Jetta is VW's most popular U.S. model, outselling the Golf and GTI by more than 6-to-1. Like its Golf/GTI hatchback cousins, the Jetta sedan was redesigned during the 1999 model year, so it sees only a few changes for 2000. The front-drive platform used for the Jetta, Golf and GTI also is used for the New Beetle.
Jetta stands 59 inches tall, 2 inches or so taller than most small cars, and that allows more headroom and a comfortable, upright seating position. Cargo capacity is listed at 13 cubic feet, but the trunk is deep and has more usable space than that implies. The split rear seatback folds for additional space. The dashboard mounts most controls high enough to be seen and reached easily, and the gauges have red needles illuminated by attractive blue backlighting. A new eight-channel, 200-watt Monsoon sound system is standard on the GLX and optional on the GLS. All models have standard air conditioning, automatic power door locks and a cassette player.
With its four-door sedan styling, the Jetta is about 9 inches longer than the Golf hatchback (172 inches overall), but has the same sheet metal on the front half.
Under the Hood
Engine choices mirror those of the Golf and GTI and are unchanged. A 115-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder is standard in the GL and GLS models. A 1.9-liter turbocharged direct-injection (TDI) diesel four cylinder with 90 horsepower is optional on those models. A 172 horsepower 2.8-liter V-6 is standard on the GLX and available on the GLS The TDI diesel comes only with a five-speed manual and the others with manual or automatic. The low-speed traction control system on the GLX adds a new feature this year that applies the brakes to one front wheel if needed instead of both at the same time.
Jetta blends European character and responsive handling with a functional design that incorporates a lot of features, including standard anti-lock brakes, side-impact airbags and the amenities most buyers want. A 10-year powertrain warranty, 12-year corrosion warranty and two years of free scheduled maintenance add to the value.