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 6-speed Automatic
  • 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 (39 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

2 of 7 people found this review helpful

Love the vw

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen Jetta SE 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 6A)

I have a 2008 vw jetta se. Love it, I also have a jeep but I needed a econ car. It was the only cheap good on gas car that I found that felt better then a wong tong box. It has nice features, heated seats, outside mirrors heated and power, pleather ;), the paint looks way better then my friends hondas or toyota after almost 4 years. I never have anything wrong with it. Its way faster then the competition in its class too, not even close. Drives 80 all day long on the freeway for 4 hours straight I never need to get out and stretch. Has safety and dummie lights for everything, even if you have a tail light out, love that. Full size spare and a HUGE truck, seriously I put my road bike in there




Dud airbags

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Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen Jetta SE 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 6A)

I purchased this car thinking it's safety features were outstanding. Not so much. Icy roads sent me into a guard rail head first then spun around and slammed into my driver's side... at 35-40mph. No steering wheel airbag deployment... No side airbag deployment. The metal in the car crumpled like tin foil and all of it's plastic parts shattered like glass. Two weeks later I recieved a letter in the mail stating the transmission was being recalled and the winshield wiper plastic was cutting into the fuel lines causing them to leak. I purchased this car with cash... I should have gone on vacation instead.



9 of 9 people found this review helpful

2008 vw jetta se auto

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Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen Jetta SE 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 6A)

We purchased our 2008 Jetta SE (auto) brand new. My wife was the primary driver on our Jetta and we could not have been more pleased with the Jetta. In fact, 7 months later I bought a 2007 Jetta GLI for myself. We considered an Accord Coupe but the Jetta was $3,000 less and had more features. The car now has over 50,000 miles on it and still has not had any repairs--just regular maintenace...still on original brakes and tires, even. City driving returned around 22 mpg and highway driving would return up to 35 mpg...usually averaged 32-33 mpg on road trips. Quiet and comfortable to drive, cavernouse trunk and loaded with features.



6 of 6 people found this review helpful

3 year lease end love

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Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen Jetta SE 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 6A)

I have leased my salsa red Jetta SE for almost 3 years now, mileage up to 32,000. I originally wrote the love it/hate it review and want to expand on that. Styling is still modern after 3 years, still a good looking car inside and out. The leatherette still looks great as all other interior components do also, even the carpet. I live in the NE so the carpet sees its fair share of wet and snowy shoes, still cleans up well. No problems with any interior components, all are like new. Exterior paint has chipped considerably, how very sad. Seems only the red paint suffered this as I have "red" about it on the internet. Above the rear license plate the paint has completely come off and rust has




Finally, my 2nd good car-another

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen Jetta SE 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 6A)

1) One serious defect on purchse, broken gear shift. 2) not one problem since. 3) I'm reading about poor gas mileage. Hello???? I get 30-32 on the highway, best I've ever had. 4) Wish it would last forever.




Love it, hate it

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen Jetta SE 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 6A)

2 years into my 3 year lease on my salsa red SE Jetta/auto now, 26,000 mi. I still love driving the Jetta and enjoy everyday commuting. The interior has worn well but mechanically and the paint have suffered. At one year old the car had a PCU failure and spent a week in the shop, VW reimbursed my partially for the rental. The red paint is very poor quality, chips off constantly. Finding the power through the electronic pedal and the mush transmission can be a challenge. If I had bought this car I would be very mad about the paint. I probably will not buy another VW. With so many nagging common issues, I'm disappointed that VW can't get it together and fix them and really have a great car.



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