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2009 Volkswagen Jetta

Overview
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2009 Volkswagen Jetta Review

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A cut above the generic four-door sedan, the 2009 Volkswagen Jetta borrows mechanical components from the upscale Audi division, provides 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 – although the sporty GLI model's turbocharged four-cylinder powerplant delivers the power of a V6 with the fuel economy of a frugal four. The really big news, however, is the availability of a 50-state compliant TDI clean diesel engine, which can achieve upwards of 40 miles per gallon in highway driving.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're looking for a sedan with European ride and handling capabilities, the 2009 Volkswagen Jetta offers German engineering at an attractive price.

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 New for 2009

The TDI clean diesel engine is added to the option list, as is a new wagon variant (reviewed separately). New standard features on all Jetta models include electronic stability and traction control, front and rear floor mats and heated front seats, side mirrors and windshield washer nozzles.

Driving the Jetta

Driving Impressions The 2009 Volkswagen Jetta provides good handling, a competent and quiet ride and some of the best seats for long distance driving we've experienced. While the 2.5-liter five cylinder doesn't...

make the Jetta the fastest car in its class, it's now fast enough to nose its way past the pack when it has to. The five-cylinder is bit buzzy at times, and its flat torque curve does little to inspire daring passing maneuvers. At highway speeds the Jetta remains composed and stable, but 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.

Six-Speed Tiptronic Transmission
The newest VW transmission shifts quickly and smoothly in three distinct shift modes – regular and sport automatic modes, plus a manual mode.

Rear Seat Side-Impact Airbags
When combined with the standard side-curtain airbags, this option adds another level of security for rear-seat passengers.

2009 Volkswagen Jetta Details
2009 Volkswagen Jetta photo Interior

While rear-seat passengers won't sit with their knees at their chins (a position well known to passengers of previous Jetta models), there is still not as much rear seat leg room as found in the similarly priced Mazda MAZDA6. To be fair, the Jetta competes with the likes of the Honda Civic and Mazda MAZDA3, which offer roughly the same interior dimensions. Fit and finish is first rate, as are overall ergonomics. A height-adjustable passenger seat with manual lumbar support, a rarity on so many vehicles, is standard on the Jetta, as are heated front seats. Volkswagen's familiar red and blue dash lighting still delights the eye, and at night every switch, knob or button seen during the day is backlit for your convenience. The 60/40 rear seats can be folded flat and, on SE, SEL and TDI trims, include a center armrest trunk pass through. Other cool features unique to the Jetta are power windows with pinch protection that can be raised or lowered when the key is turned and held in the door lock.

Exterior

Ironically, the newest version of the best-selling European car in the U.S. features several styling elements seemingly imported from Japan. This model marks the largest Jetta to date, touting seven additional inches over the last generation. It also ranks high in content, offering such useful cold weather features as heated side mirrors and washer nozzles. 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 Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2009 Volkswagen Jetta comes with an AM/FM stereo with MP3-compatible CD player, one-touch up/down power windows, power mirrors, cruise control, manual climate control, outside temperature display, heated front seats and washer nozzles, four-way adjustable steering column and eight-way adjustable cloth front seats with manual lumbar support and power recline (driver's seat only). Standard safety equipment includes electronic traction and stability control, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), active head restraints and front side-impact and full-length side-curtain airbags.

Optional Equipment

Optional equipment on the Jetta varies by trim and includes leather or V-Tex leatherette seating, power-adjustable driver's and passenger's seats, in-dash AM/FM stereo with MP3-compatible six-disc CD changer, iPod connector, rear seat side-impact airbags, a 115-volt outlet (SEL) and a trip computer, Additional options include a six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission (standard on SEL), power sunroof, premium sound system, navigation, alloy wheels, SIRIUS Satellite Radio and 12-way adjustable front seats with driver's memory.

Under the Hood

Volkswagen offers two engine choices for the Jetta: a 2.5-liter in-line five cylinder and a 2.0-liter turbodiesel. The recently-improved 2.5-liter is good for 170 horsepower, which is greater than most of the cars in its class. The long throws and sloppy feel of the standard five-speed manual transmission, however, is a bit of a disappointment, especially coming from a company known for its enthusiast-oriented cars. Best stick with the Tiptronic automatic with this engine. Also available is the new 2.0-liter TDI turbodiesel, which offers less horsepower but an amazing 236 pound-feet of torque, the power you need for rapid acceleration. The TDI also gets a vastly better six-speed manual gear box.

2.5-liter in-line 5
170 horsepower @ 5700 rpm
177 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/30 (manual), 20/29 (automatic)

2.0-liter in-line 4 Turbocharged
140 horsepower @ 4000 rpm
236 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1750-2500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 30/41 (manual), 29/40 (automatic)

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2009 Volkswagen Jetta Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.7
Out of 10

Based on 997 Ratings for the 2005 - 2010 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.9/10
    Quality
    8.8/10
  • Reliability
    8.9/10
    Performance
    9.1/10
  • Comfort
    8.9/10
    Styling
    9.0/10

110,000 miles and drives like it did on day 1

By on Monday, December 15, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 110,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "powerful smaller car with good fuel efficiency"

Cons: "Diesel pricing, but..."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Purchased this because it was a clean diesel with a strong engine. Have had for 5 years. 110,000 miles later and it still drives as well today as it did on day one. I drive about 60 miles roundtrip every day in not so great city driving conditions. Regular maintenance has kept this running really well. Fuel efficiency is a bonus!"

Great dependable, low maintenance, good looking -

By on Saturday, December 06, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 77,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Roomy, good looking, dependable, low maintenance"

Cons: "none"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Sharp car, fun to drive, good looking, low maintenance, very comfortable. Still looks gray after 7 years - good gas mileage, great wagon."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Absolutely hate this car!!!

By on Tuesday, December 02, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 133,000

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
4/10
Styling
1/10
Comfort
1/10

Pros: "None."

Cons: "Expensive parts for repairs."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"Where to began. The headliner started to come loose after about 2 years. That was going to cost about $1k. Of course, the warranty was done. This car nickeled and dimed for repairs for almost 7 years. Now the transmission is bad and will cost about $4k-$5k to fix. And it is only at 133,000 miles. I say this after driving a 1986 Honda Prelude 295,000. Still driving a 2001 Mit. Montero at 249,000. I had a Datsun 200sx that I drove for about 300,000 before I sold it. I try to drive the wheels off of my cars before I get another. I'm selling the jetta asap. Oh, and I paid the jetta off."

5 people out of 11 found this review helpful

do not get a jetta

By on Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 111,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
2/10
Reliability
4/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
4/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"This car was the worst car I have ever owned. I have owned a 2006 Altima, a 2009 Altima, a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee and each one blows the Jetta out of the water. The Jetta has had constant maintenance issues since it hit 90,000 miles. Bought this car for $14,000 last July and I regret that more than just about anything"

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Almost good

By on Sunday, November 23, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 123,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Fun to drive"

Cons: "too many small problems"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"I was pretty satisfied with this car, until I started having trouble with so many little things. First the cover the rear windshield wiper fell off, might have been from car wash. Then my rear hatch would only open sometimes. Then the driver side door would not lock, Now the rear driver side door won't unlock, and can't even open from the inside. I believe it's bad lock actuators. I also had to replace the Turbo actuator, which the dealer was unable to diagnose, they wanted to replace the whole turbo, but luckily found a good local shop to fix it. I really wanted to like the car. I love the handling and the awesome MPG, but overall I'm disappointed with the car."

3 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Love it

By on Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 53,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great price, dependable, reliable"

Cons: "tdi jetta get even better mileage"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Best car I have ever owned, couldn't be happier with the 2010 jetta. I tried out a lot of cars but being 6'2" was an issue. this has plenty of room for my feet and head. Ive owned it since 2010 and almost have it paid off and don't plan on getting rid of it. Everything seems top of the line and the ride is the smoothest and quietest ride out there as far as I'm concerned."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

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