Driven: 2015 Volkswagen Jetta
The Jetta, launched in India in mid-2011, has now been given a nip-and-tuck, pretty much on the lines of what its smaller siblings - Polo and Vento - got. But, does that make it relevant in the small ?15-20 lakh executive segment that's currently dominated by Toyota Corolla and Skoda Octavia?As is the norm, this is a mid-life facelift for the sixth-generation sedan. The changes aren't big, but enough to keep the existing interest in the model intact. These include a 'chromier' and larger central grille, which manages to bring a bit of freshness, coupled with the new-look front bumper that now houses squarish foglamps, giving the Jetta a purposeful look - same as the erstwhile Passat. There is relatively more action at the rear with new, sharper taillights, a redesigned boot-lid with a noticeable spoiler lip and angular rear bumper. There are updates on the interiors as well. The Jetta now gets a flat-bottomed steering wheel, piano-black finished centre console and white on black instrument display read outs. The overall layout remains the same and looks quite conventional. Nothing gimmicky going on here. The seats are large and well cushioned and there is enough room for five passengers.On the move, the Jetta remains one of the most well-behaved and comfortable executive sedans out there. Ride is firm but supple. The steering feels nice to hold and is communicative enough for you to feel confident to go faster, when needed. Body roll is controlled and the car feels solidly planted on the road. There is a calm undertone to the overall drive feel.Under the hood, there is the option of either the 2.0-litre, 138bhp/320Nm turbo diesel or the tiny but potent 1.4-litre, 120bhp/200Nm TSI petrol. The diesel is mated to a six-speed manual or a six-speed DSG (dual-clutch automatic) gearbox, and the petrol, with a six-speed manual transmission. While the petrol doesn't feel underpowered, the diesel remains our pick here with enough torque at the low-end and more than enough power at the top. Both engines are easy to rev and better cabin-insulation means lesser noise inside. While we drove the left-hand-drive version in Wolfsburg, the Indian spec will have an identical look and feel. A touchscreen multimedia system with GPS will also be offered on higher variants. Even some additional safety features like driver fatigue alert will be incorporated for the first time in the Jetta. Equally important - six airbags come as standard across the variants.While the Jetta is currently the second-most selling Volkswagen around the world, in India it has been lagging behind the Toyota Corolla and Skoda Octavia. VW hopes that things will change with this update. The current changes may not look as significant as a full model change, but the facelift will surely bring the Jetta back into people's mind. Whether it will overtake its formidable rivals remain to be seen, but there's no doubt that the Jetta remains a properly-built German car that can carry-on the role of an executive saloon with ease and a bit of oomph.The numbers2.0 TDI\: 1968cc, 6M/6A, 138bhp, 320Nm, 19.3kpl*2.0 TSI\: 1390cc, 6M, 120bhp/200Nm, 14.69kpl*Ground clearance\: 159mmPrice\: ?13.87-19.77 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai)
The verdictSubtle changes to a sorted design, but it remains the same solid, German saloon that feels more than capable for a drive to that golf course meeting - in the city or outside it.