Staff Inspection
Each staffer had a turn in our new Jetta 2.0T. Here's what a few had to say:

Six months ago, VW was kind enough to send a new Jetta our way. We were horrified when our resident intern mistook a precision machine from Germany for a base Corolla. Its golden-beige color was most likely the culprit, but there still seemed to be an unsettling Japanese flavor to the new Jetta.

The car on these pages bears little resemblance to that vehicle thanks to the smart styling of Volkswagen's factory accessories. Moreover, it drives like a genuine sport sedan and seems to relish aggressive treatment. Despite its extremely quiet demeanor, this car has some sizable heuvos. It's all too easy to get the front tires spinning and attract unwanted attention. The Jetta feels very solid and well-insulated and high-speed cruising is rewarded with amazing smoothness. The torque-laden turbocharged engine is exceptionally responsive, something you'd expect from a much larger motor.

I love the shifter's feel. It's very precise and well weighted. Although the tri-spoke steering wheel and its integrated control buttons look and feel great, I'd love to see the unit from the new GLI in its place. I'd also like to see the shocks a bit firmer. Although the Jetta has a very smooth ride, there's too much movement in the chassis. It never really upsets the car, it just doesn't feel as sporty as it could.

But hands down, this is the best Jetta ever. The car has matured but stays true to its athletic roots. Well done, VW. —Les Bidrawn

Even though its exterior styling has been described as overly mainstream, I have to admit our new jet-black long-term Jetta 2.0T looks pretty damn good trimmed in VW's factory body kit and optional 17-inch alloy wheels. It's all part of the company's catalog of genuine accessories of which our car arrived aptly equipped.

The styling kit ($2,999) was among the most important. In addition to the alloy wheels and performance rubber, the package includes front, side and rear skirts, a rear deck spoiler and silver taillights. We like it. We like it a lot.

Aside from its sleeker and more aggressive image, the car drives like a dream. We opted for the six-speed manual, which coupled with its 200-horse engine is geared to excite. It's no secret we at ec adore the optional DSG transmission, but we were all happily pleased with the manual and feel it's VW's best effort yet.

This said, it's likely the car will be a popular choice among the staff. And you can bet we'll be driving its pants off. —Robert Hallstrom.

I drove my first Jetta back in '83. It was a faded red Slick50(r) eatin' piece of shit that my buddy nabbed from his mom. It was surf transportation and it had a Blaupunkt. Sweet. Later I began detailing cars and drove most all of the early Jettas, and during my stay here at european car I've had seat time in most models from the last seven years. They all had one thing in common: boring. I could go on about my dislikes but I won't. All those old Jettas combined couldn't hold our '06 Jetta's jock strap. When I was tossed the keys to our new long termer I'll admit I was thinking, "Well, it'll get me home and back." But when I showed up Monday morning, Editor Bidrawn just cocked an eyebrow and said, "Not what you were expecting, was it?"

Damn it! I had a blast in a car I wanted to hate. VW did a terrific job putting some serious sport fun into a car that had more the reputation of a generic people mover. I do admit the new styling took a while to grow on me, but the performance had me from the get-go. Gone is the sloppy shifter, gone are the mushy brakes, and off the line this puppy gets up and boogies. And who wouldn't like black on black with a pinch of shiny bits tucked into all the right spots ? There's even a cupholder in the door for chrissakes! Yeah, I'm a Jetta fan, and if anyone gives me any of that "Chick Car" or "Jetta Girl" crap I'll race for pinks. —Markas Platt

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