')">The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta in India saw its launch pad being shared with the 2011 Maruti Swift. Not only this, the Jetta’s launch was also overshadowed by the fact that it was a car which was launched at a price point at which approximately 3 Swift base version petrol models can be brought. Forget all those things and there is still the image of VW after sales lurking in the back. Amidst all this things, we got a 2011 Volkswagen Jetta with us for a review and let us assure you that this is a car which would blow away all those doubts creeping in one’s mind. Talk of it and this is the 6th generation Jetta, making its debut in India. Under the skin, the Jetta makes use of the PQ35 platform, the same one that the previous generation Jetta used. If you are still interested, read on the complete review of this car.
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Is this a new Vento or what? These were the questions that we had to field during the entire time that we had with the car. Can’t blame the commoner though. Volkswagen have intentionally given this car a family look and this one would percolate down even to the upcoming small car, the VW Up. It is said that even though the platform remains the same, the new Jetta doesn’t even share a single panel with its outgoing model. The grille of this car is a flat one and the design can be called as sharp and also edgy. 16 inch alloy wheels are a standard fare though the design would vary depending on which variant one is going for. From the sides, the memories of Passat CC get refreshed with the coupe like silhouette. The ORVMs look inspired from the higher up Passat model. At the rear, this car looks strikingly similar to the Audi A4. Like they say, “All in a family”. Seems like the designers for the VW Jetta didn’t have much tinkering around to do and dipped deep into the VW parts bin. A mock diffuser as also twin tail pipes break the monotony of the design at the rear.
Like the exteriors, the interiors is one place which is strikingly similar to other VW cars we have seen here. Infact, talks of the interiors taking a dip as far as quality is concerned is vaguely true. Vaguely coz there are some soft touch bits but not overtly so as we had come to expect from the previous generation Jetta. We would rather term this new interiors are functional and simple. The steering wheel is still the same as used in the Polo, Vento and many other models. Why, even the meter dials is something which is shared with the other VW models. Build quality appears to be solid with the feel of the upper part of the dash looking soft while the lower part is made up of hard materials. Instead of pure leather as can be found on the previous Jetta, this one uses textured vinyl material while pure leather adorns the gear stick, steering wheel and also the hand brake. Like in the Passat, the top of the line Highline model gets a touch screen infotainment system with a 6 CD changer system in place. Park Distance Control is available but no reverse camera is on offer. A glaring omission would be of the auto climate control, which surprisingly, is not even present on the top end variant.
As for the seats, there is no mistaking the good lumbar as also thigh support that the front ones offer. The driver is a lucky person to get a 12 way adjustable electrical seat. However, for that, he has to buy the top end Jetta model. At the rear, things have improved a bit from the outgoing model what with VW claiming to have increased the length of the car. But then chauffer driven people better beware of the transmission tunnel intrusion, which is a bit more than one would actually like. In a bid to make the interiors roomy, VW engineers ended up eating the boot space and this has resulted in a 510 liters boot space. The entire rear seat is collapsible and hence adds to the boot space but we wonder how many Jetta owners would actually do that.
Handling and ride quality
McPherson struts in the front and multi link suspension at the rear ensure that the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta in India carries the same setup as its European namesake. The steering wheel is an electrical unit designed to cut the loss in power and also aid the fuel efficiency factor. Though electric in nature, it delivers decent feedback at high speeds. We, however, liked the Laura’s unit better. The ride quality, unlike its Czech cousin isn’t too stiff and neither is it too soft. In other words, perfect for the Indian roads. The low profile nature of the Jetta’s rubber boots may have contributed to this ride quality. However, driving the 2011 Jetta isn’t too much of fun especially with the loose body control around corners. The NVH is at par with the Laura and infact a wee bit better damped than the diesel unit in the Laura. Visibility levels are also good and infact, it only towards the rear that the visibility is affected to some extent.
Engine, performance and fuel efficiency
When the Jetta was first launched in India, it came with a petrol and diesel engine. However, for the 2011 version, there is a diesel engine on offer. Only. Considering the Indian demands, this one just suits fine. The 2.0 liter 4 cylinder pot is a common rail turbo diesel engine making 138 Bhp of power and 320 Nm of torque. A choice of 6 speed manual and DSG is available. The latter is available only on the top end version. Not only this, it also has paddle shifters to suit the enthusiast. This engine shifts the mass of Jetta from 0-100 kmph in 11 seconds. The momentum doesn’t end until 190 kmph. Cruising is second nature to diesel engines and the Jetta’s engine doesn’t disappoint in that. Infact, we could cruise all day at 140 kmph and the engine kept begging for more.
All wheel disc brakes are the norm in this segment and the addition of 8 airbags (on Highline model, other gets 6 airbags) means that the Jetta is one safe vehicle. The Euro NCAP ratings also seem to agree with this fact. Not only this, there is traction control, ABS and EDL. ABS sensors are used by the latter to check for wheel slippage and accordingly shovel in more power to that wheel and hence get it out of slippery conditions.
Fuel efficiency is the criteria for any diesel car in India and this one returns 19.3 kmpl with the manual transmission car while the DSG one noticeably returns lower fuel efficiency. Its efficiency is pegged at 16.9 kmpl. All these figures are ARAI certified figures.
Nothing new in this except for the bump in power, omission of some necessary luxury features and then again a petrol engine, the 2011 Jetta doesn’t break any new moulds. Instead new comers like the Cruze and also the Fluence are far better in terms of the equipment levels and just as feel solidly built. Moreover, the looks wouldn’t excite anyone given that its smaller siblings like the Polo and Vento share the same face. Apart from that certain VW strong points remain like the build quality, choice of transmissions and fuel efficiency. Even the older 1.9 pump duese engine was good in that aspect. For the chauffer driven, this one wouldn’t be exactly ideal but then if there would only be two passengers in the rear, they would be comfortable to a great extent. What would certainly be playing on the minds of car buying public would be the high handed attitude of VW sales and aftersales. Service intervals remain the same 15k kms or 1 year whichever is earlier. The service costs are said to be exorbitant considering that a hatchback like the Polo has costs to the tune of Rs 10k. This is something that was openly discussed in a forum by a Polo owner. The prices for the 2011 Jetta are competitive especially considering the price of the previous model. The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta price in India starts from Rs 14.12 lakhs while the top end model in DSG guise is available for Rs 17.86 lakhs. All these prices are ex-show room, Delhi. The three variants of the Jetta are Trendline, Comfortline and Highline. How it would stack up against the competition is something which remains to be seen and only a proper comparison test would reveal. Its main competitors are Toyota Corolla Altis, Renault Fluence, Chevrolet Cruze, Skoda Laura and Honda Civic. Of all these models, only the Civic is available strictly with a petrol engine while the Cruze like the Jetta comes in only with a diesel engine. It is said that a Jetta petrol probably a TSI unit would be made available within 6 months. As of now, VW have plans of selling about 4k-5k units of the Jetta every year.