2009 Volkswagen Jetta Review

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Pros & Cons

  • Diverse selection of strong engines, upscale look and feel, comfortable seats, impressive cargo capacity in both body styles, pleasant ride.
  • Below-average fuel economy with 2.5-liter engine, small backseat compared to midsize competitors.
List Price
$4,791

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2009 Volkswagen Jetta remains the only discount-price European sedan. This year's return of the wagon and TDI models makes the Jetta an even more attractive choice.

Vehicle overview

For decades now, the Volkswagen Jetta has existed in its own special niche. It may seem like an oxymoron, but this compact VW has made a name for itself by being an upscale economy car. Although roughly the same size as econoboxes from the United States and Japan, the Jetta has long exuded a sense of solidity and refinement in line with illustrious fellow Germans sporting fancier badges.

The latest-generation Volkswagen Jetta, which debuted four years ago, carries on this tradition. It's a little deficient in the "cool factor" that earlier Jettas had, but from an all-purpose standpoint, there's little to complain about. For 2009, the wagon body style -- cutely dubbed the Sportwagen -- returns to the Jetta lineup. Compared to the old boxy Jetta wagon, the new Sportwagen features a more tapered roof line, but retains an impressive amount of utility. In fact, this Jetta actually boasts significantly more cargo space than VW's new Tiguan compact SUV -- 18 more cubic feet with the seats up, 10 more with them folded.

Also notable this year is the new 2009 Jetta TDI. The popular diesel-fueled TDI trim level has been MIA the past few years due to new government emissions regulations, but implementation of "clean diesel" technology has allowed VW to bring back the TDI. The new model is 50-state-certified and returns an impressive 34 mpg combined on the EPA testing cycle. A significant boost in power makes this fuel-efficient model even more attractive, although the rising price of diesel doesn't help the TDI's value equation.

The 2009 Volkswagen Jetta may dwell in its own niche, but it competes indirectly against a wide variety of models. Lower trims may be cross-shopped with economy cars like the Mazda 3 or Saturn Astra, while higher trims can be compared with midsize sedans like the Honda Accord or Nissan Altima. The Sportwagen is worthy of strong consideration if you're contemplating a compact crossover, while the TDI makes for an interesting alternative to hybrids. On its own merits, any Jetta is a serviceable substitute for those who want a premium German sedan but don't have the bankroll needed to bring one home.

2009 Volkswagen Jetta models

The 2009 Volkswagen Jetta is available in sedan and Sportwagen body styles. The sedan is available in S, SE, SEL, Wolfsburg Edition and TDI trim levels. The Sportwagen is available in S, SE, SEL and TDI trims.

The Jetta S comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, heated mirrors and washer nozzles, air-conditioning, cruise control, keyless entry, a tilt/telescoping steering column, eight-way-adjustable front seats with power recline, heated front seats, velour upholstery, a 60/40-split rear seat and an eight-speaker stereo with single-CD player and auxiliary audio jack. The Jetta SE adds 16-inch alloy wheels (optional on S), a rear seat armrest, a sunroof (sedan only, optional on S and TDI), leatherette vinyl upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob (sedan only) and a 10-speaker stereo with a six-CD changer and satellite radio.

On top of this, the Jetta SEL sedan adds 17-inch wheels, a multifunction steering wheel and a trip computer. Jetta Sportwagen SELs also have a sprightly turbocharged engine, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 12-way power driver seat with memory functions, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, Homelink and upgraded speakers.

The Jetta TDI sedan is equipped similar to the SEL sedan, but comes with 16-inch alloy wheels and doesn't have a sunroof. A special edition known as the TDI Loyal adds premium speakers. The Sportwagen TDI sedan is equipped similar to the SE Sportwagen, but it adds a trip computer.

The Jetta Wolfsburg Edition is basically an SE sedan with the aforementioned turbocharged engine, 17-inch wheels, no exterior chrome window trim and Wolfsburg badges.

Optional on all Jettas is an iPod interface and rear side airbags. A touchscreen navigation system is optional on all but the Jetta S, with a 30GB hard drive, digital music storage, SB memory card slot, USB port and DVD playback. A panoramic sunroof is a stand-alone option on the Sportwagen.

2009 Highlights

The Sportwagen body style and diesel-fueled TDI engine debut for the 2009 VW Jetta. Unlike the previous-generation Jetta's TDI, this more powerful diesel engine is 50-state certified in terms of emissions. Other changes throughout the Jetta lineup include stability control, heated seats and heated washer nozzles added as standard equipment. The optional navigation system has also been substantially upgraded to include a touchscreen interface and a 30GB hard drive.

Performance & mpg

There are three engines available for the 2009 Volkswagen Jetta. All S and SE trim levels, as well as the SEL sedan, are powered by a 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine rated at 170 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. The standard transmission is a five-speed manual, while a six-speed automatic with Tiptronic automanual capability is optional. In performance testing, a Jetta SE with the manual went from zero to 60 mph in 8.6 seconds. EPA fuel economy regardless of transmission is 21 mpg city/29 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined. In California and California-emissions states, this engine earns a squeaky-clean PZEV tailpipe emissions rating.

The 2009 Wolfsburg Edition sedan and SEL Sportwagen get the same turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine found in VW's high-performance GLI sedan and GTI hatchback. It produces a zesty 200 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual is standard, while VW's slick dual-clutch DSG automatic transmission is optional. These two models should sprint from zero to 60 mph in the 7-second range, while fuel economy is roughly the same as with the base 2.5-liter mill. The manual yields 20 mpg city/29 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined, while opting for the DSG improves fuel economy by 2 mpg city and 1 mpg combined.

The Jetta TDI features a 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine that utilizes VW's new clean diesel technology, making this car compliant with all 50 states' emissions requirements. This diesel produces 140 hp and a healthy 236 lb-ft of torque. The TDI shares the same six-speed manual and DSG transmission choices as the Wolfsburg. Fuel economy for the TDI with a manual is estimated to be 30 mpg city/41 mpg highway and 34 mpg combined, while the DSG lowers mileage by 1 mpg in each context.

Safety

Standard safety equipment includes antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Rear side airbags are optional on all Jettas. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Jetta sedan and Sportwagen four out of five stars for frontal collision protection, and a perfect five stars for side protection. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, the Jetta sedan received the highest rating of "Good" for frontal offset and side crash protection.

Driving

For most shoppers in this segment, a comfy ride matters more than simulating a track day on Main Street. By this measure, the 2009 Volkswagen Jetta is a fine companion in day-to-day driving. It swallows bumps and provides a relatively quiet cabin from which to endure the daily grind. If you do decide to drive aggressively, the Jetta's steering is nicely weighted and accurate, though body roll is significant in enthusiastic cornering. Should you want additional excitement, the sport-tuned Jetta GLI model may be more your speed.

With the TDI models, expect a little more vibration, a tad more noise and noticeably less high-end kick when trying to charge up that highway on-ramp from a stop. However, the diesel's prodigious low-end torque makes it feel downright muscular around town, as it pulls away from traffic lights with authority.

Interior

The Jetta's cabin is a strong selling point, with abundant high-grade, soft-touch materials and metallic trim. The vinyl "leatherette" upholstery found in most Jettas is finely stitched and does a good impression of real cowhide, with the added bonus of being easier to clean. Stereo and climate controls are straightforward and easy to use, and we're also fans of the cool blue lights used for the instruments and radio display. This year's new and improved navigation system now features an intuitive touchscreen interface and a 30GB hard drive that not only increases processing time but also devotes 20GB to digital music storage.

The Jetta's tall roof line lends a sense of spaciousness to the front seats, which boast a wide range of motion in order to accommodate drivers of various sizes. Headroom is a little tight in the rear, however. Nonetheless, there's an adequate amount of legroom in back, particularly compared to past Jettas, although even an economy sedan like the Toyota Corolla offers more. The sedan's trunk capacity is very impressive at 16 cubic feet, while the Sportwagen is naturally even larger -- cargo volume for the latter is 32.8 cubic feet with the 60/40 rear seat up and 66.9 cubic feet with it down.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2009 Volkswagen Jetta.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

2009 VW TDI DSG Tranny Update
adrenalinetdi,07/19/2011
Seriously folks, you must have to get this Dealer Warranty replaced. Our 2.0L TDI has a Mechtronic Controller Unit that sits atop the DSG Tranny. This Unit controls and puts a stop to the jerky and hesitation. Palisades VW in New York replaced mine last summer and WOW it has made a significant difference in the fuel economy, quickness, and safety. Now, when I press the pedal lightly, the TDI shifts smooooth and quick. Also, when slowing down, no more jerks. At 58 MPH I get 52 MPG with the AC blowing cold. In the city, at 45 MPH I get 60 + MPG. Seriously, do not let the dealers tell you otherwise. We spent extra money for the TDI for a reason. Make the call and beat the BMW driving uphill.
2009 Jetta Wolfsburg
brishimmel,11/14/2011
I LOVE my Jetta. Before I started having problems with it I swore by VW and said my future cars would be VW's. Well in the past three weeks, that has changed. Once my Jetta hit 25k, everything went wrong. Check engine light always comes on, it has left me stranded two times in three weeks. Both times have been the fuel pump. The first time (3 weeks ago) the dealer said they replaced it, now I am doubting that they did. Now they are saying it is the fuel pump again. I called roadside asst which is still under my warranty and they charged me $250+ to have it towed to my dealer where I live. Again, love my Jetta but be sure you have $$ to fix it when it goes out of warranty.
If you want economy, you must pay for it!
bud8138,04/10/2013
TDI 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM)
We have a 2009 Jetta TDI with 115,000 miles on it. It gets great fuel economy, is fun to drive, looks good.....BUT....The regular maintenence costs will negate that great fuel economy, especially if you have the 6 speed automatic transmission, which is actually two manual transmissions in one case that is shifted hydraullicly. It requires regular maintenence every 80,000 miles tat makes one think they are buying a new tranny. Add to that a new timing belt at 90,000 miles that will run another $1200. So you see, you pay for that economy. I love the car but will not buy another. Oh yeah, a faulty fuse holder for one bank of headlights is another $520.00. Last maintenance service, computer indicated a "possible" cracked exhaust manifold, along with some other suggested items. Estimated cost to repair all, $7,200.00. Car unsafe to drive; could stop at any time. Since cost of repairs was about what the car is worth, I declined. Had the car repaired locally for $400. VW's service Dept. Is highly suspect in my book. Following infamous diesel tampering fiasco, VW America bought the car in the settlement. I now drive a Ford Edge.
2009 Jetta problem vehicle
Dave,05/29/2010
Our car has been in the shop 12 times this year, and continues to have problems. VW of America offered $1500 toward a new VW, or $500 for all the service visits. The fuel system and front suspension have been rebuilt, and new problems surface daily. This is a German car built in Mexico, and is of poor quality. Also, when it runs, during moderate acceleration, the front wheels are overpowered. This causes front wheel hop that shakes the dash and prevents forward progress. The chassis can not handle the turbo engine. On the highway, the vehicle is very loud, lots of road, tire and wind noise. Another point, the dealerships Do not stock parts. pass this car up.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2009 Volkswagen Jetta features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2009 Volkswagen Jetta

Used 2009 Volkswagen Jetta Overview

The Used 2009 Volkswagen Jetta is offered in the following submodels: Jetta Sedan, Jetta Wagon, Jetta Diesel. Available styles include S 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 6A), SE 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 6A), SE PZEV 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 6A), SportWagen S 4dr Wagon (2.5L 5cyl 6A), Wolfsburg Edition 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), S PZEV 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 6A), SportWagen SEL 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), SEL 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 6A), S 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 5M), SE 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 5M), SportWagen SE PZEV 4dr Wagon (2.5L 5cyl 6A), SportWagen SE 4dr Wagon (2.5L 5cyl 6A), S PZEV 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 5M), SportWagen S PZEV 4dr Wagon (2.5L 5cyl 6A), SportWagen SEL PZEV 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), SE PZEV 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 5M), Wolfsburg Edition 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), SEL PZEV 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 6A), SportWagen S 4dr Wagon (2.5L 5cyl 5M), TDI 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM), SportWagen SEL 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), TDI 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6M), SportWagen SEL PZEV 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), SportWagen SE PZEV 4dr Wagon (2.5L 5cyl 5M), SportWagen S PZEV 4dr Wagon (2.5L 5cyl 5M), Wolfsburg Edition PZEV 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), SportWagen SE 4dr Wagon (2.5L 5cyl 5M), Wolfsburg Edition PZEV 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), SportWagen TDI 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6M), SportWagen TDI 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM), TDI Loyal Edition 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM), and TDI Loyal Edition 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2009 Volkswagen Jetta?

Price comparisons for Used 2009 Volkswagen Jetta trim styles:

  • The Used 2009 Volkswagen Jetta SE PZEV is priced between $5,999 and$6,400 with odometer readings between 103827 and111631 miles.
  • The Used 2009 Volkswagen Jetta S PZEV is priced between $6,957 and$6,957 with odometer readings between 51430 and51430 miles.
  • The Used 2009 Volkswagen Jetta SE is priced between $5,780 and$5,780 with odometer readings between 117503 and117503 miles.
  • The Used 2009 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen SE is priced between $8,790 and$8,790 with odometer readings between 58346 and58346 miles.
  • The Used 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI is priced between $4,791 and$4,791 with odometer readings between 152399 and152399 miles.

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Which used 2009 Volkswagen Jettas are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2009 Volkswagen Jetta for sale near. There are currently 6 used and CPO 2009 Jettas listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $4,791 and mileage as low as 51430 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2009 Volkswagen Jetta.

Can't find a used 2009 Volkswagen Jettas you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Volkswagen Jetta for sale - 6 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $21,772.

Find a used Volkswagen for sale - 5 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $21,406.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen Jetta for sale - 6 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $24,431.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen for sale - 1 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $23,868.

Should I lease or buy a 2009 Volkswagen Jetta?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Volkswagen lease specials
Check out Volkswagen Jetta lease specials