2009 Jetta New Car Test Drive
The Volkswagen Jetta drives much like a high-dollar German car costing twice the price. The Jetta is officially a compact car, but compares well to smaller mid-size sedans. It comes in sedan and wagon body styles with a choice of engines.
For 2009, the Jetta SportWagen is available, having joined the line of sedans in late summer 2008 as a 2009 model. The SportWagen adds flexibility without a larger footprint or any compromise efficiency.
The 2009 Jetta lineup also includes TDI versions of the sedan or wagon, featuring a clean-diesel engine and superior mileage. Electronic stability control and a cold weather package with heated front seats and steering wheel are standard on all 2009 models. All models come with a full array of safety features.
The 2009 Volkswagen Jetta lineup features a choice of three engines: a 170-hp 2.5-liter five-cylinder, a turbocharged 2-liter, 200-hp four-cylinder (also found in pricier Audi and VW models) and the 2-liter, 140-hp turbocharged diesel, called the TDI. EPA figures run from 21 mpg city on the gas engines to 41 mpg highway for the TDI.
We found the Jetta responsive around town and comfortable on long trips. It carves through curves precisely, but rides comfortably.
Inside, the Jetta is roomy and nicely finished, benefitting from Volkswagen's attention to detail. The driver enjoys excellent visibility and ease of operation, with logical controls and instruments. Finish quality is good, inside and out. The trunk is larger than in many sedans costing much more. The basic warranty has been shortened by a year but now includes all scheduled maintenance; the longer roadside assistance and powertrain warranty periods remain.
The Jetta was redesigned and re-engineered from the ground up midway through 2005. It still seems fresh to us, and the wagon model adds an element of flexibility. We find its styling more pleasant than exciting. If you like the idea of a solid four-door and are ready to try some European flavor, the Jetta is the best deal in town.
The Volkswagen Jetta comes as a four-door sedan or SportWagen in one of four trim levels. Both S and SE models use the 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder engine generates 170 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on the 2.5; a six-speed manual is standard on 2.0T and TDI; a six-speed automatic is optional on any ($1100).
Jetta S sedan ($17,340) and wagon ($18,999) come with velour cloth upholstery, air conditioning, power windows, power locks with remote, power heated mirrors, cruise control, electronic stability and traction control, CD player, eight-way manually adjustable heated front seats with lumbar support and power recliners, split folding rear seat, manual tilt-and-telescope steering wheel, and 205/55HR all-season tires on 16-inch steel wheels. SportWagen models add an intermittent rear wipe/wash and cargo compartment details. Options include metallic paint, sunroof ($1,000), panoramic dual-glass sunroof on wagons ($1,300), alloy wheels ($450), rear side airbags ($350), and iPod interface ($199).
Jetta SE sedan ($19,920) and wagon ($21,349) add alloy wheels, more chrome, a sunroof on sedans, 6CD/MP3/Sirius satellite radio sound system, V-Tex (imitation leather) upholstery and door panel inserts, a rear seat/trunk pass-through and a fold-flat front passenger seat for long items. Options mirror the S model plus 225/45R17 tires on alloy wheels ($450) and a navigation system ($1990).
The Wolfsburg Edition sedan ($21,345) comes with the 200-hp 2.0T engine and six-speed manual or six-speed DSG automatic, essentially with SE content plus 17-inch alloy wheels and dark exterior trim. Options are limited to rear side airbags ($350) and iPod adapter ($199).
The Jetta SEL sedan ($22,790) features the 2.5-liter engine and six-speed automatic, while the SEL wagon ($25,990) uses the turbocharged 2.0-liter gas engine with six-speed manual or six-speed DSG automatic. Jetta SEL models also get 17-inch alloy wheels, body-color front and rear trim, dual-zone climate control, multifunction steering wheel and trip computer, premium sound, HomeLink, a 115-volt rear outlet, and leather trim for the steering wheel and handbrake. The 2.0T SEL wagon also includes partial leather upholstery, dual exhaust, and a 12-way power driver seat with memory system. SEL options include a sunroof ($1,000), panoramic sunroof for the wagon ($1,300), rear side airbags ($350), and navigation ($1,990).
The Jetta GLI sedan ($24,590) uses the 2.0T engine and six-speed manual or DSG transmissions, with shift paddles on DSG cars. Standards include 17-inch alloy wheels and performance tires, AC, highline instrument cluster, Interlagos cloth seats, leather shift and brake handles and multifunction steering wheel, 10-speaker 6CD sound system, and bi-xenon headlamps. Upgrades include rear side airbags ($350), sunroof ($1,000), 18-inch wheels, Autobahn package ($2,405) with leather upholstery, power lumbar, sunroof; and the navigation system ($1,990).
Jetta TDI sedans ($21,990) and wagons ($23,590) use six-speed manual or DSG transmissions and are equipped much like SE sedans without a sunroof. TDI options include rear side airbags ($350), 17-inch ally wheels ($450), sunroof ($1,300), iPod adapter ($199), and navigation ($1,990). The U.S. federal government is offering a tax credit, estimated at $1300 for a diesel Jetta.
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 side airbags, which are not recommended with child seats and small occupants, are optional. All Jettas have anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), brake assist, traction control (ASR) and electronic stability control. Roadside assistance is included in the Jetta warranty package.