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Sporty Sophistication
2006 Volkswagen Jetta 2.0T
Road Test And Photography By

2006 Volkswagen Jetta 2.0T Road Test
The 2.0T is the new darling of VW engines. Click on images for larger views.

— VOLKSWATCH ROAD TEST —
2006 VOLKSWAGEN JETTA 2.0T

Highs: Ever-so-sweet engine,
nimble handling, fun and practical

Lows: Long clutch travel


The Jetta 2.0T marries the best of all worlds — a delightful family sedan with space, luxury, attention to detail, but most of all sportiness.

This is one of those rare cars that satisfies both the practical side and the side that hankers for speed and tight handling.

Drop off the kids, their friends and their soccer equipment (the cavernous Jetta can handle it all) and take the sweeping back roads home. The Jetta 2.0T's nimble athleticism impresses, especially with the optional 17-inch rubber and, in Canada, the sport suspension.

Americans must step up to the GLI (
Road Test) for the sport suspension — while Canadians get the option on the 2.0T as they patiently wait for their own GLI (likely arriving sometime in 2006).

Snick, snick, snick, snick, snick, snick — rowing the transmission's gears is fun times six. The clutch travel is a bit long but doesn't detract from the joy. An auto dual-clutch transmission is optional.

Power comes on immediately with no hint of nasty turbo lag, tackling zero-to-60 in 6.6 seconds. There's more power than traction with ASR kicking in when the tires get loose. Even while cruising in sixth at 80 MPH the 2.0T has strong muscle at the tap of the pedal. And despite this steady speed we realized excellent fuel economy of 33 MPG. City mileage was also excellent at 26 MPG.

2006 Volkswagen Jetta 2.0T Road Test
The 2.0T's multi-spoke wheels do a fine job of dressing up the Jetta.

— VEHICLE VITALS —
2006 VOLKSWAGEN JETTA 2.0T

Vehicle Type Compact,
front-wheel-drive
Price Range* $24,205 to $31,840 (US),
$28,315 to $36,015 (CDN)

Engine I4, 2.0-liter, 16-valve, turbocharged
Horsepower 200 at 5,500 to 6,000 RPM
Torque 207 pound-feet at
1,800 to 4,700 RPM
Curb Weight 3,259 pounds
Weight Per Horsepower 16.3 pounds
Transmissions Six-speed manual


Six-speed automatic
with manumatic shifting
0-to-60 MPH 6.6 seconds
EPA Mileage 24 MPG (city),
32 MPG (highway)
VolksWatch
Mileage
26 MPG (city),
33 MPG (highway)
*Prices are for the model trim tested and include VW's destination fee.



Luxury abounds. The interior is finely crafted with soft-touch plastics, flush buttons and available rich leather that all reward the driver with tactile sensations every time.

Looking at the standard and optional features, it becomes obvious the 2.0T is the Jetta's luxury line. However, the lists are different depending on whether you live in the USA or Canada.

For both countries the 2.0T comes loaded with air conditioning, cruise control, a powerful 10-speaker stereo, all-disc brakes with ABS, traction and stability controls, and 16-inch alloy wheels. Additional standard fare in the US includes a power sunroof and satellite radio with choice of provider.

Options in both countries are 17-inch alloys, leather seats and bi-xenon headlights. Exclusive options to the US are a navigation system, wood trim, dual-zone climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, rain-sensor wipers, electronic parking assistance and tire-pressure monitor. The one Canada-only option is the sport suspension.

Some of the high-end features we appreciated on our test car include bi-xenon headlights, a dash air diffuser, and auto up and down on all four windows. The Jetta even has parking lights like our Phaeton tester (when parking on the street, leave the turn-
signal stalk in position to partially illuminate that side's front and rear lights). A nifty European carry-over.

Aside from the requisite 2.0T trunk badge, unique multi-spoke alloy wheels identify this as a special
Jetta. Sporty and stylish, the wheels do a fine job of dressing up the car.

How does the Jetta 2.0T stack up against the competition? In one word: better. Better than the base Jetta 2.5, for the engine alone.

Comparably equipped, the Honda Accord V6 with 244 horsepower and a very slick six-speed manual is in the ballpark at $27,850 US. The Accord has seven cubic feet more passenger space, two cubic feet less trunk space, gets slightly lower mileage, but runs on cheaper regular fuel not premium like the 2.0T. But don't look for sporty with the Accord — it's not there.

A nearly identical Audi A3 (same engine, tranny and chassis but with a hatch) with nearly all options tops out around $32,000 US, also in the 2.0T's ballpark.

But, then again, we had a hard time coming up with even these two competitors. Aside from the GLI, which finds a close twin in the Acura TSX, the new Jettas are rather peerless — a unique combination of sport, utility and authentic European road manners.

Also see:
Jetta Photos

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