If we didn't know the price of the new Jetta there is no question it would rank at the top of the compact to mid-size sedan market. While still not looking over at that big sticker price, the Mazda 3 is close in performance and fun to drive factor, even if the interior is not as elegant as the Jetta's. Now bring in that price tag and things change drastically.

Jetta AG

However, I do see and think VW is right to move the Jetta to its current target price. There is no other car in this range $18-$27K that offers so much stuff. No one wants a stripped version, but the Package 1 option (I seriously advise VW to offer leather as a stand alone option) keeps the price under $25K and as some readers have said there are deals to be had.

Jetta Interior 2
My disdain for the transmission and acceleration not withstanding, the car is a blast to drive and I don?t think buyers would really grow tired of it. That?s a major statement for any car I test, especially when they?re under $30K. What really stands out is how easy the car is to live with. I got over 26 mpg with mixed driving, the rear seats fold down with one touch, all the controls are easy to use and feel great to the touch. It?s just a very nice product. Besides the seats, I?d put the interior quality a step above the Infiniti G35 I drove on my weekend getaway and it is on a par with VW sibling Audi.

Jetta Interior AGYou don?t get that in the Mazda 3 or the Toyota Corolla. But again that darn price tag sticks out like a thorn in your practical side. This is an interesting time in the automotive industry. We?re seeing entire new product categories that never existed before or have been absent for a long time. Besides the premium compacts, the muscle cars and the rebirth of roadsters automakers are considering once taboo vehicles like the sub-compact. So let?s not kill VW for trying to be ahead of the curve. And remember they have to think of Europe as well with this vehicle. All those thing put together make a lot of sense. Even if we can?t wrap our heads over paying $25K+ on a Jetta.

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