Monday, June 13, 2011

Devon Test drives a Volkwagen Jetta


The more Americanized Volkswagen Jetta is supposed to appeal more to buyers that haven't considered one before. With a lower asking price, and more interior space. Will the new Jetta offer more value than its keen rivals? The Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.

Performance: The Jetta comes with two engines. A 2-liter four-cylinder with 115hp, and the familiar 2.5-liter five-cylinder producing 170hp. The base engine is best avoided. Its sluggish and doesn't offer a fuel economy benefit over the five-cylinder engine. If you're you're after fuel economy or performance. Both the turbo-diesel and turbocharged 2-liter engine from the GTI will be available at the end of the year.

Ride & Handling: The Jetta feels well composed on most surfaces. The ride feels settled and irons out bumps. Although its bigger on the outside, Volkwagen has done a great job keeping the character of the Jetta the same.

Refinement: The Jetta offers a solid engineered feel. There's little wind and road noise at highway speeds. The base engine will fill the cabin with a drone when pushed hard.

Behind the wheel: No matter what driver sits behind the wheel of a Jetta. You'll find the ideal driving position for you. Visibility is good all-round, and the steering wheel adjusts for reach and height. The dash is laid out clearly, but rather bland and traditional. All controls are easy to use.

Space & Practicality: The Jetta is a bigger car. The extra length and width offer more cabin space. With plenty of space for five adults in the rear. The trunk has large and can hold more than the class favorites. The rear seats fold down 60/40 for more space.

Equipment: All Jetta vehicles come well equipped. The base trim loses out on a few features that most may desire, but its not seen as stingy. For a low asking price, you get air-conditioning, remote central locking and a full safety kit. However, alloy wheels aren't fitted on the base trim. You'll need to step up to the higher trims for iPod-connector, cruise control and split-folding rear seats.

Buying and owning: The base trim level is best avoided. The engine doesn't offer enough punch, and feels gutless at times. The trim with the 2.5 liter engine feels well worth the extra cash. If you go any higher, then the Jetta doesn't seem much of a bargain. Fuel economy is decent, and resale value continues to lead rivals.

Quality and Reliablity: The interior doesn't feel up to Volkwagen par, but they look and feel long lasting. Most mechanicals have been tried and tested, so there should be little to no worries. The DSG gearbox may cause some worries in long term reliablity.

Safety & Security: The Jetta comes with a very large safety kit. Side airbags, ESP and anti-lock brakes. Items that are not common among the class favorites. Deadlocks and alarm are fitted as standard.

Likes: Roomy interior and trunk, sophisticated alternate to the class leaders, German engineering at a lower price.
Dislikes: Bland styling inside out, base engine is embarrasing compared to rivals, some options should be standard across the range.
Overall: The more Americanized Volkswagen feel solid in build. With plenty of features for the money. However, you'll have to step up to the higher trims to get items that should be standard across the range. The base engine feels like an after thought, and should be avoided. 

No comments: