The name may be unchanged, but Volkswagen’s new Jetta is nothing like the car before it. While the earlier car represented a quick and easy swipe at the compact saloon car market, this new Jetta takes VW’s commitment to a different level altogether. And this doesn’t include merely adding a boot to the Golf; this is a completely new car.
Though we expect to see the new Jetta in the final quarter of 2011, we can tell you now that it has the potential to shake up the segment. To begin with, it looks much more like a slightly shrunken Passat than like a grown-up Jetta. Volkswagen designers chose to lower, widen and lengthen the car, both visually and dimensionally, to give it the profile of an upmarket saloon car. There are long, flowing lines along the flanks, a crisply folded shoulder line adds definition, and wide wheel arches provide a confident stance.
The tight skinning and control of the sheet metal continues all the way around the rear, where the Audi A4-like lights are housed in a perfectly proportioned boot. But the best part is the nose, especially its sharp bonnet, detailed headlamps and the traditional Volkswagen grille in black.
Though the Jetta is loosely based on the Golf platform, there are bits and pieces here that come from the larger Passat, which also happens to be a variant of the Golf. So while the front MacPherson strut suspension comes from the new Golf, the rear suspension is non-independent.
There’s much more space for passengers as the car now has a wheelbase that is a full 70 mm longer than its predecessor. However, the interiors are nowhere near as radical as the exteriors. The steering wheel, door pad and air-con vents are superbly built, have fantastic functionality and feel built to last as well.
The interiors, though, are not very exciting or different in design from even the Polo. Space comfort and utility, however, are top class.
The large front seats are very supportive, the car is sold with six airbags and chrome highlights and the two-tone interiors do help brighten up the cabin. What is commendable is the space and legroom in the rear. There’s acres of legroom and seat comfort is top notch in the new Jetta.
Powered by a 115 bhp, 2.0-litre petrol, the base model in the US will retail for a very attractive $ 16,000 (Rs 7.4 lakh). However, this motor is unlikely to make it to India initially. The 140 bhp, 2.0-litre TDI might come to India. A 175 bhp, five-cylinder petrol and a 2.0-litre 200 bhp TSi are also among the range for now.
Volkswagen engineers also hint that the 1.2 TSi will be launched eventually in Europe, and there is a possibility of its coming to India.
With the new Jetta, VW is confident that it has a winner in its stable. The car looks much more expensive than it is. It is comfortable, well equipped and fantastically built. It truly is a VW really worth waiting for.
Length: 4640 mm
Width: 1540 mm
Height: 1780 mm
Wheelbase: 2648 mm
Ground clearance: NA
Kerb weight: NA
Power: 140 bhp/175 bhp/200 bhp
Torque: 32.6 kgm/ NA/ NA
Gearbox: 6-speed DSG/ NA/
Engine: 4-cyls in-line, 2.0
litre common-rail-direct-injection diesel/ 5-cyls in-line,
2.5-litre petrol/ 4-cyls in-line,