There are two types of car enthusiasts; the ones who have a strong liking towards cars that only looks fast, and there are people who love cars that has plenty of power under an unassuming skin. The latter are affectionately referred to as ‘Sleepers’, which may look and drive like an ordinary car, but pack a huge punch under the hood, capable of bursting bubbles of drivers who underestimates.
Cars like these would typically come in unassuming four-door sedans or five-door estates guises albeit with subtle differences like badging, grille and wider wheel arches which sets them apart from the standard variants. But, there are also cars that are fast right out of the box. Volkswagen Cars typically offer subtle and balanced products for an affordable price that can suit the requirements of a retiree or an enthusiast performance driver. This brings us to the Volkswagen Jetta TSI fitted with the range-topping Highline goodies.
Forward illumination comes from its Bi-Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights with automatic headlight activation with ‘Leaving Home’ and ‘Coming Home’ functions and side mirrors with environment lighting assist drivers in dark areas. The headlights also come with headlamp washer system that sprays a jet of washer fluid that cleans dirt and grime improving visibility while driving on dusty and muddy roads at night.
The Vienna leather wrapped seats are comfortable and supportive suitable for long distance travels and spirited driving. Both driver and passenger seats in the Jetta come are height-adjustable; the driver seat is electrically adjustable, while the passenger seat is mechanical.
The Jetta comes with a flat-bottom sports steering wheel that comes with tilt and telescopic adjustments, allowing drivers of many shapes and sizes to find their optimal driving position. It also comes equipped with modern day conveniences such as a KESSY keyless entry and push start, leather multi-function steering wheel with paddle shifters allowing the driver to shift up and down through all seven ratios of the DSG dual-clutch transmission.
At the back, the rear seats can accommodate two adults comfortably with generous head and legroom. There is possibility to fit three fully-grown adults, but it’s comfortable enough for short distance traveling. Minus the third person in the middle and the rear passengers will get to use the Jetta’s retractable armrest and rear air-conditioning vents. Occupants can find deep cubbyholes in the front centre console and below the rear air-con vents, while deep door pockets will be able to fit large water bottles.
If you’re familiar with Volkswagen cars, the Jetta’s dashboard layout is similar to the previous B7 saloon down to the location of the boot release switch. The interior is well assembled with good fit and finish with an impressively upmarket aura. The switches and dials offer solid tactile feedback and located within the driver and passenger’s reach. The Jetta’s interior is ergonomically as sound as almost any other VW-group product, so it should be no surprise to find that it’s relatively easy to get in and out of.
The Jetta also comes with modern neat features such as the auto-dimming rear view mirror, cruise control, automatic power windows with anti-pinch, cruise control, auto power windows and cooled glove compartment should you need to keep your chocolate bar from melting.
It may share the same platform with the Golf hatchback, but the Jetta enjoys a lot more storage space at the rear. Here you can find 510-litres, which is 130-litres up on the Golf hatch, and rivalling most cars within the C- and D-segments. A full size steel spare wheel can be found under the boot floor partition as well. Likewise with for the front and rear passengers, you can also find a 12V power socket in the boot compartment.
The range-topping Jetta TSI Highline is powered by a 1.4-litre turbocharged direct injection TSI engine, producing an output of 147hp, with a maximum torque output of 250Nm, which currently is the highest torque output in its class.
Paired with the 1.4 TSI engine is a BorgWarner sourced 7-speed DSG automatic transmission, which makes it possible for the Vento Highline to achieve a frugal fuel consumption figure of 5.0l/100km as tested. The Jetta receives the EEV (Energy Efficient Vehicle) government incentive thanks to its newly added features such as start stop function, regenerative braking and coasting function.
Many performance-driving enthusiast will wonder if the Jetta can be driven spiritedly on the windy bits? Of course, and as a matter of fact, you can do that in any car. But as far as the Jetta is concerned, it has a tendency to understeer, which is normal for most front-wheel drive cars. That can be cured by off throttling into corner entry, however by doing so, the stability control kicks in instantly preventing the rear from rotating excessively. Moreover, you’re able to do minor mid-corner corrections as long the front tyres have traction. Braking is strong and the brake pedal feels firm allowing good amounts of modulation.
When it comes to straight-line acceleration, the Jetta is able to do so effortlessly. The 250Nm maximum torque output from the 1.4 TSI engine and the quick DSG gearbox allows the Jetta to punch its way up to highway speeds effortlessly.
But if you’re timid driver, the Jetta can be a good companion if you have to go through sketchy road conditions; it comes standard with six-airbags, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Anti-Locking Braking System (ABS), and Brake Assist (BA), Intelligent Crash Respond System (ICRS) as well as hill-hold control. However, if the proverbial dirt hits the fan, the Jetta comes equipped with multi-collision brake control, which stops the vehicle on its tracks when the system detects an airbag deployment in an event of a frontal collision.
Both driver and passengers can enjoy travelling on long road trips in the new Jetta, and what’s more is that the driver can enjoy its forgiving yet agile handling characteristics with its punchy turbocharged 1.4-litre engine has all the power and torque that an everyday driver needs be it in town or on the open road. The new Jetta is a car that you can definitely live with every day cocooned in comfort and practicality.
Plus, the brand has improved a lot since; Volkswagen Malaysia has came fifth overall in the J.D Power Survey Customer Service Index (CSI) Study recently based on the feedback from randomly chosen existing customers. That being said, if you do opt for one, you will be getting Volkswagen’s 5 Year Manufacturer’s Warranty, 5 Years roadside service with 15,000km service schedule.
+ Unassuming exterior
+ Upmarket interior
+ Frugal fuel consumption
+ Fast acceleration
Jetta TSI Highline
Price Msia: RM129,578.00 (OTR excluding insurance)
Engine: 1.4-litre in-line four-cylinder turbocharged
Top Speed: 230km/h (Tested)
Fuel consumption: 5.0 litres/100km (Tested)