Though Volkswagen doesn’t like us calling the Jetta a Golf with a boot, that’s exactly what it is.
WHAT WE LIKE
- Timeless Jetta styling
- Charleston 18-inch alloy wheels on Highline variant
- VW’s Extended Electronic Differential Lock (XDL) across the range
WHAT WE DON’T
- Currently on older Golf 6 platform.
- Tall front passengers will need the room behind to best adjust seat
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 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 done in March this year we would speculate an all-new Jetta around mid-2016.
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.
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.
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.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The 155TSI Highline Sport, 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine has a power output of 155kW, 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.
If you hammer it, as some drivers attracted by the 155kW Golf GTI engine will, you can feel the special differential helping you keep the Jetta online
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 118kW 1.4-litre TSI petrol has an official fuel consumption of 6.2L/100km with the seven-speed automatic, and 6.5L/100km 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 320Nm and a fuel number of 5.5L/100km during the combined cycle. The TDI is sold only in Highline specification and uses a six-speed DSG transmission as standard.
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.
There’s comfort for four adults and a child, though in Australia most Jettas are likely to be used with pre-teens 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 grown ups 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 155kW 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 set-up.
Price : From $22,990
Thirst : 7.8L/100km, 180g/km CO2 Tank 55L
Safety : 5-star ANCAP
Seats : 5
Warranty : 3 years/unlimited
Service Interval : 12 months/15,000km
Engine : 1.984L turbo 4-cyl Petrol, 155kW/280Nm
Transmission : 6-spd dual-clutch automatic, FWD
Turning circle : 11.1m diameter
Dimensions : 4744mm (L), 1778mm (W), 1473mm (H)
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.