It's an affordable car that looks great, but lacks in interior quality
The car has intermittent rattles in the driver's side instrument panel, the center console, and the front driver's side door. The dealer is working on fixing them, but is having trouble.
This is my third Jetta. 1st was an '01 Wolfsburg 1.8T, 2nd was an '07 Wolfsburg 2.5, and now this '11 SE.
The exterior styling of the car has been noticeably improved. The 18" alloy rim upgrade with low profile tires greatly improves the appearance. I highly recommend the lip spoiler to improve the lines on the back of the car.
The car is bigger. The car is several inches longer, and the back seat is now big enough to fit full size adults. The trunk is still big, although cheapening is visible here as well - the hinge mechanism is much cheaper and now obstructs the trunk opening (was not the case in the '07).
Unfortunately VW chose to focus on a sub-$16,000 price point for the stripped model. In order to accomplish this, they went "cheap" on the inside. The soft-touch dash material is gone and replaced by cheaper and unattractive hard plastic. Of particular insult is the removal of the adjustable arm rest. Basically the car no longer has a functional center arm rest unless you sit all the way back and reclined. That is a HUGE negative, and really has a negative effect on the cockpit comfort. The "leatherette" (vinyl) seating has been vastly improved since the '07. It is much more convincing.
The base stereo is only 4 speakers (another downgrade - they pulled out the A-pillar and rear door tweeters)... really wish I had gone for the SEL instead, since the stereo is really lacking in mid-range sound quality.
If you are used to a quality interior, you will not be happy in the "SE" model. I am certainly not.
The car has an engine made in Mexico, and has a 40% Mexican parts content, plus it was assembled in Puebla Mexico. This shows in the build quality. The parts are cheap, the car rattles in several places with under 3,000 miles on it, and the "finer details" are lacking... think things like sheet metal seams that aren't 'quite' flush or even... Little things like that, which would keep a Mercedes from passing QC, but made the cut with VW. I really think it is false advertising to call this car "German Engineering" -- it is NOT. It's a Mexican car with Mexican engine, Mexican parts and built by cheap Mexican labor in Mexico. And you can tell.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 19th May, 2011