By KBB.com Editors
Volkswagen's popular Jetta sedan is a cut above the generic family four-door sedan, with mechanical components borrowed from the upscale Audi division, an exceptionally strong safety rating and a list of standard and optional equipment rarely found in this class. With slightly less rear-seat legroom than the more expensive Passat, the Jetta still provides the kind of "big car" feel you won't find in many of its competitors. On the downside, the Jetta does not offer a V6 engine optionalthough the turbocharged four-cylinder powerplant delivers the power of a V6 with the fuel economy of a frugal four. Due to EPA Tier 2 regulations, the high-mileage TDI diesel is not offered for 2007, but VW promises its return early in 2008.You'll Like This Car If... You May Not Like This Car If...
If you're looking for that "old-school" VW look and feel, the fifth-generation Jetta's styling doesn't convey the same sense of youthful enthusiasm as its predecessors. Although improving, VW's reliability and repair history still lag behind its Japanese competitors.What's Significant About This Car?
For 2007, VW has slashed the Jetta's base price by nearly $1,400. New standard features include a tire pressure monitor, audio auxiliary input jack and a simplified cruise control unit.Driving It Driving Impressions
Although a full seven inches longer and 300 pounds heavier than the previous-generation Jetta, the new Jetta offers very crisp handling. While it isn't the fastest car in its class, it's now fast enough to nose its way past the pack when it has to. Highway ride is firm, while road, wind and engine noise are all perceptible but not unpleasant. And if your favorite leg of any journey is the twisty one, the Jetta delivers ample cornering ability complemented by quick, smooth manual Tiptronic downshifts and a satisfying exhaust note.Favorite Features
Six-Speed Tiptronic Transmission
The newest VW transmission shifts quickly and smoothly in three distinct shift modesregular and sport automatic modes, plus a manual mode.
Automatic Dual-Zone Climate Control
A comfort feature not commonly offered on most $20,000 vehicles.
Rear-seat passengers will appreciate the marked improvements in space afforded by the new Jetta's increase in overall length and wheelbase. They might also enjoy the available rear-seat armrest, which allows for a useful trunk pass-through as well. Overall, the interior is attractive and refined, with materials and finish that are tough to match in the category.Exterior
Ironically, the newest version of the best-selling European car in the U.S. features several styling elements seemingly imported from Japan. The new Jetta is also seven inches longer than the previous generation, which no doubt contributes to its more refined appearance. Whether you find the less-playful styling more appealing may depend on whether you think of the Jetta as a fun beach cruiser or a high-value German sedan.Notable Standard Equipment
The Jetta comes with an AM/FM stereo with MP3-compatible CD player, one-touch up/down power windows, power mirrors, exterior key opening and closing feature for the windows and optional sunroof, cruise control, manual climate control, outside temperature display, four-way adjustable steering column and eight-way adjustable cloth front seats with manual lumbar support. Standard safety equipment includes traction control, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), active head restraints and front side-impact and full-length side-curtain airbags.Notable Optional Equipment
Optional equipment on the Jetta varies by trim and includes automatic dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, leather or leatherette seating, power adjustable driver's and passenger's seat, in-dash AM/FM stereo with MP3-compatible six-disc CD changer, iPod connector, rear-seat armrest/trunk pass-through, trip computer, electronic stability program and heated washer nozzles. Additional options include a six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission, leather seating, power moonroof, premium sound system, navigation, alloy wheels, HomeLink, SIRIUS Satellite Radio and 12-way adjustable front seats with driver's memory.Under the Hood
Volkswagen offers a wide variety of engine choices that directly affect the Jetta's personality. The base 2.5-liter, five-cylinder engine is peppy, but not quick, and its fuel economy figures are not terribly impressive, either. If you can swing the extra cash, get the 2.0-liter turbo. This engine delivers better fuel economy than the 2.5-liter and it's fast as well. This same engine is used in the Audi A3 and A4, it's amazingly refined and has minimal turbo lag.
2.5-liter in-line 5
150 horsepower @ 5000 rpm
170 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/30 (manual), 22/30 (automatic)
2.0-liter in-line 4 Turbocharged
200 horsepower @ 5100-6000 rpm
207 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1800-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/32 (manual), 25/32 (automatic)
Four trim levels comprise the Jetta lineup. The base Jetta has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $17,120, while the 2.5 model stickers for $18,620. The turbocharged 2.0T starts at $22,620 and the top-of-the-line GLI at $24,620. Before you set out to buy a Jetta, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price. It shows what others in your area are currently paying for their cars. The Jetta's resale value is near the top of its class, on par with the Honda Civic, Nissan Altima and Toyota Corolla, better than the Mazda Mazda3 and far better than the Hyundai Elantra, Dodge Stratus and Ford Fusion.