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Used Volkswagen Jetta review: 2009-2011

The Jetta is an appealing sedan but needs caution before buying.
EXPERT RATING
6
Graham Smith road tests and reviews the used Volkswagen Jetta 2009 - 2011.

VW updated its so-called Golf-with-a-boot in 2009 with a raft of changes that not only refreshed the Jetta, but made it a much more appealing car all round. The company could see the growing popularity of mid-sized cars like the Mazda6, Ford Mondeo and Subaru Liberty and wanted in on the action, and the Jetta was the perfect model to make it happen.

NEW

Externally the changes to the updated Jetta were minimal, only the true believers would have noticed the new alloy wheels and the front and rear parking sensors that were added. It was a similar tale inside where the instrument cluster was restyled and trim options changed. The cabin itself was still comfortable and spacious and the seats were still a good compromise between support and comfort.

Of course, the thing that really separated the Jetta from the Golf was the boot, and it was huge, and with the split-fold rear seat it could be expanded even further to make it even more useful. The biggest changes to the 2010 Jetta were under the bonnet where there was the choice of five engines, including three diesels and two petrol units.

All diesels were turbocharged four-cylinder engines and kicked off with the 77 kW unit and maxed out with 125 kW, with respective torque ranging from 250 Nm to a massive 350 Nm. The petrol offerings began with a 1.4-litre engine that was both supercharged and turbocharged and delivered 118 kW and 240 Nm and ended with the twin-turbocharged 2.0-litre hottie that gave 147 kW and 280 Nm.

All were offered with VW's dual-clutch DSG automatic, either six or seven-speed depending on the engine, and some also offered manuals, either five or six-speed, and all were front-wheel drive. The underpinnings of the Jetta were the same as the Golf's and it had the same on-road dynamics as its bootless cousin.

With the wider choice of engines Jetta buyers had plenty of options available to them. The 77 kW diesel offered admirable economy without losing out in driveability, while the 147 kW petrol would surely have satisfied anyone wanting performance.

NOW

It has been well documented that VW has had its troubles in recent times, and it has taken a toll on its reputation. It's unfortunate because overall VW makes good, solid cars, but it's also a reality that anyone thinking of buying a VW needs to be aware of the issues and take them into account.

They mainly relate to the dual-clutch DSG automatic gearbox, and they were significant, but they were made worse by the company's seeming reluctance to react to customer complaints. A voluntary recall affecting all vehicles fitted with the 7-speed DSG gearbox, including the Jetta, in June this year was done only after a public outcry from owners.

A number of owners reported their vehicles stopping without warning, sometimes in traffic, changing gears erratically, and doing other odd things. Anyone shopping for a Jetta should check to make sure that the vehicle they are thinking of buying has been back to the dealer to be checked.

They should also conduct a thorough test drive by putting the DSG gearbox through every imaginable driving scenario, low speed, high speed, rapid acceleration, highway cruising, walking speed, stop-start traffic. If in doubt have it checked by a mechanic experienced in the VW brand.

There was an earlier recalls of cars with the six-speed DSG that related to an incorrect temperature signal to the gearbox computer, which could cause the clutch to shudder and a loss of engine torque. There was also a recall in 2012 to fix a situation where an injection pipe could crack and possibly lead to a fire.

In 2010 VW issued a service alert to owners about the 118 TSI engine after a customer's engine blew up. Owners were asked to take their cars to a dealer to have the knock sensor software altered to prevent the problem occurring. When checking to see that the relevant recalls were carried out it's worth also checking that your car of choice has been serviced regularly as per the recommendations from VW.

VW servicing can be costly, but it's possible to save a few bucks by using one of the many independent service mechanics that specialise in the brand. Not only can you save on the servicing, you can usually save on the cost of any replacement parts you might need when it comes to time to make repairs to your car.

Most mechanics are now smart enough to be using the Internet to buy their parts overseas at much reduced prices.

SMITHY SAYS

Appealing sedan but needs caution before buying.

Volkswagen Jetta - 2009-2011
Price new: $34,190 to $38,990
Engine:  1.6-litre, 4-cyl turbo-diesel, 77 kW/250 Nm; 2.0-litre, 4-cyl turbo-diesel, 103 kW/320 Nm; 1.4-litre, 4-cyl, super/turbo, 118 kW/240 Nm; 2.0-litre, 4-cyl turbo-diesel, 125 kW/350 Nm; 2.0-litre, 4-cyl twin-turbo, 147 kW/280 Nm
Transmission: 6-speed DSG, 7-speed DSG, 6-speed man, 5-speed man, FWD
Economy: 4.9 L/100 km (1.6TD), 6.0 L/100 km (2.0 TD), 6.8 L/100 km (1.4 ST), 8.0 L/100 km (2.0T)
Body: 4-door sedan
Variants: 77 TDI, 103 TDI, 118 TSI, 125 TDI, 147 TSI
Safety: 5-star ANCAP

COMING UP

Do you own a Landrover Discovery 4? If so tell us what you think of it by sending your comments to Graham Smith at grah.smith@bigpond.com or Carsguide, PO Box 4245, Sydney, NSW, 2010.

Pricing

Year Price From Price To
2011 $4,070 $13,530
2010 $3,300 $11,220
2009 $2,420 $10,670

View all Volkswagen Jetta pricing and specifications

Pricing Guides

$7,690
Based on 14 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$6,995
Highest Price
$7,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
103 TDI 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $6,995 – 7,990 2009 Volkswagen Jetta 2009 103 TDI Pricing and Specs
118 TSI 1.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $2,860 – 4,400 2009 Volkswagen Jetta 2009 118 TSI Pricing and Specs
125 TDI Highline 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $7,370 – 10,340 2009 Volkswagen Jetta 2009 125 TDI Highline Pricing and Specs
147 TSI 2.0L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $7,590 – 10,670 2009 Volkswagen Jetta 2009 147 TSI Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
6
Graham Smith
Contributing Journalist

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