Full 2007 Volkswagen Jetta Review
What's New for 2007
A few changes occur on the 2007 Volkswagen Jetta. Good news for consumers: VW has lowered the car's price by an average of $1,400 without making any significant cuts in feature content. The company says the change is to foster increased competitiveness against Asian-brand sedans. On the downside, the popular diesel-fueled Jetta TDI has been discontinued due to its inability to pass new 2007 government emissions tests. Look for it to return next year. Other updates for the '07 Jetta include the return of the Wolfsburg Edition sedan (which has the 2.5-liter engine and standard leatherette upholstery), a new Apple iPod adapter, simplified cruise control actuation, a standard tire-pressure monitor and, as options, a 115-volt power outlet and Homelink transmitter. Finally, VW has renamed the base-level Value Edition trim level just "Jetta."
For most of the new millennium, the Volkswagen Jetta has been a popular choice of consumers wanting an upscale small economy car. With its European styling, precision road manners, powerful engines and well crafted interior, the Jetta has provided a step up in prestige and character compared to other economy sedans from Japan and Korea. The historical tradeoff has been a higher price and, on the previous-generation Jetta, a lackluster reputation for reliability.
A rather interesting bit of news has cropped up for the 2007 Volkswagen Jetta, however. In light of stiff competition, VW has dropped the price of the car considerably without making any dramatic cuts in content. Though the Jetta's higher trim levels are still more expensive than average, the overall drop in price has largely eliminated one of the car's greater drawbacks.
The current Jetta was last redesigned midway through the 2005 model year. It's noticeably larger than the previous version and is about the same size as a Toyota Corolla. It's decently roomy as small sedans go and should impress owners with its attention to detail and meticulous build quality. Many editors on our staff are particularly smitten with the performance-oriented Jetta GLI. The GLI is the most entertaining model of the range and goes a long way toward adding some extra personality to the car.
Overall, the 2007 VW Jetta is a very enticing vehicle. It's true that the car lacks the distinctiveness or "cool factor" that made earlier Jettas popular. Having driven it, our editors typically say it's "nice," which may or may not be a good thing. But there's no denying that the Jetta betters almost all other cars in its segment in terms of cabin design, powertrain performance and feature content. Consumers shopping for a small sedan should give it serious consideration.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2007 Volkswagen Jetta is a small sedan offered in four trim levels: base, 2.5, Wolfsburg Edition, 2.0T and GLI. The base Jetta comes standard with 15-inch wheels, air-conditioning, cruise control, power heated mirrors, power windows and locks, a 60/40-split rear seat, keyless entry and an eight-speaker CD/MP3 stereo with an auxiliary input jack. The Jetta 2.5 is pretty much identical other than having 16-inch wheels, some chrome exterior trim, a rear center armrest and access to more optional features.
On the 2.5, VW offers two pricey packages. Package #1 adds alloy wheels, leatherette trim, power recline for the driver seat, additional interior storage and an upgraded audio system with an in-dash CD changer and satellite radio. Going with Package #2 gets you most of the features from #1 plus leather seating, a power driver seat with memory positioning, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, Homelink, a trip computer, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and a 115-volt rear power outlet. As stand-alone options, VW offers 17-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof and a navigation system with iPod connectivity.
The Jetta Wolfsburg Edition is equipped in a fashion similar to the 2.5 model but essentially has Package #1 as standard equipment, save for the upgraded audio system. Opting for the Jetta 2.0T nets you the CD changer, along with a more powerful turbocharged engine. The top-shelf GLI has some exclusive features such as bi-xenon headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels or optional 18s, a sport-tuned suspension, color-keyed body cladding, metallic interior trim, sport-oriented front seats and sport fabric upholstery.
Powertrains and Performance
Base, 2.5 and Wolfsburg Edition models come with a 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine capable of 150 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. The 2.0T and GLI feature a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 200 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed manual is standard on the base and 2.5 trims, while the 2.0T and GLI feature a six-speed manual. A traditional six-speed automatic is available on the 2.5. For the 2.0T and GLI, VW offers its slick six-speed DSG sequential-shift transmission that can be shifted manually or placed in an auto mode. All Jettas are front-wheel-drive.
For the turbocharged cars, expect a 0-60-mph time of about 8 seconds flat. Fuel economy isn't so great on the 2007 Volkswagen Jetta, especially now that the diesel engine has been discontinued. EPA ratings for an automatic-equipped 2.5 stand at 22 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, while the 2.0T with an automatic is rated 25 city/31 highway.
Four-wheel antilock disc brakes, seat-mounted side airbags for front occupants, full-length head curtain airbags and a tire-pressure monitor are standard across the line. Stability control is either standard or optional, depending on the model. Seat-mounted side airbags for rear passengers are optional. In NHTSA crash tests, the 2007 Volkswagen Jetta received four out of five stars for protection of front-seat occupants in head-on collisions and five stars for front- and rear-occupant protection in side impacts. The IIHS gave the VW Jetta its "Top Safety Pick" silver award after the sedan earned top ratings in the agency's frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Volkswagen Jetta's cabin is filled with high-quality materials and assembled with care. Even the base model has an upscale flair with comfortable seating and tasteful trim. A tall roof line gives the front seats a spacious feel. Headroom is a little tight in the rear, but there's ample legroom for adults. Trunk capacity measures an impressive 16 cubic feet.
On the road, the Jetta manages to provide both comfortable ride quality and agile handling. Though not as edgy as the previous model, the current VW Jetta has a rock-solid feel with a surprisingly quiet ride. Acceleration is acceptable with all of the engines, but our favorite is the smooth and potent turbo four. This engine is most enjoyable in the Jetta GLI model, which has a taut suspension to back it up.