Skip advert
Advertisement

Volkswagen Jetta 2.0 TSI

Is Golf-based saloon still a bridge too far for British buyers? We hit the road in the US to find out.

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Find your Volkswagen Jetta
Offers from our trusted partners on this car and its predecessors...
Hassle-free way to a brand new car
Or are you looking to sell your car?
Customers got an average £1000 more vs part exchange quotes
Advertisement

Volkswagen’s decision to give the Jetta its own identity has paid off. The new car looks great and performs well, providing all the quality of a Golf with more rear seat and boot space. With the 2.0-litre TSI engine, it’s capable in town and on motorways, and the DSG box manages performance well. The Jetta is a respectable all-rounder, and if you don’t need the extra practicality that a hatchback offers, it’s well worth a look.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Is this the gateway to increased family car success for Volkswagen? In the past, saloon versions of the Golf have proven more popular outside the UK than in it.

But with the new Jetta, the German firm is keen to secure a big hit on both sides of the Atlantic. So Auto Express headed to San Francisco to see if it can tempt British buyers out of their hatchbacks.

It’s certainly good looking. Inspired by the NCC concept car – revealed at the Detroit Motor Show in January – it doesn’t share a single panel with the Golf, and has a clear and crisp look all of its own. Factor in a classy roofline and upmarket lights, and it looks every inch the baby Passat.

What’s more, the newcomer is 90mm longer than the previous Jetta – 70mm of which is between the wheels. This means 67mm more legroom and an impressive boot capacity of 510 litres – which is 160 litres up on the Golf. So although it doesn’t have the easy loading ability of a hatchback, the saloon is practical for passengers and luggage alike, with six-footers able to sit in the back in comfort.

The cabin will be familiar to Golf owners – it’s a classy environment, with soft-touch plastics and great build quality. Each Jetta benefits from a multimedia display for the stereo and air-conditioning functions, with buyers also having the option of a touchscreen sat-nav system.

Under the skin, European-spec models get a four-link rear suspension set-up. This provides strong agility and a grown-up driving experience, with
minimum body roll and a comfortable ride.

Four petrol and two diesel engines will be available from launch next May. Turbocharged TSI petrol engines range from the entry-level 103bhp 1.2-litre to a 1.4-litre offering 121bhp and 158bhp. The top-spec 2.0-litre TSI has 197bhp.

Diesel fans can pick from 103bhp 1.6 and 138bhp 2.0-litre TDI units. BlueMotion versions of the Jetta will offer a choice of 1.2 TSI and 1.6-litre TDI engines, with stop-start and brake energy regeneration helping the 1.6 achieve 67mpg and 109g/km of CO2.

The car we drove was equipped with the 197bhp 2.0-litre TSI engine. Hooked up to VW’s seven-speed DSG twin-clutch transmission, it provides strong, smooth performance, with the 0-62mph sprint taking around seven seconds. Yet it also promises nearly 40mpg combined.

It’s punchy and refined, although we’d go for a diesel, which will offer nearly as much pace with even stronger efficiency. So is the Jetta now a more viable Golf alternative? Well, it looks the part, drives very well and shouldn’t cost too much to run. It’s got more appeal than ever.

Rival: Ford Focus saloon
All-new Focus four-door arrives with the hatch next year. It gets a fresh front-wheel-drive platform, even more interior space, sharper driving dynamics and new EcoBoost turbo petrol engines.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

Dacia’s Duster is Britain’s best car to own as Driver Power 2024 survey results land
Dacia Duster - front tracking
News

Dacia’s Duster is Britain’s best car to own as Driver Power 2024 survey results land

Owners have voted the Dacia Duster as the most satisfying new car to own in the 2024 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey
11 Jun 2024
Best cars to own: Driver Power 2024 results
Driver Power 2024 - best cars to own header
News

Best cars to own: Driver Power 2024 results

The best new cars to own in the UK right now according to the people who already do. It’s the 2024 Driver Power results!
11 Jun 2024
New Porsche 911 S/T 2024 review: one of the best sports cars ever built
Porsche 911 S/T - front
Road tests

New Porsche 911 S/T 2024 review: one of the best sports cars ever built

Porsche’s last hurrah for the 992.1 generation 911 is an epic driving machine with just the right dose of luxury
12 Jun 2024