2007 Volkswagen City Jetta
2007 Volkswagen City Jetta. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Greg Wilson

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Photo Gallery: 2007 Volkswagen City Jetta

As I reported in my First Drive of the 2007 VW City Golf and City Jetta, the previous generation Volkswagen Jetta (1999-2005) has been resurrected for the 2007 model year as an entry-level sedan in Volkswagen’s Canadian line-up, as has the previous generation Golf hatchback.

Though the technology in the City Jetta and City Golf is at least eight years old, these two cars still represent a good value for price-conscious buyers looking for a brand new, fuel-efficient compact car with a full four-year basic warranty and five-year powertrain warranty.

Starting at $16,700, the City Jetta fills a gap in the VW line-up created when the redesigned Jetta went further upmarket in 2006. The City Jetta’s pricing is comparable or better than other compacts like the Chevrolet Cobalt, Pontiac G5, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Spectra, Mazda3, Mitsubishi Lancer, Nissan Sentra, Saturn Ion, and Toyota Corolla.

Built in Puebla, Mexico, the City Jetta is available only as a four-door sedan (no wagon) with one engine: a 115-hp 2.0-litre SOHC 8-valve four-cylinder. The last generation 2006 Jetta TDI Wagon is also still offered with a 1.9-litre turbo-diesel engine, but for a much higher price of $27,880.

Standard and optional equipment

2007 Volkswagen City Jetta
2007 Volkswagen City Jetta
2007 Volkswagen City Jetta. Click image to enlarge

What do you get for the City Jetta’s base price of $16,700 plus $695 in Freight and Destination charges? Well, quite a lot really: a five-speed manual transmission, four disc brakes with ABS, P195/65R15-inch tires on steel wheels, AM/FM/CD stereo with six speakers, tachometer, variable intermittent wipers, power rack and pinion steering, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, height adjustable driver’s seat, power door locks, alarm, cloth seats with patterned inserts, clock, 12-volt power outlet, and folding split 60/40 rear seatbacks.

Popular options can push the price over $20,000 very easily. A four-speed automatic transmission ($1,150), air conditioning ($1,350), front side airbags ($160) or side curtain airbags plus front side airbags ($410), ESP stability control ($450), and heated front seats and windshield washers ($205) are all worthwhile options that add about $3,500 to the price. There’s also a Convenience Package ($540) with power windows, cruise control, remote unlocking, and heated mirrors; and a Luxury package ($1,600) with alloy wheels, tinted windows and moonroof. With all available options, the total price comes to $23,100 including Freight, still not bad for a brand new compact Volkswagen sedan. Keep in mind that the new Jetta 2.5 starts at $24,975.

Interior impressions

2007 Volkswagen City Jetta
2007 Volkswagen City Jetta
2007 Volkswagen City Jetta
The City Jetta has a “simple, clean interior design.” A small coin tray and 12-volt power point are found just ahead of the shift lever (middle photo); tweeters near the front door handles contribute to a great-sounding stereo. Click image to enlarge

The City Jetta’s simple, clean interior design and quality materials make a good first impression. Of particular note are the handsome gauges with blue backlighting, quality seat fabrics, chromed shift gate, chrome door handles, and simple dash controls.

However, the position of the radio and heater low on the centre instrument panel looks a bit odd, especially with that blank plastic insert above them covering up what could be a useful storage bin for CDs. As well, I found the small radio controls kind of fiddly. The single-CD player is MP3/WMA compatible, and with six standard speakers including those little tweeters next to the door handles, the sound quality of the stereo is quite good.

Just ahead of the shift lever is a sliding cover with a small coin tray and 12-volt powerpoint where the ashtray used to be. A small cell phone could be put there for recharging, but nothing bigger.

My car had the optional front seat heaters with five temperature choices; I found this very comforting on a cold winter’s day. I also liked the easy-to-grip inside door handles – you’d be surprised at how many vehicles have door handles inconveniently positioned for closing the door. However, I didn’t like the hard-to-reach round dial adjuster on the side of the seat for reclining.

2007 Volkswagen City Jetta
2007 Volkswagen City Jetta
Rear-seat legroom is tight for adults (top); a round dial in the headliner controls the optional moonroof (bottom). Click image to enlarge

Rear seat legroom is tight for adults, and some adults will find their knees butting up against the front seatback and their heads brushing the ceiling. The City Jetta would make a good car for parents with young children who don’t need that much rear legroom.

Interior storage is minimal: there are large door pockets and a glovebox, but no storage slot in the dash or armrest/storage between the front seats.

My car had the optional glass moonroof with a sliding sunshade, and tilt/slide function. It features a round dial for opening and closing the glass roof. You simply turn the dial to the position you want, and let it go: you don’t have to hold it while the moonroof opens.

2007 Volkswagen City Jetta
2007 Volkswagen City Jetta
2007 Volkswagen City Jetta. Click image to enlarge

The lockable 60/40 folding seatbacks are standard, but they require a three-step process to fold down. First, the split seat cushion is lifted up from the rear against the front seatbacks. Then the rear head restraints are removed, and the folding seatback can be folded down. A Jetta wagon I drove a couple of years ago had slots in the rear seat cushions to store the head restraints but the City Jetta didn’t. So I stored them in the netted storage area on the right side of the trunk. The roomy trunk is lined with a durable carpet liner and has a low liftover height.

One unusual complaint: the sweet, sickening and possibly poisonous smell of windshield washer fluid invades the cabin every time you use it. I was forced to open the windows each time to gasp for fresh air.

Driving impressions

2007 Volkswagen City Jetta
2007 Volkswagen City Jetta. Click image to enlarge

From the driver’s seat, visibility is good in all directions – even the three rear head restraints don’t seem to restrict rear-view vision. The standard manual height-adjustable driver’s seat and tilt/telescoping steering wheel make it possible to find an ideal driving position. The driver’s seat has good support even though there’s no lumbar adjustment, and there’s a large ‘dead pedal’ to the left of the brake pedal to rest your foot while driving.

After starting the 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, it settles into a sort of a low rattle akin to a diesel; and while idling at a stoplight, the steering wheel vibrates slightly. When starting out, throttle response is not sensitive, but acceleration is brisk once you put your foot down. The optional four-speed automatic shifts lazily between gears, and when required to downshift for highway passing, it responds with smooth but noticeable downshifts as the SOHC two-valve per cylinder engine emits a growly drone that quickly quietens down to a barely noticeable hum at cruising speeds. Engine speed at 100 km/h in fourth gear is 2800 rpm, and the cabin is fairly quiet.

2007 Volkswagen City Jetta
2007 Volkswagen City Jetta. Click image to enlarge

If you’re adventurous, you can even downshift the automatic transmission manually into third or second gear by pushing the release button and tugging back on the shift lever. It’s not as nifty as the Tiptronic manual shifter in other Volkswagens, but it does offer some manual shifting capability. By the way, a digital display between the two gauges shows what gear you’re in, but unlike later VW transmissions, it won’t display the actual gear when you’re in ‘Drive’.

The 2.0-litre engine develops maximum torque relatively early (122 lb-ft @ 2600 rpm) which explains why this engine feels more responsive than its 115 horsepower suggests. Most of its competitors have more horsepower, but around town, the torquey City Jetta can feel just as responsive. Still, this engine is nowhere near as powerful as the turbocharged 2.0-litre four in the new Jetta. The City Jetta’s performance could be described as ‘adequate’.

Fuel economy is very good: Energuide ratings are City: 9.8 L/100 km (28 mpg Imp), and Highway 7.0 L/100 km (40 mpg Imp), and it uses Regular gas.

2007 Volkswagen City Jetta
2007 Volkswagen City Jetta. Click image to enlarge

Handling is nimble and the turning circle is tight, making the City Jetta very manoeuvrable in the city, but the suspension is softer than you might expect. The bonus is a comfortable, well-damped ride on the highway and improved isolation from bumps and road construction pavement breaks. The ride is assisted by the standard 195/65R15-inch all-season radials which offer good grip in wet and dry conditions. Optional Electronic Stability Control is a bonus on an inexpensive car like this: this feature can automatically help correct loss of control on slippery roads.

Though four disc brakes with ABS are standard, I found the pedal feel kind of mushy. But this is probably because I had just stepped out of a 2007 Jetta GLI the week before which had phenomenal brakes.


2007 Volkswagen City Jetta
2007 Volkswagen City Jetta. Click image to enlarge

In government crash tests, the last generation Jetta performed well. When equipped with side airbags, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded the Jetta five stars for driver and front passenger in 35-mph frontal crash tests, and four stars for the front and rear passengers in side impact crash tests.

In 40-mph frontal offset crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the 1999-2005 Jetta sedan received a “Good” rating.

The 2007 City Jetta includes standard front airbags, five seatbelts, and five height-adjustable head restraints, but side airbags and curtain airbags are optional.


2007 Volkswagen City Jetta
2007 Volkswagen City Jetta
2007 Volkswagen City Jetta. Click image to enlarge

As a used vehicle, Consumer Reports rates the 1999-2005 Jetta’s reliability as “sub par”, and our own used car reviewer Chris Chase identified certain electrical issues with this generation of Jetta. But VW Canada maintains many of these issues have been addressed, and with a comprehensive four-year warranty and five-year powertrain warranty, potential problems shouldn’t cost the owner any money.


Though dated, the resurrected Volkswagen City Jetta is still a handsome, economical, and comfortable compact sedan with excellent crash safety ratings. Tight rear legroom is its biggest drawback.



Base price City Jetta $16,700
Type 4-door, 5-passenger compact sedan
Layout Transverse front engine, front-wheel-drive
Engine 2.0-litre I4, SOHC, 8 valves
Horsepower 115 @ 5200 rpm
Torque 2.5 122 @ 2600 rpm
Transmission 5-speed manual (4-speed auto optional)
Tires P195/65R15 all-season
Curb weight (manual/automatic transmission) 1,313 kg (2,894 lbs)/1,336 kg (2,945 lbs)
Wheelbase 2,513 mm (98.9 in.)
Length 4,376 mm (172.2 in.)
Width 1,735 mm (68.3 in.)
Height 1,446 mm (56.9 in.)
Cargo capacity 400 litres (14.1 cu.ft.)
Fuel consumption City: 9.8 L/100 km (28 mpg Imp); Hwy: 7.0 L/100 km (40 mpg Imp)
Fuel type Regular
Warranty 4 yrs/ 80,000 km
Powertrain warranty 5 yrs/100,000 km
Side airbags Optional
Curtain airbags Optional
Anti-lock brakes Standard
Traction control Optional
stability control Optional
Assembly location Puebla, Mexico

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Crash test results

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