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Roseville, Calif.- The Volkswagen Jetta has historically been a money-maker for the German automaker. It’s an extremely diverse compact sedan that is Volkswagen’s top-selling vehicle.

The Jetta lineup is so diverse – sedan, hybrid, sportwagen, various turbocharged engines – that it can be a real toss-up of which model to purchase.

One model that won’t be getting much attention is the 2016 Jetta TDI diesel. Volkswagen has admitted it cheated on TDI emissions testing and recently agreed to buy back or fix nearly 5,000 diesel cars that were sold in the U.S. Volkswagen was in violation of the Clean Air Act and its four-cylinder diesel cars included a software device that circumvented EPA emissions standards for certain air pollutants.

It’s been quite an expensive mess for Volkswagen, yet should not reflect badly on the Jetta. There is seemingly a Jetta for everyone. The cost has been climbing somewhat the past few years, now ranging from an affordable $17,680 for the base model to around $31,120 for the hybrid.

New this year is the introduction of the base engine available on the S and SE models, a turbocharged 1.4-liter, four-cylinder that delivers 150 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque that gets 26-39 mpg. Test driven here, the new turbo model offers a lot of pep, a quality that was severely lacking in the previous engine, a lackluster 2.0-liter, four-cylinder with 115 horsepower.

Here’s a breakdown of the other three Jetta engines – all featuring turbo technology.

  • Turbocharged 1.8-liter, four-cylinder with 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet torque: 25-36 mpg
  • The turbocharged Jetta GLI is a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder with 210 horsepower and 207 pound-feet torque: 24-33 mpg
  • The turbocharged hybrid features a 1.4-liter, four-cylinder with 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet torque: 42-48 mpg

Two years ago, Volkswagen unveiled the turbocharged 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine. It supplanted the previous five-cylinder engine, which took its share of criticism. The reception was good and obviously Volkswagen has fully embraced turbo technology.

Although the Jetta remains conservative in appearance and is devoid of any bling, there are some real plusses overall, including smooth ride quality, strong braking, spacious interior and trunk (large for the class at 15.7 cubic feet.), and good fuel economy. The 5-passenger Jetta is very roomy for a compact sedan.

The interior has its share of enviable qualities, assuming you are one of those drivers that don’t care for lots of high technology. In fact, the Jetta is known as one of the least exciting interiors in its class. It has a pretty basic set up and won’t have anyone grabbing the vehicle manual to figure out how to get a certain feature. New this year is every Jetta is equipped with a touchscreen interface.

Even with the horrible EPA findings, the Jetta is still a small compact that car shoppers should include on their list. The Jetta lineup has great diversity and overall provides considerable quality.

2016 Volkswagen Jetta

  • Performance: turbocharged 1.4-liter, four-cylinder, 150 horsepower; turbocharged 1.8-liter, four-cylinder, 170 horsepower; turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, 210 horsepower; turbocharged 1.4-liter, four-cylinder hybrid, 170 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate range: 26-39 mpg; 25-36 mpg; 24-33 mpg; 42-48 mpg
  • Price: $17,680 to $31,120
  • Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain 5 years/60,000 miles; roadside assistance 3 years/36,000; corrosion 12 years/unlimited
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