2007 Jetta New Car Test Drive
It's easy to understand the appeal of the Volkswagen Jetta. Designed and engineered in Germany, the Jetta offers some of the same strengths and design values as much more expensive European luxury sedans yet its base price falls into what we used to call economy car territory.
For 2007, the Jetta's appeal should increase substantially. In addition to minor updates such as a new tire pressure monitoring system and an auxiliary audio input jack for iPods and the like, Volkswagen has dropped the price of its most popular car by $1,400. The new Jetta sedan starts at $16,490, without a significant reduction in standard equipment.
At that price, the Jetta is a compelling buy. Even the base model is well equipped, fun to drive and economical to operate. Its 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine is pleasantly robust, with a broad power curve and a raspy sound, and delivers an EPA-estimated 22/30 miles per gallon City/Highway. Inside, the Jetta is roomy and nicely finished, and its trunk is larger than many sedans costing $25,000 or more. Going up the model line, the Jetta only gets better.
The Jetta 2.0T starts about $4,500 higher, but its high-tech turbocharged engine is a blast to drive, with either the standard six-speed manual transmission or the trick Direct Shift Gearbox automatic. The 2.0T can be loaded with almost as many features as a luxury sedan, and the line-topping GLI is a sports sedan true to the German tradition. Of course, if you drive a loaded GLI away from your local Volkswagen dealership, you'll have paid close to double the base model's price, nearly $31,000 before tax.
Regardless of engine or equipment level, the Jetta is responsive around town and comfortable on long trips. It snicks through corners and carves through curves precisely, but rides quite comfortably.
The Jetta was redesigned and re-engineered from the ground up midway through the 2005 model year, and it still seems fresh. This one is larger than previous-generation models, and Volkswagen's attention to detail, particularly inside, is convincing. The driver enjoys excellent visibility and ease of operation, with logical controls and instruments, and even the base model offers a full array of safety features. Finish quality is good, inside and out. We find the styling more pleasant than exciting.
If you like the idea of a solid sedan with European flair, the Jetta is the best deal in town.
What's New for 2007: Volkswagen has lowered the price of the base Jetta by $1,400, without a significant decrease in standard equipment. A tire pressure monitoring system is now standard on all models. The TDI turbodiesel is not offered as a 2007 model.
The four-door Volkswagen Jetta sedan is available in four models distinguished by engine size and standard features. Jetta's price nearly doubles from base model to a loaded GLI.
The base Jetta ($16,490) and Jetta 2.5 ($17,990) are powered by a 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder engine generating 150 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque, with a five-speed manual transmission. Both the Jetta and Jetta 2.5 are available with VW's six-speed automatic transmission ($1,075), which includes a Tiptronic manual shift feature.
Standard equipment includes cloth upholstery, air conditioning, power windows, cruise control, a CD player, eight-way manually adjustable front seats, a manual tilt-and-telescope steering wheel, and power locks with remote. The Jetta 2.5 adds 16-inch steel wheels (compared to 15-inch), wider tires and standard Electronic Stability Program anti-skid electronics. And it can be equipped with a host of options.
Option Package One ($2,000) includes higher-power audio with an in-dash six-CD changer, leatherette (vinyl) upholstery, a fold-flat rear seat and alloy wheels. Package Two ($4,400) adds leather upholstery, front-seat position memory and dual-zone automatic climate control to the contents of Package One. Stand-alone options include heated seats ($175), alloy wheels ($400), the premium audio ($328), a power sunroof ($1,000), and DVD-based satellite navigation ($1,800).
The Jetta 2.0T ($21,990) and GLI ($23,990) are powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with a six-speed manual transmission. This high-tech engine produces 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. These models offer VW's Direct Shift Gearbox ($1075) as an option. This six-speed works like a manual transmission with an automatic clutch pedal, and can be shifted manually or left in full automatic mode.
The 2.0T adds the folding rear seat, a leather-wrapped steering-wheel with audio controls, remote trunk release, 17-inch alloy wheels, and other features beyond those included on the Jetta 2.5. The GLI adds sport seats, high-intensity bi-xenon headlights and sporty touches such as alloy pedals and a leather shift knob.
Option Package One ($1,900) for the turbocharged models includes the sunroof, heated seats and the premium audio. Package Two ($4,000) adds leather upholstery and dual-zone automatic climate control.
Safety features that come standard include front airbags, front passenger side-impact airbags for torso protection, and curtain-style airbags for head protection front and rear. Rear passenger side-impact airbags are optional ($350). All Jettas have anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and traction control (ASR). Electronic stability control (ESP) is standard on all but the base model, which offers this skid-management system as an option ($450).
Roadside assistance is included in the Jetta warranty package.