Powerful turbo engines, fuel-efficient TDI power plant, fun to drive, comfortable ride, rich interior materials, loads of standard safety features, excellent crash test scores, solid build quality. Cons
Tight rear-seat legroom and weak base four-cylinder on old model, somewhat bland styling on new Jetta.
At its leading edge, the hood of the 2005 Volkswagen Jetta is notched with a small, semicircular relief. The crescent-shaped carving is just large enough for the panel to perfectly wrap itself around the grille-mounted VW badge. When the hood is closed, it's as if the two are in a long, loving embrace.
This artful detail will no doubt go unnoticed by the masses, but Jetta owners from Bean Town to the Bay Area will recognize it as the only bit of cool VW carried over from the previous model. And the last Jetta was cool. In fact, it stood alone in the premium small car segment for years, giving the I-really-want-a-BMW-3-Series-and-I-will-have-one-some-day-but-for-now-I-only-have-about-$20-grand-to-spend crowd a place they could feel good about themselves.
But the fifth generation of the small sedan is not the 2006 Jetta as you might expect. Instead, VW has labeled it, and the last of the previous car, 2005 models. Probably, just to make Jetta road tests more difficult to write for guys like us. Whatever its model year, this is a fine car. In fact, the new 2005 Jetta, or the 2005 new Jetta, as VW is calling it, is better than its predecessor in every way sort of.
More Grown-Up Hoping to appeal to the company's bank of maturing Jetta owners, many of whom may be in need of a larger car, Veedub has added 7 inches to the Jetta's length, 2.6 inches to its wheelbase and an inch to its width. Now the Jetta is about the size of a Toyota Corolla and has gained nearly 300 pounds in the process.
Rear-seat legroom is up to 35.4 inches, which is the exact amount offered in the Corolla. Young moms can now fit a baby seat and the actual baby back there, but headroom for taller adults is still on the tight side.
Front-seat room is also improved, and nearly mimics the dimensions of the Toyota. (I think we smell a trend.) Up front, the large amount of glass and tall roof line really create a feeling of spaciousness. One friend riding shotgun said he was sorry he had left his 10-gallon hat at home.
The Jetta's trunk, however, may be the single most impressive automotive packaging achievement since the sunroof. It's huge. Sixteen cubic feet. The last Jetta's trunk was only 13 cubic feet, and a Corolla offers only 13.6 cubic feet.
First-Class Cabin The inside of that trunk is more lavish than our first apartment. Volkswagen has upholstered it from top to bottom, installed a chrome metal sill plate and invested in hinges that don't intrude into the cargo space. Plus, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat is standard.
As on the last Jetta, Volkswagen has applied this kind of meticulous build quality and detailing throughout the cabin. This is the highest-quality interior on the market for the money. Period.
Len Hunt, the executive vice president of Volkswagen of America, Inc., says, "The Jetta's interior follows the VW philosophy of form follows function."
And we agree, the interior functions as well as any, with well-considered ergonomics, awesome sound insulation and high comfort, but the forms are worth noting. They're modern and interesting, but not overdone. At night, the gauges light up in VW blue with red needles, and all the knobs, buttons and switches work like they were lifted from an Audi. The three-spoke steering wheel is as perfectly shaped for driving as anything from Momo.
Gripes are limited to front seats that lack thigh support for taller drivers, and the severe nighttime brightness of the "Passenger Airbag Off" warning light on the dash. It's so distracting we even considered putting a square of tape over it.
High Content Gone are the GL and GLS trim levels. VW has replaced them with a base Value Edition, which costs $17,900 with a manual transmission, and the Jetta 2.5, which starts at $20,390. The 2.5 comes with ESP stability control (a $280 option on the Value Edition), dual-zone climate controls, heated seats with adjustable height and lumbar support, keyless entry, a self-dimming rearview mirror, leatherette upholstery, rear air conditioning vents, a trip computer, rain-sensing wipers and the kitchen sink.
Then there are two optional equipment groups, Package 1 and Package 2. Package 1 costs $1,960, and will be the most popular. It adds a sunroof, a 10-speaker stereo with an in-dash six-disc CD player and 16-inch alloy wheels. Package 2 adds leather upholstery, multifunction steering wheel controls, satellite radio, wood trim and 12-way power front seats. A Package 2 car will top out at $26,740.
Our Jetta 2.5 Package 1 test car stickered for $24,040, which isn't the smokin' deal the $18,000 Value Package is. For the same money a 240-hp Honda Accord V6 starts looking pretty good.
Solid Performance For a few months, every Jetta will get the same drivetrain and a 2.5-liter, inline five-cylinder engine that makes 150 hp at 5,000 rpm and 170 pound-feet of torque at 3,750 rpm backed by the same smooth-shifting Tiptronic six-speed automatic used in the Audi A4.
Considering the last Jetta got a 115-hp 2.0-liter as its base engine, there's little to complain about here. The new engine isn't exactly high-tech with its iron block and low output per liter, but it's torquey, revs well enough and gets the Jetta down the road with adequate oomph. The engine sounds a bit weird, but all five-cylinders do.
Acceleration numbers are average for the class. We ran from zero to 60 mph in 9.4 seconds, and through the quarter-mile in 17.2 seconds at 82 mph. That's exactly what we ran in the last Corolla we tested, which costs over $4 grand less than a Jetta when similarly equipped. Moreover, a V6 Camry or Accord will smoke the Veedub.
Fuel mileage is also OK for the class, with a city rating of 22 and a highway rating of 30. Our test car made a late-night banzai San Diego-to-L.A. run and averaged 28.6 mpg. As an added bonus, the five-cylinder drinks regular.
If you want more speed, a GLI version powered by a 200-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder will launch in the summer, and VW says it runs from zero to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds. If you want more economy, a TDI (diesel) Jetta isn't far off either, and VW says it will pair the TDI engine with its DSG sequential manual transmission for the first time.
Not a Sport Sedan Larger brakes are also part of the Jetta's redo, as is electric power steering and a new multilink rear suspension, which VW also borrowed from Audi.
Stops from 60 mph at the test track were impressively short, with repeated stops of 123 feet. Although that's better than the last Audi A4 we tested, we were disappointed by the Jetta's soft, long-travel brake pedal.
This is not a sport sedan, and nobody at VW claims it to be. "This car is not for people who want to be racecar drivers," Hunt told us. "But it's for people who like to drive, people who take the long way home."
We think the Jetta's suspension tuning is soft enough to make you take the short way home, but it's still a more involving drive than a Camry or Corolla. It handles curves well enough, but it leans a lot and never really feels like it's enjoying the drive. You get the feeling the car is doing what you're asking, but reluctantly, like when you make your kids eat their vegetables.
Its slalom speed of 61.3 mph is also slower than the 63.3 mph we've managed in a Corolla.
On the highway and over broken cityscape, however, its soft suspension, long wheelbase and very stiff chassis provide a supple ride. And the Jetta's electric steering is one of the best we've ever experienced.
The Big But Stu Karp, VW's marketing leader, calls the car a little more grown-up, and he's right, both literally and metaphorically.
But there's a problem. The Jetta's maturing process — which added size, practicality and standard horsepower — has also stripped the car of its sex appeal, zapped it of its cool factor. Gone is the squat, budget-Bimmer look that helped make its predecessor the best-selling Jetta of all time. VW has instead given this Jetta a look that is undeniably more Toyota than BMW.
Volkswagen knows this. It's a calculated move in an attempt to woo a larger share of Toyota Camry/Honda Accord buyers, for whom a car's sex appeal matters about as much as the gap of its spark plugs.
It all makes sense, but the plan fails to account for the large batch of present Jetta owners who bought their cars because of the old Jetta's "it" factor. They may be a few years older, and they may be partying less and watching SpongeBob more, but they still want a car they think is cool. Don't they?
We think so.
Managing Editor Donna DeRosa says: When I drove the Jetta home, I was so proud of myself. I couldn't wait to tell my friend Mark that I had found his next perfect car. But when we went out driving that night, although he thought the car was very "nice," he said he'd rather have an Accord. (I won't even go into the conversation about me not knowing him well enough by now.) Of course, we are both older than the supposed demographic for this car, but it brings up a valid point. I think the Jetta is a guy car. Guys think it's a girl car. So who exactly is this car going to appeal to?
Volkswagen is trying to attract both sexes but as a result the car is suffering from an identity crisis. That spirited Jetta personality is getting lost in the translation. The new Jetta is undeniably a good car — it handles well, it's roomy and attractive — but will anyone identify strongly with its niceness?
At a time when car buyers of all ages still think they are eligible to be the next American Idol, who will want to be driving the bland sedan? We all want to fit into the special category. Nice is nice; it is not special.
Executive Editor Richard Homan says: The new Jetta is the most Japanese German car I've ever driven. And unlike most of the VWs I've slipped into and slammed through corners, its character is more in line with not trying to attract attention rather than enhancing my driving ambitions.
The styling, the suspension and even the turn-in are all less sharp and less alert than I expected (wanted, remembered). Not that the car won't take a set in corners or that it does so unwillingly — it just doesn't attack with any appreciable spirit.
Pulling like a strong four (rather than a weak six), the 2.5-liter, inline five-cylinder engine doesn't really have a sweet spot anywhere in the power band, and sounds about as tuneless as an engine can. On the other hand, the Jetta's six-speed automatic transmission's shifts are seamless.
The Jetta's exterior lines are — in typical Pacific Rim fashion — inoffensive. There are a few cute moments, but the big picture is a study in safe styling overall.
If the new Jetta's exterior is larger, the interior is a full two sizes bigger. The driver and front passenger lounge in unqualified comfort, while the rear-seat squad gets legroom that's from the next class up.
The trunk is the best thing about the new Jetta. It is enormous, huge, gigantic and XXXL, all at once.
Do I like this new 2005 Volkswagen Jetta? Yes. Do I love it? No, but I wanted to. For under $20,000, the new Jetta is going to make a lot of people contented. If you're in the market for high fun and thrills, however, the Jetta road is closed for now. Wait for the 2.0-liter turbo coming later.
System Score: 8.5
Components: The head unit is just the way we like 'em, with big buttons, a logical layout and simple display. Flanking the six large preset/disc number buttons are two round knobs. As expected, the left knob controls on/off and volume and the right controls tuning and the radio's scan function. Old fashioned? Yes. Still the best setup after many decades? Yes. Smaller knobs control bass, midrange, treble, balance and fader functions. An in-dash six-disc CD changer is standard.
Ten speakers distribute the sound throughout the cabin. Each front door contains a tweeter, midrange and woofer, while each rear door houses a midrange and woofer. System output is rated at 80 watts total.
Performance: Although this system's 80-watt specification may seem laughable in this age of 200-watt-and-up amplifiers, we found the sound more than satisfactory. At low-to-medium-high volume settings, the bass is punchy, the highs are crisp without sounding tinny and the mids do a nice job of filling out the musical spectrum. Separation is fine, until you get crazy with the volume knob. Should you find a need to crank it up to Headbanger's Ball levels, things can get a little muddy as the highs and mids wash together and the bass loses some of its tightness.
All in all, most folks should be pleased with the performance. When we cued up a live version of the Cure's "Fascination Street," the jangly guitars, eerie keyboards and pummeling drums were reproduced cleanly and faithfully. Live recordings tend to bring out the weaknesses in a system, but the Jetta's system passed with flying colors.
Best Feature: Control layout.
Worst Feature: Cranking it way up brings down the sound quality.
Conclusion: Unless you crave volume settings that promise permanent hearing loss, this system should be more than ample. — John DiPietro
2005 Volkswagen Jetta Overview
The 2005 Volkswagen Jetta is offered in the following submodels: Sedan, Wagon, Diesel. Available styles include GLS 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A), GL 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A), and GL 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M). Jetta models are available with a 2.0 l-liter gas engine, with output up to 115 hp, depending on engine type. The 2005 Jetta comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 4-speed automatic, 5-speed manual. The 2005 Jetta comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a used 2005 Volkswagen Jetta?
Price comparisons for used 2005 Volkswagen Jetta trim styles:
The 2005 Volkswagen Jetta GL is priced around $5113 with average odometer reading of 78572 miles.
The 2005 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 1.8T is priced around $4995 with average odometer reading of 111812 miles.
The 2005 Volkswagen Jetta GLS is priced around $4130 with average odometer reading of 108769 miles.
The 2005 Volkswagen Jetta 2.5 PZEV is priced around $4295 with average odometer reading of 138734 miles.
The 2005 Volkswagen Jetta 2.5 is priced around $4116 with average odometer reading of 127792 miles.
The 2005 Volkswagen Jetta GLS TDI is priced around $7950 with average odometer reading of 147116 miles.
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Is the 2005 Volkswagen Jetta a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2005 Volkswagen Jetta and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2005 Jetta featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process All of our reviews are written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
How do people like the 2005 Volkswagen Jetta? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2005 Volkswagen Jetta and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2005 Jetta 4.3 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2005 Jetta.
Review I have had my 2005 2.5L for 3 years now. I have had to replace the timing chain and tensioners once already. 4 months later I had to replace the tensioners again. Thank god my Husband works on VW's cause if you take it to a VW dealer to get fixed your looking at a $2,500 job and that's on the low side. Now my car has an intermittent starting problem which after days and days of research I see that this has been a big problem for this car and several other VW car's. I have talked to a VW mechanic from a local VW dealer and he has said to get rid of the car, especially the 2.5L. He has been a VW mechanic for 35 years. Needless to say. I will never buy a VW again.
2005 Volkswagen Jetta inventory listings Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2005 Volkswagen Jetta for sale near Ashburn VA. There are currently 1108 new and 1943 used and CPO 2005 Jettas listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as 2000 and mileage as low as 0. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2005 Volkswagen Jetta. Then select Edmunds special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to 165 on a new, used, or CPO 2005 Jetta available from one of 2804 dealerships in your area.
How can Edmunds help? Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color
What options are available on the 2005 Volkswagen Jetta?
Available Volkswagen Jetta 2005 Submodel Types: 2.0T GLI, Sedan, GLI SE PZEV, 2.0T GLI SE PZEV, 2.0T GLI SEL PZEV, Diesel, 2.0T GLI SEL, GLI SEL PZEV, Hybrid, Wagon
Available Trims: SE PZEV, 1.4T SE, S, 1.4T S, 1.4T Wolfsburg Edition, 1.8T SE Sport, 2.0T GLI, SE, 1.8T SEL, SEL PZEV, Wolfsburg Edition, S w/Technology, 1.8T Sport PZEV, TDI SE w/Connectivity, TDI S, 2.5, SE PZEV w/Connectivity, Limited Edition PZEV, SEL, SE PZEV w/Connectivity, Navigation, Sport, 1.4T S w/Technology, TDI SEL, Wolfsburg Edition PZEV, GLS 1.8T, S PZEV, 1.8T SEL PZEV, GLI, Base, 1.4T SE w/Connectivity, GLI SE PZEV, SE w/Connectivity, SportWagen SE, 1.8T SEL Premium, 1.8T Sport, 2.0T GLI SE PZEV, 2.5 PZEV, GLS, 2.0T GLI SEL PZEV, GL, GL TDI, GLX VR6, SportWagen SE PZEV, GLS PZEV, Limited Edition, SE w/Connectivity, Navigation, 2.0T, 2.0T GLI SEL, GLI SEL PZEV, GLS TDI, GLS TDi, GLS VR6, SEL Premium PZEV, SportWagen S, SportWagen S PZEV, TDI, Value Edition PZEV, Base PZEV, Fahrenheit GLI, GL (1999.5), GL 1.8T, GL PZEV, GLI 1.8T, GLI VR6, Hybrid SEL Premium, Value Edition, Value Edition
Exterior Colors: Pure White, Black Uni, Tornado Red, Silk Blue Metallic, Candy White, White Silver Metallic, Tempest Blue Metallic, Moonrock Silver Metallic, Cardinal Red Metallic, Pure White/Black Roof, Platinum Gray Metallic/Black Roof, Toffee Brown Metallic, Platinum Gray, Deep Black Pearl, Salsa Red, Tornado Red/Black Roof, Reflex Silver Metallic, Platinum Gray Metallic, Reflex Silver, Black, White Gold Metallic, Blue Graphite Metallic, Cool White, Dark Bronze Metallic, Galactic Blue, Shadow Blue, Silver Arrow Metallic, Alaska Green Metallic, Campanella White, Silver Arrow, Wheat Beige, Alaska Green, Atlantic Blue, Blue Graphite, Deep Black Metallic, Laser Blue Metallic, Mojave Beige, Spice Red, Wheat Beige Metallic, Arctic Blue Silver, Baltic Green Pearl, Blue Lagoon Metallic, Bright Green Pearl, Deep Black, Fahrenheit Yellow, Galactic Blue Metallic, Galactic Blue Pearl, Shadow Blue Metallic, Speed Blue
Interior Colors: Titan Black leatherette, Titan Black cloth, Cornsilk Beige leatherette, Palladium Gray/Black cloth, Titan Black w/Black Headliner leatherette, Titan Black w/Gray Contrast Stitching leatherette, Titan Black/Palladium Gray cloth, GLI Titan Black leatherette, Black/Ceramique leatherette, Anthracite leatherette, Art Gray leatherette, Latte Macchiato cloth, Pure Beige leatherette, Gray, Beige, Ceramique (Gray) cloth, Anthracite velour, Gray leather, Titan Black/Carbon leatherette, Titan Black velour, Art Gray velour, Anthracite cloth, Anthracite leather, Art Gray cloth, Cornsilk leatherette, Pure Beige, Beige/Black leatherette, Black, Black cloth, Anthracite, Black/Gray, Gray leatherette, Titan Black/Art Grey leatherette
Popular Features: Tire Pressure Warning, Aux Audio Inputs, Post-collision safety system, Bluetooth, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Back-up camera, USB Inputs, Keyless Entry/Start, Blind Spot Monitoring, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, Navigation, Parking sensors, Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-collision safety system, Alarm, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Rear Bench Seats, Upgraded Headlights, Heated seats, Trip Computer, Auto Climate Control, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Power Driver Seat, Stability Control, Sunroof/Moonroof, Leather Seats