1 Feb 2006
By CHRIS HARRIS
VOLKSWAGEN is pitching its Jetta straight into the mid-sized Japanese family car heartland.
The front-wheel drive, Golf-derived four-door sedan is VW’s replacement for the unloved Bora.
This is despite a 100mm-odd shortfall in the Jetta’s wheelbase and length compared to the competition – a corollary of its Golf V underpinnings.
The base 2.0-litre FSI model is powered by the VW Group’s 1984cc twin-cam 16-valve engine producing 110kW of power at 6000rpm and 200Nm of torque at 3500rpm, and mated to a six-speed manual or six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission.
Next up comes the 2.0 TDI, with its 1968cc turbo-diesel unit offering 103kW at 4000rpm and 320Nm from 1750-2500rpm, paired to a six-speed manual or six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic.
The fastest Jetta is the 2.0TFSI, using a 147kW at 5100-6000rpm and 280Nm from 1800-5000rpm four-cylinder turbocharged powerplant from the popular Golf GTI and married to the DSG-only gearbox.
The Jetta is bigger than the Bora, gaining a 178mm stretch in the body, 13mm and 46mm more height and width respectively, and 65mm in the wheelbase, all for a roomier cabin.
Now there’s 65mm more for legs, a 35mm increase in width and 24mm extra for heads.
Although everything aft of the B pillar is new to the Jetta, the Golf also donates its dashboard wholesale, along with its independent McPherson strut front and independent four-link coil-sprung rear suspension.
The Jetta may be smaller than its rivals but its 572-litre boot capacity beats the Camry (567L) and annihilates its rivals’ efforts as well as the Falcon (504L), Commodore (465L) and Mitsubishi 380 (437L). It also opens automatically.
Production comes from Pueblo in Mexico – the same source for VW’s New Beetle.
Each Jetta includes front, side and curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Brake Assist, ESP stability control, dual-zone climate control air-conditioning, parking radar, cruise control, low tyre-pressure indicator, rain-sensing wipers, ‘come-home’ auto headlights, a multi-function steering wheel, 16-inch alloy wheels and an auto-dimming mirror.
The year 2009 proved to be a busy one, with an engine upgrade (118kW/240Nm 1.4-litre turbocharged and supercharged 118TSI petrol replacing the old 110kW/200Nm 2.0-litre FSI petrol), new nomenclature (103TDI replaced 2.0TDI), and a switch from Mexico to South Africa sourcing.
But the really big changes came late in the year for the MY10 Jetta, when VW introduced cheaper prices, more engine choices and sub-$30,000 entry-level model.
The new opener was the 77TDI diesel manual, delivering 77kW of power at 4400rpm and 250Nm of toque from 1500 to 2500rpm, as well as 4.9L/100km and 127g/km of CO2 emissions.
Drive was to the front wheels via a five-speed manual or new seven-speed dual-clutch wet clutch DSG.
Also on the diesel front, a new-generation 2.0-litre common rail TDI producing an identical 103kW and 320Nm ousted the old Pumpe Dusse 2.0 TDI, while a 125TDI version of this unit was also introduced, pumping out 125kW at 4200rpm and 350Nm at 1750.
Otherwise, the Jetta 118TSI and 147kW/280Nm 147TSI Highline DSG Jettas remained pretty much the same.
Visual changes for the MY10 models were limited to new alloy wheels, centre console, instrumentation, cabin trim and steering wheel.
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