Plenty of Volkswagen models received updated technology for 2021, including the Jetta. Higher trims received an all-new MIB3 infotainment system that’s even more user-friendly than before. Even better, they also include one important wireless feature: Apple CarPlay.
Smartphone integration has become so popular that some shoppers won’t even consider a car without it. It’s mostly standard nowadays, though a few automakers still haven’t gotten with the program. Is Apple CarPlay available in every Volkswagen Jetta?
The 2021 Volkswagen Jetta’s standard features
The Volkswagen Jetta is already compatible with Apple and Android devices. It also offers Bluetooth compatibility, a few USB ports, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. Though the touchscreen is more responsive than those in other VW models, the lower resolution makes it harder to operate while driving.
Fortunately, a larger touchscreen and wireless Apple CarPlay are standard on pricier Jetta trims. More automakers are offering wireless smartphone integration as an available or standard feature because of the added convenience. It also means no more replacing the lighting cable, which can fray easily after extended use. The Jetta SEL comes with a wireless charging pad too.
Most Volkswagen Jettas come with a 1.4-liter turbo-four that makes 147 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. Manual and automatic transmissions are available, though the six-speed manual is cheaper and predictably more enjoyable. The engine is peppy enough but can struggle under hard acceleration, U.S. News reports.
Its reviewers also weren’t impressed with the 2021 Jetta’s handling, but it’s not an uncomfortable ride. There’s plenty of stretch-out space for all five passengers, though the cloth seats lack long-term support. The front seats have a manual adjustment lever.
For the base Volkswagen Jetta S, you can get advanced safety features only through an optional package. That includes blind-spot monitoring, forward collision warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic emergency braking. No matter the trim, the headlights are only marginal at best, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports.
Optional features for the Volkswagen Jetta
The two most expensive VW Jetta models — the GLI S and GLI Autobahn — come with a more exciting engine. Their turbo-four makes 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, paired with an optional dual-clutch seven-speed automatic. Reviewers agree these trims have no problem with brisk acceleration and are a blast to drive.
The Jetta GLI S also comes equipped with a sport-tuned steering wheel and a stiffer suspension to enhance performance further. Though it comes with some driver’s aids, it still has the base infotainment system and cloth seats. The GLI Autobahn features the upgraded infotainment system, along with leather upholstery and adaptive dampers.
If the GLI models are out of your price range, the Volkswagen Jetta SEL is a great alternative technology-wise. It boasts the upgraded infotainment system, plus a high-quality BeatsAudio speaker system and a digital instrument cluster. Synthetic leather covers the standard heated seats are covered, and the cabin comes with tasteful ambient lighting.
This trim also boasts extra safety features, including lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control. The SEL Premium adds navigation and real leather seats with memory settings.
Is the Jetta a good buy?
Starting at just under $19,000, the 2021 Volkswagen Jetta is a decently equipped sedan. However, U.S. News gave it a lower score overall for its poor headlights and middling interior quality. It’s not the worst compact sedan you could buy, but not much makes it stand out among rivals.
If you want the most out of your Jetta, you might be better off buying one of the GLI trims. That way, you get the perfect mix of performance and desirable standard features like Apple CarPlay.