For a buying checklist and guide for the 2009 Jetta sedan, see 1000q:
2009-2010 Jetta TDI new owner and buyer's checklist. For the
sportwagen, see 1000q:
sportwagen buying guide.
For the 2010 Golf TDI, see 1000q: Golf TDI buying checklist and FAQ. The Golf and Jetta are now different.
Interested in the 2010 Audi A3 TDI? See 1000q: 2010 Audi A3 TDI reviews and buying checklist
For exclusive specs and information on the new style 2011 VW Jetta sedan, 1000q: new Jetta TDI buying guide
Summary of differences:
All 2009 Jetta use a 5th generation (mk5/mkv/A5/PQ35) body and interior. The 2010 Jetta sedan will continue to use a 5th generation body with some minor cosmetic and electronic updates. The 2010-11 Jetta/Golf station wagon gets electronic and cosmetic updates to look like the 6th gen Golf but it does not use a full 6th gen chassis. The 2010 Golf uses the full 6th gen body, exterior, and interior. The 2011 VW Jetta sedan is all new.
All Jetta sedan, Golf, and wagons got mk6 electronics for 2010. The visible differences are the instrument cluster, steering wheel, and radio. Although VW calls the 2010 Jetta/Golf wagon a mk6 6th generation car, it's really half 5th gen and half 6th gen. Other than the electronics, the main differences are the front bumpers/fenders/headlights. Most of the functional non-cosmetic and non-electronic changes on the wagon for 2010 are also on the 2010 sedan which VW still calls a mk5. Many parts are interchangeable between mk5 Jetta/Golf and mk6 Golf.
These differences are because of the rolling transition from 5th to 6th generation and because the Jetta station wagon is very popular in Europe but called the Golf variant there. VW is updating only the look of the wagon (without updating the underlying body) to keep all models called Golf looking the same. The model name "Golf Wagon" will replace "Jetta sportwagen" in Canada. Therefore, the station wagon will be called Golf wagon/variant everywhere except the US, where it will continue to be called the Jetta sportwagen.
The 6th generation PQ35 platform is a refinement of the 5th generation platform. The Jetta sedan will transition to an all new 6th gen body and a new platform most likely for the 2011 model year. Since the Jetta wagon is known in Europe/Canada as the Golf wagon/variant, it's not known if future wagons will be built on the Golf or Jetta platform. Either way, the wagon will probably get a major overhaul in 2012 at the earliest.
Reason for the change
The mk5 cars were too expensive to manufacture. VW equipped the mk5 cars upmarket from earlier generation VW so the cost followed. Small expensive cars sell well in Europe but not in the US. Therefore, the mk5 cars had rolling changes to reduce the cost by removing standard equipment from base TDI such as rain sensing wipers, climatronic auto climate control, side mirror puddle lights, homelink, etc. The mk6 Jetta was further decontented although the price went down as well. The mk6 Golf body is less expensive to build yet has an even higher quality feel and greater refinement. This was done by streamlining the manufacturing process and simplifying electronics and assembly modules. The number of pieces and complexity of assembly was reduced and more laser welding process was used. Reviews have stated that the stiffer chassis has resulted in better handling/comfort, everything else being equal.
2013 mk7 Golf EDIT: the mk7 Golf has since been revealed. See the mk7 TDI forum for more details.
VW overhauled the Golf for model year 2013 as the mk7 Golf. The car is lighter and very slightly larger. It should be on sale in North America for model year 2014-2015 during calendar year 2014. There was a preview of the mk7 Golf in the below video of the VW Potsdam Design Center at 4:36. In any case, if you need a car now I wouldn't hold your breath because by the time the Golf 7 is on sale they'll be planning the Golf 8.
Note about the changed EPA fuel ratings
Tthe EPA revised the fuel economy rating from 29/40 for DSG and 30/41 manual in 2009 to 30/42 for DSG and 30/41 for manual (for all 2010 TDI). There was a very small change in the manual transmission gearing and the DSG programming for 2010 to increase fuel economy. The 2 door Golf manual is rated the same as a Jetta w/DSG transmission but can weigh up to 200 lbs less so your mileage may vary! Below are the gear ratio differences between the 2009 and 2010s highlighted in gray. The transmissions use final drive 1 for gear 1, 2, 3, 4, and the other for gears 5, 6, and reverse. This is why 4th and 5th manual transmission gears have the same (or almost) ratio. If you want to calculate rpm in any given gear, see 1000q: tire wheel gearing calculator.
|gear||2009 manual||2009 DSG||2010 manual||2010DSG|
Price increases for 2010
Please refer to 1000q: VW Jetta TDI buying checklist and 1000q: 2010 Golf TDI buying checklist for current pricing. Since all Jetta in the US now get standard MFSW and the new touchscreen RCD 510 in dash CD changer stereo, I think the small price increase was worth it.
What they kept from mk5 rabbit (Golf)
Still uses independent rear suspension (+ revised suspension tuning).
RNS-510 touchscreen navigation system can work in both mk5 and mk6 bodies. It might be possible to retrofit the older non touchscreen MFD2 navigation but the RNS 510 is a much better unit.
Because it's the same engine, you must still use an engine oil that meets the VW 507.00 oil spec for warranty coverage and long exhaust filter life.
Automatic transmissions are still the 6 speed wet clutch transverse DSG. For video explanations and reviews of the DSG, see 1000q: VW DSG FAQ
The same basic safety equipment such as front, side, curtain, ABS, stability+yaw control, and optional rear lower side airbags are carried over from the 2009 Jetta and Rabbit. These cars got 2 5 star NHTSA ratings for side impact protection. They were also Institute for highway safety IIHS top picks for 2009. The Prius has never been a top safety pick by the IIHS and gets only 1 5 star NHTSA rating for side impact. *ESP stability control optional in Canada on Golf hatch/standard on wagon, standard on all VW in the USA. Make sure your insurance company knows because these could lower your insurance premiums.
What they changed on the mk6
Uses the basic PQ35 body's frame design but with chassis improvements - more laser welding, chassis stiffening, and revised suspension. Those who have driven both cars say the new car is more solid yet rides better.
All new body panels except the roof - the new car is dimensionally similar but it's styled quite differently.
Xenon HID headlights optional on the Golf TDI in the USA, not optional on earlier TDI or Canadian Golf TDI.
Side view mirrors changed to reduce wind noise.
10% thicker glass, new windshield seals and dampening layer, new door seals, additional soundproofing in the A-pillar and firewall, and additional engine soundproofing all make the car quieter.
Combined with the common rail engine, the Golf TDI is 20% quieter than the old pumpe duse Golf TDI (not available in US).
Interior is very similar - main differences are radio, climate control, minor interior trim, instrument gauges, and steering wheel, gallery of differences is below.
The addition of WOKS: whiplash optimized head restraint system. Euro cars get knee airbags, this will not be on North American cars.
Instrument gauges white instead of blue/red.
Minor trim differences, shown in gallery below and page 2. All Golf TDI in the USA will have black cloth seats only, all Jetta TDI will still have leatherette vinyl and choice of interior colors.
Optional Dynaudio 300w stereo with 8 speakers, no subwoofer, replaces the Monsoon stereo.
The new touchscreen RCD 510 radio now has the Sirius satellite radio tuner in it.
All TDI without the optional stereo get the new premium 8 touchscreen stereo. The reason only the new mk6 Golf gets the new Dynaudio is because while the exterior of the door cards (the door panel w/armrest, switches, etc.) look similar in mk5 vs. mk6 bodies, the interior of the door is very different due to new assembly modules.
17 x 7.5" wheels on the 2010 Golf TDI standard in the USA. This is because USA Golf comes standard with the sport suspension. The 2009 Jetta TDI had standard 16 x 6.5" wheels, 17" optional. Everything else being equal, smaller, narrower wheels/tires will give better fuel economy. 16" wheels are standard on Canadian 2010 Golf TDI.
2010 Golf TDI with DSG have paddle shifters on the steering wheel. There has been one report of a car arriving without it.
The separate central electric control module and comfort control modules in earlier VW have been combined into 1 unit. This means that if you want to retrofit HID lights or foglights it could require replacement of the entire module. This hasn't been tested so not much more is known about this.
The DSG transmission 2010 VW Golf TDI now qualifies for a $1700 federal income tax credit in the US. With manual transmission the credit is $1300. For more details such as local, state, and federal tax information and why the Golf gets a higher credit, see 1000q: tax credit with TDI.
The side view mirrors are a little different on mk5 vs. mk6: The mk5
are rounder and the turn signal is larger. The edge also lets you see when
The mk6 side view mirror is sharper, has a thinner turn signal, and has a
small window to let you see when it's blinking. It was redesigned to be
more aerodynamic and cut down wind noise, a major source of cabin noise.
Another refinement change was the addition of a small curved piece of trim windshield and a-pillar (the first
pillar) to reduce wind noise and
windshield wiper splash.
standard differences-Color choices are the same except no more laser blue. White gold is a new color in the US. (US vs. Canada color choices are different)
option differences-MDI w/ iPod cable replaces iPod adapter option at same price
2010 vs. 2011 Jetta TDI sedan differences - see 1000q: new style mk6 VW Jetta TDI sedan buying guide. The Jetta gets a new generation body for 2011 so there are too many differences to list here.
(see 1000q: Sportwagen buying guide for more information on just the sportwagens).
The Jetta station wagon is called the Golf Variant outside of North America so it gets some mk6 interior and exterior changes on an mk5 chassis. The wagon does not get some noticeable mk6 chassis changes such as thicker glass or more laser welding. Some electrical parts are different for 2010 because all 2010 models had these changes. Some examples are the CECM, instrument cluster, and steering wheel. The headlights are mk6 Golf headlights so mk5 HID headlights won't work anyways. The side view mirrors are the mk5 part, not the mk6 part. The wagons are built in Mexico, the mk6 Golf are currently being built in Europe. Here's my photoshop of what the wagon will look like with a GTI front bumper. Official pictures are on page 2. The mk6 Jetta sedan (the current car is an mk5) will be very different from the Golf so this is more accurately, a Golf Variant/Wagon.
The exterior changes are the front/rear bumper and fenders, smoked taillights, Golf headlights, and deleted whip antenna. The antenna is a big plus since those who use the roof rails to carry large objects know that the antenna interferes with cargo. By moving the antenna into the side window glass, it should also reduce wind noise. However, any car with a radio antenna in the glass should never have metallic tint applied (window tint with tiny metal particles to reflect heat). Use only dyed tint or ceramic tint. While all quality tint blocks most UV light, ceramic tint has tiny particles that reflect heat (not necessarily visible light) much better than dyed tint.
It does not get the mk6 side view mirrors despite being called a mk6 by VW.
While the front fenders look like they're from the Golf, they do not fit the Golf. JSW and Golf fenders are different because the rest of the chassis is different from the Golf.
The interior changes are the new dashboard (deleted center vent and smoother
instrument cluster, see pics on page 2), silver trim around the vents, and minor
trim changes like seat belt buckles.
This list below is from the official VW publication for US specs on the 2010 Jetta sportwagen. Now that cars have been delivered, these changes are confirmed.
cosmetic exterior differences-Color choices are the same except no more laser blue. White gold is the new color in the US. (US vs. Canada color choices are different)
-New headlights, same as Golf new hood, radiator grill/air intake, front fenders, wheel housings, front/rear bumpers, and side marker/VW logo to match the Golf look
-new rear bumper with smoked tail lights
-deletion of whip antenna, the antenna is now in the window glass, new 16” alloy wheel choices
cosmetic interior differences-new door panels (door lock/unlock and side mirror controls moved) and interior fabrics
-new belt buckles
-new instrument cluster (the speedo and tachometer are in pods, wagon only)
-new dashboard (center front diffuser vent deleted, slightly smoother look, silver trim around the air vents)
-standard multifunction steering wheel in the US (not available on 2009 station wagon TDI)
-standard 9w2 bluetooth in the US - this does not have outgoing call capability but you can retrofit 9w3 - see 1000q: mk5 bluetooth FAQ for details.
-touchscreen radio "premium 8 RCD 510" replaces non touchscreen radio "premium 7" for US (optional on comfortline, standard on highline in Canada) and the Sirius radio is now located in the head unit instead of in a separate module.
-Gray interior no longer available
option differences-MDI w/ iPod cable replaces iPod adapter option at same price. Navigation price reduced with elimination of MDI
functional differences-moving the radio antenna into the glass makes the roof rails more functional
Below is a spec sheet dated 7/2009 for the 2010 Golf wagon for Canada only. (It's called the Jetta Sportwagen in the US). Major differences are the options packages vs. the US. Compared to the Golf 4 door TDI, the wagon gets 16" "Altanta" alloy wheels instead of 16" "Cleveland" alloy wheels. The wagon also comes with ESP stability control standard on all TDI instead of optional on comfortline.
Note: the TDI engine is only available in Comfortline and Highline.
The Highline is only available in TDI.