red; Simulated lower rear bumper corner trapezoid exhaust outlets vacated.
  • Accommodates 5 adults & their week’s worth of luggage
2022 Volkswagen Jetta 1.5T SE: 14.1 capacious trunk capacity expandable via 60/40% split folding Row 2 seatbacks
    • 60/40% split folding 2nd Row seat backs
    • vs. NMS VW Passat: – 4.6″ inches wheelbase, -1.7″ inches 2nd Row legroom, 6% cabin volume, -11% cargo volume
  • New for ’22: STANDARD multi view full color Digital Cockpit standard (from the VW Taos compact SUV)
  • New for ’22: STANDARD MBI 2.0 Composition Color embedded touch 6.5″ inch LCD media display with voice commands
2022 Volkswagen Jetta 1.5T SE: Digital Cockpit newly standard for ’22 in models w/o native navigation
  • Above par standard feature set
    • Power windows, 4 x auto up/ down, power locks, tilt & telescoping steering wheel, air conditioning, rear window defogger, heated side mirrors, auto dimming rear view mirrors, illuminated dual vanity sunvisors, overhead retracting sunglasses bin, 2nd Row reading lights
    • 6 speaker, 160W HD radio streaming audio, Android Auto, AppleCar Play and MirrorLink phone projection, Bluetooth, USB-C x 2
2022 Volkswagen Jetta 1.5T SE: value driven Teutonic functional cockpit
  • Acceptably good Safety Features & Ratings
    • 6 SRS airbags, IIHS Good marks across the board
    • Rear camera, IQ.Drive Blind Spot monitor, auto LED & high beam headlamps, Collision avoidance pre-braking, post collision brake lock, S.O.S. alert
    • IQ.Drive Travel Assist advanced driver assist technology (Standard on SE and above, $995 option on S & Sport)
      • Adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, forward collision avoidance braking w/ pedestrian detection, blind spot & rear cross traffic warning, rain sensing windshield wipers
  • 4 year / 50,000 miles bumper to bumper warranty includes 2 years maintenance
  • Car-Net subscription telematics services

What the 2022 Volkswagen Jetta SE Has Not (or Not Preferred):

  • Seat cushions too firm, too shallow
  • Fixed 2nd Row seat headrests
  • No sliding front center armrest
  • No 2nd Row USB power ports
  • Apogee of cabin finish austerity
    • Exposed door frames
    • Hard plastics abound including rear parcel shelf
    • Lacks Golf’s felt lined door pockets and better panel fit
  • Infotainment settings & instrument panel illumination locked out when in motion
  • Dim reflector LED headlamps
  • Advanced driver assist optional on S and Sport trims ($995)
  • 2 years / 22k miles shorter warranty from 2019 MY

Standout Cool Volkswagen Jetta SE Feature(s):

  • Leatherette seating, heated Row 1, power driver’s adjustment
  • 2-zone Climatronic automatic climate control
  • Customizable variable night cabin accent illumination
  • Oversized power moonroof (opt. $850)
2022 Volkswagen Jetta 1.5T SE: leatherette front seats heated, only driver’s powered


The updated 2022 Volkswagen Jetta accomplishes 90% of what late Passat did as solid family transport at a better value. That it is still offered with a gem of a manual transmission is a blessing. RB.com editors’ money would be on a 22′ Jetta Sport manual (with GLI’s XDS front axle e-limited slip differential, dark body accents) optioned with IQ.Drive for a bargain $23,355.

Contributing Editor: T. Paluch


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WHAT: 2019 Volkswagen Jetta SEL Premium Mk.7 BD (VW Group A7 platform) compact family sedan. Replaces Mk. 6 5C6 NMS Volkswagen Jetta. This is the first Jetta to incorporate VW’s corporate Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) modular platform.

Standard Power: transverse 1.4 L turbocharged DOHC 16V DI gas I-4 = 147 hp/ 184 lb-ft @ 1400 rpm + 8-speed automatic planetary gear transaxle, 3 [throttle, shift] Drive Modes  = Eco, Normal, Sport (customizable)


To Roadblazing.com eyes, the grille, now Passat wide and slatted = hexagonal. The head and tail lighting housings = pentagonal.  [Simulated] lower rear valance corner dual exhaust outlets are trapezoids. So are the Golf GTI styled fender badges denoting the trim. If you want to get technical about it all windows are trapezoids.

2019 Volkswagen Jetta SEL Premium: Note silhouette’s rakish hood line, down curved nose and up-turned tail

Hood valleys have become more prominent. Wheel arches have grown. Front bumper cover, belt-line and rocker panel creases have increased in quantity. The rear roofline, sloping to a raked backlight, then down to a generously upcurved trunk-lid, formed from the side belt-line creasing = quasi fastback. Then there’s the unmistakable kinship to the current Audi A3.

2019 Volkswagen Jetta SEL Premium: More prominent upper and lower body creasing flows to near fastback rear deck.

Standard reflector LED lighting allows thinner housings than most else out there. However, but for the SEL Premium specific smoked Tornado Metallic 17″-inch wheels, the details don’t overcome typical compact sedan bland.

WHY: More flavorful butter for People’s Car Maker’s American bread

WHEN: On-Sale (in the U.S.) since Winter 2018.

WHERE: Volkswagen new car dealers

WHERE MADE: Puebla, Mexico

HOW STRONG: While a potential tuner’s nightmare, the denser air producing exhaust manifold – cylinder head combo delivers quick turbocharger spool up, hence the desired low engine speed high twist shove. As in 184 lb-ft at just 1400 rpm. The EA211 powerplant nearly dares anyone to say “diesel” [without the nitrites and clatter].

Part way into the throttle travel tip-in slows and the otherwise silky Aisin Warner 8-speed autobox can get caught dozing.  Sport mode partly remedies the dilatory downshifting. A sound cloistered cabin is subject to slight wind whistle and distant tire tread resonance on grooved concrete.


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