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Old 1st September 2011, 20:59   #1
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Volkswagen Jetta : Test Drive & Review

The Volkswagen Jetta has been launched in India at a price of 14.12 - 17.86 lakhs (ex-Delhi).

What you’ll like:

• Classic, timeless and understated styling, mated with solid build quality
• Excellent engine & transmission combination. Manual gearbox gets full spec 138 BHP diesel (unlike Laura)
• Improved space; rear seat can easily accommodate taller occupants
• Balanced ride and handling. Extremely well-tuned suspension
• Safety kit (ESP, 8 airbags etc.) and 5 star NCAP rating

What you won’t:

• Leather seats missing from the equipment list
• Interior quality is a grade or two lower than the previous generation Jetta
• Looks uncannily similar to the VW Vento
• Automatic Transmission (DSG) only offered with the Highline variant
• Brilliant 1.8L TSI petrol motor not offered. Jetta only available with the 1.4 TSI

The Petrol Jetta:

Link to Review

The 2015 Facelift:

Link to Review

Last edited by GTO : 19th February 2015 at 19:44. Reason: Link to 2015 Facelift
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Old 1st September 2011, 21:05   #2
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re: Volkswagen Jetta : Test Drive & Review

Stunning rear 3 quarter view:

Volkswagen is on a launch spree. In the last 2 years alone, VW has launched the Polo, Vento, Passat, Beetle, Touareg, Phaeton and now, the Jetta. The Polo and Vento saw Volkswagen overtake Skoda in terms of market-share within the first year of launch, despite Skoda having a 10 + year lead in the Indian space. Funnily enough, when it comes to the relatively premium segment (Rs 15 – 20 lakhs), the Jetta and Passat haven’t been able to match the Laura and Superb’s success.

Volkswagen Jetta : Test Drive & Review-jettacomparo.jpg

This is the 6th generation Jetta. Among other things, the new Jetta is longer by 90 mm and gets 58 additional mm of wheelbase length. This isn’t an all new platform though. The Jetta is partially based on the same PQ35 platform that the Laura, Yeti and 5th generation Jetta have.

Both, GTO and I, loved the clean timeless styling of this car. Many of you may not be happy with the Vento-esque face. From afar, the front end is strikingly similar to its half-priced sibling. The tail shouts out an Audi A4 influence, and is perhaps one of the best angles to view this car in. The subtly smoked headlamps look swell, while the Highline’s alloy design is amongst the best in the business. In a way, the Jetta is more of a baby Passat than a blown-up Vento; definitely a design that will age gracefully, but will not suit the needs of those looking for flash.

The Highline variant that I drove is equipped with ESP, traction control, ABS, ASR, 8 airbags, all-wheel disc brakes, hill-hold function, steering mounted audio controls, paddle shifts on the steering, cruise control, electric adjustment for the driver’s seat (including lumbar support), height adjustment on both front seats, rear seat air conditioner vents, automatic headlamps and wipers, parking sensors (front and rear), foldable electric mirrors and an 8 speaker touch-screen audio system. Surprisingly, there are no leather seats, no climate control and no spare alloy wheel!! Without doubt, the Laura L&K is far better equipped (the Skoda gives you leather seats, xenon headlamps, memory seat for driver as well as climate control). On the other hand, the Jetta wins when it comes to the lesser variants. For instance, a couple of thousand more for the VW gets you 2 more airbags & ESP (amongst other things). The VW is priced between 20 - 40 grand more than the Skoda. Of course, that’s before accounting for the many discounts that Skoda dealers offer, which make the price difference noticeably higher.

Volkswagen Jetta : Test Drive & Review-jettapricing.jpg

It’s strange for VW not to be offering the Automatic on lesser variants, as premium car owners simply love automatics. With this move alone, VW has sent a couple of buyers Skoda’s way. Yes, the Laura Ambiente doesn’t have the equipment, but it’s a diesel AT at a price point that’s a couple of lakhs lower. I expect VW to make corrections & introduce the DSG automatic on lower variants soon.

Rear clearly draws inspiration from the Audi A4:

Smoked headlamps look awesome:

A closer look at the daytime running lamps. No, they aren't LEDs:

205/55 R16 tyres shod on smart looking alloy wheels:

Meaty dual exhaust tips:

Last edited by GTO : 5th September 2011 at 10:16.
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Old 1st September 2011, 21:07   #3
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re: Volkswagen Jetta : Test Drive & Review

Thud addicts will love the satisfying sound each time they shut the door. Needless to say, the Jetta feels solidly built.

The longer wheelbase is immediately evident once you sit inside the car. The Jetta is more spacious than the outgoing car and, importantly, than the Laura too. While German cars have always had accommodating front seats, even the space at the rear is sufficient.

On the flip side, spend a little more time and youíll observe that the outright quality of the 5th generation Jetta is missing. That premium feeling is simply lacking in this car, right from the time you shut the door using the rock-hard door handle. The dashboard has soft touch material all over, sure, but most other bits (door panel for instance) are hard to the touch. The glove box and door pockets lose their felt lining as well. Overall quality is definitely a level or two below the outgoing Jetta & the Skoda Laura. The interior feels durable & well-screwed together, yet the "special" feeling is missing. Further, the interior design is rather uninspiring and looks like an evolution of the outgoing car (thatís not saying a lot). Some of you may like the straight forward look (as I do), while others may find it boring.

On the positive side, there are many small touches that impress. For instance, the way that the air volume rotary controls on each vent ďclickĒ shut (& open). The glove-box pops out in a slow, gradual motion. Even how the audio system automatically lowers its volume when you engage reverse gear is nice. Then, the boot lid has cut outs that you can use to pull the boot down (usually seen only in hatchbacks).

The long travel front seats can easily accommodate the shortest and tallest of drivers. Even a 6 footer will be able to fully stretch his legs in the front passenger seat. The front seats feel identical to the sport seats of the old Jetta. However, the seat compound is definitely firmer, as is the case with many German cars. Great for support over long drives, though customers prefer soft seats for in-city commutes. The driver's seat gets full electric adjustment, but the front passenger will have to make do with manual controls. Both the front seats get height adjustment and adjustable lumbar support. No leather seats for the new Jetta, not even on the 20 lakh Rupee Highline variant! Shocking, isnít it? Instead, VW uses artificial leather that it calls leatherette. Itís easy to get your perfect driving position, thanks to the multitude of available adjustments. The ergonomics are good and if youíve driven other VW group cars, youíll feel right at home. Frontal and lateral visibility are good. The A-Pillars donít intrude as much as in some other cars from the segment (particularly the Honda Civic).

I donít know whatís up with Volkswagen and its dashboard placement though. Just like the Polo and Vento, here too, the dashboard is set on the higher side. The shorter amongst us will need to make judicious use of the seat height adjuster. The steering wheel is great to hold. It's wrapped in high quality anti-slip material, and is just the right size as well. The paddle shifts feel really nice and are ergonomically perfect. The instruments are easy to read and positioned just right; that is, RPM on the left and speedometer to the right. The MID offers you a plethora of information and car customization options, and is very intuitive to use (thanks in no small part to the ďbackĒ button on the steering wheel).

The medium size external mirrors do the job. Though, they do taper towards the outside, and limit the field of vision. This design fits the overall look of the car. The AT gear lever is identical to that in the Vento; sister Lauraís unit looks and feels better. Unfortunately, the driver armrest is, well, hardly one! It merely serves as a lid for the center storage compartment. As it no longer has forward adjustment, you will not be able to rest your left arm on it while driving. The accelerator pedal is on the stiffer side, and requires more effort than the usually light units in most other cars. The dead pedal is long enough, albeit too slim. My feet aren't really wide, and still 40% of the RHS had no support at all.

Those rotary air-con controls look awful in a 2 million rupee car. Itís strange that, in such a premium car, you canít just jump in and press an ďAutoĒ button to cool the insides. I donít care as much about dual-zone climate control, but auto climate control is definitely a must-have in this segment. That said, the air-conditioner is pretty powerful and chills the interior within no time. Further, I canít figure out why Volkswagen doesnít kit the Jetta with a Bluetooth module to pair your phone. Thus, the phone controls on the steering can be termed as dummies.

Thereís sufficient room at the back; sitting behind taller drivers wonít be a problem anymore. However, the Jetta is better as a 4 seater sedan than 5, due to the floor hump at the rear. The rear seat incline angle is nice and back support is good too. However, like the fronts, the seat compound is too firm, while the bench itself is positioned on the lower side. Thus, under-thigh support is imperfect. I've got an average Indian height of 5'9". Keeping my feet flat on the floor, there's at least 4 inches of a gap between the seat and my thigh.

Thereís a fair amount of storage space, starting from the 510 liter boot. The door pockets are wide enough for easy access to odd items, both seats have back pockets, thereís a deep center glovebox next to the driver, along with the ubiquitous cup-holders. The B-Pillar also gets a tremendously useful coat / bag hook. All 4 doors can hold a 1 liter water bottle.

Steering is great to hold. High quality anti-slip cladding:

Firm front seats offer good support. Center armrest is useless:

Need to disengage the clutch before cranking the engine:

Touch screen audio works as intended. Can feed in 6 CDs:

Traditional air-con controls look awful in this car; they stick out like a sore thumb. Even Vento gets climate control!

DSG gear lever is identical to the one in the Vento, right down to the leather stitching:

That's one multi-tasking fellow! Seen here is the LHS stalk with cruise control, indicators and more:

Dead pedal too slim:

Rock-hard door plastics. GTO & I liked the faux wood accents:

12-way electrically adjustable driver's seat:

Air-con vents give out a satisfying click when fully opened / shut:

Glovebox is home to the iPod connector as well:

Rear seat space is far improved over the previous Jetta & the Laura, thanks to the longer wheelbase:

Significant floor hump will make 5th occupant feel unwelcome:

You can access the boot from the passenger area, or use this feature to carry long, thin items:

510 liter boot. Rear seat can fold down (and in a split too):

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 5th September 2011 at 21:49.
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Old 2nd September 2011, 10:11   #4
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re: Volkswagen Jetta : Test Drive & Review

2.0 TDI Diesel

The Jetta now gets 30 more horses than the outgoing generation. This 4 cylinder 2 liter common-rail diesel engine is rated at 138 BHP (4,200 rpm) and 320 Nm of torque (1,750 – 2,500 rpm). The same engine also does duty in a host of VW group cars, including the Laura, Yeti, Superb, Passat, Audi A4, A6 and Q5 (in varying states of tune of course).

Torque delivery is almost instantaneous, and the DSG downshift response time is good at lower speeds (high speed kick down time is strictly average). Anybody who's driven a Skoda Laura DSG will feel right at home. Urban drivability is really good, even with the 6 speed manual, with the diesel engine churning out torque from low rpms itself. Sure, there is some turbo lag, yet it’s too negligible to talk about. Not only is the drivability good, but even in the mid-range, the chosen gear ratios are spot on. For instance, driving through the inside roads of Rajasthan with speeds varying between 30 kph – 100 kph continuously, we were using the 3rd gear like an Automatic.

The engine is incredibly free revving, and will cross 5,000 rpm in the lower gears almost like a fast petrol (though you shouldn’t upshift anywhere over 4,000 – 4,500 rpm). Outright performance is similar to the Laura DSG, and the Jetta can make quick progress on the open road. Given enough road, the Jetta will top out at 210 kph. This VW is an excellent mile-muncher for those long driving trips. At a 100 kph on the expressway, in 6th gear, the diesel engine is lazily ticking over at 1,800 rpm.

While the Jetta is fast, its power delivery is fairly linear in comparison to the Cruze. There isn’t the lag and sudden push-into-the-seat whoosh that the Chevy experience gives you. Part of this is due to the controlled turbo-lag. In terms of drivability, there is simply no comparison. The Jetta is the far superior engine to live with.

The DSG automatic gearbox is amongst the best in the business and offers supremely smooth shift quality. With a light foot, the DSG upshifts at a really low rpm. This keeps the drive relaxed and also maximizes fuel efficiency. On the other hand, keep the accelerator buried into the floor in “S” mode, and the Jetta will shift at anywhere between 4,600 – 5,000 rpm, with lightning quick upshifts that are impossible to replicate in a manual. Downshifts at high-speed in kick down mode do result in a lag though; if in a hurry, use the paddle shifters. The paddle shift function is fairly obedient, and will even allow for aggressive downshifts. Using the paddle shift + S mode is fun on your favourite country road. But, for most other driving conditions, just let the computer control the excellent DSG gearbox. DSGs are generally considered to be a generation or two ahead of what the competition offers. Just hope that this gearbox doesn’t get the same reliability complaints that have been reported in other VW group cars. The 6 speed manual transmission is decent to use, though GTO adds that it didn’t feel as slick / smooth as the one in the Yeti. The clutch is light enough and doesn’t require much effort to engage. Note that the top 3 ratios of the manual are overdrive.

Wind noise is fabulously controlled. Even at expressway speeds, there is nearly zero wind noise on the inside. Engine noise is audible (especially over 3,000 rpms), yet lesser than the outgoing Jetta. The only fly in the ointment is the tyre noise from the lousy Good Year NCT5s. For car lovers like us, a tyre change is a must.

Good on VW to give us the multi-link Euro spec rear suspension (unlike the cheaper torsion beam rear of the American Jetta). The handling is sure-footed and flat. Grip levels are good, even under hard cornering, and chassis behavior is incredibly predictable. Of special mention is the extremely well-controlled body roll; it’s much lesser than in the facelift Laura. The straight line stability is super and 160 kph really doesn’t feel like 160 kph. While in the city, the electric power steering is light & effortless to use. At speed, it weighs up sufficiently well (though, it’s never quite heavy as us enthusiasts like our steerings). No complaints. Direct as it is in action, the steering can feel numb at times. Enthusiasts looking for feedback won't be satisfied. The suspension tune is on the firmer side. Even though there is a hint of stiffness at lower speeds, it’s never really uncomfortable, except over the deepest of ruts. The car stays composed, including over uneven patches of road. GTO says that on road undulations where his Civic’s rear would have been bouncing all over the place, the Jetta stays glued to the road. This flat ride can greatly enhance comfort levels in long distance touring.

The sharp brakes suit the kind of power output & performance the Jetta is capable of. They are powerful and confidence inspiring at high speed. Though it was reported at the time of launch that the Jetta's ground clearance is only 139 mm, we managed to get a clarification from VW. The Jetta's GC is actually 159 mm. That, coupled with a firm suspension set-up that doesn't sag, saw us clear the country roads without even once scraping the car's underbelly. Note that we were only 3 onboard.

1.4 TSI Petrol

The petrol engine has been reviewed individually in this thread.

Last edited by Rehaan : 1st July 2012 at 20:29. Reason: Adding link to petrol engine
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Old 2nd September 2011, 10:38   #5
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re: Volkswagen Jetta : Test Drive & Review

Other Points:

- Standard Warranty is 2 years with unlimited kms. Extended option of 4 years / 100,000 kms is also available and highly recommended. 12 year anti-corrosion warranty is standard across the range.

- VW wanted the 6th generation Jetta to be more mass market. Thus, the new car is larger, yet cheaper to produce than the 5th gen (Volkswagen's Future Products Revealed for 2011, 2012, and Beyond - Car News - Car and Driver).

- One look at the bare metal (goose neck) boot hinge, and you know that this car is cheaper to build than the MK5 Jetta. Even the wiper blade design feels like it’s from two segments lower.

- Service interval = 1 year / 15,000 kms. Annual maintenance contract for 3 years available.

- Black is the dominant interior shade in the EU. However, our mass market's fascination with beige ensures that it is the only interior colour available here.

- VW launched the Jetta on the same day as the mighty Swift.

- To most people looking at a manual transmission Jetta, it’s the ComfortLine that will present the most value.

- A rare car where you can reset the service interval yourself, from the MID. No need for a special service tool for the same (as is the case with most other cars).

- The wheels are equipped with anti-theft bolts that can be unscrewed only with a special (provided) spanner. Great for owners from metropolitan cities.

- Very boring choice of body colours! Where are the premium greens & maroons?

- Thanks to the 6th gear (both transmissions), the ARAI fuel rating is a high 19.33 kpl (Manual) and 16.96 kpl (DSG Automatic).

- Glovebox is lockable. Hence, that much more practical.

- iPod connector is only available on the Highline. You’ll have to make do with the AUX connector on the Comfortline. Shockingly, the entry-level variant gets neither! Can you imagine buying a Rs. 15 lakh car without AUX or iPod audio inputs?

- Newbie drivers will love the hill-hold function. This prevents the car from rolling back (for 2 seconds) on inclines.

- Laura gives you the auto-dimming function on all three mirrors (internal and both external). The Jetta gets auto-dimming only for the interior mirror. Another cost cutting measure here.

- Turning radius = 5.5 meters.

- The rear bench gets ISOFIX points for 2 child seats.

- 12V power sockets for both, front & rear seat occupants.

- Thanks to GTO for accompanying me on this test-drive and for his comments.

- Disclaimer : Volkswagen invited Team-BHP for the Jetta test-drive. They covered all the expenses for this driving event.

Last edited by GTO : 1st July 2012 at 17:54. Reason: Removing comment which is now irrelevant as the petrol Jetta has been launched
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Old 3rd September 2011, 20:28   #6
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re: Volkswagen Jetta : Test Drive & Review

The smaller yet significant things:

Nifty lever in the boot to fold the rear seat down:

Parking system visible on the audio head-unit, as is the MT gear lever:

Xenons - like sister Laura - would have suited her better:

No center lamp. Instead, one each for front & rear passengers. Also a demo of my new, ultra wide lens

MID controls on the steering are intuitive to use:

Both sunvisors get sliding lids & illumination:

Lots of parts sourced from Mexico. Trivia : Mexico is the only country in the world where the 4th & 6th generation Jettas are sold simultaneously:

Shark-fin style radio antenna:

Flippy key. Also has boot open function:

Tweeters neatly placed on the A-Pillar:

Faux wood effect works!

Last edited by GTO : 4th September 2011 at 20:59.
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Old 5th September 2011, 10:24   #7
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Re: Volkswagen Jetta : Test Drive & Review

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Official Reviews Forum!

Jaw-dropping pictures of a great looking car, Rudra! Some people may not like the Vento resemblance, yet I'm a huge fan of such classy understated designs. Is the new Jetta a step ahead of the old? Without doubt. You get more power, better looks, lot more space at the back and more gizmos. Plus, for some peculiar reason, the ol' Jetta wasn't available with an Automatic transmission in 2010.

On the other hand, the ordinary-grade interior quality left me surprised...and the omission of climate control & leather seats can give Honda's thinking a complex!! Inexplicable and, I'm willing to be, will be corrected soon. But before that, VW needs to get its dealers & their pre / after sales attitude in order. Lastly, more back seat space aside, the Skoda Laura L&K makes a compelling case for itself versus the Jetta.

Loved driving this car on the open road, yes. But it was more fun on the twisties. Super engine + transmission + ride + handling.

Last edited by GTO : 5th September 2011 at 12:43.
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Old 5th September 2011, 11:10   #8
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Re: Volkswagen Jetta : Test Drive & Review

Originally Posted by Rudra Sen View Post
Also a demo of my new, ultra wide lens
Great review!
Which cam? Which lens?
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Old 5th September 2011, 11:27   #9
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Re: Volkswagen Jetta : Test Drive & Review

Let me be the first one to congratulate team bhp on such a detailed and wonderful review-best in the world.Yes Jetta comfortline manual will be the most sensible choice for people looking for a manual luxury car in this price range.It is costlier than cruze automatic but a better choice according to me.Thanks again for the superb review.
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Old 5th September 2011, 11:36   #10
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Re: Volkswagen Jetta : Test Drive & Review

Superb pics Rudra! Your photogenic magic is in each pic. And the three pics in the opening posts... Wow!
Having test driven the new Jetta with a colleague of mine, I wholeheartedly agree with points you have made. No leather, no ACC! What were they thinking. Quite honestly, VW hasn't been able to match Skoda in terms of C+ and D segment car sales and things are less likely to change if they continue in the same direction. Reminds me the infamous thread of the 'VW's confusion with Indian Market'.

On the other hand, though I am not a big fan of family looks the car companies are following these days, I have to say this sidelines and 3/4 angle of this car looks beautiful. Such classy lines... And same goes for Passat as well.

Brillient review. Rated 5 stars.
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Old 5th September 2011, 11:44   #11
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Re: Volkswagen Jetta : Test Drive & Review

Was waiting for jetta review, good one there.
Atlast they have left manual with 140bhp,320nm of torque.

@Mods- Change the 3rd post title and yes you can delete this line.
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Old 5th September 2011, 11:56   #12
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Re: Volkswagen Jetta : Test Drive & Review

do they provide bluetooth as an option?
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Old 5th September 2011, 12:01   #13
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Re: Volkswagen Jetta : Test Drive & Review

Rudra Sir, amazing photographs, especially the opening clicks ! Love the ultra wide lens pic !

Given that DSG not available in entry level variant, will this change in the near future ?

Itís strange for VW not to be offering the Automatic on lesser variants, as premium car owners simply love automatics. With this move alone, VW has sent a couple of buyers Skodaís way. Yes, the Laura Ambiente doesnít have the equipment, but itís a diesel AT at a price point thatís a couple of lakhs lower. I expect VW to make corrections & introduce the DSG automatic on lower variants soon.
Is it expected of VW to introduce it soon ?

Is the overall pricing entirely justified ?
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Old 5th September 2011, 12:31   #14
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Re: Volkswagen Jetta : Test Drive & Review


Awesome pictures, we wish you do the photography for all future Team BHP official reviews.

First pic is mind blowing.

The steering looks very nice.

It is sad that this car doesn't get ACC. Even the swift has ACC on ZXi.

Did we test the sound quality of the stock sound system ?

So what is the final conclusion ? VW has a winner on hand after the VENTO success ?

Last edited by F150 : 5th September 2011 at 12:37.
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Old 5th September 2011, 12:36   #15
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Re: Volkswagen Jetta : Test Drive & Review

I like the front end. Only the grille should have been thicker heightwise. It would have added a aggressive look. Looks too much tapered and doesn't match the high waistline of the rest of the car
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