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Volkswagen Jetta TDi sedan 2006 review

Two grades are offered with a choice of three engines including a 2.0-litre turbo diesel and two petrol fours, one a turbo. All are used in other VW (and Audi) passenger cars.

All Jetta engines use direct fuel injection for low emissions and low fuel consumption - including the diesel TDI.

The Jetta range has a Euro4 emissions endorsement, something still a way off in Australian Design Rules.

The test vehicle was a six speed manual TDI but a six speed auto direct shift gearbox is optional.

Why would you opt for the diesel?

Because it will go about 1200km on a tank of fuel and probably last a lot longer than a petrol engine.

On top of that, engine performance is surprisingly strong with potent roll on acceleration from just above idle right through to peak engine revs.

Maximum output is 103kW but there's a hefty 320Nm of torque lurking within and its there from just 1750rpm staying through to about 4000rpm.

That amount of torque bestows Jetta with a gorgeous forward thrust pretty well on demand.

Used to be this amount of grunt was only available from a 4.0-litre petrol engine.

However, it's noisy at start up and at low revs but once up and running, the TDI is just like a petrol engine.

The manual transmission is nearly perfectly geared for the engine's output with closely spaced ratios and a useable sixth cog. There is no need to downchange for faster acceleration at highway speed.

Now, to the subject on everyone's mind - fuel economy.

On one 150km run comprising urban and highway driving, the Jetta TDI recorded an average fuel consumption figure of 4.7-litres/ 100km (60mpg in the old money).

This is the best I have ever recorded in any car including a number of hybrids and some mini-cars.What is most impressive is the Jetta did it without a conscious effort to drive economically.

Do that and it might approach 4.0-litres/ 100km. Other aspects of the Jetta are impressive too, the massive boot with full size spare, indicator repeater lights in the exterior mirrors, Light Emitting Diode (LED) tail lights 16in alloys, Electronic Stability Program (ESP) rain sensing wipers, park assist, premium audio - the list is large.

It's a comfy thing to drive offering sporty ride and handling and accommodation for five. The interior is a little conservative but is good to look at and functional.

Styling follows the Golf front end with a Passat rear treatment _ it looks the business.

Is the Mexico-made Jetta at $37,990 worth the extra $5.000 spend over Golf 2.0 TDI?

There's more in Jetta and it has arguably more prestige value but the Golf's good too - a difficult one to answer.

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Range and Specs

2.0 FSI 2.0L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $3,990 – 10,999 2006 Volkswagen Jetta 2006 2.0 FSI Pricing and Specs
2.0 TDI 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN $3,490 – 7,999 2006 Volkswagen Jetta 2006 2.0 TDI Pricing and Specs
2.0 Turbo FSI 2.0L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $5,999 – 8,990 2006 Volkswagen Jetta 2006 2.0 Turbo FSI Pricing and Specs
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