“What’s with this comparison?” you might wonder. Well, my family actually owns a 2006 Volkswagen Jetta. Frans and I bought it new, soon after we moved back to the States from the Netherlands. It’s been a wonderful car and it’s still going strong. In fact, it’s in such good condition that people are often surprised that it’s eight years old already. So how does our faithful Jetta compare with the latest and greatest model?
One-week vehicle loan was provided for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
Comparing the 2014 Volkswagen Jetta and the 2006 Volkswagen Jetta
The interior of the cars were pretty much the same. Some of the knobs and buttons were switched to plastic, which was a nice move because the knobs on our sound system are cracked and the paint on the buttons for our electric windows is wearing off. The 2014 Jetta has a two-toned leatherette interior but whether that’s an improvement or just different is up to personal taste.
The feel of the seats and the dimensions in the front and back seemed pretty similar. That’s a good thing as our Jetta is good hip, head, and leg room all-around. One of the things we’re most proud of in our car is the huge trunk. What’s crazy is that the 2014 actually has more room in it. How in the world is it possible when it looks so deceivingly average from the outside?!
Features that weren’t available for back in the day came standard on this SEL model with an MSRP of $25,590. The heated front seats, Bluetooth connectivity, keyless start (which is in the middle console area), and backup camera were definitely welcome.
The only issue that seemed kind of “off” was the touchscreen navigation system. The screen was so itty-bitty little that it didn’t really make sense being there. Plus, it was low resolution so it was practically impossible to make out what the map was trying to show. It would have been better off as a digital screen for the stereo only if it was going to be that size. I’d love to see this improved in future models.
Excellent MPG but Numb Steering
Our 2006 Volkswagen Jetta has heavy steering and a powerful 2.5L engine (it can handle San Francisco hills with ease). So, you really feel in control as you drive. The 2014 VW Jetta has about almost as much power but uses a lot less gas. The 1.8L engine is turbo-charged so less gas is needed to push the engine to perform. I can’t tell you the exact difference in MPG (miles per gallon) because the way of measuring fuel economy has changed. I can tell you that the 2014 Jetta gets an average of 29 MPG and it has a 7 out of 10 smog rating – both stellar numbers!
The handling is lacking though. Usually, I can tell if the steering is heavy, light, or just right in the matter of minutes. With the 2014, I just can’t tell at all. In the motoring world, the steering could be described as “numb.” According to one journalist I spoke with (I forgot her name and didn’t get a business card), it come from the idea of going back and forth, pressing the acceleration and brake pedals, but can’t don’t feel anything in your leg. That’s what it’s like. You move the steering wheel and the car turns, but it feels like you haven’t even touched it. It’s so weird to experience and I find it extremely difficult to describe the sensation.
Putting the cars side by side to see how they compare on the outside seemed like a great idea. That is, until, we actually did it . . .
On the outside, our 2006 model (the white one) still wins in the “looks” department. It’s so sad that the designers changed the newer body style so that it actually looks older than its predecessor. The 2014 model just has no character with boxy lines and a boring nose and trunk.
Buying the 2014 Volkswagen Jetta
The 2014 Volkswagen Jetta is still a great car. The gas mileage is better and the sticker price is less than the 2006 Volkswagen Jetta we have. From experience, we know how dependable the Jetta is and how low maintenance it is. We would buy another Volkswagen in a heartbeat but, until they modernize the style, we’ll likely lean toward other models.