I purchased a Salsa Red 2007 Jetta Value Edition (now referred to as just 'Jetta' or 'Jetta base') in October of 2006. My first 5K service was today, and i wanted to share my experience so far with this fantastic vehicle.
I originally went browsing the VW dealer for a '06 rabbit, but they were impossible to find in the Houston area (unless i wanted white, which i didn't). I decided, just for kicks, that I would check out the Jettas (even though I had remembered them being out of my price range). After the initial drive of a LOADED out 2006 2.5, which stickered at around 23, i was in love. Unfortunately the 500 dollar a month payment they quoted me was NOT what i was looking for. I almost left, then my salesman pointed me in the direction of the '07 'VE' model. I thought, great, he's gonna push me into this stripped out model, NOT INTERESTED. But, i had new car fever, so i heard him out. I have to say, the difference in options was extremely minimal between the two models, with a price difference of around $4000. My only complaint with the standard options on the base model is the ancient wheel cover design. I opted for a slightly increased payment, and had VW add the standard rims from the 2.5 model. Basically, i got a great car I could actually afford, and all i had to sacrifice was the sunroof and 'leatherette' seats, which, if you live in Houston you'll understand why those two options are pointless....way too humid.
So what's so great about the Jetta? The interior is the same German quality found in much more expensive brands. Lots of soft touch, high grade plastics. The dash layout is great, takes a little readjustment for the red/blue lighting, but it is really cool. The standard aux jack (for mp3 players) is a nice touch, but having it in the glovebox is pretty inconvenient. The only gripe inside the car is the sub-par stereo system. I would personally rather have 6 great sounding speakers than the 10 mediocre ones that are included. But, this is a relatively easy fix (I usually blow the speakers within the first year anyway..). The radio itself is easy to use, with big buttons. The trunk is cavernous....I have a set of golf clubs in it at all times (the gorilla gear mats are VERY useful), AND I can still fit 2 sets if needed. I opted for the 5 speed transmission, and it shifts smoothly, and is a blast to drive with the 2.5 engine! Gas mileage is affected a bit with this 5 cylinder engine, but it's worth it for difference in power. The exterior is a sore spot to die hard VW fans, but personally, I would rather have a subtle design, than a trendy one that looks dated after a while, as is the case with most cars in this price range. I have to say the front end is my favorite design element, resembling the front end treatment of the new Audis, and the rest of the car's lines continue to grow on me as well. The turn signals on the side view mirrors are really a nice touch too. The dual, chromed tipped exhaust looks great, and gives an upscale look to this inexpensive vehicle.