Volkswagen Jetta Review: A Solid Performer – Drive Safe and Fast

Cars

Published on January 26th, 2016 | by Subhash Nair

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Volkswagen Jetta Review: A Solid Performer

The Volkswagen Jetta has been around for a while now, and we thought we’d give this C-segment continental car a go to see if it could still hold up against its Japanese and Korean competition. The Jetta nameplate has much stronger roots in its European homeland as well as in the Americas, where it is also manufactured and sold. But now that VW Group Malaysia have made themselves comfy in their little corner of Pekan, perhaps the Jetta can have its chance to shine.

At RM134,888 the Jetta with its tiny 1.4-litre motor may not seem like the best value buy. But if you know about VW’s love affair with forced induction, then you’ll know that the smaller displacement only means better fuel economy when you’re not pushing it to its limits. The Jetta’s engine is pretty special in this regard. We were able to cover a trip from KL to JB and then make the return trip with just a single tank of petrol.

While it is true that plenty of passenger cars can accomplish that, the difference is we weren’t on an economy run. Even though most of those 680 kilometres were spent on the power band, the 1.4-litre twincharged engine managed to return very impressive mileage. What’s more, it was actually quite a thrill to drive.

The use of both supercharging and turbocharging isn’t quite perfect, but there’s no denying that the 160PS and 240Nm of torque are at the driver’s disposal. Paired to the standard VW 7-speed DSG, the Jetta definitely can deliver on its performance claims.

The materials and design themes both inside and out that are shared with the larger Passat help to elevate the Jetta’s image. It’s a shame that the Jetta is essentially a Golf with a boot – because VW are a little reluctant to give it leather seats or upholstery as standard. As a result, the expensive looking exterior makes promises of passenger comfort that the chassis and suspension just can’t deliver.

That being said, it’s still fairly large. So despite the sporty personality, you can put a family of 5 in the car for long trips along with all their luggage in tow. To drown out the sound of their complaints from the ride quality , Volkswagen’s locally-assembled Jetta comes with a functional but decidedly ‘last-generation’ multimedia unit, which has Bluetooth capabilities and the works, but is just a little too Spartan in looks and button layout to be enticing.

The good news is that there’s a limited edition Jetta that has a touch-enabled Blaupunkt unit. What’s more, you can pick that version of the Jetta up for just RM122,888 if you hurry!

All-in-all, we loved the way the Jetta handled itself. The Golf-ness of it hasn’t been diminished by the addition of a boot. A much more exciting C-segment driver than its competitors from Japan, but the firmness of the ride may not be to everyone’s liking. Definitely worthy of a test drive, and if the limited editions are still available at your dealership – probably a good deal as well.

With Volkswagen Malaysia’s claimed remedy for the DSG gearbox complaints already implemented (the solution included a change to mineral oil and use of a new mechatronic unit), the Jetta looks like a solid option for those looking to try out their first German car. You will get some really nice touches that are absent in more common Japanese alternatives – such as wing mirror indicators with a small cut-out so cars in your blind spot can see you’re signalling. There is a tendency for complaints to be a lot louder than words of praise, and we’ve certainly heard both from owners. From what we can deduce, the older and more passive the driver, the longer the cars seem to last. Such a shame then, that the Jetta does performance better than comfort. At least VW have fitted it with loads of airbags and other safety equipment which some of its competitors still lack.

Volkswagen Jetta 1.4TSI Specifications

Engine: Twincharged 1.4-litre TSI

Displacement:  1390cc

Transmission:  7-Speed DSG

Max power: 160PS @ 5800RPM

Max torque: 240Nm @ 1500-4500RPM

Top Speed: 221km/h (electronically limited)

0-100km/h: 8.3 secs

Price: RM134,888 (RM122,888 for Limited Edition)


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