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Jetta is a betta Bora as VW tries to muscle in on mid-sized Japanese sedans

11 Feb 2006

VOLKSWAGEN is taking on three interesting mid-sized sedans – Mazda6, Liberty and Accord Euro – with its new Jetta. Spanning the $30,000 range and spun off the ubiquitous Golf V platform, VW hopes the Bora replacement’s high equipment levels, unique model choices (a diesel’s included) and freshness will overcome smaller dimensions and an unproven track record. It’s a good deal better than the middling Bora, and the Golf connection equals high dynamics and refinement, but does the Jetta have the elusive ‘X’ factor that all three of its Japanese foes have in spades?
Model release date: 1 February 2006 to 1 November 2009

Previous model

Volkswagen 1J Bora

Released: December 1999
Ended: September 2005
Family Tree: Jetta

THAT VW sold only 306 Boras in 2005 shows just how forgettable this US-focussed Golf IV sedan was compared to its exciting Asian rivals. Dreary dynamics, laughably high prices and poor marketing masked pleasant styling and a nice cabin. But an 85kW/170Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine lacked the power or grace to justify the lofty positioning. More interesting were the 2.3 V5s (110kW/205Nm until ’01’s 125kW/220Nm upgrade – with a five-speed auto – arrived), along with a 150kW/270Nm 2.8 V6 4Motion mated to a six-speed manual-only gearbox. At least the Bora wasn’t wilfully dumpy like its ungainly ’95-’97 Golf III-derived Vento predecessor.

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