They may only have 1bhp, but that's all these angry little cars need...
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The Top Gear car review:Volkswagen Jetta
For:Facelift brings big improvements; engines, looks & interior quality are all on the up
Against:It looks like a teenager who’s been told to wear a suit and tie for a juvenile court appearance. Saloon bodies don’t suit cars this size
2.0 TDI SE 4dr
Full revamp of Jetta comprehensively fails to add any sparkle to an already dull car. Do you really need a boot? Really?
What we say:
Latest Jetta is a marked improvement, but still dull as ever
What is it?
Latest Jetta has been updated again ready for 2015; it gets a new nose and new engines, but it’s still essentially the same car. You now can’t pick a duff engine and both ride and interior quality impress. But puh-lease, there has to be a more interesting choice… In fact, there are. Many of them.
The Jetta feels well engineered and always on your side. You always get lots of warning of what’s happening, and it’s almost always benign. It’s not all that light on its feet though.
Any of the 1.4 TSI engines over-delivers - it comes as a 122, 140 and 170 output, but also has generous torque at usefully low revs, so forget about the small capacity. The 1.6 base engine is a bit raucous, and underwhelming. The 2.0 high-power diesel is the noisy TDI design - wait for the smoother common-rail version that’s being rolled out across the VW Group.
On the inside
Great seats, a supple ride and fine refinement mark out the Jetta as a car that cossets you like something from the next class up. It’s a good place to be.
Saying that, the Golf family, of which this is a member, isn’t the leader it once was in perceived quality, and there are some uninspiring slabs of hard plastic around the cabin. But the firm furniture and vault-like doors reassure you that it’s made of good stuff.
While the Jetta doesn’t have the versatility of a hatch, it does have a colossal boot. And the rear seat backs do flop forwards to extend the bay a bit.
Treat it gently and you can get the Jetta’s service intervals up to 20,000 miles. The TSi and TDI engines are pretty careful with fuel, and insurance isn’t bad - the 200bhp version is group 15 while a Golf GTI is 17. Because, presumably, no-one wants to steal a Jetta or drive it fast.