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2006 VW Jetta

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San Francisco:  The 2006 Volkswagen Jetta, introduced as a mid-2005 model, is all new. It is no longer just a VW Golf with a trunk. Styling is more conventional than previous Jettas.  Read – it looks like several of its competitors from Asia.

Fortunately, it is still easily recognized, but now mainly because of its universally known VW logos front and rear. It is also substantially larger and 300-plus pounds heavier.

Besides the all new styling, the new Jetta is motivated by a new 2.5-liter, 5-cylinder, in-line engine. The dual overhead camshaft (DOHC) with 20 valves produces 150 horsepower at 5000 rpm, 35 more ponies than the 4-cylinder in the previous Jetta, and 170 lb-ft at 1800 rpm. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard and a 6-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission that can shifted manually is optional. The EPA numbers are 22 mpg city and 30 highway and the fuel tank holds 14.5 gallons.

I found the engine in the Jetta I tested to be extremely quiet and smooth at idle. Indeed, one time I thought it had stopped and I tried a restart. With only 150-horsepower, low by today’s standards, and an automatic transmission, this Jetta 2.5 gave only adequate performance in a car that weighs in at over 3200 pounds. The stick shift should give more fun performance.

Unless you reside in California, Massachusetts, Maine, New York or Vermont, you can also opt for the Jetta TDI with a 1.9-liter turbocharged, 4-cylinder diesel engine. This Fuel sipping engine produces 100 horsepower at 4000 rpm and 177 lb-ft at 1800 rpm. It is available with a standard 5-speed or an Audi-built Direct Shift Gearbox 6-speed automatic transmission. Here the EPA numbers are 35 mpg city and 45 mpg highway. VW will also be offering a Jetta GLI with a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder, turbocharged engine that is rated at 200 horsepower. VW’s unique VR6 is no longer offered.

Currently, the new Jetta comes only as a four-door sedan. A station wagon is planned for the future. Prices start at $18,515 for the base Value Edition, $21,005 for the Jetta 2.5 and $22,000 for the TDI. The Value Edition comes standard with items like AM/FM/CD sound system with an MP3 player, tilt-telescoping wheel, power windows and heated outside mirrors, remote keyless entry and even a full-size spare tire. The 2.5 and TDI adds dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, leatherette upholstery, in-dash 6-disc CD player, rain sensing wipers, electronic stability control and electronic brake assist. All Jettas come with four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, traction control, front & side airbags and head-protecting side-curtain bags.

While the new Jetta has a definite Asia-look, its still has a German character when it comes to ride and handling that is taut and firm. This includes the precise electro- mechanical power steering. Handling is very good for a front-wheel-drive car and brakes

are rated good. However being a bigger car, it doesn’t feel as nimble as the previous Jettas. Remember, like all German cars, the Jetta is “autobahn-ready.”

Being bigger means more room inside. Four adults can ride in comfort, but the fifth center rear passenger might feel cramped. The trunk is very deep and spacious with the chrome protective strip a nice feature to prevent scratching the paint when loading over the some high opening.  More carrying capacity is available with the 60/40 folding rear seats and fold-flat front passenger seat. High quality materials are used everywhere and though they are built in Mexico, the car is put together with Teutonic precision. Even against tough competition, the new Jetta represent decent value, especially those who want BMW and Mercedes-Benz ambiance on a VW budget.  By Bill Siuru and Andrea Stewart  © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

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Byline:  Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Column Name: 
 German ambiance on a VW budget
 The 2006 Volkswagen Jetta
Word Count:  
Photo Caption: 
 The 2006 Volkswagen Jetta
Photo Credits:  
Volkswagen Internet Media
Series #:   2005 - 46

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