The Volkswagen Jetta has been in production since 1979. Many would consider it to be the saloon version of the Golf. At the moment though it doesn’t share the same platforms and in terms of appearance it is beginning to look like a smaller version of the Volkswagen Passat. Jetta sales in Ireland are just a shadow of the amount of Golfs that are sold in this country. Part of this could be down to the mass appeal that the Golf has in this country.
The Volkswagen Jetta that we drove came with a 2.0 litre TDI engine. This engine is incredibly smooth and it’s mated to a five speed manual gearbox. Generally we would complain at the lack of the extra gear but it was very well suited to this vehicle and at no stage did we feel that the engine was begging for an extra gear. This engine offers maximum power of 110 bhp. Also available in Ireland is a 1.2 litre TSI petrol engine. We have not driven this vehicle with the petrol engine but we believe it to be smooth and its maximum power offering is 105 bhp.
On the road the ride is smooth in the Jetta and it soaks up bumps very nicely. The steering however felt heavy and at times it was not as responsive as you would expect form a Volkswagen. In our test vehicle we also found that it was difficult to get used to the bite point between the clutch and the accelerator.
Fuel economy of the Jetta is good and after 400 km we returned an average of 5.3 litres per 100km. This figure is good especially when you consider that we were not focusing on fuel economy for our test drive.
The 2.0 litre TDI engine that we were driving was wonderfully refined and after receiving the test vehicle we had to double check that we had indeed been given the diesel model. While some outside noise did sneak into the cabin we would have to say that it was by no means a major issue.
We drove the “highline” trimmed Jetta and it was excellently presented with leather seats and a very easy-to-use infotainment system. The interior of the Jetta is very similar to that of the Passat. Where the Passat would have lines that run the length of the dash the Jetta carries the same lines but over shorter dimensions. There is a nice amount of chrome detailing in the “highline” model also. We did not come across any cheap feeling plastics in the vehicle either.
In 2011 the Volkswagen Jetta received a full five stars in the Euro NCAP. For adult occupancy it scored 94%, child occupancy received 86% and pedestrian safety scored 56%. The Jetta is available with systems like, Hill Hold Control (great for hill starts), Park Distance Control (great for parking) and Cruise Control.
The Jetta offers excellent space to both the front and the rear. There are no major head or leg room issues. Five adults would fit but for maximum comfort we would advise that four is a good number. What really makes the Jetta a practical vehicle is the massive boot space that it offers – 510 litres which means that this vehicle is not only comfortable, but it’s versatile too.