Volkswagen Jetta 2.0T

By The Car Family

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Strange brew this 2006 Jetta. Volkswagen has mated it 2.0-liter turbocharged engine to a more sedate chassis resulting in a sedan that is willing to please, but without the edge of previous models. This is a sportish sedan best left to those who enjoy the terrific engine, good interior room, and acceptable fuel mileage. The downside is the pricing at about $23,000.

Mom’s view: Most likely the Jetta is going to appeal to owners of previous Volkswagen products. The interior’s blue and red night lighting that is cute in the New Beetle is just difficult to read in the Jetta. Driving the Jetta finds more noise than I would expect and the ride can be stiff legged over rumpled pavement. The best part of Jetta ownership is the perky engine, easy 16 cubic feet of trunk space and the standard equipment list. Volkswagen is throwing in air conditioning, cruise control, power windows, eight-way seat adjustment, 10-speaker radio/CD, power mirrors, an adjustable steering wheel, a power sunroof, and heated front seats. Safety wise, you can get six airbags, front headrests that tilt forward in a collision, and anti-lock disc brakes with brake assist and traction control. Neither fish nor fowl, the Jetta is a satisfying enough drive, but the crisp turn-in, quick to downshift automatic transmission, and sporty suspension make it an acquired taste.

Dad’s view: Our test vehicle with its optional six-speed automatic transmission reached 60 mph in fewer than nine seconds. If you go with the standard manual transmission you can get there a couple of seconds faster, but you don’t get any better mileage. The Jetta drives fast, which means that you constantly have to check the speedometer as the four-cylinder engine enjoys stretching its legs. Jettas have fully independent suspension with a multi-link rear end and use struts at the front, but the chassis is not stiff enough to use this sporty set-up. The electro-mechanical power steering system is quite good, but if you make an emergency maneuver feedback is slow in coming. The anti-lock braking system feel is okay, but stopping distances are only average probably owning to the 3400 pounds of weight the Jetta carries. Not my favorite ride, but at least it offers fun in a family sized sedan and is great for those who have enjoy the possibilities of an occasional frolic.

Young working woman’s view: The Jetta has grown up. And with that, as we all know, added weight and a bit of reluctance to perform as athletically as in its younger days. It is seven inches longer than the previous model with a 2.5 inch more wheelbase and additional passenger leg and headroom. The relaxed fit sizing makes for a more gentle highway ride. I found its looks refreshing and the interior well done and easy to use. The only caveat is rearview mirrors that leave large blind spots. The Jetta is going to have to rely on those who love its new look, high performance engine, and abundant features to attract consumers.

Young unemployed male’s view: Once again I am unemployed having come to the realization that used cars are going to be in my future for a long while. However, not having a job has not dulled my senses and for nearly the same money I could have the Audi A3, room for my English Mastiff, and the same power train and five-year/60,000-mile warranty. The tidy 36-foot turning radius makes parking at fast food restaurants easy. The Value edition model for under $18,000 would be my only hope. Tell me again about how well the economy is doing. Check out my music at http://www.simple-thoughts.net

Family conference: A sporty family sedan, but the pricing could give one pause. For a list of all vehicle websites go to http://www.reacheverychild.com and click on business.

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