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By Chris Chase; photos by Greg Wilson
The fifth-generation Volkswagen Jetta – known among enthusiasts as the MKV (say “Mark five”) – was a bit of a throwback when it was introduced in 2005 as a 2006 model, being closer in proportion to the second- and third-generation models, with its long hood, high decklid and, inside, a huge trunk.
Critics, though, thought it looked too much like a Corolla, which, admittedly, it did.
Regardless, it was still a Volkswagen, which meant it was a nicely-built car praised primarily for a driving feel and interior quality a step above economy cars like the Corolla; the Jetta continued to be positioned upmarket from other compacts, and priced higher too.
The 2006 Jetta‘s base engine was a 2.5-litre five-cylinder making 150 horsepower and 170 lb.-ft. of torque. Transmission choices in the then-new Jetta were a five-speed manual and an optional six-speed automatic.
A 1.9-litre diesel engine, good for 100 horsepower and 177 lb.-ft., was carried over from the 2005 model; it was available with the same transmission options as the five-cylinder.
The diesel disappeared in 2007, a victim of tighter exhaust emissions standards, but was replaced in 2008 by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder making a more impressive 140 horsepower and 236 lb.-ft. of torque.
2006 Volkswagen Jetta TDI (top); 2009 Volkswagen Jetta Wagon 2.5L. Click image to enlarge
The 2007 model did get a second gasoline engine option, a 2.0-litre turbo motor (2.0T) shared with Audi and the Rabbit GTI. It made 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque and was paired with a six-speed manual or VW/Audi Group’s DSG (Direct Shift Gearbox) dual-clutch automatic.
In 2008, the five-cylinder engine got a boost in power to 170 hp/177 lb-ft. The 2009 line-up included a new wagon variant and the new 2.0-litre diesel engine; the DSG transmission was now the optional choice with the diesel (as well as with the 2.0T gas engine), while the five-cylinder still got the regular automatic as its option.
In 2010, the Jetta wagon was dropped and replaced by a wagon version of the all-new Golf, and the turbocharged GLI trim was dropped; the 2.0T engine was still available, though, in either Highline or Wolfsburg Edition trims.
Given the range of engines available in the Jetta, fuel consumption figures vary fairly significantly depending on which engine/transmission combination you choose.
2009 Volkswagen Jetta Wagon 2.5L. Click image to enlarge
In older versions, the 2.5-litre engine was rated at 10.7/7.2 L/100 km (all ratings listed as city/highway) with manual transmission, and those figures changed little when tested with the automatic. The addition of the DSG as the automatic option in 2010 made for a more efficient car, with ratings of 9.3/6.9 L/100 km.
2006 diesel Jettas were rated 6.6/5.2 L/100 km with the manual, and again, choosing the automatic didn’t change much. The new TDI diesel introduced in 2009 was rated 6.8/4.8 L/100 km with the manual.
The 2.0T motor earned ratings of 10/6.9 L/100 km in the Jetta, with a manual transmission, while the DSG improved city consumption to 9.4. By 2010, the turbocharged motor was rated at 8.7/6.3 L/100 km.