2008 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan

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Volkswagen Jetta Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.5 L Inline 5-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power Info is not yet available.
  • Fuel Economy 21/29 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 Volkswagen Jetta

  • With its polished interior and comfortable ride, the 2008 Volkswagen Jetta is one of the more refined players in its class, and is the only choice to consider if you're in search of a small sedan that delivers European elegance at a very reasonable price.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Pleasant ride, high-end interior materials, long list of safety features, meticulous build quality.

  • Cons

    Dull exterior styling contradicts nameplate's youthful image, unspectacular fuel economy.

  • What's New for 2008

    The 2008 Volkswagen Jetta sees a few changes. Most notably, the sedan gets a bump up in power, thanks to a revised 2.5-liter standard engine good for 170 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. Trim levels get new names: S, SE and SEL. The 2.0T engine is available only on the newly revised limited-edition Wolfsburg Edition model and the Volkswagen GLI. (Volkswagen has dropped the "Jetta" name in a move to make the GLI similar to the GTI. The GLI is reviewed separately.) A power two-way recline feature for the driver seat is now standard across all trims.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (21 total reviews)  |  Write a Review


'08 vw jetta 2 year

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Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen Jetta SE 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 5M)

D suspension is ok. Car feels sturdy + looks good. Engine power is ok, n has always turned on. D brakes are good for normal driving. D interior is well appointed and designed but d plastic grill covers on d front doors side speakers rattle with music. D 5 speed manual shifter's clear plastic cap is a little loose and makes noise when handled. D windshield wipers jolt after turning off car + d motor quit working at 21973 miles on d odometer. After proper procedure, reverse gear is a little tricky to engage. In Vigorous driving when shifting from 5th to 3rd gear, 3rd always gets denied at 55mph or above. Tail light burned out at 21352 miles on odometer. Minor electrical glitches from time2time




Too many issues, lemon warning

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Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen Jetta SE 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 5M)

Where to start? The first few weeks into the lease were great. Then the car started having a number of engine problems. The engine started hiccuping in the Spring of 2009. A week later the car was in the shop and the fuel pump had failed and needed to be replace at about 12,000 miles. More recently this past summer at 18,000 miles some connectors in the fuse box shorted out. This took 2 days in the shop for them to figure this out. Now I'm having different warning lights come on and off. The fuel cap warning light was of, then off. Today the tire pressure light is on, though the tires all look to be inflated properly. What next?!?




Jettas rock

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Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen Jetta SE 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 5M)

I love my VW jetta its fun to drive handles like its on rails and runs like a cat especially when we go driving in the mountains




More fun than an accord

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Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen Jetta SE 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 5M)

I was *this close* to buying a Honda Accord. I didn't even look at a Jetta at first because of disastrous reliability - then I found out starting in 2007 things had turned around nicely. I drove the Jetta and dropped the Accord. On the "fun" scale, it just blows the Japanese and American cars away, imo. I also test drove the Audi A4, basically the same car for a lot less money. I noticed very little difference in the pickup and handling. Surprising amount of room - about the same as the old Passat. I have 4 kids, ranging from 9 to 15 and can fit all of us quite comfortably. One annoying thing - my power window switch acts up in the cold. Besides that - I love the car. Recommended!




Fantasic value for the money

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Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen Jetta SE 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 5M)

There is nothing on the market for $21,000 that compares. I've owned a 1990 and a 1997 Jetta and they keep getting better. I was worried about not getting the turbo but the 2.5 inline 5 with the manual trans has great torque and performs really well. I've only had it for 4 months and no problems at all yet. I got the black with black interior and it looks pretty refined. It is hard to justify buying an Audi A4 when the Jetta is pretty similar for $15K less.




I love my volkswagen.

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Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen Jetta SE 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 5M)

I've had this car for almost a year now (purchased Dec. 07) and have put almost 17,000 miles on it and I still love it as much as the day I purchased it, maybe even more. When I went in to test drive, I really had no intention of buying it, but after the test drive I was sold. I got an awesome deal on it, bought it for $19,300, which is an amazing deal for all the features that come on this car. My favorite thing about the car is definitely the interior. The car is easy to clean, it's really comfortable. Prior to owning this I had a Honda S2000 and I never would have thought I'd love having a VW as much as I do.



Full 2008 Volkswagen Jetta Review

What's New for 2008

The 2008 Volkswagen Jetta sees a few changes. Most notably, the sedan gets a bump up in power, thanks to a revised 2.5-liter standard engine good for 170 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. Trim levels get new names: S, SE and SEL. The 2.0T engine is available only on the newly revised limited-edition Wolfsburg Edition model and the Volkswagen GLI. (Volkswagen has dropped the "Jetta" name in a move to make the GLI similar to the GTI. The GLI is reviewed separately.) A power two-way recline feature for the driver seat is now standard across all trims.

Introduction

"Upscale economy car" sounds like an oxymoron, but it's a feat Volkswagen has been managing to pull off for years. The proof is in its much-loved Jetta -- a small sedan that offers a tremendous amount of polish, all for a sub-$20,000 starting price.

With unassuming stealth, the 2008 Volkswagen Jetta sneaks up and surprises shoppers by giving them more than they'd likely expect from a car in this segment. Styling cues reflect discreet European elegance; the sedan's handsome cabin comes decked with rich materials and exceptional fit and finish. Road manners are pleasantly precise, and the VW Jetta also offers a bevy of standard safety features.

In past incarnations, the Jetta's Achilles' heel was its poor reliability; this issue was largely addressed with the 2005 redesign. Unfortunately, the redesign also revamped the angular, character-filled appearance of the previous-generation Jetta, leaving this model with a tame exterior at odds with the youthful image Volkswagen so clearly wishes to cultivate for the sedan. Another shortcoming concerns fuel economy. The car's mediocre mileage will likely prove disappointing for shoppers with frugality on the mind.

The 2008 VW Jetta isn't short on appeal, but there are other economy cars that merit a look. The Mazda 3 will give you a more engaging driving experience, and the Honda Civic's wide range of engines offer greater opportunity for fuel economy. But none in this segment can touch the Jetta when it comes to sheer refinement. If this trait matters to you, put the Volkswagen Jetta at the top of your shopping list.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

2008 Volkswagen Jetta buyers get to choose among three trim levels: S, SE and SEL. The base S comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, cruise control, full power accessories, heated side mirrors, a 60/40-split rear seat, keyless entry and an eight-speaker CD/MP3 stereo with an auxiliary input jack. The SE adds 16-inch alloys, a sunroof, a 10-speaker stereo with a six-disc CD changer, satellite radio, heated front seats, a fold-flat front passenger seat, a center armrest and pass-through for the folding rear seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, and leatherette upholstery. The revamped Wolfsburg Edition features the more powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged engine as well as 17-inch alloy wheels and exclusive badging. Step up to the SEL and you get 17-inch alloys, a multifunction trip computer, a premium sound system and auxiliary steering-wheel-mounted audio controls.

Powertrains and Performance

S, SE and SEL models come with a 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder engine good for 170 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. The Wolfsburg Edition is equipped with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that puts out 200 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque. Both S and SE Jettas offer a standard five-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed automatic, while the Wolfsburg Edition boasts a standard six-speed manual. VW's slick six-speed DSG sequential-shift transmission -- which can be shifted manually or placed in auto mode -- is available as an option on the Wolfsburg Edition only. With SEL Jettas, only the six-speed automatic is offered. All Jettas are front-wheel drive.

Jettas sold in California-emissions states have reduced tailpipe emissions and receive a squeaky-clean PZEV rating. No matter the model, however, fuel economy is a bit below average for a compact car. Revised EPA ratings for both manual and automatic models stand at 21 mpg city/29 mpg highway with the 2.5-liter engine. The Wolfsburg Edition's 2.0-liter engine achieves the same numbers when paired with the manual transmission, while DSG-equipped Wolfsburgs manage a marginally better 22 mpg in the city.

Safety

Four-wheel antilock disc brakes, seat-mounted side airbags for front occupants and full-length head curtain airbags are standard across the line. Stability control is optional on the Jetta S, but standard on the other two models. Seat-mounted side airbags for rear passengers are optional. In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash tests, the 2008 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 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Jetta a top score of "Good" in its frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Volkswagen Jetta's cabin is loaded with high-quality materials and put together with care. Even the base model has high-end flair, with comfortable seating and elegant trim. A tall roof line lends a sense of spaciousness to the front seats. Headroom is a little tight in the rear, but there's ample legroom for adults. Trunk capacity measures an impressive 16 cubic feet.

Driving Impressions

On the road, the 2008 Volkswagen Jetta manages to provide both comfortable ride quality and agile handling. Like its more expensive German counterparts, the sedan offers a rock-solid feel and a quiet ride. There's adequate power on tap to handle most situations; the Jetta's revised base engine is a welcome addition, as it endows the car with a bit more pep than was offered by last year's model. For maximum acceleration, however, you'll want to check out either the turbocharged Wolfsburg Edition or the identically powered Volkswagen GLI.

Talk About The 2008 Jetta

Read more about the 2008 Volkswagen Jetta

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 21
  • cty
/
  • 29
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs