1981 Volkswagen JettaFor seven generations the Volkswagen Jetta has delivered a neat mix of European handling and a four-door convenience in a single package. The model is so popular that about 18 million units are sold globally and about 3.2 are sold in the US. As the latest model arrives later this year, we take a closer look at some of the most notable vehicles in the lineup.

Influenced by the Golf, the original Jetta was introduced to America back in 1979. The first models were assembled at the Wolfsburg factory in Germany, and the first models delivered a total of 76hp and offered ample space for that era. Also, the Jetta was considered a bit more luxurious than other VW models at the time.

The debut was met with positive feedback and a new model was introduced in 1985 – the Mk2, with an output of 100hp and some more sophistication regarding the interior and exterior. Also, the new Jetta was bigger compared to the first model and had ample space for up to 5 passengers and their luggage. This model was offered in two- and four-door variants, and came with some neat drivetrain system upgrades.

During the 90s, Jetta evolved both in size and performance rates. The 1993 model came with a narrow-angle V6 unit with a total of 172hp and with some exclusive safety features, as well as some premium goodies like interior appointments and more.

Then came the Mk4 in 1999, which showcased more of the Bauhaus-style visual influences from the larger Passat rather than the smaller Golf. Also, Jetta now featured a wagon model.

The fifth iteration of the model was introduced in 2005 at the Los Angeles Auto Show, which showcased some dramatic rework. Even wider and longer, the revised Jetta offered even more space and some next-gen technologies. Such included electric power steering, dual-zone automatic climate control, active head restraints, and optional seat-mounted rear-sided and emergency brake assist.

Then came the Jetta Mk6 in 2011 and was the first in the lineup to be offered with a hybrid power unit. The 2011 model featured a lowered sporty suspension, rear spoiler, and a two-tone heated seat set. All this was complemented by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that generated a total of 170hp.

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Seven years later, in 2018 VW unveiled the new Jetta at the Detroit show. This was a rather special model, because of its advanced MQB platform, 1.4-liter TSI engine, and tons of infotainment features.

For the upcoming 2022 model, Volkswagen has prepared tons of surprises. The latest Jetta model will come with a 1.5-liter turbocharged and direct-injection EA211 engine, a revised drivetrain platform, and many new smart technologies that make the drive even more rewarding and pleasurable.