2006 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
The Good :)
Stylish exterior and interior. Solid feel of all parts. Gas mileage near
55 miles per gallon on the highway. A great all around car.
The Bad :(
Low horsepower at 100bhp. Rear seats a bit too straight and flat. Pricy
with necessary options.
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If you would like to read a review of the Jetta 2.5 (non diesel)
In the past year, Volkswagen
is finally gaining more popularity in the US. Just this May, sales were at
22,100 units, a 36% increase over prior year May sales. This is the
biggest sales increase of any automaker. Within the last year, VW has
launched the redesigned mid-size Passat, the sporty GTI coupe, and the
compact Jetta. Also coming to showrooms is the very stylish EOS
convertible. The Jetta is the most important model for VW, accounting for
40% of all sales. Sales for the Jetta were up a whopping 49% compared to
Super high gas prices have
made us all look for alternatives in order to save money. The Jetta TDI is
one such alternative which can give you great gas mileage. It's also a car
that can comfortably seat four adults with ample space for their luggage as well.
The TDI is one of a few cars on the road today that can also run on
bio-diesel with just a small conversion kit. Audi, VW's pricier sibling,
has been testing diesel technology in the racing circuit. Audi won the 12
hour race at Sebring with their V12 TDI race car and is the first diesel car
to race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
There are only a few diesel cars on the
market today. Mercedes offers a diesel version of their E and S class and
VW offers diesel versions of the Golf, Beetle and Jetta. Besides these brands, no
other German, Japanese or American manufacturer offers sedans with diesel
engines. This is a pity since the majority of cars sold in Europe are
diesel powered. Diesel engines offer better fuel economy and provide
greater torque over similar sized gasoline engines. Manufacturers have been
able to offer smaller diesel engines yet still get similar torque outputs
compared to larger gasoline engines. Diesel cars have very good
acceleration and buyers don't really feel the difference in daily driving
conditions. What's surprising is the Americans haven't caught on to the
diesel trend, as a result most manufactures don't plan on offering more cars
with diesel technology. Except for VW and Mercedes, which both have a long
history of selling diesel powered cars in the US, we don't see any other
brands stepping up to the plate despite the high gas prices.
When you compare cars that get
over 45 mpg there is only the Toyota Prius, Honda Insight and Civic, and the
VW Golf, Jetta, and Beetle rounding out the comparison. You would think
those tiny cars like the Toyota Yaris or the Suzuki Aerio get 45mpg, they do
not. The new Camry hybrid gets from 35-40 and may be the only true
competition to the Jetta TDI with a sacrifice in mileage however. Out of
these cars the only one with room for four and large luggage space, a
comfortable interior and great steering feel is the JETTA. Plus we even got
close to 60 mpg on average highway driving.
The 1.9 liter diesel engine in
the VW Jetta is an all new design with the latest technologies. The engine
is turbocharged with the use of direct injection using high pressure
injectors at each cylinder to atomize the fuel for a stronger more thorough
The 1.9 liter 4-cylinder
engine produces 100 horsepower and 177 lbs.-ft. of torque. Torque is spread
over 1,800 - 2,400 rpm while the full 100 horses are achieved at 4,000 rpm.
This leads to quick acceleration from the get go. What's lacking is quick
pickup at higher speeds where you really feel the lack of more horses under
the hood. Under almost all situations you are perfectly fine on the highway
with 100 horsepower.
Optional is a six speed DSG
automatic transmission. VW said it would spread its dual clutch technology
to all automatic models and here it is. What you get in fully automatic
mode is a super fluid gearshift with no feel under normal driving
conditions. Put the VW in sport mode and you drive at higher RPMs for more
spirited driving and lightening fast gearshifts. Move the lever to the
right of 'D' and shift manually if you like. However, DSG is not as fun on
the Jetta TDI as it is in the VW GTI. With the small engine of the TDI you
don't fell the raw ultra fast shift as you do in the GTI's 200 horsepower
engine which better matches engine RPM's and blips during downshifts. A
little hint at the manual like transmission is felt when you put the car
into Park on a slight incline. The Jetta with DSG will move forward about
an inch than in a standard transmission vehicle.
Most people have worries in
the US of smelly diesel engines which are loud and clunky. This simply is
not true any longer. When the engine is idle the noise is just a bit
different than a regular gasoline powered sedan. VW has done a great deal
of work deadening the sound. Nothing is truly bothersome about the TDI
model of today. The best part is that you can use biodiesel on the Jetta,
or any diesel for that matter.
What was our gas mileage you
ask? In the city the VW gives about 42 mpg. On the highway this does
increase close to 50 mpg and even 60 mpg as shown in our photos. The best
speed is probably 65 mph for the best gas mileage. However try to stick to
this speed on a highway and it is nearly impossible. During our extended
driving tests, most highway drivers were traveling at 75 to 80 mph where
this car gave a bit less than best gas mileage at around 47 mpg. If you
take an average of city and highway driving with stop and go commuting, you
will get about 46 mpg.
Behind the wheel, the Jetta is
comfortable and sporty. There is little body lean or sway. The Jetta
features an independent strut front suspension and a multilink independent
rear suspension. Because we prefer rear wheel drive cars, we did not like
the feeling of the Jetta under full acceleration. However because there is
so little horsepower, there is very little feeling of torque steer.
Stopping power comes courtesy of the front and rear power assisted disc
brakes. The suspension is also comfortable and stable for a good feeling on
bumpy roads. This overall very good feeling behind the wheel is one of the
top reasons to buy a VW in today's car market. Even with 100 horses the
Jetta can compete in the autobahn climbing past triple digits easily without
any shaking or wind noise. Road feel is very good and the steering is sharp
Talking about exterior style a
bit, the TDI is large, smooth, and clean with nice features and good road
presence. The overall height of the cabin has grown giving a substantial
stance. The large chrome grille up front gives VW a family resemblance to
Audi. The curvaceous bumper is flanked by large headlights which are clear
and have many design elements built inside of them. Mirrors have built in
turn signals under them and slight use of chrome around the windows ads a
nice touch of glamour. Door pulls are the grab handle variety for a higher
end look and feel. Good sized wheels with a grey color scheme give the
Jetta a sporty character. The Jetta looks solidly built and the smooth
nature of all parts gives onlookers a great feeling.
At first sight the interior of
the new Jetta is clean, modern and cozy. The dashboard is tall, while
flowing away from you, giving a more spacious feel. Upper dash components
and all interior plastic parts are covered in a smooth leather look material
which was very nice. Perhaps it was better looking due to the tan interior
color, giving everything a softer look. The optional leather seating
surfaces make the Jetta look very luxurious, with folds to the inner seat
cushions making everything look sumptuous. We loved the soft and smooth
leather covering the steering wheel, shift knob, and parking brake handle.
A smooth leather covering on the steering wheel and shift knob as well as
parking brake all greatly enhance the feel of the interior. What did not
add to this luxurious feel was the checkered plastic trim on the doors and
passenger side of the dashboard, real wood is needed here.
Door pulls are strong and feel
good to the touch. Hard plastic parts are only around the stereo system
making the need for a quick aftermarket upgrade to whatever you like quite
easy, see autosupermart.com for this. What most non-believers need to know
is that parts such as the knobs on the air vents, and the armrests are very
solid, much more so than on cars from other brands.
The instrument cluster is
clean and glows a blue color at night with some red accents. It is not as
bright or colorful as that found in the GTI we just tested, proving that
better parts were used in that vehicle. A display screen shows if doors are
open, which direction you are going in, the time, and what gear the vehicle
is in. The multi function display features a large trip computer in the
central area, showing you just how much gas mileage you are getting
instantly and on average. A speed warning chime can be set so you actually
know when you are going over your local town's 25 mph limit. The car is so
smooth and quiet that you will not notice low speeds at all. Also items
such as the brightness of the foot well lighting, automatic opening and
closing of door locks, and whether you want both rearview mirrors to adjust
in sync can all be set from the multifunction display and the steering
The stereo system works nicely
and is easy to use with a high position on the center dash. Buttons are
where you expect them to be, almost intuitive. The system offers satellite
radio and a 6-disc CD changer built-in. The standard speakers are loud
enough and give good bass. We truly liked the simple nature of the stereo;
it was quite easy to use for old and young drivers. The only problem we had
was with the digital readout which was too basic for a car in the year
2006. A large and bright screen would make choosing a satellite radio
station easier. You feel as if you are looking at a time watch from 1980.
A good feature is the station display over each memory button, something not
found on other cars.
An automatic 'climatronic'
climate control system is optional and included in our Package #2. The
system offers air filtration, which is great for allergy sufferers. Heated
seats are also featured for the front seats. The dual zone climate system
allows you to adjust each side's temperature quickly and the automatic
setting worked quite well. However we did not like the fact that it did not
send air to the feet as well in the automatic setting. Choosing both front
and feet settings would send the system out of automatic temperature mode.
This should be fixed. The dials for the system are also a bit cheap made of
plastic that does not feel very good. The dials on the stereo system were
much nicer. You do have rear cabin air vents for more comfort and quicker
cooling in back.
The steering wheel offers easy
controls for the stereo as well as a mute button and a telephone button for
a built in phone should you desire. Controls around the steering wheel are
all within easy reach and well thought-out. If you can close your eyes and
feel your way through the stalks and buttons then you know it was a well
All windows are one-touch up
and down, a really great feature to have that is often overlooked. The
sunroof is also of high quality with a dial to easily operate it in a
one-touch manner in all directions. Lacking is a latch to open the trunk at
the trunk; we really would have liked a flipping VW logo as a latch. The
trunk is very large and deep, with a small space on the right hand side for
a milk gallon and a hook that drops down from the roof to hold a bag in
Other parts are designed
nicely with dual cup holders in the center and large storage areas in the
doors for bottles and magazine. The front armrest can extend to fit just
about anyone and raises up in levels for a great fit. Rear seats easily
flop down in a 60/40 fashion for larger trunk space. The front passenger
seat is height adjustable and has a small button for flipping the back of
the seat down flat to make a long space all the way to the trunk for large
pieces of wood or a pole. The rear seats are comfortable but just a tad too
straight. If they offered more of a cradle position it would be nicer as
thigh support is lacking a bit. All seats have an armrest with a grab
handle for speedy curvaceous driving. Headrests fit very well in back and
overall it is a comfortable and cozy feeling due to the high door trim. You
feel safe and comfortable in a luxurious setting. The Jetta is very
adjustable for fitting small and large people from seat belts, to seat
height, steering wheel position and seat angle. Also not found everywhere
is the solid feeling of the doors closing, it just makes this car feel very
good each time you enter and exit. When you go for a test drive, look at
the velvet lining on the door trim, the thick rubber insulation, the way the
door opens in stages and stays open even on hills, and the clarity of the
glass used. These are just some of the better items you get when you buy a
Driver and front passenger
airbags and side thorax airbags as well as side curtain airbags are
standard. A rear side thorax airbag is available as an option on all
models. The Jetta also has a stronger body and is the first car to 'ace'
the International Institute for Highway Safety side impact crash tests.
Other safety features include daytime running lights, side protection door
beams and child safety rear door locks.
VW offers a 4 year or 50,000
mile warranty with a 5 year or 60,000 mile powertrain warranty. Corrosion
is covered for 12 years and unlimited mileage. Roadside assistance is also
offered for 4 years.
Our TDI test car started off
at a base price of $21,290. The Campanella white exterior and Pure Beige
interior suited the car well. Package #2 was added which included the power
sunroof, cold weather package with heated seats, leather seating surfaces,
the leather multifunction steering wheel, a leather shift knob, dual zone
automatic climate control called climatronic, a 12-way power drivers seat
with 3-memory positions and Sirius satellite radio for $3,485. The 5-speed
DSG automatic tiptronic transmission adds $1,075. This brought our total to
$26,465 with a $615 destination charge. On the window sticker EPA mileage
is rated at 35 city and 42 highway. This car has 8% of its parts coming
from USA/Canada, 35% coming from Germany, and 35% coming from Mexico. The
final assembly point is Puebla, Mexico. The engine is made in Poland and
the transmission is made in Germany.