Car tested: 2012 Volkswagen Jetta Highline TDI (AT)
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 20,58,273/-
The Volkswagen Jetta was introduced in 1979 as a sedan version to the VW Golf. At that time, it was a mere addition of the boot to the Golf’s back with a few minor modifications in the interiors and front end. Today the Jetta has lived 5 successful generations and has sold extensively in the major countries of the world. Volkswagen introduced the all new Jetta in India this year and its promised to be a better than its predecessor which was pretty good in its own might. Besides dated looks, it had the punch to stand up to the competition but VW decided to retire it since the 6th gen Jetta promised more. Its more spacious due to a longer wheelbase and has a few more goodies with a refreshing look. We take the Volkswagen Jetta to the beautiful country roads of Lavasa and find out if it cuts the cheese.
Exteriors – The latest philosophy from automobile designers is to keep the design language similar in the same generation of cars. Hyundai has done it with their latest “Fluidic Design” with the Verna and Eon already incorporating the same design language and the all new Avante just around the corner. Volkswagen has done the same and head on, the Jetta may pass for a Vento to the casual observer, only in pictures though, in flesh the Jetta is broader and bigger than it appears in photos. The front end is very ‘Ventoish’ but the differences are apparent to the keen eye. The Volkswagen Jetta gets daytime running lights with a wider headlamp cluster. Projector lamps have been omitted from the inventory towards competitive pricing. The front grille is houses the VW logo and the chrome lining on the air dam looks rich.
The side profile has sharp lines outlining the muscular and dynamic character of the car. The new Jetta is 90 mm longer than the previous version. 10 spoke “Navarra” alloy wheels look captivating. Side turn indicators have been integrated with the external rear view mirrors.
This view does justice to the design. Notice the sharp line running all over, they not only define the shape but also add the dynamism to this machine. The front bumper is aerodynamically designed, similar to the bumper on the Polo and Vento.
Remember the mathematics formula, if A = B = C, then A = C. In this case, VW = Skoda as the sticker on the front windshield certifies that the Jetta is complaint with the non polluting vehicle standards. For those who are not aware, Skoda is owned by Volkswagen.
The Audi inspired rear looks classy with the detailed tail lamp cluster taking away the laurels, its beautifully designed. Twin exhausts mark the lower left end of the Jetta. Parking sensors can be seen on both the front and rear bumpers.
Interiors – Volkswagen is known for quality and the interior fit and finish is spot on, you will not find any inconsistent panel gaps. 2 tone dash with a touch of wood enhances the feel. I found the plastics a grade lower than the ones on the previous Volkswagen Jetta, don’t get me wrong, its not cheap or bad, but possibly a means of getting the cost in control. The steering, gear knob and the handbrake now get a leather cover.
Front seats are comfortable with good back and thigh support. Both the front seats are height adjustable. The drivers seat gets a 12 way electronic adjustment feature.
Rear seats are comfortable too with adequate back support and average thigh support. However, i will rate the front seats more comfortable than the rear on this one. Two adults can make themselves comfortable at the rear, notice the hump in the center, its too high to comfortably accommodate a third passenger in the middle seat. The rear has AC vents in the center along with vents below the front seats for quick rear cooling.
Boot space is a generous 510 ltrs. The central armrest can be opened into the boot if required. Rear seats can be folded 60:40 with the help of the knobs seen in the picture, between the two arms. The key has a boot release button which opens up the boot completely by the flick of a button.
Wipers cant be raised, a typical of all the latest Volkswagen cars.
510 touch screen music system gives the option of AUX , SD card and CD player. The Highline variant gets an iPod connection in the glovebox. This 8 speaker system gives out good sound quality. Surprisingly, the entry level variant, gets neither AUX nor iPod connectivity. The same screen doubles up as the parking assist display.
The AC cools both the front and back efficiently. Climate control has been removed towards cost cutting.
3 Spoke steering wheel now has a leather wrap. Phone and audio controls are provided on the steering wheel.
Neat instrument cluster with the MID screen showing distance traveled, distance to empty, average speed, journey time etc.
Wooden trim on the door adds a luxurious feel. The Jetta gets electrically adjustable and retractable outside rear view mirrors (ORVM) with heated function. Puddle lamps are mounted below the ORVM’s.
Deep glove box is aircooled to keep your drinks chilled for longer (Dont Drink and Drive though). The Highline variant gets an iPod connector. The glovebox can now be locked making it more practical.
Ride, Handling and Braking – The new Jetta gets a stiffer suspension setup as compared to the outgoing version. Due to this, high speed ride was a bit firm for my liking but over slow speeds the Jetta ends up absorbing most of the irregularities on the road. Its only the big craters which make their presence felt, the rear occupants feeling the most of it. Ground clearance of 159 mm coupled with the stiffer suspension ensures that the Jetta stays glued on the road with its underbelly staying clear of most humps.
Steering is light and the Jetta is easily maneuverable in the city. Getting to the highway it weighs up nicely and feedback is pretty good, not the best maybe, but enough to inspire the confidence to push it to the limit. VW deserves full marks as far as the handling goes, the new Jetta is quite a handler, something which the new Passat felt short off. Driving around the bends in Lavasa, where one corner leads to the other, the Jetta proved to be immensely fun to drive. Sharp steering inputs failed to deter the Jetta, it would behave like a genie who is programmed to drive as if running on rails. Balance is nearly perfect, with neither understeer or oversteer, it would take a lot of effort to get the Jetta out of line. With the gearbox slotted into ‘S’ mode, i was controlling the gearbox with the help of paddles and the torque and power delivery were hugely impressive. The Laura was one of my my favorite handlers in the segment but i have to admit, the Jetta takes it to another level.
High speed stability is phenomenal, you cant tell the car is doing this speed. Don’t look at the speedometer and it will feel as if the Jetta is doing 60 kmph.
205/55/16 Good year NCT5 tyres offer sufficient grip but are slightly noisy at high speeds. Grip levels are great and standing on the brakes at 100 kmph, the Jetta stops without much issue, in a straight line with no hint of nervousness. All four disc brakes, EBD, ABS and ESP are responsible for this braking performance.
Performance – The new Jetta is powered by a 140 bhp, 2 litre TDi engine, the same one which powers a host of Volkswagen cars including the Laura. In this case, the engine specs are identical to those of the Laura. The Jetta produces 140 bhp @ 4200 rpm and a maximum torque of 320 Nm @ 1750-2500 rpm. Power is up by nearly 30 bhp as compared to the older generation Jetta. The 2.0 litre engine offers a strong mid and high range with power being available throughout the entire radius of the rev meter. NVH levels are good with barely any noise creeping into the cabin. The engine gets mighty vocal past 3000 rpm but that is music to most ears. Another new feature added is the ‘Hill Hold’ function, wherein the car will hold position for 2 seconds before rolling backwards, giving you enough time to step on the gas and drive off.
Mated to this engine is the 6 speed DSG gearbox. The DSG gearbox is by far the best in the segment, it incorporates a dual clutch system, wherein one clutch controls the odd gears and the other controls the even gears thereby considerably reducing the lag between shifts. The gearbox has a ‘D’ Drive, ‘S’ Sport mode along with tiptronic function, wherein once can shift manually using the gear lever. Paddles are provided for the extra bit of fun. Paddle response may seem slow in the ‘D’ mode, but get into ‘S’ and then its just a game of point and shoot. The Jetta can do a 0 – 100 sprint in about 10 seconds and returned a mileage of 13.65 kmpl, predominately highway running but at full song. Feed the throttle in with a light foot and it can go beyond 15 kmpl. ARAI certified mileage for the DSG AT is 16.96 kmpl. Top speed of the DSG AT is 208 kmph.
Conclusion – Barring a few cost cutting measures, there is nothing to find fault with the new Jetta. Besides being more spacious and powerful than the previous generation model, it delivers good performance and its driving dynamics can put a smile on your face. It appeals as a package and the list of goodies include ESP, 8 airbags, cruise control, hill hold etc. It is currently only available in the diesel trim but petrol heads will be delighted to know that VW will be launching the TSI Petrol variant soon. The Jetta thereby makes itself an attractive option in the segment and you really cant do much but fall in love with it.
* Spacious Rear Seating
* DSG Gearbox
* High Speed Stability
* Hill Hold Function
Whats Not So Cool
* No Climate Control
* Plastic quality not comparable to previous generation
* Ventoish looks
* Automatic only in Highline variant
Volkswagen Jetta Specifications
* Engine – 1968 cc, 4 Cylinder, TDi
* Power – 140 PS @ 4200rpm
* Torque – 320Nm @ 1750 – 2500 rpm
* Transmission – 6 Speed DSG Auto
* Top Speed – 208 kmph
* 0-100kmph – 10 seconds
* Fuel Consumption – 13.65 (city + highway), ARAI – 16.96 kmpl
* Fuel Type – Diesel
* Suspension – Coil Spring with shock absorbers and suspension stabilizer (Front), Multi link suspension with stabilizer (Rear)
* Tires – 205/55/16 Tubeless Radials
* Brakes – All 4 Discs, ABS, EBD. ESP
* Safety – ABS, EBD, 8 Airbags, Immobilizer etc
Volkswagen Jetta Dimensions
* Overall length x width x height – 4644 mm X 1778 mm X 1453 mm
* Wheelbase – 2633 mm
* Ground clearance – 159 mm
* Turning Radius – 5.5 m
* Boot Volume – 510 ltrs
* Fuel Tank Capacity – 55 liters
* Kerb Weight – 1460 kgs