')">Europe’s largest car manufacturer may not be that famous in India but then they have stuck to their roots. Yes, I am referring to the Volkswagen group. It has got almost all the brands which it has under its umbrella, in India. But then the major attraction towards any Volkswagen product is the German quality associated with it. Didn’t I mention earlier that I am a fan of German engineering? Well, time for the Volkswagen Jetta to enter the scene. This car was launched in India in the year 2008 and it has from that time captured the hearts of all the automobile journalists as well as its customers. While Americans and Europeans are enjoying the 6th generation Jetta, we Indians are been confined to use the fifth generation one. Well, Volkswagen India says that the new Jetta would be launched this year in India. The name Jetta means Jet Stream. Volkswagen are known to name all their cars to wind streams and the like. Today, I have finally got the Volkswagen Jetta in India with me for a review. This would be my first review after the Maruti Kizashi launch last night. Still groggy from last night’s lack of sleep, but definitely alert for the drive, here is my tete-tete with the car.
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If I was in Germany, driving around in a Jetta wouldn’t have yielded any second glance from anyone. But then this is India, where the Jetta is virtually none existent on the roads. The glances or rather second ones that I was receiving is testimony to the fact that this sedan looks good. The Volkswagen Jetta in India may be the older version but then in till the newer model comes (the newer one actually loses some of the older Jetta’s character and looks more like the Vento), we would have to be content with this one. The front end has those peeled back head lamps and in between them, the chrome grille with the Veedub badge. The air dam space has been divided into three different sections, one on both sides for the fog lamps and the middle one for air intake.
The side profile throws in 16 inch alloy wheels with a good design whereas the ORVMS with the flash indicators present in them look cool. Unlike the Civic which is a boy racer type design, the Jetta comes across as a mature individual. Those LED tail lamps like the ones in the Honda Civic and bigger brother Volkswagen Passat infuse some sort of freshness in the design.
The Volkswagen Jetta in India is priced at a considerable premium than its sister concern’s Skoda Laura but then the moment you step inside the car, you would realize where all that premium has gone to. The twin door seals ensure that NVH is lower than the Laura. The top of the line variant that we had came with all the bells and whistles. It had a two tone dash with beige and black interiors. As expected, the build quality is a notch above that of the Skoda Laura which I recently tested. Not that the Skoda lacks in any quality but then as I discussed earlier, the superiority is evident from each and every plastic used. Everything has a soft touch feel to it. The meter dials emit a luminescent red color when lit at the night. The 3 spoke steering wheel has the audio, Bluetooth and cruise controls. But now, I think I am bored of the German interiors. They are so perfect that after sometime you actually start looking out for some flaw in the cabin. Alas, I am disappointed that no such thing can be found inside. Everything looks perfect. Front seats are perfectly contoured. They support you from every angle. The Vienna leather used for the seats also just fits right. Bottle opener, anyone? There is one located in the central console.
A 6 CD changer system with 10 speakers fulfills the audio quotient. Unfortunately there is no USB or Aux input present. There are rain sensing wipers with auto head lamps and auto dimming rear view mirrors. The ORVMs are electrically adjustable. There is a chilled glovebox and just like the Superb, it has got lights everywhere. Open the door and the foot wells light up. There are reading lights, individual for the front and rear passengers. The rear seats, like the Laura are comfortable but then taller passengers would want slightly more leg room. Unlike the Vento, where a lever at the back of the front seat pushes it aft, there is no such arrangement. If three heavily built people try to adjust at the rear, one of them would end up pushing the other from the other door. The automatic climate control system also has individual vents for the rear seat passengers. Boot space is good at 527 liters but then the novelty lies in the fact that 2011 model would get a patented shake you leg under it and boot opens novelty feature. The individually splitting rear seats add to the space equation for loading in heavy luggage.
Handling and ride quality
The Volkswagen Jetta in India rides on lower triangular links with MacPherson struts in the front and at the rear, an independent four-link suspension. It is tuned more to aid handling rather than ride comfort. This does manifest itself when I drove the Jetta over a particularly bad patch of road (by the way, where are the good ones?). The ride was a bit jiggly but then it wasn’t entirely uncomfortable, the stiff setup coming into play. The good point of a stiff setup is that the car doesn’t lose much of a composure on bad roads. Unlike the Japanese, you would be hard pressed to notice a German car to be sagging with a full load of passengers. The steering wheel is also perfectly balanced and much like the Laura but then with a wee bit more feedback. NVH, due to the double sealing lines is also very low and tyre and wind noise are practically absent. It is just that the diesel engine sometimes, up in its rev range becomes noisy.
The grip from the Continental tyres is phenomenal and never once did I feel that things would go bad around a fast corner. Even midcorner bumps didn’t affect its composure much and this saying, the Jetta will appeal to enthusiasts or even the Civic fans. If you love to drive, you must have the Jetta.
Engine, performance and fuel efficiency
The Volkswagen Jetta in India boasts of having a petrol as well as diesel motor under its hood. The petrol engine is the same 1.6 unit doing duties now under the Volkswagen Vento. It produces 102 PS of peak power at 5600 rpm whereas the maximum torque of 148 Nm is produced at 3800 rpm. It is mated to a 5 speed manual. It is an old school unit and one which I am sure that most of the buyers would skip. It goes from 0-100 kmph in 12.3 seconds whereas the top speed that it attains is 186 kmph. The diesel is also the familiar 1.9 liter PD unit. The entire Volkswagen group would shift to common rail engines considering that they have a more linear torque curve as well as score more in reducing the NVH levels. This particular engine makes 105 PS of power at 4000 rpm and a maximum torque of 250 Nm is generated from as low as 1900 rpm. It is mated to a 6 Speed automatic DSG gearbox. The 0-100 kmph run was completed in only 12.8 seconds whereas the top speed is tad more than the petrol at 188 kmph. The best part is the DSG gear box which is a gem and one which is to be experienced. The way it upshifts or downshifts or even lets you select manual override is bliss. You can hold onto a gear in manual and then make full use of the torque.
Brakes for the Volkswagen Jetta are the usual for this segment, front ventilated discs and rear solid discs. Plus put in EBD and ABS and you have more of braking assurance than what you would ever need. Safety as expected in a German car is over the top with side, front, curtain and lateral air bags standard on the top of the line variant. Its another consolation that the same form Jetta got Euro NCAP 5 star ratings for safety.
Fuel efficiency is somehow dented in comparison with the Skoda Laura. The petrol variant returned 9.3 kmpl in the city whereas the highway figure saw it rise to a respectable 14.4 kmpl. The diesel, as we have witnessed in the Skoda Laura has sparkling fuel economy of 12.4 kmpl in city and 16.7 kmpl on the highway. The diesel outshines the petrol even in the acceleration and finally in fuel economy cases as well.
The Volkswagen Jetta in India is a premium offering by the car manufacturer, Volkswagen India. It would compete against the likes of the Skoda Jetta, Toyota Corolla, Chevrolet Cruze and the Honda Civic. To start off with, the Jetta has many things going for it like its premium feel, high rent interiors, competent ride handling package, VW badge and fuel efficient engines.The bad thing is that it is priced steeply than the others and the rear leg room is not sufficient in the wake of such brilliant competition. There are only three variants of this car and they are the Volkswagen Jetta 1.6 Trendline, Volkswagen Jetta 1.9 TDI Trendline and the Volkswagen Jetta 1.9 TDI Comfortline DSG.
The Volkswagen Jetta price in India starts from Rs 12,99,332 for the Volkswagen Jetta 1.6 Trendline and goes all the way to Rs 16,38,252 for the Volkswagen Jetta 1.9 TDI Comfortline DSG model. Steeply priced, yes, very much. But then you pay for quality product, don’t you?