The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta sits in the 16th spot on the U.S. News and World Report rankings of best affordable midsize cars. The publication says that while the vehicle is cheaper and longer than the 2010 Jetta, it's finished with cheap interior materials and lacks some of the features found in past Jetta versions. The 2011 Jetta comes in three trim levels — the S, SE and SEL. Examining the differences between Jetta trims can help you determine which one might be the best fit for you.

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For around $16,000, you can purchase a 2011 Volkswagen Jetta S.

Exterior Differences

The 2011 Jetta S comes standard with 15-inch steel wheels while the SE has 16-inch steel wheels. The SEL offers 17-inch alloy wheels and is the only model with heated windshield wiper nozzles as a standard feature.

The Jetta S has black side mirrors while the other trims have body-colored side mirrors. The S and SE have black grilles, but you get a chrome grille on the SEL. Only the SEL comes with a roof-mounted satellite radio antenna and chrome window trim as standard features.

Interior Differences

The SE and SEL have cruise control and a front arm rest that provides storage space, but the Jetta S does not have either of these features. Only the SEL has a trip computer and keyless access with a push-button start.

You'll find dual reading lights and illuminated vanity mirrors in the front of the SE and SEL but not in the Jetta S. Only the SEL has front heated seats, a driver's seat with adjustable lumbar, a leather-wrapped brake handle, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a navigation system as standard features.

Technical Differences

The Jetta S features a 2.0-L, four-cylinder engine that can produce 115 horsepower. The SE and SEL have a 2.5-L, five-cylinder engine capable of 170 horsepower.

While the S and SE have rear drum brakes, the SEL has rear disc brakes. Volkswagen says the Jetta S with a manual transmission needs 9.8 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour, while the SE and SEL can accomplish this feat in 8.2 seconds.

Drivers can expect to get 24 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 34 on the highway with the Jetta S while the SE and SEL offer 23 and 33 mpg, respectively. These estimates are for vehicles outfitted with a manual transmission.

Price Differences

Volkswagen suggested a price of $15,995 for the 2011 Jetta S. It set the base price on an SE at $18,195 and the starting price for an SEL at $21,395.