VW JETTA GETS SHARPER SHAPE

Volkswagen_Jetta_front

Though Volkswagen doesn’t like us calling the Jetta a Golf with a boot, that’s exactly what it is. Some buyers prefer sedans to hatches for a couple of reasons: you get a bigger boot in a sedan thanks to the car’s extra length, albeit without the large opening offered in hatches; and the ride comfort and body strength is even better in sedans than the equivalent hatchbacks.

The latter is due to the fact that it has the added bracing underneath the rear window that’s obviously not offered in a hatch. More body rigidity stands you in good stead if you’re driving on rough roads, and these days you don’t need to be in the great Australian outback to find harsh surfaces, sadly there are plenty in the suburbs as well.

However the Jetta usually runs a bit behind Golf in its introduction and the recently updated VW sedan doesn’t share the brilliant new MQB platform of the Golf 7. That will be coming later, VW won’t tell us when, but given the facelift carried out in March this year we would speculate an all-new Jetta around mid 2016.

STYLING
In the meantime the face of VW Jetta has been remodelled to give it a family resemblance to both the Golf 7 and the larger Passat. Indeed, there are shapes in the face of the VW Polo that are now following the same theme. It’s interesting to see Volkswagen following the same path as the upmarket German marques in shaping its cars to give the same effect as upmarket matching luggage. Small, medium, large.

Volkswagen_Jetta_rear

As it’s aimed at relatively conservative buyers, timeless styling is a feature of Volkswagen’s updated Jetta, so no complaints from us about it not leaping out from the crowd.

However, ‘our’ Jetta did stand out more than the rest of the range. The newly introduced flagship of the range, the Jetta 155 Highline Sport is powered by the 155TSI petrol engine as installed in the Golf 6 GTI. Also on the sporting front the Highline Sport uses dynamic suspension with 18-inch Charleston alloy wheels, has bi-xenon headlights, LED daytime driving lights and tail lights.

Gearshift paddles are mounted behind the leather multifunction steering wheel and there is dark tinted rear side and rear window glass.

EQUIPMENT
Jetta Comfortline has Volkswagen’s RNS510 satellite navigation system, dual-zone climate control air conditioning, automatic wipers and lights, even an automatically dimming interior mirror.

Jetta Highline has Vienna leather upholstery with Comfort sport front seats, an electronically adjustable driver’s seat, keyless access and starting, 17-inch Lancaster alloy wheels and front foglights with static cornering lights.

Volkswagen_Jetta_interior

ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The 155TSI Highline Sport, 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine has a power output of 155 kilowatts, it drives the front wheels through a six-speed DSG double-clutch automatic.

Interestingly, Volkswagen’s own Extended Electronic Differential Lock (XDL), which reduces understeer by braking the inside wheel while cornering under load is installed not only in the high-performance Highline Sport, but is now across the entire Jetta range.

There’s a surprising variety of engines and transmissions sitting below the performance 155 Highline Sport. The 118TSI engine come with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG transmission in the Jetta Trendline. The seven-speed DSG is standard on Comfortline and Highline models.

The 118 kW 1.4-litre TSI petrol has an official fuel consumption of 6.2 litres per hundred kilometres with the seven-speed automatic, and 6.5 litres with the six-speed manual gearbox. It’s offered in Trendline, Comfortline and Highline specification.

A 103TDI 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine sits beside a six-speed DSG. It has 320 Nm of torque and a fuel number of 5.5 litres per hundred kilometres during the combined cycle. The TDI is sold only in Highline specification, and uses a six-speed DSG transmission as standard.

SAFETY
The aforementioned XDL differential helps drivers stay out of trouble should they make a mistake. There’s also a Driver Fatigue Detection System, something very handy if your attention wanders because of low Australian speed limits. Jetta has a rear view camera and front and rear parking sensors.

DRIVING
There’s comfort for four adults and a child, though in Australia most Jettas are likely to be used with preteens in the back seats. Should you have tall people in the front seats they may not be able to have their seats set well back if there are grownups back there.

Boot space is not only large but also easy to load, though heavy items well back in the area can be hard to move about.

On the road the high-performance VW Jetta has the hewn-from-stone feel Volkswagen buyers have loved for generations. It presumably will be even better in the next generation as it seems sure to have the MQB platform. As a major bonus the next generation will be also lighter, further improving engine and dynamic performance.

Handling is safe and predictable and if you hammer it, as some drivers attracted by the 155 kW Golf GTI engine will, you can feel the special differential helping you keep the Jetta online. Even without calling on that electronic aid the Jetta will feel as though it enjoys being driven by a keen punter.

Comfort is probably not quite as good as in a standard Jetta – we weren’t able to test two back-to-back – but is pretty good for a performance car with this suspension and steering setup.

SUMMING UP
Want a small-medium sedan with a timeless shape that has more than average engine performance and dynamic suspension? Then the latest Volkswagen Jetta should be sitting close to the top of your list of vehicles to test drive.

AT A GLANCE

MODEL RANGE
118TSI Trendline 1.4-litre Twincharger petrol four-door sedan: $22,990 (manual), $25,490 (DSG)
118TSI Comfortline 1.4-litre Twincharger petrol four-door sedan: $29,990 (DSG)
118TSI Highline 1.4-litre Twincharger petrol four-door sedan: $33,990 (DSG)

103TDI Comfortline 2.0-litre turbo-diesel four-door sedan: $36,490 (DSG)
155TSI Highline Sport 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-door sedan: $39,990 (DSG)
Note: These prices do not include dealer or government charges. Contact your local Volkswagen dealer for drive-away prices.

FEATURES
ABS Brakes: Standard in all models
Automatic Transmission: Optional in 118TSI Trendline, standard in all other models
Cruise Control: Standard in all models
Dual Front Airbags: Standard in all models
Front Side Airbags: Standard in all models
Electronic Stability Program: Standard in all models
Rear Parking Sensors: Not offered in 118TSI Trendline, standard in all other models
Reversing Camera: Not offered in 118TSI Trendline, standard in all other models
USB/Auxiliary Audio Inputs: Standard in all models
Satellite Navigation: Not offered in 118TSI Trendline, standard in all other models
Bluetooth: Standard in all models
Steering Wheel Mounted Controls: Standard in all models

SPECIFICATIONS (Volkswagen Jetta 155TSI Highline Sport 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-door sedan)

ENGINE:
Capacity: 1.984 litres
Configuration: Transverse, four cylinders in line
Head Design: DOHC, four valves per cylinder
Compression Ratio: 9.6:1
Bore/Stroke: 82.5 mm x 92.8 mm
Maximum Power: 155 kW @ 5300-6200 rpm
Maximum Torque: 280 Nm @ 1700-5200 rpm

DRIVELINE:
Driven Wheels: Front
Manual Transmission: Not offered
Automatic Transmission: Six-speed DSG
Final Drive Ratio: NA

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4659 mm
Wheelbase: 2651 mm
Width: 1778 mm
Height: 1453 mm
Turning Circle: 11.1 metres
Kerb Mass: 1446 kg
Boot Capacity: 510 litres (1858 litres with rear seat folded)
Fuel Tank Capacity: 55 litres
Towing Ability: 680 kg (1400 kg with braked trailer)

SUSPENSION AND BRAKES:
Front Suspension: Independent, MacPherson struts, anti-roll bar
Rear Suspension: Independent, four-link, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Front Brakes: Ventilated disc
Rear Brakes: Disc

PERFORMANCE:
0-100 km/h Acceleration: 7.2 seconds

FUEL CONSUMPTION:
Type: Petrol 95RON
Combined Cycle (ADR 81/02): 7.8 L/100km

GREEN VEHICLE GUIDE RATINGS:
Greenhouse Rating: 7.5/10
Air Pollution Rating: 7.5/10

STANDARD WARRANTY:
Three years/100,000 km

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