"Have to disagree with the editor"4.0 starson by pikers88
Pros: Fit and finish, tourque, standard features, price
Cons: MPG not that great, repair costs, made in mexico
Summary: Ok, let me start off by saying I actually own the Rabbit (hatchback brother of the Jetta) but I do have friends/family with the Jetta and I've driven every model (GLI, TDI, and the 2.5). That being said, I really have to disagree with the editor on his review.
The Jetta/Rabbit isn't for everyone, but it is worth consideration if you are looking at a sub $20k car. Yes, the car may have some odd features, but nothing beats a Jetta or Rabbit in the sub $20k price range. Go to VW and check out what comes standard on the Jetta/Rabbit...it's insane. I would list all of the base features here, but it would take me all day. Good luck finding a Japanese car with all of that stuff for under $20k, it doesn't happen. When I was looking for a new car I had it down to the Mazda3 and the Rabbit. I really liked both cars but the VW was cheaper, came with WAY more stuff, had a better warranty, and the fit and finish was in a different class (you feel like you are in an Audi).
My big thing with this car is safety. My little two door Rabbit has 8 airbags (yes 8, that's not a typo) ABS, electronic brake force distribution, and traction control standard. Once you get into this car you feel SAFE...it's like a tank. My gf's sister was in a horrific accident in a Passat and walked away from the crash unharmed. VW's are freaking TANKS.
The Jetta's real downfall is that it's made in Mexico. I have nothing against Mexico (great place to vacation) but that wouldn't be the first country on my list of places to have my car built. If you are really concerned with this, get a Rabbit. Rabbits are made in Wolfsburg which means quality SHOULD be better.
My only other "beef" is engine options. I wish there were a few engine options (i.e. diesel, turbo, 4 cylinder, etc.). There should be a blue-tech option in a few years and you can get the GLI with a 2.0T, but I like stuff a la cart. The 2.5 has a ton of torque which makes for a nice ride, but it isn't the most technologically advanced engine in the world. MPG is "ok" (I'm averaging 26mpg of 60/40 mixed) but I think it could be much better if they took a little more time to tune this beast up.
Now to address the editorâ€™s insane reviewâ€¦
Ok, I understand this is a tech site, but you are critiquing the climate controls on a sub $20k car...seriously? I can see your argument with the temperatures written on the knob, but the vent setting knob makes total sense. You need to be able to have a combo of the 4 settings. (Defrost and vent on feet, Vent above and below, etc.) If there were just the 4 settings the car would be awful.
Another thing that he was WAY off on was the price. You can get into a Jetta or a Rabbit for around $15-16k. Base does not start at $20k; you can get into a loaded up Wolfsburg edition Jetta for under $20k.
I really do enjoy the Car Tech reviews; I just hope people arenâ€™t totally dismissing cars based upon reviews on this website. These are TECH reviews, not compete car reviews. Check out Edmunds.com or MSN Auto Reviews if you want a site that will give you a good 360* review of a vehicle.