Volkswagen Jetta 1.4 TSI – First Drive Impressions
Showing all your cards at one go is a bit of a double-edged sword.
It’s undoubtedly great for effect, where the blanket covers significant acreage in one swipe, and it also allows one to understand the philosophy and underlying values at work in much more complete fashion.
It can also prove to be a distraction. Not so much for the person sampling the wares, but rather in how each is perceived.
There’s a distinct difference in taking each on an individual basis, as opposed to when they’re all lumped together.
The danger, of course, is that it ends up showing each other up in some areas, even if the products in question don’t ply their wares in the same category and class.
Not much where the exterior is concerned. The headlamps are of the halogen variety, you get front fog lamps, twin exhaust tailpipes and Navarra 16-inch five-spoke alloys shod with 205/55 series Tyres, and that just about sums it up with this one, which is 90 mm longer than the previous generation model.
It’s all in keeping with the presentation – the exterior shape, which VW is proud to say doesn’t share any common panels with the Golf Mk VI (and thus, should not be viewed as a Golf with a boot, so it goes!), has an austerity about it.
Much of it is to do with the strong shoulder line, which is supposed to make the car look lower and to lend it better athleticism.
I wouldn’t go as far as to call the Jetta sporty; the simplest way to describe it would be that it’s all business-like with this one.
I quite like the rear though – there’s a fair bit of Audi A4 in there, especially with the rear lamp arrangement.
Interior items include a Climatronic air-conditioning system with two-zone temperature control, a RCD310 audio system and a three-spoke leather steering wheel with paddle shifters.
It also has Park Distance Control (PDC) for the front and rear, rain sensing wipers, cruise control and seats covered in ‘Sienna’ fabric.
There’s less sense of occasion compared to the Passat, but that’s pretty much to be expected.
In the safety department, there’s the usual mix of ABS, EBD and BA, as well as TCS and ESP, and six airbags (front, front side and front/rear curtain), Isofix points on the rear seats and Hill-hold control.
Elsewhere, other numbers for the car include 510 litres of boot space, an 8.3 seconds 0-100 km/h sprint time, a top speed of 221 km/h and a combined fuel consumption of 6.0 litres per 100 km.
This lends the car the best drivability of the lot, with the overall tone being brisk, dynamic and even cheerful in character, something you wouldn’t expect as you give the exterior the twice over when you walk up to the car.
Of course, like as with all good, no-nonsense family sedans, this isn’t what most Jetta owners are likely to do, be a bit scatter-brained about it all.
Away from those hijinks moments, which should theoretically be few and far in between, the car accomplishes its intended brief very respectably.
The thing is, you come up to it expecting less than what you eventually get, from a driving point of view at least, and that surely can’t be a bad thing.