My how time flies. It seems like just yesterday VW launched the all-new Jetta -- replacing an aging four door compact sedan with something sportier with more style and tech. That was 2019. New for 2022, the compact sedan sees a significant refresh - which includes a horsepower boost, exterior design tweaks, an upgraded cabin and more standard technology. The 2022 lineup comes in four trims - my test model being the range topping SEL grade. A sportier Jetta GLI stands apart as its own model.
The Jetta's sporty (Audi A3-inspired) personality is chiseled into strong lines on its hood and profile. Significant design updates include revised front and rear bumpers along with a redesigned grille with two chrome bars flanking the VW logo. (For a design comparison check out my 2020 Jetta review.) Each trim level now gets its own unique wheels. The SEL rides on17-inch two-tone machined aluminum alloys with a five-spoke design.
The SEL is equipped with projector LEDs with Volkswagen’s Adaptive Front-lighting System as well as LED daytime running lights and taillights along with power-operated heated side mirrors and rain sensing wipers. There are several new colors to the lineup, but my model's Pyrite Silver Metallic isn't one of them.
The 2022 Jetta enjoys a small power boost thanks to a new 1.5-liter turbo 4-cylinder engine it shares with the new Taos SUV. It makes 158-horsepower (up from 147) and delivers 184 pound-feet of torque. I can't say I was a huge fan of the 8-speed automatic transmission and a punchy throttle response. Even as a fan I am of quick off-the-line acceleration, it felt too "jolting". I even unintentionally squealed the tires on this front-wheel drive only vehicle and couldn't quite believe my ears. The engine is equipped with auto stop/start (which I didn't find noticeable or annoying). VW gets bonus points for equipping the SEL with remote engine start.
An upgraded cabin greets you when you open the door. Design updates include my review vehicle's new two-tone Volcano brown and black leather interior. The very roomy and well-designed interior is a mix of soft touch materials and plastic. New padded leatherette door inserts are standard across the lineup and the SEL sports a modern grey woodgrain design along with contrast stitching. I found the 6-way power-adjustable driver's seat noteworthy in terms of providing comfortable support. The Sport bolstered comfort seat felt great. Both front seats are heated and ventilated.
Underneath an 8-inch multimedia screen you'll find large dials for the climate controls. Below that, a large wireless charging pad is integrated into the back of the center console. On the console itself you'll find the push button start, leather-wrapped gear shift knob, and electronic parking brake along with automatic stop/start and a drive mode selector. Two geometric-shaped cup holders are far from super-sized and a slim console bin contains a charge-only port. A roomy second row offers a drop down center console and 60/40 rear split folding seat. But no rear seat USB ports or A/C vents.Standard SEL features include push-button start, dual-zone climate, a power tilt sunroof, a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel and a 10-color ambient lighting system. You operate keyless entry via a push sensor on the door handle.
The SEL also benefits from a Cold Weather package that provides a heated steering wheel, heated rear outboard seats, and heated windshield wiper park and washer nozzles.
Technology and Sound
The Jetta SEL is equipped with VW's Discover Media navigation system which runs all-new MIB3, a very user- friendly system that's become one of my favorites. It delivers great graphics on an 8-inch color touchscreen that's slightly angled towards the driver and houses a large rear view camera. (You'll want to check out VW's new 10-inch touchscreen Discover Pro system with MIB3 on the 2022 Golf GTI. It's absolutely incredible.)
MIB3 is compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, HD Radio, Sirius XM w/360, WiFi, and wireless App-Connect. I've never been a huge fan of VW's voice command function, and as in 2020, I still find it requires more "work" to use it than others in the industry.
VW's standard 10.25 inch Volkswagen Digital Cockpit Pro is terrific and easy to read. A premium 9-speaker BeatsAudio system delivers excellent sound.
There are two USB-C data ports in the center stack, and USC-C charging port in the console.
Ride and Drive
The Jetta isn't a sporty handling vehicle, but it provides a comfortable, easy to maneuver, commuter ride that will get you where you need to go with confidence. It features four drive modes, Eco, Normal, Sport and Custom. Sport tightens up steering response. The ride is fairly quiet as well. The engine isn't loud and I didn't notice much road noise.
Front Assist, Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Traffic Alert are newly standard across the lineup. My test model is also equipped with available IQ Drive - VW's semi-autonomous system with Travel Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Assist, Front Assist, Blind Spot Monitoring, and Rear Cross Traffic.
Volkswagen’s Automatic Post-Collision Braking System is also standard across the lineup. As is 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.
What You'll Pay
There are no options on this vehicle. The price tag is just shy of $30,000 and is this day and age, I'd call that a terrific value.
The Jetta's refresh makes a great compact sedan even better. In a world where the average price of a new vehicle topped $47,000 in May, the Jetta is proof you can get a well-executed compact sedan full of tech and driver assistance features for under $30,000.
- What I liked most: Digital Cockpit Pro, MIB3, Beats Audio, new two-tone interior.
- What I would change: Voice command.
- MSRP: Base price: $28,095. As equipped: $29,090.
- Fuel Economy: 29 mpg city, 40 mpg highway, and 33 mpg combined.
- Odometer reading when tested: 1,130 miles.
- Weight: 2,989 pounds
- Spare Tire: Temporary spare.
- Length-Width-Height: 186.5"long/ 70.8” wide excluding mirrors/”57.7 high.
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 13.2 gallons with fuel tank on the passenger side.
- Official Color: Pyrite Silver Metallic.
- Towing Capacity: N/A.
- 2022 VW Jetta in a few words: A roomy, stylish compact sedan that continues to add value and up its game with its 2022 refresh.
- Warranty: 4-year/50,000-mile New Vehicle Limited Warranty/7-year/100,000-mile Corrosion Perforation; 2-years/20,000 miles carefree maintenance; 3-years roadside assistance.
- Final Assembly Location: Puebla, Mexico.
- Manufacturer's website: Volkswagen