Volkswagen last redesigned its Jetta halfway through the 2005 model year. For 2007, an auxiliary audio input jack and tire pressure monitoring system become standard, and a premium sound system, 115-volt power outlet, built-in garage remote and iPod adapter are now available. Not available for 2007 is the diesel Jetta; the TDI version will return with new technology for the 2008 model year.
The Jetta's cruise control has been simplified for 2007, and the radio buttons now have a silver finish. Salsa Red replaces the Spice Red exterior color, and a memory feature for the mirrors is available on all models and standard with the optional power memory seats.
The turbocharged 2007 Jetta GLI also comes with simplified cruise control, a standard tire pressure monitoring system, silver-finished radio buttons and an optional premium sound system. Additionally, the ride height is reduced for a sportier appearance, and launch control comes standard for models with the DSG transmission.
Exhibiting a sleeker look than the prior-generation Jetta, the current model has a large trapezoidal grille. Wheels are available in 15-, 16-, 17- or 18-inch diameters, and the Jetta uses an electromechanical power-steering system. A sunroof is optional.
Volkswagen says it will offer redesigned alloy wheels for the GLI later in the model year.
Up to five people can fit inside the Jetta, which has front bucket seats and a three-place 60/40-split, folding rear seat. Non-intruding hinges help provide sufficient luggage space in the trunk, which holds 16 cubic feet of cargo.
Standard equipment includes air conditioning, cruise control, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, a CD stereo with 10 speakers, and power windows, locks and mirrors. Leather seating surfaces and a navigation system are optional.
For the GLI, the premium sound system will be optional in 2007.
Under the Hood
The base engine in the Jetta is a 2.5-liter inline-five-cylinder that produces 150 hp and drives either a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic manual gear selection and a Sport mode. The direct-injection, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder generates 200 hp and 207 pounds-feet of torque and teams with a six-speed manual or a six-speed Direct Shift Gearbox automated manual transmission.
Antilock brakes, traction control, active front head restraints, side-impact airbags for the front seats and side curtain airbags are standard. Side-impact airbags for outboard rear passengers are optional. Volkswagen's Electronic Stabilization Program is standard on all models but the Value Edition, where it is optional.
In ordinary driving, the Jetta delivers vigorous throttle response, and the automatic transmission operates effortlessly. Passing response is markedly less energetic on upgrades at higher elevations. Significant hesitation before the transmission downshifts may occur when stepping on the gas.
The Jetta feels particularly substantial, if a little on the heavy side. The suspension is definitely firm, but it doesn't impair the ride on smooth highways. Steering feel is excellent, and the Jetta stays neatly on course. With wholly predictable handling, it's simply masterful through curves. Body lean is minimal through tight mountain switchbacks.
Apart from some noticeable engine sounds while accelerating and some road noise, the Jetta is fairly quiet. It's spacious up front but a tad restricted in terms of elbowroom, and some drivers could hit their right knee on the wide console. The gauges are large and easy to read, and visibility is very good. The seats are beautifully cushioned and appropriately bolstered; they also offer good thigh and back support.