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Volkswagen Jetta Highline review
Driven August 2011
Volkswagen is definitely on the charge and there’s little they are willing to stop at. They rolled out two new cars last year to gain favour with the Indian consumer and have taken it a step further this year. The new Passat was launched a few months earlier and now they’ve given us the brand new Jetta. Unlike the predecessor, this new car does not seem like a car carved out of a Golf and a Passat, instead it looks like the proportionate whole that VW had set out to make it.
There is of course the slight area of contention where some of you might point to the fact that it looks entirely too similar to the Vento, but then family faces seems to be a thing that German manufacturers revel in. This new car of course shares little with the Vento beyond the front end appearance, in fact it shares little with the older Jetta. It is longer and wider like most new cars tend to be and it’s better equipped too.
The interiors have also had a complete makeover and although the basic layout may look familiar it boasts better plastics and materials all around. The touch screen infotainment system has all the features that you have seen in the Passat and the leather upholstery in the top-of-the-line Highline is impressive too. The biggest change from the older Jetta has to be the rear seat legroom though. Most of the 90mm increase in length in the new car has been dedicated to improving legroom and it does a good job of it. The steering mounted controls, high levels of safety features and numerous airbags add to the Jetta’s proposition over everything else present in the segment.
The 2-litre diesel engine is the only one on offer here and you could have it either with a 6-speed manual gearbox or the fantastic six-speed automatic (only on the Highline). The 139bhp combines well with the 320Nm of torque on offer to deliver impressive performance with very little lag in power. However, the six-speed manual does require a bit more effort than the DSG box to extract all of it. Ride and handling is a definite step up over every other VW that we’ve driven here and 16-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Goodyear rubber provides ample grip as well.
Prices were announced earlier in the month for the new Jetta and range between 14.12 lakh to 17.86 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) spread across the three variants on offer. It isn’t the best bargain that you could hope for, but considering the high level of equipment even on the base Trendline variant along with the virtues of the superbly efficient 2-litre diesel makes it one car you cannot ignore. The DSG auto ‘box is only available on the Highline for now, but we hope that will change, because that simply is the one to have.