The Volkswagen Jetta is one of the world’s most successful sedans, with more than 17.5 million models sold worldwide since it was introduced in 1979: more than 3.2 million of those have been sold in the United States. Based off the award-winning MQB platform, the 2021 Jetta offers bold design, interior updates and Volkswagen’s newest infotainment technology.
The 2021 Volkswagen Jetta will be available in five trim levels: S, SE, R-Line, SEL, and SEL Premium. Jetta S models feature new two-tone 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels for a bolder exterior.
SE models receive interior updates with a standard 6-way power driver seat as well as contrast stitching on the steering wheel and shifter. SEL models and above welcome Volkswagen’s new MIB3 infotainment system.
Pricing for the 2021 Volkswagen Jetta with a standard six-speed manual transmission starts at $18,995. The eight-speed automatic transmission starts at $19,795. The destination charge for all Jetta models is an additional $995.
The 2021 Jetta is based on Volkswagen’s Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) platform architecture. The fast-sloping rear roofline translates into a coupe-like profile. Dynamic lines, a large front grille, and taut surfaces combine to give Jetta a look that’s at once elegant, yet athletic.
The front end design, with its emphasis on horizontal lines, at once identifies the Jetta as a Volkswagen. Specific to the model is the distinctive unit formed by the radiator grille and the standard LED headlights. The hexagonal grille is composed of four chrome bars, two of which flow into the headlight housings where the LEDs pick up the lines and connect them for a wrap-around effect.
The car's silhouette is marked by its taut surfaces and a long, extended side window. The coupe-like impression of the Jetta is reinforced by an offset roofline known as a 'phase'—a narrow strip that runs parallel to the actual roofline and into the C-pillar—which visually reduces the car's height. Beneath the shoulder, on the level of the door handles, there is a precisely carved character line that runs as an undercut. Its shadow surface tapers toward the rear, slightly arrow-shaped. The muscular wheelarches and side sills also form a powerful unit. The side sills here are marked by an integrated light line, which continues into the rear body.
The style of the rear section is defined by the arch-shaped trailing edge that extends into the shoulder section and forms the aerodynamic termination of the trunk lid. The spoiler, which is integrated into the body design, emphasizes the sedan's impressive width. This width is also highlighted by the sharp lines of the LED taillight clusters.
The Jetta S and SE come standard with 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and 205/55 R16 all-season tires. On Jetta SEL and SEL Premium models, 17-inch wheels have 205/55 R17 all-season tires.
The Jetta R-Line takes the dramatic styling a step further, with sporty 17-inch wheels paired with 205/55 R17 low-profile all-season tires, a more aggressive rear bumper with stylized dual exhaust outlets, a gloss-black grille, black side mirror caps, and R-Line® badging.
Despite the dramatic design, the Jetta features a remarkably low drag coefficient of just .28 for manual models and .26 for automatic models. To attain this figure, the Jetta features an active radiator shutter and Air Curtain intakes on each side, which allow air to flow smoothly past the front wheelarches. To further optimize airflow, the Jetta utilizes aerodynamic wheel designs and underbody panels.
The Jetta interior architecture is engineered for comfort while supporting a sophisticated, upscale design. The 2021 Jetta is 185.1 inches long, 70.8 inches wide and 57.6 inches tall, with a wheelbase of 105.7 inches. It boasts generous passenger space, 14.1 cubic feet of trunk space and standard 60/40 split-folding rear seats.
The cockpit is a driver-focused environment, with form following function. Both the instruments and the infotainment system are arranged in an easy-to-read horizontal orientation. The infotainment system and the climate-control interface are located on the center console, which is angled towards the driver.
Meanwhile, design elements from the exterior are repeated in the cabin for a touch of sportiness, and premium soft-touch materials are used. The lower instrument panel has a similar horizontal design, with a fine decorative trim strip that runs beneath the cockpit, across the entire instrument panel, and into the doors.
The front seats feature an ergonomically-optimized backrest release that makes adjustments for front-seat occupants especially easy. SE and SEL models feature a 6-way power adjustable driver’s seat; SEL Premium models offer 8-way power adjustable seats with lumbar support and add a memory feature. Front seats are heated on SE and R-Line models; the Cold Weather Package for these models, which is standard for SEL and SEL Premium trims, adds heated outboard rear seats. While base models offer cloth seats, SE, R-Line, and SEL models feature leatherette seating surfaces. For an extra luxurious touch, the SEL Premium carries perforated-leather seating surfaces with front-seat ventilation.
Every 2021 Jetta comes with a multi-function steering wheel that is leatherette-wrapped with contrast stitching on SE, SEL, and SEL Premium models. R-Line models receive a unique leather-wrapped, R-Line badged steering wheel. The Cold Weather Package on SE and R-Line models, which is standard for SEL and SEL Premium trims, brings a heated steering wheel.
Between the large speedometer and tachometer is a multi-function trip computer that helps monitor everything from fuel consumption to trip distance, Bluetooth® connection status and navigation directions (when equipped). Dual-zone Climatronic® automatic climate control is standard on SE trims and above, as is KESSY® keyless access with push-button start, and an aerodynamically- and acoustically-optimized panoramic glass tilt/slide sunroof. Wireless charging is standard on SEL and SEL Premium trims.
Jetta SEL and SEL Premium models feature a standard 10-color LED ambient lighting system. Coordinated with the Driving Mode Selection feature, the system provides soothing indirect white light in the Normal profile, red light in the Sport profile and blue light in the Eco profile. The driver can set any of the ten colors using Manual or Custom mode.
To appeal to music lovers, these trims also offer the BeatsAudio® system. This setup showcases a 12-channel, 400-watt amplifier, digital signal processing and nine speakers, including a subwoofer.
MIB Infotainment. All 2021 Jetta models feature innovative Volkswagen MIB touchscreen infotainment systems. The displays utilize a capacitive-touch sensor (as in smartphone and tablet technology) rather than the more common resistive touchscreens that require pressure, enabling controls like swiping and even pinch-zooming. App-Connect smartphone integration for compatible devices is standard, and offers users the ability to run select smartphone apps directly on the vehicle’s display through services such as Apple CarPlay®, Android AutoTM and MirrorLink®.
The Jetta S, SE, and R-Line are equipped with the MIB2 Composition Color unit, which features a 6.5-inch capacitive touchscreen display. The infotainment system includes two USB-C ports, SD Card multimedia interface, and Bluetooth® technology for compatible devices.
All other Jetta models are equipped with the all-new third-generation modular infotainment matrix (MIB3). The new MIB3 infotainment system features a glass-covered 8.0-inch display, wireless App-Connect with multi-phone pairing that can switch between compatible devices, enhanced voice recognition, and two illuminated USB-C ports in the center stack (SE models and above feature an additional charge-only port in the rear).
The Jetta SEL is equipped with the Composition Media unit; the SEL Premium model with the Discover Media system with navigation. Both units feature Bluetooth technology for compatible devices, HD radio, and SiriusXM® radio (three month trial period). Discover Media units feature a redesigned navigation system with simplified and enhanced map designs, intuitive route options, quick access to frequently visited locations, and advanced route management. With a Car-Net Hotspot subscription and Plus Nav package, maps can be automatically updated with the most up-to-date traffic and construction information.
SiriusXM . SEL models and above will offer the newest and most advanced audio entertainment platform—SiriusXM with 360L. Available by subscription (three-month All Access trial package included), SiriusXM with 360L combines satellite and streaming content delivery into a single, cohesive in-vehicle entertainment experience and provides more options than before, including access to more than 10,000 hours of SiriusXM’s recorded On Demand content, and more live channels. SiriusXM with 360L’s personalized “For You” recommendations enables listeners to discover more of what they love based on listening habits and served on screen in an easy format. Additionally, individual listener profiles allow multiple drivers and passengers to customize their own favorites and receive “Related” recommendations similar to the currently playing channel and content.
Volkswagen Digital Cockpit. The advanced Volkswagen Digital Cockpit system, standard on SEL models and above, presents drivers with a fully-digital instrument cluster. Using a 10- inch TFT display, the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit offers a customizable presentation of important vehicle information, with 21 viewing options, including car status, navigation, driving data, phone information, driver assistance features, and more. Users can select from multiple views, including a full screen navigation view.
Since its debut for the 2014 model year, Volkswagen Car-Net has allowed Volkswagen owners to get connected to their vehicles. Last year, Car-Net moved into the next generation of integration, with an updated mobile app, a long list of no-charge services for five years, and new subscription options. For model year 2021, Car-Net Services will be offered in three areas: Remote Access, Safe & Secure, and Hotspot. For vehicles equipped with a MIB3 system, additional online features are available with a paid subscription that provides enhanced navigation and infotainment. Next year, Volkswagen will introduce Carrier of Choice, giving our customers the option to select a data plan from either VerizonTM or T-Mobile ®. With just a few clicks in the VW Car-Net mobile app or at vw.com/carnet, owners can add their new Volkswagen vehicle to their existing mobile data plan or purchase a new one.
Car-Net Remote Access allows owners the ability to interact with their vehicle from miles away via the mobile app. It is offered at no additional charge for five years from the date of vehicle purchase. Features include remote start and stop (if equipped), remote door lock and unlock, remote honk and flash of lights, last parked location, and remote vehicle status display, which provides information on estimated fuel level and mileage and door and window status. Also available on MY21 vehicles equipped with MIB3: trips statistics and “Hello Volkswagen” in-vehicle advanced voice control, which can recognize natural language input for vehicle radio, navigation, telephone, and media functions.
VW Car-Net skills for Amazon AlexaTM are now available for most new Volkswagen vehicles, is. To set up, owners should open the skills page associated with their car model in their Alexa app and link the skill to their VW Car-Net account. This will allow them to use their voice on an Alexa-enabled device to ask Alexa to send remote commands from the comfort of their own home—for instance: “Alexa, ask Car-Net to honk my horn.”
For vehicles equipped with factory-installed navigation systems, Car-Net can make customers lives easier by locating off-street parking information and sending destinations or points of interest directly to their car from the app. Powered by ParkopediaTM, the Parking Information feature can help make owners’ lives easier by locating off-street parking information. Through the Navigate tab on the app, users can click the “P” icon to show available parking locations, either in the immediate vicinity or near a Point of Interest. Clicking on a specific location will display the address, hours of operation and pricing. Users can also send the location to their car’s navigation system, if so equipped, by clicking the “Send to My VW” button.
Vehicle Health Reports can provide owners easy access to diagnostic information. Reports generate automatically each month after enrollment and are sent directly to the email address in the owner’s profile; owners can also request updated reports anytime through the mobile app. When it’s time for scheduled service, Car-Net can not only notify the customer, but also provides a simple way to schedule a dealer visit.
Family Guardian services and Roadside Call Assist can provide added peace-of-mind no matter who is driving. Speed Alert notifies the owner when the pre-determined maximum speed limit is exceeded. Boundary Alert lets the owner know when the vehicle has traveled outside of a pre-set virtual boundary. Curfew Alert notifies the owner if the vehicle is driven while curfew alert is on. Valet Alert warns if the vehicle is driven more than 0.2 miles from the valet drop-off location. The Car-Net app allows users to control who receives notifications by designating primary and secondary users, with varying levels of control and functionality for each. Notifications can come in the form of text messages, emails, or push notifications from the mobile app itself. If the vehicle is disabled, Roadside Call Assist is available at the touch of the wrench button.
By enrolling in the DriveView™ program, Car-Net users may be eligible for discounted rates from some of the top automotive insurance companies in the country. This program can also help Car-Net users monitor their driving by tracking activities like night driving, hard braking, idle time, and excess speed. These factors all contribute to an overall driving score, which is visible within the mobile app.
Car-Net Safe & Secure is a paid subscription service that includes Information Assistance, Emergency Assistance, Automatic Crash Notification, Anti-Theft Alert, and Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance. The subscription is $99 per year before taxes and fees, and automatically renews annually at the end of the subscription term, unless cancelled. Information Assistance—accessed through the i-call button within the vehicle—allows the driver to speak to a Car-Net agent for support needs, such as points of interest and account services. Emergency Assistance can be accessed through the SOS button in the vehicle, and, if a cellular connection can be established, puts the driver in contact with the Car-Net service center, who can direct emergency responders to the vehicle’s location and notify the user’s Emergency Contact. Provided a cellular connection can be established, Automatic Crash Notification can help automatically notify an operator who can quickly contact first responders in the event of a collision. Anti-Theft Alert sends a push notification to the user if the vehicle’s anti-theft alarm is triggered, and Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance uses Car-Net to assist law enforcement with locating the vehicle in the event that it is stolen.
Car-Net Hotspot allows passengers to access the internet with up to four connected devices simultaneously, including compatible tablets, smartphones, laptops, gaming devices, and more— at 4G LTE-enabled speed. Verizon Wireless or T-Mobile customers with an existing mobile data plan can simply add their Volkswagen vehicle as a new $20 line item to their existing monthly bill; non-Verizon or T-Mobile customers can set up an unlimited plan for $20/month, taxes and fees may apply.
Car-Net Hotspot also offers additional annual paid subscription packages to enhance the navigation and infotainment experience for MY21 VW owners with a factory-installed MIB3 infotainment system. With an active data plan, the Plus Nav package ($49/year) allows drivers to access online route updates, traffic reports, fuel prices, and parking information. The Plus Speech package ($9/year) offers advance voice controls using natural language, and the Plus Online Radio Package ($8/year) offers online internet radio with 30,000+ radio stations and podcasts. Media streaming apps can also be accessed at no additional charge, including iHeartRadioTM and TIDALTM (both require existing accounts).
The 2021 Jetta is powered by Volkswagen’s 1.4-liter turbocharged and direct-injection TSI® engine, making 147 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, with an eight-speed automatic available. The 16-valve engine is able to generate peak torque at just 1,600 rpm. EPA-estimated fuel economy for the 2021 Jetta is 29/39/33 mpg (city/highway/combined) when equipped with the automatic transmission. When equipped with the manual transmission, the EPA-estimated fuel economy is 30/41/34.
The engine, internally coded EA211, features an air-to-water heat exchanger built directly into the intake module in place of an intercooler. The exhaust manifold is integrated into the head, reducing the distance that exhaust gases must travel to reach the turbocharger, thus allowing for faster response and catalytic converter light off. Valves work to regulate coolant flow into the head, which helps allow for rapid engine (and thus cabin) heating, as well as efficient cooling when the engine reaches normal operating temperature. Both the intake and the exhaust valves feature variable valve timing, which results in improved low-rpm performance, as well as increased torque throughout the rev range. A relatively high 10:1 compression ratio further helps the engine’s efficiency, yet it still takes regular (87 octane) gasoline.
A Start/Stop System is standard on automatic-transmission models. This technology stops the engine during idle when the brake pedal is held (such as when waiting at a red light). When the brake pedal is released, the engine restarts.
The Jetta is built on Volkswagen’s award-winning MQB modular chassis. The platform features unitary construction with two solid-mounted subframes and bolt-on front fenders. Both body and chassis boast a large percentage of ultra-high-strength, hot-formed steel, which allows much of the chassis and body to be constructed from thinner and lighter parts without loss in strength.
Mounted in a lightweight, two-piece steel subframe, the strut-type front suspension on the Jetta has lower control arms and long-travel coil springs. At the back, a torsion beam rear setup with telescopic dampers offers an optimal balance of ride comfort, handling, and weight (the rear suspension alone saves 44 pounds in unsprung weight over a more complex multi-link system).
The Jetta R-Line is equipped with the XDS® Cross Differential System. The XDS system acts as an electronic substitute for a traditional mechanical limited-slip differential, actively monitoring data from each wheel sensor. If the suspension becomes unloaded, the system automatically applies braking to the driven inside wheel as needed to help reduce understeer (the tendency for the front wheels to run wide). This not only helps the R-Line’s stability, but can also help improve handling and cornering performance.
An electrically power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering assembly contributes to the fun-to-drive character of the Jetta. The system is speed sensitive, with a ratio of 15:1 and 2.76 turns lock-to-lock. At highway speeds, the steering becomes firm and direct, while at parking speeds, assistance is increased. The turning circle is 36.4 feet.
Finally, an impressive braking system rounds out the athletic performance of the Jetta. At the front, there are 11.5-inch vented discs, with 10.8-inch discs at the rear. The system features a brake disc drying feature to help remove water from the rotors to help optimize wet-weather braking, as well as Electronic Brake-pressure Distribution (EBD), and Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA). All Jetta models also feature an electronic parking brake.
Driving Mode Selection. SEL and SEL Premium models offer the Driving Mode Selection feature as standard equipment. This system includes four modes to choose from: “Normal,” “Sport,” “Eco,” and “Custom.” Normal mode gives a balanced drive experience, while Sport is tuned for a more dynamic throttle response, tighter steering and more spirited ACC settings. Eco mode optimizes shift points, throttle response and climate control settings for improved fuel economy compared to other drive modes. Individual allows a driver to tailor the steering and throttle, ACC, and climate control settings.
To help protect occupants, the Jetta provides a combination of both passive and active safety systems. It features six airbags as standard (front and side airbags for front passengers and side curtain airbags for outboard seating positions), along with a number of electronic safety systems, such as an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Stability Control (ESC).
A standard feature on the 2021 Jetta is Volkswagen’s Automatic Post-Collision Braking System. This builds on the premise that a collision is rarely a single, instantaneous action, but rather a series of events that follow the initial impact—the most significant of which can cause additional collisions. The Automatic Post-Collision Braking System helps address this, in certain crash scenarios, by applying the brakes when a primary collision is detected by the airbag sensors, thus potentially reducing residual kinetic energy and, in turn, the chance of additional damage.
The Jetta also includes Volkswagen’s Intelligent Crash Response System that shuts off the fuel pump, unlocks the doors, and switches on the hazard lights if the car is involved in certain types of collisions.
All Jetta models feature a standard rearview camera.
To meet the demands of American drivers, the 2021 Jetta offers a comprehensive suite of driver-assistance technology. Available features include: Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking (Front Assist); Blind Spot Monitor; Rear Traffic Alert; Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC); Lane Keeping System (Lane Assist); and High Beam Control (Light Assist).
Front Assist, available in the Driver Assistance Package on Jetta S and standard on all other models, is intended to warn drivers of potential frontal collisions (Forward Collision Warning) with vehicles, and in some cases provide automatic braking assistance (Autonomous Emergency Braking).
Within physical system limits, Forward Collision Warning warns the driver of potential critical front-end collision situations, both acoustically and visually by a warning symbol in the instrument cluster if the car is traveling above 18 mph. Furthermore, an automatic jolt of the brakes can warn the driver of the danger. If the driver fails to brake, Autonomous Emergency Braking is activated to help slow the vehicle. If the car is traveling below 18 mph and the system detects a potential front-end collision, Autonomous Emergency Braking activates without a prior acoustic and visual warning. If the brake pedal is applied but the driver brakes too lightly, the brake pressure is increased by the system (Braking Support).
Blind Spot Monitor is available in the Driver Assistance Package on Jetta S and standard on all other models. Blind Spot Monitor uses two radar sensors at the rear of the vehicle to scan the approaching traffic and is intended to warn drivers of the presence of other vehicles in adjacent lanes. If the driver uses the turn signal to indicate a lane change while a vehicle is detected in a blind spot, the system utilizes a flashing LED symbol in the outer area of the side mirrors. Even if the driver does not use a turn signal, the LED symbol in the mirror will illuminate if a vehicle is detected in the blind spot. The system is designed to help alert drivers in specific situations; stationary objects or oncoming vehicles do not trigger warnings, nor do vehicles more than one lane across away from the vehicle.
If combined with Lane Assist (standard on SEL and SEL Premium models, see below) the system not only warns the driver with the flashing LED symbol if a vehicle is detected in the blind spot, but within system limits, it can also countersteer to help keep the car in the lane even if the turn signal is on. If the driver still tries to steer out of the lane, the system will warn with an additional vibration of the steering wheel.
The Rear Traffic Alert system, available in the Driver Assistance Package on Jetta S and standard on all other models, is intended to detect vehicles approaching from the side that may be difficult for the driver to see while reversing. The system offers a 180-degree view of the back of the car with a range of 65 feet, and will present a visual and an acoustic warning, if a potential collision with a crossing vehicle is detected. If the driver does not react, the system can apply the brakes to help mitigate and, in the best case, can prevent a collision. The system is activated by putting the car in reverse.
Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), standard on SEL and SEL Premium models, uses a forward facing radar to maintain a set speed while helping maintain a set distance to the vehicle in front. The driver sets the speed and the desired spacing via buttons on the multifunction steering wheel and can further use those buttons to adjust and cancel the ACC function while the accelerator can be used to override the ACC function. Pressing the brakes always cancels the ACC function. All ACC-related system messages appear in the central multifunction display.
When the roadway ahead of the vehicle is clear, the system maintains the set speed. Jetta models fitted with ACC can match a vehicle in front and come to a stop if the vehicle in front does. If the car in front moves within three seconds, ACC will resume automatically to the set speed. If the car stands longer than three seconds, the driver can resume ACC control by pressing the accelerator pedal or the “resume” button on the steering wheel.
Lane Keeping System (Lane Assist) is standard on SEL and SEL Premium models. When driving above 40 mph, if the system’s camera recognizes visible lane markings and, using a special algorithm, calculates that the vehicle is unintentionally straying from its lane without using a turn signal, Lane Assist actively countersteers to help keep the vehicle in the lane. If the driver takes his or her hands off the wheel for a defined period of time, the system provides an audible warning and a visual signal in the instrument cluster, asking the driver to take over.
The system will not engage if it cannot properly detect lane markings. If the turn signal has been set before crossing a lane marking, the Lane Assist system will not engage or give a warning. The driver can override the system at any time by applying minimal force to the steering wheel.
High Beam Control (Light Assist), standard on Jetta SEL and SEL Premium, helps provide drivers with better visibility. Light Assist automatically switches on the headlamp high beams above 37 mph on dark or poorly lit roads, if there is no oncoming traffic detected. Below 18 mph, the high beams automatically switch off.
Every 2021 Jetta comes with a bumper-to-bumper New Vehicle Limited Warranty and Carefree Maintenance Program. The warranty provides coverage for four years or 50,000-miles (whichever occurs first), and can be transferred to a subsequent owner throughout the remainder of its duration. The Carefree Maintenance Program provides scheduled maintenance services for 2 years or 20,000 miles (whichever occurs first) at no additional charge, and can be transferred to a subsequent owner throughout the remainder of its duration.