By Chips Yap
Group Managing Editor
Group Managing Editor
Price in Malaysia: RM149,888
On sale: From October 20, 2011
Tech highlights: 1390 cc 4 cyl petrol engine with supercharger and turbocharger; 160 ps at 5800 rpm, 240 Nm at 1500–4500 rpm; 7-speed DSG; 0–100 km/h 8.3 secs; top speed 221 km/h
What is it?
Sixth generation of Volkswagen’s challenger to rivals like the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic. Previous Jetta generations were adapted from the Golf but this generation is totally new and developed independently from the hatchback. Made at VW’s factory in Mexico which is the global production source for the model. One of the two models which will be assembled in Malaysia soon (the other being the Passat).
|1.4-litre engine with supercharger and turbocharger produces 160 ps/240 Nm and costs only RM70 a year in roadtax (RM140 shown on roadtax sticker is the rate for company registration)|
What’s it like?
It’s hard to believe that this car has a 1.4-litre engine under the bonnet. On the drive from KL to Penang, the Jetta just did not feel like a 1.4-litre model and the way it overtook other traffic on the highway was simply ridiculous. The combination of supercharger and turbocharger gives linear acceleration from the low end and it just keeps building speed all the way to 200 km/h. And at higher speeds, NVH is well suppressed that you can’t tell how fast you’re going unless you look at the speedometer.
While the Golf TSI has the same engine, the driving dynamics are clearly different and I felt that the Jetta with its longer body was much more stable. Unless you do something stupid in a corner, it will track through obediently and the independent multi-link rear suspension soaks up undulations efficiently. The ride felt a bit firm but not objectionably so.
Like the Golf TSI, the strong, stable braking power of the Jetta gives the driver confidence to approach corners at higher speeds knowing that if necessary, it will be possible to decelerate quickly. The lightning-quick shifts of the DSG also make down-shifting a joy as almost every corner passes by in a blur.
The TSI engine is powerful but because of its small displacement, it can also be economical. At a steady 110 km/h, it could go up to 15 kms/litre but pushed hard, the consumption would be double, dropping to 7 kms/litre. So it’s really up to you which you want – economy or performance… or a little bit of both.
Fit and finish are what you’d expect from a Volkswagen and the equipment level is also high. The only thing missing was electric adjustment for the seats; somehow, the absence of this particular feature on a Volkswagen – any Volkswagen – is an omission that is unacceptable because of the premium positioning of the brand.
Should I buy one?
This is a car that excels in virtually every aspect. It looks good, performs well, rides comfortably, feels solid and you definitely get your money’s worth. It usually takes a while for me to become enthusiastic about a new car that I test (that is if it is good) but with the Jetta, the enthusiasm began within the first few kilometres of driving and never went away. It’s that good.
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