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Volkswagen Jetta, the subtlety king


JUST about everyone I know has owned or knows of someone who’s owned a Volkswagen Jetta and some of them still own them. The Jetta, like the Golf is one of Volkswagen’s more iconic vehicles; it offers ample comfort, a large boot and has proven to be quite reliable. Unfortunately, the Jetta is a car that will pass by you and you wouldn’t even notice it. Volkswagen has decided to change that with the latest model. I spent some time with it to see how good it really is.

It might look like the older car but Volkswagen has actually improved on a few things to keep it relevant. For starters, in front, there are new headlights, which are ever so slightly different from the outgoing model. These new ones are just a little bit more angular. They sit on either side of a larger grille that now has three chrome slats rather than two and below all of this is a revised bumper with a bigger air intake. It does tend to make the car seem a little wider. It’s a similar story at the rear. The taillights are slimmer and sharper and there’s also a new boot lid and rear bumper.  If you can’t see the changes don’t worry, Volkswagen is a master at the subtlety game.

What about inside? Well, the first thing you notice when getting into the new Jetta is the new steering wheel, which has been lifted from the Polo, except, in the Jetta, you get a few more controls. The instrument cluster is also new and it sits inside a very stylish chrome-ringed binnacle. That aside, it’s still pretty much the same as before. Familiar VW switchgear and tactile feel can be expected. It’s simple and neatly laid out, which I tend to like. The car was fitted with a large touch screen which controls all the infotainment functions.

As this is the Highline model, which is the range topper there’s quite a bit of standard kit on the car however, as is the case with German cars, there’s also a long options list. Be careful when ticking the boxes as it can get costly.

The Jetta that I drove was the 2.0TDI Bluemotion model; this engine remains unchanged. It produces an admirable 102kW and 250Nm of torque. This four-cylinder turbo diesel engine is still one of the best in the business. It provides a decent amount of mid-range punch and gear changes are provided by a smooth seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox. The impressive thing about this engine is its fuel sipping qualities. I averaged about 5.5 litres/100km and at one stage managed to get that figure down to an impressive 4.7 litres/100km. I did a total of about 800km throughout my test week and gave the car back with a quarter tank of fuel.

The Jetta is comfortable, easy to live with and rather enjoyable to drive. After a long stressful day it’s definitely a nice place to be.

Article written by Justin Jacobs
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