The new Volkswagen Jetta looks far improved from the model it replaces. Gone is the bland, rounded shape and soft contours. The car’s nose is interesting with its wide, horizontal grille, angular lamps and a tray-shaped splitter, which, apart from protruding a bit, contributes to a good low drag coefficient of 0.30.
Bigger than before
If the Jetta’s styling doesn’t make a lasting impression, its size certainly will. It is now 90mm longer than its predecessor and gets an extra 58mm in the wheelbase, which hints at the best-in-class interior space. Despite that, the new Jetta weighs just 25kg more than before and that too with a more powerful motor. The interiors are top-notch with quality plastics and exemplary fit and finish that befit its near Rs.20 lakh price tag. The experience starts with chunky steering wheel with indents for thumbs, which feels great to hold.
Great seat adjustmentsThe new Jetta is better spec’ed too, but previous Jetta owners may miss some of the small details that made it special. The driver gets a 12-way power adjustable seat, including lumbar support, and finding the perfect driving position is easy. The front seats are generous but a touch flat. It has the most comfortable backseat in its segment. The ‘hip-point’ is nice and high so you sit more relaxed, legroom is class-leading and the seat base is superbly contoured. The rear seats get an armrest, which the previous car never had, and a 60:40 split. The 510-litre boot is more than enough.
The 1,986cc, 108bhp motor has been replaced by the 138bhp version of the same turbo-diesel engine. VW offers the Jetta with just this single diesel engine that comes with six-speed manual and automatic options. There is no petrol option yet, but we expect one sometime in 2012.
Having experienced the identical 2.0 TDI in the Laura and Superb, there are no real surprises. It’s not the quietest of motors and although it’s not intrusive, you can’t miss its characteristic gruffness.
Lots of power
Another trait we know so well is this motor’s fantastic responsiveness. There’s always a surplus of power and the swathe of torque, most of it lower down in the rev range, makes passing through traffic quite a breeze.
The steering, like most VWs, though accurate and well weighted, is numb and doesn’t bristle with feel. The leisurely manner in which the Jetta turns doesn’t make it overtly sporting and this makes you intuitively adopt a more relaxed driving style.
The ride is fantastic and the car dispatches bumps with ease. The suspension feels a bit more damped than before, especially on rebound and the harsh edge of the previous Jetta is gone. The car is not as supple nor does it cushion you from shocks as well as Renault’s Fluence (an exemplar of ride quality in this class), but the Jetta’s ride is never uncomfortable.
New Volkswagen Jetta
Price: R14.12-17.86 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)
Engine: 4 cyls in-line, 1,968cc, common-rail, turbo-diesel
Valve gear: 4 valves per cyl, DOHC
Installation: Front, transverse, front-wheel drive
Power: 138bhp at 4,200rpm
Torque: 32.6kgm at 1,750rpm
Gearbox: 6-speed DSG
Brakes (f/r): Vented discs
Kerb: weight 1,460kg
Fuel tank capacity: 55 litres
Tyres: 205/55-R16, tubeless