Car tested: 2012 Volkswagen Jetta 1.4 TSI Petrol (Comfortline)
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 17,75,138/- (est.)
It may seem foolish to launch the petrol version of the Volkswagen Jetta at a time when fuel prices are hitting the roof but the German automaker seems to think otherwise. The 1.4 TSI (Turbocharged Staratified Injection) engine has been a part of VW’s global portfolio since a few years now. This engine has reduced frictional losses, optimized camshafts, new intake ports and new high-pressure injector valves which not only provide reasonable performance but also aids in better fuel efficiency and reduced emissions. This 1.4-litre mill may not look attractive on paper, especially when the competition consists of larger 1.8-litre units, but does the 1.4 TSI engine cut the mustard, that’s exactly what we are about to find out!
Volkswagen has been using this engine in the European market and has just plonked this engine into the Indian Jetta. On the exterior, the TSI badge on the rear right differentiates it from its diesel sibling. This variant also gets a set of 5-spoke alloy wheels. The Jetta TSI will only be available in the Comfortline and Trendline trim. Naturally this petrol variant will be less loaded than its diesel sibling and does not get electric seats, automatic climate control, Bluetooth etc. It also gets a lower spec audio system. Safety is priority and the Jetta still gets 6-airbags, ABS and EBD.
This is not the first time TSI technology has been used in India and the Jetta’s cousin, the Skoda Laura sports the 1.8 litre engine which is known for its performance and smoothness. The Jetta’s 1.4 TSI engine produces 120 BHP of peak power at 5000 RPM and a healthy 200 Nm of torque between 1500 – 4000 RPM. Refinement is brilliant and there is absolutely no noise or vibration. Even while hitting the rev limiter, the engine note is smooth. Power delivery is linear with only a slight hint of turbo-lag till about 1500 RPM after which the Jetta delivers decent performance.
You may not get the same kick the 1.8-litre engines provide but it is still good enough to move around with authority. Low end torque is average but this engine comes strong in the mid-range and high end of the revmeter. It red-lines at 6500 RPM and pulls cleanly in the high end of the rev band. The sixth gear may not be too useful in the city but comes handy on the highways. Overtaking on the highways may need you to go down a few gears but its not much of a problem.
Mated to this gearbox is a 6-speed manual transmission. The gearshifts are slick and the clutch is reasonably light. Gear ratios are on the taller side but the Jetta still hits 55 km/h in first gear and 102 km/h in second gear. It does a 0 – 100 km/h run in 10.98 seconds which is only 2 seconds slower than the 1.8-litre Laura TSI. It is surprising that a 1.4-litre engine performs reasonably well for a car of this size and weight. In our short stint in the car we did not get time to calculate its real time fuel efficiency but we expect this to be the most fuel efficient petrol car in its class. We have earlier mentioned that the Jetta is one hell of a handler and these characteristics and driving dynamics are passed on this version too. This TSI version is lighter than the TDI (by around 42 kgs) and this marginal weight difference favors better handling characteristics. Volkswagen is not offering an automatic transmission for this car, atleast not now.
So does the Jetta TSI come across as a strong contender in the segment? It surely does. The Government is planning an additional excise duty on diesel cars, if this happens, petrol cars will be back in business. Even if this additional excise duty on diesel cars is dropped, the Jetta TSI will still be the most fuel efficient car in its segment and will appeal to those who want a refined petrol sedan. Though prices have not been announced yet, we can expect the prices to start Rs 2 lakhs less than those of the corresponding diesel version.
* Decent Performance
* Engine Refinement
* Fuel Efficiency
* Ride and Handling
Whats Not So Cool
* No Automatic Transmission
* No Highline Variant