Gorgeous, with Audi-like lines that are especially attractive in the rear 3/4 view. The car looks like a far more expensive vehicle, and is not at all out-of-place parked next to my Mercedes.
While rated at only 32 MPG highway, I drove the Jetta roundtrip from Bakersfield, CA to Las Vegas, NV (300 miles each way, over 3 mountain passes) and the car returned 37 MPG at a cruising speed of 80 MPH.
With automatic transmission and full power accessories (except for cruise, which was not available on 2011 S model) this car cost only $17,000. While not particularly powerful, it in no way looks or feels like a cheap car.
The ride is smooth and quiet and the car is very large inside, but somehow still handles like a much smaller and sportier car. Even the base model is fun-to-drive, with well-controlled ride motions. A great road-trip car.
The engine is very old-tech and has only 115 HP, however the 6 speed auto is thoroughly modern and makes the most of the low power and average torque. Acceleration is mediocre (0-60 11 sec), but totally adequate. Smooth and quiet beyond its price.