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Old 24th September 2011, 21:32   #1
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Default 2011 Volkswagen Jetta Highline AT

Epilogue

Fast-forward to 2016: I'm trying to sell the car I bought in 2011. I can imagine the questions that I will have to answer:

1. 2011 model? Isnt that the one they launched without even the stuff that comes with the Vento Highline? Why didn't you wait a year for the upgrade?

2. How much did you pay!? For a Jetta? Why didn't you buy a Skoda Superb, or at least the L&K? (At least no one says Accord now)

3. Diesel? Doesn't make sense now, dude. Its even more expensive than petrol.

But I'm used to making these "impractical" decisions. I bought a Ford Fusion in 2005. A petrol car which gives me a mileage less than a Superb, and I'm trying to sell for slightly higher than scrap value in 2011.

So here's the story of why it makes sense in my head.

Last edited by Aurum : 1st October 2011 at 20:25.
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Old 30th September 2011, 20:10   #2
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Default Re: 2011 Jetta Highline AT

Prologue
If you had asked me in 2008 what I would have upgraded to from the Fusion, I would have said the Corolla or the Civic. But no, I wasnt upgrading in 2008. I was upgrading in 2009. And here's what happened in 2008 that changed my thinking. I spent 6 months in South Africa. That country is owned by Volkswagen. OK, thats an exaggeration. Its owned by the German autos, with VW having the lion's share.

I started with driving the Polo as my rental car. It was the first German I car I had driven. I loved it, with or without the boot. Somewhere along the way, I got "upgraded" to a Corolla, and then upgraded again to an A class. In between, I drove the Passat, the Mini and the C class on occasion. It struck me that I enjoyed driving all of them except the Corolla. (As a side note, the Corolla here is significantly better equipped compared to the SA one, but that's another story. Also, I don't remember ever seeing a Skoda).

When I came back to India, I was still a year away from switching cars, but my mind was already made up. It was going to be German. Couldn't afford the luxury marques, so it had to be VW or Skoda. It was going to be automatic. I had tasted blood in SA. I now had to be convinced about why manual, rather than vice versa.

I was a fan of Team-BHP then as well, but had been rejected membership due to bad English (if I remember correctly). I read all the horror stories about Skoda, and pretty much developed a bias against Skoda pretty early on.

So it started.

Last edited by Aurum : 1st October 2011 at 19:58.
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Old 30th September 2011, 20:22   #3
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Default Re: 2011 Jetta Highline AT

The 2 year selection process

I went to VW Downtown and drove the Jetta automatic on Worli Seaface. Wow! The damn thing was planted on the road, irrespective of what you did. It just didn't shake your confidence. And the gadgetry! I am just a fan of gizmos, and this was high quality stuff. Rain sensing wipers, pinch guard, touch screen audio, the motion detector thingy, the works! Just two small peeves...

1. Was it slightly underpowered, or was it my imagination? I didnt go just by BHP. The Fusion was 100 BHP, and this one was supposed to be only marginally higher, but it felt much more powerful. It surely wasn't under-powered, but ehh...
2. The rear bench was a bit tight. I am 6'1", and tend to get driven a lot. That really makes a difference to me.

But hey, these are things I could live with. The power was enough for teh city. Push the seat ahead. No problems. So lets close it!

But...

I started reading on this forum that the P-D would switch to CRDI to meet Bharat-IV requirements. Dammit! No way I am buying a technology at the fag end of its cycle. So lets wait till Apr 2010.

Last edited by Aurum : 1st October 2011 at 20:02.
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Old 30th September 2011, 20:44   #4
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Default Re: 2011 Jetta Highline AT

The 2 year selection process (Contd.)

Come April 2010, and its true! Its the new engine. No auto. What!?!?

So whens the auto coming? No idea, sir.

In 6 months? I'll wait. No idea, sir.

Hope started to fade in a month or two, and thats when the Skoda came in the picture.

The Laura L&K! A more powerful engine, more gizmos, and it was just a year or so in the market, so still looking fresh! I took a drive.

What awesome power! Look at all those buttons and xenons. Fantastic!

But...

It didn't drive the same. There was something about the drive and the ride that placed it in my mind between being pure German and slightly Jappu. That slight cushiness and bounciness, that slightly higher seating position, dont know whether it was reality or perception. The rear bench was definitely better than the Jetta, but not by much more. And it was a Skoda - horror stories were continuing on T-BHP.

By this time, there was talk about a new gen Jetta on VWVortex. Dammit! Not again. So I waited. It released in Aug 2010 in the US. I liked the shape, but that didnt matter. Looks would never drive my decision. I waited for news on when it would release in India and the specs.

During the long wait (of a year), I took a decision. The new Indian Jetta better have more space, a good engine, auto, and it better not be the super-cheap US version. Else I'm going to save money, buy Jap this time, and think about a German marque in 6 years.

Last edited by Aurum : 1st October 2011 at 20:05.
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Old 30th September 2011, 21:04   #5
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Default Re: 2011 Jetta Highline AT

Closing the deal - Aug 2011

I followed the launch in India live! Roomier, more powerful, and an auto!

But... only on the highest end, and that too had no ACC, Xenons, leather, bluetooth. Dammit!

I hate these VW guys. They never make it easy. I know the next upgrade will have these features, but it was already two years that I had postponed buying a car. I had to take a call.

Once I heard the prices, I really started thinking. Really, this much? Why not the L&K or the Superb? The L&K got eliminated quickly. I was already underwhelmed by the L&K on two factors important to me. The drive and rear seat space. It was also a lakh more expensive, though on decisions like this I don't let a lakh influence me. The Superb 1.8 Auto seemed like a stretch (in more ways than one), but something I thought I should definitely give a shot.

My parents were in Mumbai. We all went for the Superb test drive together. Wow! what a responsive engine and gearbox. What luxurious interiors! My dad, while sitting in the rear, indicated that there was enough space to keep a suitcase in front of him. My 2 year may actually get tired if allowed to run around in the back! But then we came back home, and I ran a few numbers. Over six years, the lifecycle cost between the Superb 1.8 AT and the Jetta AT widens to nearly 10 lakhs if petrol and diesel prices were to stay the same. Interestingly, the same calculations also told me that over 6 years, the price differential between a Corolla and Jetta would narrow to around 1.5 lakhs, not even accounting for the difference in resale.

So I waited for the new Jetta test drive.The VW downtown guys were very nice about showing me the car, but despite showing active interest, the guy never informed me when the prices were announced, or got back to me on the test-drive. Meanwhile I had already spoken to Mumbai West. That lady was responsive! She arranged for a test drive within a day of the car having arrived with them.

They brought the car to my place and we went for a drive. Aaahhh! The same old drive with a much more responsive engine. Lovely! So no compromises there. The DSG was still as mind-reading. The ride is not cushy, mind you. At low speeds, this car is not the most forgiving. In the back you will feel like more feedback is being sent to your bottom than you'd like. That changes above 25-30 kmph. Suddenly the car is all about how it responds. It pushes you to the back of your seat when you want it to. It brakes sharply like you expect it to. A pretty level ride. When you corner, it stays planted without breaking a sweat. Coming from a Fusion (the other extreme in terms of cornering ability), I cant believe how this car does it (OK, exaggeration).

So heres the tally
- More leg room - check
- Same drive/ride - check
- More powerful engine - CHECK
- DSG - check
- fewer gizmos - grr
- Too expensive by a lakh - grrr

I decided to take the plunge anyway. There was no other choice that I would have been more comfortable with. My wife always knew I would go for it, and that all these criteria existed just to make me feel like I was objective about it, but still humoured me when I looked at other cars.

Also we loved the Toffee Braun colour, and decided to go for it.

So back to the questions on top:

1. Why buy the 2011 model and not wait for the upgrade? Had already waited too long, and couldnt wait any longer. If you can wait for a year, I think it will be a better deal next year with more gizmos at the same price.

2. Why not Laura L&K or Superb? Details above.

3. Why diesel? No option. If this car was available for cheaper with the 1.8 Tsi (DSG of course), would have jumped for it despite the current petrol prices.

The Dealership Experience
Volkswagen Mumbai West was great, to be honest, primarily because of the sales rep. Despite the fact that she arranged the test drive and gave me all the information, the actual sale was managed by my leasing company through corporate sales. Her incentive may have been impacted but she still continued to be my point person. Upto the final delivery, it was a great experience. My only issue is that they still dont have a clue about when accessories (particularly bluetooth) will come. Obviously, I gave her a small token of my appreciation.

On corporate Mumbai registration, it came for 21l on-road without insurance. Only got a 45k corporate discount.

Last edited by Aurum : 1st October 2011 at 20:12.
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Old 1st October 2011, 16:27   #6
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Default 2011 Jetta Highline AT

Initial ownership report
I have driven 300 kms so far. The car came with around 45 kms on the odo, and not much diesel, and no mats.

Got the following for the car the next day:
- 3D Kagu mats from the 2010 Jetta. They fit the front footwells perfectly. They are slightly small for the rear, but I can live with that. Cost me around 5.5k.
- Llumar Standard 50% film for the sides and rear, and 70% film for the windscreen. None of the AIR stuff. Huge difference in AC performance with and without them. Spent around 8.5 k. I think I went a bit cheap on this.
- Aroma brand car freshener. The worst I have ever bought.

Here are my first impressions of the car:

Drive: Love it! You can see that these guys have it sorted. I dont know how all the stuff like ESP, EBD,traction control, ABS etc. works, but work it does! Its responsive, all mated beautifully, the brakes really bite, and you really feel that when you corner at some speed. A few small issues. The beige rear deck does impact visibility. During the day, it reflects on the inside part of the windscreen and all you can see is beige in the rear view mirror. The mirrors could have been slightly larger, but its not really that much of an issue. I feel like the steering stiffness changes with higher speeds, but it could be my imagination. I haven't taken it above 80 yet (I'm sorry!).

The gearbox: Its a mind-reader, this DSG. You push it hard, and it'll give you spades more than you expect. Super fast downshifts, gear changes exactly when you anticipate them, and if you aren't looking for it, you wouldn't notice it the changes during regular driving. There was no way I was buying a Jetta, but not the DSG box.

Space The rear leg-room is great, and the car is pretty wide. There is a lot of space for two people, even with the centre armrest down, as you would expect. The car is wide enough to seat three in comfort, but the hump in the middle means that you cant get an elderly person to sit there.

Ride Low-speed ride isnt cushy but isnt bad. Above 25-30 kmph, it really eats up bumps, and gives one of the most level rides on sedans of this class. Typically, I prefer a stiffer level ride.

Ground clearance: Have not bottomed out once, even on the worst bumps with five people in the car. 'Nuff said.

Noise: Very little outside noise comes through. The engine is just a small hum inside the cabin, though it is a bit noisy from the outside. The silence would have been complete, but for the tyre noise. You can hear every little thing the tyre does. You know when the road surface has changed. You know when you shave a pebble. Now I know what Rudra meant when he said that tyres need to be changed.

Music system With 8 speakers the sound is decent. Nothing amazing though. The Media-In cable is a life saver for me. I have a 64 GB iPod touch which has all my music, which I can keep plugged in when I'm driving. My iPod touch music menu comes up on the touchscreen, including playlists. Thats really useful. The touchscreen of the head unit isn't that awe-inspiring if you are used to modern touch-screen phones. It seems resistive. The software is OK. Once, when I was changing the tracks with the steering controls, the name of the track didn't change on the screen. An on/off did the trick. The fact that the album track etc. also come on the MID is great. When I'm sitting in the back, I use a different setup. The iPod touch is connected through the Aux input. I use a software called Tango remote to control the iPod from my iPhone. Works well as a remote.

Other controls The steering wheel is a joy to hold. My only peeve is that the phone button doesn't work, and there is no bluetooth. The red backlight on the buttons looks beautiful at night. The menu is very intuitive, and light and vision gimmickry is something I really enjoy. I kept the Daylight Running Lights on the first day, and people were signalling from the road that my headlights were on! The Parking sensor is useful, but since I have never used such an aid, I dont trust it. Its me, not you!

In other things:
- The car is a head-turner, which I didn't expect, to be honest. Maybe its the colour.
- It is large, probably as large as one can get without getting into the "boat" category, a la a Accord and Superb.
- The alloys look nice. Am definitely not changing those, even if I change the tyres.
- Mileage seems like around 11-12 km/l, but I have subjected the car to the worst traffic possible. I expect it to improve under regular conditions, or maybe not. Its only city so far, no highway.
- The AC is OK. You need it to be at the lowest temperature and blow at 3 or 4 if you are trying to cool it down from having parked it in the sun. Sunfilm helps matters significantly. It can be uncomfortable in the back for 5-7 mins, even with the rear AC vents. There are no issues in the front.
-I do not have any issues with the interior quality. Its soft touch where it needs to be, and hard plastic where it needs to be. All spring actions are damped. Overall, it feels like good quality stuff.
-First service at 15k kms or after a year, but thats standard.

I feel like a lot of what I'm saying here was well covered in the review, so I'll take a pause. I'll report back with any more specific observations I have over the next few days. Of course, if anyone has questions, feel free to shoot.

Last edited by Aurum : 1st October 2011 at 20:22.
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Old 1st October 2011, 20:51   #7
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Default Re: 2011 Jetta Highline AT

Pics of my Jetta. None of the interior. Rudra has covered everything, and I cant do it half as good as he did. If there is anything anyone wants to see, do let me know.
Attached Thumbnails
2011 Volkswagen Jetta Highline AT-ze-jetta-1.jpg  

2011 Volkswagen Jetta Highline AT-ze-jetta-4.jpg  

2011 Volkswagen Jetta Highline AT-ze-jetta-3.jpg  

2011 Volkswagen Jetta Highline AT-ze-jetta-2.jpg  

2011 Volkswagen Jetta Highline AT-ze-jetta-5.jpg  

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Old 1st October 2011, 21:32   #8
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Default Re: 2011 Jetta Highline AT

Moving it to review section. Thanks Aurum
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Old 1st October 2011, 22:54   #9
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Default Re: 2011 Jetta Highline AT

@Aurum: Congrats on your buy. It looks great.
I have never driven the new jetta but have sat in one. I did not notice considerable quality difference between the previous generation and this generation jetta although many people felt so. I love the new jetta, but i feel its a bit overpriced.

Anyways, coming back to my question: It might be off topic but just being curious. Comparing vehicle to vehicle, what are the primary differences between SA spec and Indian Spec vehicles.
Also do the quality of plastics etc remain the same. And in SA - does vehicles need to have a safety standards that needs to be met before launch unlike india?
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Old 1st October 2011, 22:58   #10
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Default Re: 2011 Jetta Highline AT

Thanks Aurum for sharing the review. Congratulations!!!

I think this is the first ownership review of the New Jetta on our forum. Love the Toffee Brown shade from VW. Infact I feel this colour looks better in real than in pictures.

Keep updating the thread with your experience with the car. Happy motoring!!!
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Old 1st October 2011, 23:04   #11
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Default Re: 2011 Jetta Highline AT

@Aurum: After the Official Jetta thread, we meet again here!
Let me congratulate you on 2 things:
1. Becoming a BHPian today! (yes i noticed the change from 'Newbie' to 'BHPian')
2. Owning an awesome piece of Deutsch engineering!

I do agree with the tire noise part! It is louder than my current City. But then I was doing 140 when i noticed that.

I just posted on the Jetta thread about not being able to post a ownership report but your thread has tempted me to start working on it! Very well written, I must say! Enjoy your ride and I hope no pebbles get in your way!!
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Old 1st October 2011, 23:27   #12
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Congrats for the Jetta, Aurum. This is the first ownership of the new one, IMO.
The brown looks surprisingly pleasant. What are the color options?
Any FE updates.
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Old 2nd October 2011, 00:25   #13
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More pictures please, including the interiors! And do keep updating this thread over the next few years - I'm eager to know how this VW scores on reliability front.
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Old 2nd October 2011, 02:24   #14
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Many congratulations. Gorgeous looking car indeed. I'd be very interested to see your after sales experience too and general reliability for VW and the DSG. These are the make or break factors for many people I know considering a VW product.

In the meantime, all the very best and enjoy your ride.
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Old 2nd October 2011, 08:57   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by himavanth_m View Post
@Aurum: Congrats on your buy. It looks great.
I have never driven the new jetta but have sat in one. I did not notice considerable quality difference between the previous generation and this generation jetta although many people felt so. I love the new jetta, but i feel its a bit overpriced.

Anyways, coming back to my question: It might be off topic but just being curious. Comparing vehicle to vehicle, what are the primary differences between SA spec and Indian Spec vehicles.
Also do the quality of plastics etc remain the same. And in SA - does vehicles need to have a safety standards that needs to be met before launch unlike india?
Thanks, Himavanth. There are some interior differences which are not apparent at first, or if you have only taken a test drive. Its the little things. I really would have liked them, but I didn't consider them major enough to be deal-breakers. The car is probably over-priced by around 50k-1l especially on the top-end variant, but not more than that. Next year, with the the inevitable upgrades, it will become real value for money. I can take you through the math at current prices. In 5 years, assuming no huge reliability issues, you would have paid a premium of 1.5 l for the Jetta over the top end corolla auto (Diesel vs petrol impact). That will likely be made up by the resale value. So your cost of ownership could be lower for the Jetta, and then you need to take into account the fantastic engine and gearbox, and other small enjoyments.

The SA market is definitely more mature than India, and leans towards the European markets. Car for car, you would see that they are targeted at lower segments. That means cheaper prices of course, but smaller engine, lesser equipment levels etc. So the Corolla there came with a 1.6 engine, and was pretty stripped down. Even the entry level Corolla here has the 1.8 and more standard goodies. Its also priced much higher here. Here the Jetta only has the 2.0 Diesel option. In SA, you have all the European options available, including the 1.2, 1.4, 1.6, and of course the 2.0. Of course, at the prices we pay for the Jetta here, no-one would consider less than a Beemer there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vb-san View Post
Thanks Aurum for sharing the review. Congratulations!!!

I think this is the first ownership review of the New Jetta on our forum. Love the Toffee Brown shade from VW. Infact I feel this colour looks better in real than in pictures.

Keep updating the thread with your experience with the car. Happy motoring!!!
Thanks, vb-san. It does indeed look better in the flesh, and at night, its at its best. That didnt quite come out right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lamboguy View Post
@Aurum: After the Official Jetta thread, we meet again here!
Let me congratulate you on 2 things:
1. Becoming a BHPian today! (yes i noticed the change from 'Newbie' to 'BHPian')
2. Owning an awesome piece of Deutsch engineering!

I do agree with the tire noise part! It is louder than my current City. But then I was doing 140 when i noticed that.

I just posted on the Jetta thread about not being able to post a ownership report but your thread has tempted me to start working on it! Very well written, I must say! Enjoy your ride and I hope no pebbles get in your way!!
Thanks, lamboguy! We've been through this together now for a few weeks Look forward to your thread. Its useful to hear about the little things one might have missed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Utopian View Post
Congrats for the Jetta, Aurum. This is the first ownership of the new one, IMO.
The brown looks surprisingly pleasant. What are the color options?
Any FE updates.
Thanks. There are six colour options. White, deep black pearl effect (i think this might be awesome!), reflex (regular) silver, grey, leaf silver (Lamboguy's car), and toffee braun (mine).

FE seems to be around 11-12 kmpl so far, but I have subjected it to the worst traffic, even by my standards of living in one of the most congested parts of the city. So I hope it will improve.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
More pictures please, including the interiors! And do keep updating this thread over the next few years - I'm eager to know how this VW scores on reliability front.
Will take and put up interior snaps next week. I thought I'd take them at first , but then went through Rudra's post again, and decided, why bother? There's nothing he hasn't done already.

I'm looking forward to understanding its reliability and the after-sales experience as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Axe77 View Post
Many congratulations. Gorgeous looking car indeed. I'd be very interested to see your after sales experience too and general reliability for VW and the DSG. These are the make or break factors for many people I know considering a VW product.

In the meantime, all the very best and enjoy your ride.
Thanks! Trust me, this DSG gearbox is going to face its worst nightmare - stop and start traffic for hours on end. I do Goregaon to Lower Parel everyday in Mumbai - you'd move faster if you try to lick off a coconut shell to get at the flesh. If the gearbox works for me, it will work for anyone. FYI, I've done some research on this. One should put the gear into N at traffic signals, and not stand on the brakes on D.
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