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Old 16th January 2006, 09:14   #1
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Default VolksWagen Jetta 2.5 A/T

It's been a week since I got the united grey Jetta and it's time to bore you guys with one more review.

I have never been a fan of hatch derieved sedans but I must admit some companies managed to turn hatches into some good looking sedans. Ford did it with the Fiesta derieved Ikon, Fiat did it with the Palio derieved Siena/Petra and upto a few months back VW did it with the Golf derieved Jetta. Back in 2002, VW launched the MK V Golf which is a fantastic looking hatch. To solve the issue of lack of space, the car was given bigger dimesions. Length, breath and height were increased. Then VW got down to redesigning the Jetta and I, personally feel the height of the new Golf did the new Jetta in. Off late, cars are getting taller and while the tall proportions work in a hatch, they just don't in a sedan. Prospecitve Laura customers will see a lot of similarities between the interiors and performance in terms of ride and handling between the Jetta and the new Octavia.


The Jetta gets the face of VW/Audi. A big chrome grille greets you as you walk upto the car. Though I hated the front end earlier, it has grown on me slowly and I must say the grille does give a strong look to these cars. (I will be posting pics of the front view tomorrow). 7 inches longer, 1 inch wider and almost a inch higher, the Jetta has grown up and does look mature for a car of it's size. Wheelbase is up by 2.6 inches giving that all important space and room inside and also adding to stabilty.

The crystal clear headlamps. Note the VW logo in the headlights!

Engine: Disappointing!

Alongwith a new body the Jetta also gets new petrol engines. The base engine is a 2.5L 5 cylinder 150bhp engine with a torque of 170lb ft@3250rpm. Now in case you are wondering how VW came up with this odd configuration of 5 cylinder, let me tell you guys, the engine comes from a very illustrious power plant. Think Lamborgini Gallardo! Yea, this unit is theoritically a half of the Lambo's 5L 10 cylinder unit. Apparently, a lot of engine parts are also common between the two engines. Unfortunately, the 2.5 doesn't get the flamboyance of the Lambo's unit. It may have 150bhp but it sure doesn't feel like it. Maybe because it has to lug about 1375kgs of car around but my S10 actually feels faster and racy compared to this more powerful engine. There is a irritating lag in accelaration which I notice at around 55-65kmph in 5th gear when I am entering a highway and there is a need to accelarate fast and merge into traffic. Otherwise, the engine is just about adequate for everyday driving requirments. On cold start up's the powerplant actually makes a big noise and racket which can at times get scary but within a few seconds it settles down to a very quiet idle. From then on, it's pin drop silence all the way. There is a good chance that India may see this engine in the Skoda Laura Petrol. At this moment, there is a vacancy in the Laura's petrol line up. Considering that the car is being pushed into the D segment, the 2.0L 115bhp unit would be too measly to compete with the Accords and Sonata's. Maybe, Skoda may push this engine into the Laura and price it on par with the old Octavia RS? So guys, don't dismiss this engine away.

Interiors. Comfort and Conviniance: Prospective Laura customers, read this carefully!

German cars are all about the small things that making living with them and sitting in them a pleasure. The Jetta doesn't disappoint. One good thing done by VW is that they have done away with the CL, GL, GLS nomenclatures that other car-makers use to diffrentiate their models. Simplicity is what the car is all about. Almost everything is standard equipment in the car. Power windows with auto up/down driver and passenger, power heated mirrors with integrated side blinkers, heated windshield washer nozzles, heated seats, ABS, ASR (ESP is a $450 option), 3 12volt power outlets, cruise control, 10 speaker sound system with Am/FM stereo and in-dash single CD ( you can upgrade to a in dash 6 CD system), Air conditioned glovebox and center arm rest that can be moved front or back alongwith seat adjustments, extendable sun visors, remote keyless entry are all standard. I am not too big a fan of the electro-mechanical power steering. I can't pinpoint what it is that I am not liking but somehow I am not comfortable with it. Maybe it's a matter of time and I may change my opinion but as of now I am not too into it. Ride and handling is brillaint. The suspension is straight from the MK V Golf. All independant all round , the car grips rounds corners well and rides over minor bumps with ease. Still, I would rate the ride and handling of the Palio way better then the new Jetta. Nothing wrong with the Jetta, just that Palio feels much more confidence insipiring around corners and even over bumps and pot holes. BUt I have to hand it to VW, there are some neat comfort and conviniance features which I am sure will also be on the Laura.

1. Lane change indicators: Tap on the indicator stalk and it blinks 3 times allowing you to change lanes and stops automatically.
2. When the windshield washer is activated, the wipers make 3 wipes and stop. Then a few drops tend to trickle down. To counter that the wipers make one more wipe after a few seconds. Really neat!

The 6 speed Automatic with sport mode and tiptronic works well. With the extra cog the engine breathes easier and feels more smooth overall. Most interesting part is that VW's automatic transmissions are adaptive. They sense the driving style of the driver in 4 shifts and change shift patterns accordingly. The feel of the transmission is also much better then the earlier one but obviously it's no DSG. Although it's slow to shift the lag which I felt in my Golf is now gone. I don't know if it shifts faster then the last generation oen but it sure feels like a faster shifting one.


VW's MK V models are doing brilliantly on safety. The car comes with 4 air bags as standard. ABS and traction control in the form of ASR is standard although my car has ESP instead. It also features active head restrains that protect occupants in case of whiplash. The Insurance Institute of highway safety gave a good rank to Jetta in front impact crash rating and a "best pick" ranking in the side impact crash tests. Way to go VW!

The Jetta is designed as a family sedan and it performs admirably in this role. Despite a larger more powerfull engine, it's not a fun to drive car. For that VW has the 2.0T engine. But as a point A to B car the Jetta is up there with the best. Ride and handling is really good and interiors are neatly built. Touch and feel is given tremendous importance and every control and button has a high quality premium feel to it. Sadly, the thud of the doors from the MK IV Jetta is not carried over. Ironically, the MK IV Golf/Jetta's doors don't close with the THUNK of the Palio.

I have driven the best from Germany and VW's just don't make me feel as special as I feel when I sit and drive my Palio. The Jetta doesn't make me take the long route home. Thats something the Palio made me do everyday.

Last edited by amit : 16th January 2006 at 09:20.
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Old 18th January 2006, 07:08   #2
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Some more points.

1.When driving in high winds there is a fair amount of wind noise near the A pillar and around the door rear view mirrors. Apparently, VW is working on fixing this issue.

2.The footwell sometimes seems cramped to me. Also, I don't really like the biggish accelarator pedal. Reminds me of the Ambassador! Last generation Golf's and Jetta's had the little square foot pedals for the accelarator which was better. Take a look at the pic so this makes more sense.

Front View.

I am beginning to appreciate the practicality, extra space and comfort of the MK V model range. Behind the "not so German" and "not so European" looks, the car is extremely user friendly, spacious, and full of neat little comfort and conviniance features. VW have worked well and have succeded in solving the space and comfort issues of the last generation models. Handling is way better then MK IV Golf thanks to fully independant suspension. The car feels really sharp around corners and that wooly handling feel of MK IV range has again been solved.

Last edited by amit : 18th January 2006 at 07:13.
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