Volkswagen Jetta


Debut: 2010
Maker: Volkswagen
Predecessor: Jetta (Mk5)



 Published on 31 Oct 2010
All rights reserved. 


Volkswagen wants to triple its American sales by 2018. Jetta will be crucial to this...

Volkswagen group has a big plan: it aims to replace Toyota as the world's number one car maker by 2018. To achieve this, it has to increase its sales from last year's 6.3 million units to 10 million units. How can it find the extra 3.7 million units ? Undoubtedly, emerging markets like China and Brazil will be most significant, but North America can also contribute a lot. Last year, Volkswagen sold 213,000 cars in the USA. While that figure seems not bad, it is actually way lower than its key rivals - Toyota sold 1.77 million cars in the same year; Honda sold 1.15 million units; Both Nissan and Hyundai group did more than 700,000 units. More embarrassing, even BMW and Mercedes sold about the same amount as the mainstream German brand, so there is a lot of room for improvement. Volkswagen aims to triple its US sales by 2018. In short term, it wants to boost sales to the level of 400,000-450,000 units by 2012-2013. If you were the sales boss of VW America, what would you say ?

You would argue that you are not given the right products to do so. While the current Jetta and Passat have plenty of admirers for their superior build quality, refinement and dynamics, they are just too expensive to be popular in the USA. American motorists want cars to be roomy, well equipped yet cheap to buy. If Volkswagen want to achieve sales comparable to Corolla / Civic and Camry / Accord, it has to abandon its premium image and go mainstream. The future Jetta and Passat have to be significantly cheaper to produce yet offer more space than the current cars. Just when you thought this must be a good excuse not to follow the sales target, Wolfsburg HQ said, "Alright, I will give you the right cars. Both the future Jetta and American Passat will be designed specially for your market. They will be bigger and cheaper and locally produced. No more excuse please."

73 mm longer wheelbase means four six-footers will be happy to travel in this car

So here comes the new Jetta Mk6. For the first time in its history, it is no longer a Golf plus a boot but a standalone model. Key difference to its stablemate is a 73 mm longer wheelbase (2651 mm vs 2578 mm) which translates to a remarkable 67 mm more rear seat legroom, so four six-footers will be happy to travel in this car. Not so great is the new styling. Although cutting ties with Golf liberates its design and enabling a more coherent proportion than the previous Jetta, the new nose and tail look quite bland, lacking the character of the old car. The unique sense of high build quality has also disappeared. If that is what Volkswagen America aim to rival Corolla and Civic, then we must say it is disappointing.

In fact, to match the low prices of its Japanese rivals - base price of new Jetta is just under US$16,000 - Volkswagen committed a lot more sins. It replaced the sophisticated multi-link rear suspensions with a much cheaper torsion beam. Power steering is reverted to pure hydraulic assistance. It degraded the interior plastics and switch gears, so you will find much the same shinny hard plastic dashboard and downmarket switch gears as in its Japanese rivals. The seats are adjusted manually. The center console is simplified and the navigation screen is small. It has lost the smell of luxury. However, the parts are still well screwed together, and the general lack of wind and road noise still speak of a German car.



The unique sense of high build quality has disappeared...

Further cost saving can be found under the bonnet. To make the US$16,000 entry-level price possible, Volkswagen shamelessly resurrected the old 115hp 2.0-liter 8V engine from Beetle. In fact, its history can be traced back to the 1991 Golf Mk3, and I remember it was already criticized for outdated back then. In the new car, its lack of punch and refinement is even more apparent.

More sales are likely to go to the mid-trim 170hp 2.5-liter 20V straight-five. It is carried over from the outgoing Jetta, so hardly state of the art. Volkswagen found the larger and unsophisticated engine is actually cheaper to produce than its small and efficient TSI engines, so let the customers pay higher fuel bills for the lower purchase price. This Jetta takes about 8.5 seconds to go from 0-60, neither good nor bad, or about the same pace as the comparable Corolla and Civic.

The last two engines are the the most expensive but also the best: 140hp 2.0TDI diesel and 200hp 2.0 TSI petrol. The former is torquey, refined and frugal, hence our pick of the range. The latter is reserved for the hottest GLI model, which is also the only new Jetta retaining multi-link rear suspensions. For transmission, Volkswagen offers the familiar 5-speed manual, 6-speed manual and 6-speed DSG for your selection.

Downgraded everything is the price it pays for going mainstream

On the road, the degraded Jetta still handles and rides better than Corolla and Civic. Its European-style suspension tuning leads to good body control and damping. Ride is generally smooth and quiet. However, on poor surfaces the torsion-beam suspension does generate more shocks and noise than the outgoing Jetta (or Golf). The cheap hydraulic power steering delivers little feel on the straight ahead. Furthermore, the electronic stability control is intrusive, and it can't be switched off. Overall, the new Jetta does not deliver the same driving fun as the old car, neither can it match Golf and Mazda 3.

Seeing the downgraded dynamics, refinement, build quality and even style, existing American fans may be disappointed with the new Jetta. Ironically, that's the price it pays for going mainstream. Will it succeed ? I am not sure. What I am certain is it will inevitably hurt the premium image Volkswagen has been renowned for. That doesn't seem wise to me.
Verdict: 
 Published on 31 Oct 2010
All rights reserved. 
European Jetta
While the American Jetta is made cheap, the European Jetta retains most of the usual classy features to meet the expectation of European customers. All European Jettas get multi-link rear suspensions and electro-mechanical power steering like Golf. Their interior is also made of soft-touch plastics and better trimmings. Engines are the usual small TSI and TDI engines, including 105hp 1.2TSI, 122hp and 160hp 1.4TSI, 200hp 2.0TSI, 105hp 1.6TDI, 140hp and 170hp 2.0TDI. They should be considerably better and cleaner to drive than its American sibling, although no better to look. Production still takes place at the Mexican plant together with the American Jetta.
Verdict:
 Published on 5 Nov 2012
All rights reserved. 
Jetta Hybrid


Until now Hybrid is still a term downplayed by German car makers. They believe super-frugal diesels are the way to go if you want to achieve the best fuel efficiency, therefore they devote little money in the research and development of hybrid vehicles. However, the North America market has strong desire for hybrids. Seeing the unprecedented success of Toyota Prius, German giant Volkswagen also starts taking hybrid seriously. Its first serious attempt is Jetta Hybrid.

Unlike Toyota, Volkswagen wants to sacrifice a few mpg in exchange for stronger performance and driver appeal that you would expect for a German car. To do this, it fits the Jetta Hybrid with a relatively powerful engine – the new EA211 family 1.4 TSI engine, completed with all-alloy construction, dual-VVT, direct injection and turbocharger. Just see its long list of technology will understand why the small-capacity unit can pump out as much as 150 horsepower and a remarkable 184 pound-foot of torque from 1400 to 3500 rpm. The electric motor adds another 27 hp and 114 lbft, resulting in a total of 170 hp and 184 lbft – the maximum torque could have been higher still if not limited by the torque capacity of gearbox.

Speaking of gearbox, the 7-speed DSG is a world's first for hybrids. Its crisped and responsive gearshift is far more satisfying than CVTs employed by conventional hybrids. It also aids the already strong performance. VW claims the car sprint from rest to 60 mph in 8.6 seconds, but it feels far quicker than the number suggested, especially in the presence of electric torque at low rpm. No wonder VW America markets this car as Jetta Turbo Hybrid to emphasize its outstanding performance.



Then what about fuel efficiency? At the time of writing the official EPA figures are yet to be released, but the company estimates 45 mpg combined, which falls short of Prius (50 mpg), Ford Fusion Hybrid (47 mpg) and C-Max Hybrid (also 47 mpg) but better than Honda Civic Hybrid (44 mpg), Acura ILX Hybrid (38 mpg) and Lexus CT200h (42 mpg), even though the European car delivers stronger performance. This must thanks to the efficient TSI engine as well as other improvement efforts, such as the revised spoilers and underbody panels that reduce the drag coefficient from 0.30 to 0.28, the use of low rolling resistance tires, engine coast mode, and auto stop-start.

Apart from the nice combination of performance and fuel economy, the Jetta Hybrid can be praised in many areas. For example, its drivetrain integration is excellent, displaying seamless transition between the two propulsion sources. Its automatic stop-start system is incredibly smooth and matured. The electric power steering delivers better feel and weight than most rivals'. The handling and ride combination is remarkable for a hybrid, although its extra weight does takes a little bit edge from the turn-in compared with Jettas with smaller engines. Fortunately, the Hybrid employs multi-link rear suspension like the European version, so it actually rides and handles better than the American 2.0 and 2.5 models.

Flaws are few. The brake feel is hampered by an abrupt transition between regenerative braking and mechanical braking, something not unusual on hybrid vehicles. Besides, the 1.1 kWh lithium-ion battery creates a step in the boot and cut luggage capacity by 120 liters to 320 liters only. After all, the Jetta was not designed with hybrid in mind from the outset. The next generation car based on MQB platform will be better in this respect.

Verdict:
Specifications





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout


Suspension features
Tires
Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
Jetta 1.4TSI (Euro)
2010
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4644 / 1778 / 1453 mm
2651 mm
Inline-4
1390 cc
DOHC 16 valves
Turbo
DI
122 hp
147 lbft
6-speed manual
F: strut
R: multi-link

-
205/55R16
1325 kg
125 mph (c)
9.2 (c)
-
Jetta 2.0 (US)
2010
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4644 / 1778 / 1453 mm
2651 mm
Inline-4
1984 cc
SOHC 8 valves
-
-
115 hp
125 lbft
5-speed manual
F: strut
R: torsion-beam (changed to multi-link from late 2013)
-
195/65R15
1307 kg
118 mph (c)
11.0*
33.0*
Jetta 2.5 (US)
2010
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4644 / 1778 / 1453 mm
2651 mm
Inline-5
2480 cc
DOHC 20 valves
-
-
170 hp
177 lbft
5-speed manual (6-spd auto)
F: strut
R: torsion-beam

-
225/45R17
1400 kg
126 mph (c)
8.2* (8.4*)
22.6* (23.9*)




Performance tested by: *C&D





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power


Max torque


Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires
Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
Jetta 2.0TDI
2010
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4644 / 1778 / 1453 mm
2651 mm
Inline-4, diesel
1968 cc
DOHC 16 valves
VTG turbo
CDI
140 hp


236 lbft


6-speed twin-clutch
F: strut
R: multi-link
-
205/55R16
1366 kg
129 mph (c)
8.9 (c) / 8.0*
24.7*
Jetta 2.0TSI / 2.0GLI
2010
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4644 / 1778 / 1453 mm
2651 mm
Inline-4
1984 cc
DOHC 16 valves, VVT
Turbo
DI
200 hp (210 hp from 2013)


207 lbft


6-speed twin-clutch
F: strut
R: multi-link
-
225/45R17
1375 kg
147 mph (c)
6.7 (c) / 6.4* / 6.5**
16.8* / 17.0**
Jetta Hybrid
2012
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4644 / 1778 / 1453 mm
2651 mm
Inline-4 + electric motor
1395 cc
DOHC 16 valves, DVVT
Turbo
DI
Engine: 150 hp
Motor: 27 hp
Combined: 170 hp
Engine: 184 lbft
Motor: 114 lbft
Combined: 184 lbft
7-speed twin-clutch
F: strut
R: multi-link
-
205/55R16
1502 kg
125 mph (limited)
8.6 (c) / 7.9*
22.2*




Performance tested by: *C&D, **MT





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires
Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)

0-100 mph (sec)

Jetta 1.8TSI (US)
2013
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4644 / 1778 / 1453 mm
2651 mm
Inline-4
1798 cc
DOHC 16 valves, VVT
Turbo
DI
170 hp
184 lbft
5-spd manual / 6-spd auto
F: strut
R: multi-link
-
205/55R16
1365 kg
126 mph (c)
5M: 7.2*
6A: 7.3*
5M: 19.0*
6A: 19.2*























































Performance tested by: *C&D





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