Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.
The Fifth Generation
2005 Volkswagen Jetta 2.5
By Alain Gayot

In short: A compact sedan with room for improvement.

When we first saw the new Jetta at the Los Angeles Auto Show, we wanted to like it a lot. But after our test drive, we were somewhat disappointed. The design and lines are outstanding, and the car definitely looks and feels grown up. But the look of the dash and the other interior design features is where we started to have second thoughts. And when we drove it, it got even worse.

Once again, the overall design is great, and there is plenty of room inside for five. Even the trunk is spacious, which is practical. But it lacks something sexy, and getting it going was so painful at times, it almost felt as if we were driving a diesel. Our blue graphite tester looked pretty cool, but the gray leatherette interior could turn the mood the same color.

There is a brand new in-line 5-cylinder engine that does not get a chance to express itself fully. For general driving in the city or on the highway, if you are not looking for performance, there is nothing wrong with the Jetta. In fact, compared to earlier generations, it will give you the feeling of being in a larger luxury sedan.

Let’s hope for VW that there are drivers out there for the Jetta’s fifth generation. If not, wait for the next one, or go for the turbocharged GLI with close to 200 horsepower. But one last attractive point is the base model price: $20,000.

Warranty/Service: Volkswagen New Vehicle Limited Warranty 4 Years/50,000 miles; Powertrain Limited Warranty 5 years/60,000 miles; Limited Warranty Against Corrosion Perforation 12 years/Unlimited Mileage; 24-Hour Roadside Assistance 4 years/50,000 miles.

Price as tested: $24,040

Technical Specifications

Performance Data

Engine: 2.5 liter, 150 horsepower, in-line 5 cylinder

Transmission: 6-speed Triptonic (R) Automatic

Safety: Front, driver and passenger airbags. Front, driver and passenger side airbags. Inflatable side curtain.

Top Speed: Circa 120 mph

Acceleration: 0-60 mph
9.1 sec.

Braking: 60-0 in 128 ft., Anti-Lock Braking System, Anti-Slip Regulation, Electronic Differential Lock

Fuel Economy: 22 city,
30 highway

Handling: Independent strut front suspension, Multilink independent rear suspension

Check out other Volkswagen models
See all of our Automobile Reviews
Visit the Volkswagen website

Photography: Walter Mladina

(Updated: 07/29/08 HC)

The kinds of movies made for foodies, including classics such as Like Water for Chocolate and newer releases like Chef and Ratatouille.

We taste-tested several brands to help you find the best kombuchas on the market and the results are delicious. Bottoms up!