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…

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (8 total reviews)

Love my vdub

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

Great car, very safe in the snow. Coming from a sports car to this wasn't very hard because it has so much pep. Bought this car March 2008 and 2 years later I have not had one problem with it.

Ended my winter worries

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

We exchanged our 2008 Mazda 3i in because as fun as it was to drive, it floundered on even the shallowest hills if there was snow on the road. My spouse was terrified getting to work, so our New Year's resolution was to drive a safer car. We bought this pre-owned Jetta to replace the Mazda. WOW WHAT a Difference! This car is solid and we now realize what "hug the road" means. The stability of this vehicle is complemented this winter by the toasty-warm heated seats which almost makes me reluctant to get out of the car. Volkswagen clearly takes Pride in their Jetta and its design. Inside and out it is a wonderful choice. It could stand more storage space up front for CD's and such.

Very happy with 2008 jetta

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

My wife wanted a BMW. This car is as close as u could come without the price. Jetta is tight, quiet and quick. the 170 hp 5 cylinder is quiet, fast and fun but i can get 37 mpg on highway. Wife and I are very different is likes and dislikes. This car came as a GREAT compromise for us. It fits any occasion we have come across so far. I am very happy so far 12,000 and no hint of any problem to take it back to the dealer.

Changed my mind

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

When I first purchased this car it was just a car to get from point A to B. Now that I've had it over 4 months I absolutely LOVE this car. After learning how to drive with the S and shifters it is the most fun vehicle I have ever owned. Oil change ran 60 bucks at the dealer. Seems very maintenance friendly. MPG about 25 city driving. I'm not a lead foot so I think it is pretty reasonable. The only thing lacking is that I originally wanted a hatchback to haul stuff. I don't have the storage space I need, but after all it is a sedan. If you are in the market for a sedan definitely check this one out! I wasn't looking for this car it kinda found me. Overall very pleased.

Luxury for little $$$

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

After looking around at many of the comparable vehicles, none could compare and I bought the Jetta. I see a lot of this is great, that is great here so I'll focus on a couple of real quirks I've noticed, but don't get me wrong, I love everything everyone else loves about this car. First off is the visors/rear view mirror. How cheap! While the interior has THE nicest materials in this economy class, the visors are cheap plastic non-sense. The mini- vanity mirrors, with the quirky sliding door and the 1/2 matchstick light bulb are worthless. Center console room front and center is very tight. The rolling knobs for the seats and dash lights are difficult to adjust while driving.

Better fuel economy

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

I had a 06 tdi and it got flooded. So what do you buy now. I drive 75,000 miles a year. I am 6 ft 1 in so the room in the front seat is excellent. The car handle beautiful. The leather heated seats are very comfortable on long drives. The hand control for electronic instrument display are nice. Also recommended oil changes are only every 10,000 miles. Be careful the oil is high but you can get it on eBay. I also liked the 1000 dollars owner loyalty money. Trunk is big. Lots of room in this car. Thought I might buy a used tdi but they were more than a paid for it brand new with 30,000 miles. I will trade it for a brand new tdi when they come out in august.

Gas Mileage


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

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.


"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.


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.

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