2006 Jetta New Car Test Drive
The new Volkswagen Jetta lineup features a complete line of models for 2006. A sporty turbocharged GLI model joins the line along with a fuel-efficient TDI turbo diesel. That's in addition to the most popular models, which are powered by a 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine.
The Jetta was redesigned and re-engineered from the ground up midway through the 2005 model year.
A 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine powers the standard models and it's pleasantly robust, with a broad power curve and a raspy sound. The 2.5-liter engine gets an EPA-rated 22 miles per gallon City, 30 mpg Highway, whether equipped with the five-speed manual gearbox or the new six-speed Tiptronic automatic. Clean-running Partial Zero Emissions, or PZEV, versions of this engine, are available in some states. Fuel-efficient TDI models are available in 45 states. Featuring Volkswagen's renowned turbo diesel engine, the TDI models get an EPA-rated 36/41 City Highway with the five-speed manual gearbox, 35/42 with the slick DSG automatic. The new Jetta GLI features a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine with a broad power curve boasting 0-60 in 6.7 seconds. The GLI gets an EPA rated 24/32 with its six-speed manual or 25/31 with the DSG.
Regardless of engine, we found the new Jetta responsive around town and comfortable on long trips. Volkswagens are known for handling, and the new Jetta carves through corners with precision. Indeed, the GLI reminds us why Germany is renowned for building excellent sports sedans.
The new Jetta is larger than previous models, and it features a more spacious interior stuffed with convenience and lavished with Volkswagen's legendary attention to detail. Even the least-expensive model offers an elegant, high-quality cabin. Its driver enjoys excellent visibility and ease of use with logical controls and instruments. Build quality is superb inside and out. All in all, the new Jetta is a solid car.
The 2006 Volkswagen Jetta is available with a choice of three engines. The Jetta comes standard with a 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine rated at 150 horsepower. The base model is also available as a Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (no charge) that uses a version of the 2.5-liter five-cylinder that emits almost no pollution. The Jetta is available with VW's highly regarded 1.9-liter TDI turbodiesel four-cylinder engine in 45 states. The GLI comes with a new 2.0-liter turbocharged engine boasting an output of 200 horsepower.
The base Jetta, called the Value Edition, comes with a choice of five-speed manual transmission ($17,900) or a new six-speed automatic ($18,975) featuring a Sport mode and Tiptronic gear selection. Standard equipment on these base models includes air conditioning; cruise control; tinted windows; power windows with one-touch open and close; AM/FM/CD/MP3 with 10 speakers; external temperature display; eight-way front-seat adjustments; heated power outside mirrors; split/folding rear seats; remote central power locking; two power outlets in the center console and one in the trunk; remote trunk and fuel-filler flap releases; and an anti-theft alarm. Standard running gear on Value Editions is 6x15-inch steel wheels with 195/65R15 all-season radials and a full-size spare wheel and tire.
The standard Jetta 2.5 ($20,290) upgrades this with dual-zone automatic climate control, premium audio with a 6CD changer, an integrated antenna, automatic headlamps, a trip computer, auto-dimming mirrors, heated power seats, fold-flat rear seats, a front spoiler, chrome trim, and 205/55R16 all-season tires. It's also available with the automatic ($21,365). Options include XM and Sirius satellite radio ($375); DVD satellite navigation ($1,800); and 17-inch alloy wheels and tires ($1,350).
TDI models with their turbo diesel engines are equipped the same way and are available with the five-speed manual gearbox ($21,290) or Volkswagen's DSG twin-clutch semi-automatic ($22,365).
The turbocharged GLI comes with a choice of six-speed manual ($23,790) or the DSG semi-automatic ($24,665). GLI adds or upgrades a number of features: eight-way manually adjustable height and reach sport front seats with fabric upholstery and adjustable head restraints; a three-spoke sport leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and telephone controls; alloy interior trim and drilled pedals; metal loading edge protection for the trunk; special blue-tinted glass; bi-xenon headlamps with auto-leveling and headlight washers; and halogen projector lens foglamps. GLIs ride on 17-inch summer performance tires on 7x17-inch alloy wheels. Optional fitments for the GLI are 17-inch all-season performance tires or 18-inch summer performance radials on 7.5x18-inch alloys ($750).
Options for the GLI include DVD navigation with a 6CD changer in the front armrest ($1,800) and XM or Sirius satellite radio ($375). Package 1 ($1,460) includes a power sunroof, the satellite radio, and a 115-volt power outlet. Package 2 ($3,200) adds leather seating surfaces, heated front sports seats, a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel, heated washer nozzles, and all the stuff in Package 1.
Safety features that come standard on all models include front airbags, side-impact airbags for torso protection, and curtain airbags for head protection come standard along with crash-active front headrests and safety belts with emergency locking retractors for all five seating positions. Rear side airbags are optional ($350). Active safety features include anti-lock disc brakes with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), traction control (ASR), and an electronic differential lock (EDL). Electronic stability control (ESP) is standard on all but the Value Edition ($280) and comes with hydraulic brake assist.