Compact car; Built in Mexico
  • 4-door sedan
  • 4-door wagon
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $5,800 – $21,500*


2006 Volkswagen Jetta


2006 Volkswagen Jetta


2006 Volkswagen Jetta


2006 Volkswagen Jetta

Pros:
  • Acceleration (2.0T, GLI)
  • Controls and materials
  • Front-seat passenger room
  • Ride (except GLI)
  • Steering/handling
  • Brake performance
Cons:
  • Acceleration (2.5, TDI)
  • Engine noise (2.5, TDI)
  • Back seat passenger room

Usefully roomier than its predecessor, the current Jetta just about sets the class standard for overall refinement, interior decor, and build quality. Also roomy, Jettas contain many laudable safety features. The main drawbacks are unremarkable performance from the five-cylinder engine with automatic transmission, and VW’s subpar customer-satisfaction scores for reliability and dealer service. Strong resale values, especially for certain versions, help keep used-car prices high.

Overview

The Jetta was redesigned in mid-2005, and oddly, the new car was called a “2005.5” model rather than a 2006. However, we start this generation with 2006 to avoid confusion with the prior design that dated back to 1999. The new front-drive compact sedan was 2.6 inches longer in wheelbase and 7 inches longer overall than the 1999-2005 version. Four-door competitors included the Ford Focus, Honda Civic, and Mazda 3.

A 150-horsepower five-cylinder engine went into Value Edition and 2.5 models. The TDI held a 100-horsepower turbodiesel four-cylinder engine. A five-speed manual transmission was standard for the Value Edition, 2.5, and TDI. Optional for the Value Edition and 2.5 was a six-speed automatic with a manual shift gate. The TDI model could get a Sequential Manual Transmission (SMT), which was essentially a manual gearbox with no clutch pedal that could be set to shift like an automatic.

The Value Edition sedan rode on 15-inch wheels; 2.5 and TDI, 16-inch. All Jettas came with antilock four-wheel disc brakes, traction control, front side airbags, head-protecting curtain side airbags, and split folding rear seatbacks.

During the “regular” 2006 season, Volkswagen expanded its redesigned Jetta line, adding a turbocharged gasoline engine and available rear side airbags. Five versions were now offered. New were the 2.0T and GLI, both with a 200-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder and six-speed manual transmission. Optional for the TDI, 2.0T, and GLI was a six-speed Sequential Manual Transmission (SMT). Like the 2.5 and TDI, the 2.0T rode on 16-inch wheels. 17-inch wheels were standard on the GLI and optional for the 2.0T. Xenon headlights were standard on the GLI and optional for the 2.0T. A navigation system was newly available on all models, excluding the Value Edition. Also available were heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, wood trim, leather upholstery, satellite radio, and a sunroof. GLI models had a sport suspension, plus unique interior and exterior styling. A multi-function trip computer was standard. Rear side airbags and 18-inch wheels with performance tires were exclusive GLI options. An antiskid system was optional for the Value Edition and standard on other models.

Yearly Updates

2007 Jetta
Volkswagen offered a limited number of leftover 2006 diesel-engine Jettas in the 2007 model year, in 45 states. A newly available Wolfsburg Edition had the five-cylinder engine, heated front seats, and a sunroof. The Jetta GLI’s firmer sport suspension was lowered by 0.8 inch for 2007.
2008 Jetta
The 2008 Volkswagen Jetta got more power and a revised model lineup. S, SE, and SEL had a 170-hp 2.5-liter 5-cylinder engine, an increase of 20 hp.
2009 Jetta
The 2009 Volkswagen Jetta added a wagon body style and an available 140-hp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbodiesel engine.
2010 Jetta
The 2010 Volkswagen Jetta underwent a slight model re-organization and received freshened interior and exterior styling. New for 2010 was a Limited trim, the SEL wagon was discontinued, and the sporty GLI became the Wolfsburg Edition. Also new for 2010 was the Jetta TDI Cup Street Edition. It included specific exterior styling and interior trim, sport seats, 18-inch wheels, and sport suspension.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

When the current Jetta debuted in mid-2005, the Value Edition and 2.5 used a 150-horsepower five-cylinder engine, while the TDI held a 100-horsepower turbodiesel four-cylinder. A five-speed manual transmission was standard for each of those models. Optional for the Value Edition and 2.5 was a six-speed automatic with a manual shift gate. For 2006, a turbocharged 200-horsepower four-cylinder went into the new 2.0T and GLI, both of which had a six-speed manual transmission. Optional for the TDI, 2.0T, and GLI was a six-speed Sequential Manual Transmission (SMT). For 2008, the 2.5-liter 5-cylinder engine got a 20 hp bump to 170-hp. For 2009, Jetta added a 140-hp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbodiesel engine.

Turbodiesel ohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.9/116
Engine HP 100
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 177
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
6-speed automatic
36/41
35/42
40.1

dohc I5
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.5/151
Engine HP 150-170
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 170
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
6-speed automatic
22/30
22/30
Turbocharged dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/121
Engine HP 200
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 207
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
6-speed automatic
23/32
25/32
Turbodiesel dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 200
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 207
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
6-speed automatic
21/31
22/29

Road Test

Base and 2.5 models offer good power around-town, but weaken when it’s time to pass or merge. Volkswagen’s low-revving five-cylinder needs full throttle for best takeoffs, and feels taxed up long grades. One test 2.5 model accelerated to 60 mph in 9.0 seconds, which falls below midpack for the class. Most around-town and highway travel is stress-free, thanks in large measure to the nicely matched six-speed automatic transmission. A diesel TDI is slow off the mark, but fairly strong for midrange passing. The GLI and 2.0T are satisfyingly quick, especially in the 45-65 mph range, where strength is needed most. A test manual-shift GLI accelerated to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds.

Fuel economy is passable with gasoline engines, and super with the diesel. Test 2.5 models with automatic averaged 19.7 mpg in mostly city driving, 23.0 to 26.2 mpg in mostly highway use. A GLI sedan averaged 18.1 mpg, including gas-eating performance runs. Further up the frugality spectrum, a stick-shift TDI managed 40.1 mpg. Volkswagen recommends regular-grade for the five-cylinder engine, but premium for the turbo.

Ride comfort scores at the top of the class, at least with 15- or 16-inch tires. Minor float occurs over big moguls at highway speed, but otherwise the Jetta is absorbent, quiet, and composed, even on cratered pavement. With its 17-inch tires, the GLI feels jiggly, thumpy–even borderline harsh on all but smooth roads; and 18-inch tires won’t improve that situation.

In steering/handling, too, Jetta ranks as a compact-class standout, cornering with grippy assurance and modest body lean. The TDI sedan feels slightly more nose-heavy, but offers the same responsive steering as gas-engine models. Elsewhere in the lineup, the GLI offsets its lumpy ride with terrific handling. The antiskid system is a laudable safety plus for Jetta’s class, so are the strong antilock four-wheel disc brakes.

Generally a highly refined compact, Jetta sags somewhat because of its five-cylinder engine, which is gruff at idle in rapid acceleration, though it cruises quietly enough. Volkswagen’s diesel engine clatters at idle and throbs during low-speed acceleration. Coarse-surface tire thrum is impressively low with 15- or 16-inch tires, but more prominent with bigger rubber. Some test Jettas have exhibited intrusive wind rush from front pillars and side windows at highway speed.

Dashboards furnish clear gauges and handy, intuitive controls, but the cruise-control stalk can be confused with the turn-signal lever. Some testers have found the blue/purple instrument-panel lighting too soft for best nighttime legibility, too. Jetta’s high-quality interior contains many soft-touch surfaces. If the pricey Package 2 option was installed, that Jetta features rich wood and leather trim.

Adult-size front headroom is available, and only the tallest riders may notice intrusion from the sunroof’s housing. Ultra-long seat tracks help provide NBA-worthy legroom. High-set, supportive seats include manual height adjustment. The GLI’s contoured sport seats snug occupants during spirited cornering, without creating a confining sensation. Drivers also enjoy a standard manual tilt/telescoping steering wheel. Visibility astern is obscured by rear headrests. Rear head and leg space are sufficient for smaller adults, but six-footers will feel cramped. Though the backbench is impressively comfortable, it’s best for two adults rather than three.

Cargo space in sedans is generous, compared to cars of any size, enhanced by a large aperture, nonintrusive trunklid hinges, and 60/40-split folding rear seat. The wagon offers as much cargo space as some larger wagons and even SUVs. Cabin storage is quite good on both body styles.

Ratings

Model Tested: Volkswagen Jetta 2.5 w/auto.

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 4
40%
Fuel Economy - 6
60%
Ride Quality - 7
70%
Steering/Handling - 7
70%
Quietness - 6
60%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Front - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Rear - 4
40%
Cargo Room - 5
50%

Other

Value - 6
60%

Total: 59

Specifications

4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
101.5 179.3 70.1 57.4
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
16.0 14.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.5 37.2 41.2 35.4
4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
101.5 179.3 70.1 57.4
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
66.7 14.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.5 37.2 41.2 35.4
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2006 Volkswagen Jetta 4-door sedan

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Front Passenger Injury - 4
80%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Airbags
Description: The airbag warning light may come on because of high resistance in a connector under the driver and/or passenger seat which must be replaced. (2006)
Air conditioner
Description: The A/C may gradually get warmer while driving due to a bad temperature sensor allowing the evaporator to freeze up. (2005-08)
Engine misfire
Description: Engine may misfire and the check engine light may illuminate due to moisture getting into the coil-over-plug ignition coils unless improved COP units have been installed. (2005-07)
Audio system
Description: The navigation system may develop several faults (no map, inaudible voice, radio locks up, etc.) requiring software upgrade. (2005-08)
Seat
Description: The heated seat(s) may quit working. (2005-08)
Transmission noise
Description: The transmission may make a humming sound when turning the car at low speeds requiring the oil to be replaced with an improved oil. (2006)
Vehicle noise
Description: Noises may come from the rear springs which is eliminated by replacing the galvanized spring plate with a rubber coated plate. 2005-08)
Electrical problem
Description: Rear defroster may not work because of blown 25 amp fuse which should be replaced with a 30 amp fuse. (2006)
None
Description: Noises may come from the rear springs which is eliminated by replacing the galvanized spring plate with a rubber coated plate. 2005-08)
Fuel door
Description: The fuel filler door may not close because the release rod jams and a revised unlock motor rod is available. (2006)
Navigation system
Description: The navigation system may develop several faults (no map, inaudible voice, radio locks up, etc.) requiring software upgrade. (2005-08)

Recall History

2005-2008
Description: Some vehicles may not have a required cap, which disables headlight horizontal aim, and some vehicles will have a cap, which disables headlight vertical aim. This can inhibit proper headlight aim and decrease roadway illumination. Dealers will inspect for the presence of a cap in the socket of the low beam horizontal aiming screw and install one if missing, and inspect for the presence of a cap in the socket of the vertical aiming screw and remove the cap if present.
2006 Jetta sedans and wagons
Description: A brake light switch may malfunction if it was installed incorrectly. The brake lights could become inoperative, or remain on. Dealers will install the newly designed brake light switch free of charge.
2006 Jettas w/2.5-liter gas engines
Description: These vehicles may have a small plastic tab located on the windshield washer fluid reservoir that may chafe against the underhood fuel supply line. If this happens, the chafing has the potential to cause a fuel leak over time. Dealers will inspect and replace affected parts.
2006-2009 models with 2.0-liter engine
Description: A screw on the driveshaft cover plate may not have been manufactured to factory specifications. Some screws may not have been tightened properly during assembly and could loosen over time, causing a knocking sound when the vehicle is in motion. This could cause eventual damage to the gearbox housing and possible oil leak. Dealers will inspect the driveshaft screws and replace the screws free of charge.
2006-2010 Jetta vehicles equipped with 2.5L engines
Description: The Jetta, Jetta Sportwagen, and Rabbit vehicles may have a small plastic tab located on the windshield washer fluid reservoir that may chafe against an underhood fuel supply line. The New Beetle and the New Beetle convertible vehicles may have a fastening clamp on a hydraulic hose of the power steering system that may be located in an improper position which could cause chafing against an underhood fuel supply line. If chafing occurs, there is the potential for a fuel leak to develop. Fuel leakage, in the presence of an ignition source, could result in a fire. Dealers will inspect and if necessary replace the underhood fuel line. Additionally, depending on the vehicle model, dealers will either remove the plastic tab from the windshield washer fluid reservoir, or inspect the position of the fastening clamp and adjust the related fastening clamp into the correct position.
2009 Jetta Sportwagen equipped with 2.5L engines
Description: The Jetta, Jetta Sportwagen, and Rabbit vehicles may have a small plastic tab located on the windshield washer fluid reservoir that may chafe against an underhood fuel supply line. The New Beetle and the New Beetle convertible vehicles may have a fastening clamp on a hydraulic hose of the power steering system that may be located in an improper position which could cause chafing against an underhood fuel supply line. If chafing occurs, there is the potential for a fuel leak to develop. Fuel leakage, in the presence of an ignition source, could result in a fire. Dealers will inspect and if necessary replace the underhood fuel line. Additionally, depending on the vehicle model, dealers will either remove the plastic tab from the windshield washer fluid reservoir, or inspect the position of the fastening clamp and adjust the related fastening clamp into the correct position.
2009-2010 Jetta with 2.0L diesel
Description: Due to resonance between the fuel injection and injector line, cracks could develop and cause a fuel leak.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.