Buy/Drive/Burn: Sporty Compact Sedans From 2006
In the last edition of Buy/Drive/Burn, we concerned ourselves with unpopular large luxury sedans. The general B&B consensus at the end of the day was that none of them were a great purchase idea (see, you’re getting the point now). In the comments, Brian E. suggested we cover a trio of compact-ish sporty sedans he evaluated in real life, back in 2006.
So let’s travel to those days before the Great Recession and pick apart some sporty import sedans. By they way, they all have automatic transmissions.
The first-generation TSX was introduced for the 2004 model year as replacement for the aged Integra, which wrapped up its tenure in 2001. Underneath the badging and bumpers, it’s a Euro and Japanese domestic market Accord. In 2006, slight modifications to front and rear trim updated the design, installed fog lamps, and added five horsepower to the inline-four engine. The 2.0 K-series engine from the Accord is the only mill available, sending 200 horsepower through the five-speed auto.
The remarkably long-lived second-generation 9-3 debuted in 2003, and would continue through the 2011 model year until Saab closed its doors. Though the first-generation 9-3 played the role of successor to the popular 900 hatchback model, the second generation pushed forward without a hatchback — on offer were sedan and wagon versions, as well as a convertible. Revised engine offerings in 2006 coincided with the discontinuation of the Linear and Arc trims in North America (V6 trims were still called Vector). Both trims were replaced with the 2.0T trim, powered by a 210 horsepower turbo four.
Volkswagen Jetta GLI
Our only brand new competitor, Volkswagen’s fifth-generation Jetta, filled dealer lots between 2006 and 2011. The Jetta sat on a world platform that was also used by Audi, Seat, and Skoda. North American Jettas was assembled in Mexico, just like their MKIV predecessors. Today’s Jetta is a GLI trim (known as Sportline in other markets), which swapped out the standard seats with sportier buckets and lowered the profile of both the wheels and the car itself; the GLI sat .59 inches lower than standard models. Power came from a 2.0-liter like the rest of our trio, specifically the FSI version. That engine provided 197 horsepower, traveling through the front wheels via the six-speed DSG automatic.
Three small-medium sedans for the 2006 consumer. Which one do you sign and drive?
[Images: Acura, GM, Volkswagen]
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