Join the Jetta set
It’s like a Mexican Golf but with a boot
THE raft of changes Volkswagen made to its socalled “Golf-with-a-boot” in 2009 made the Jetta a much more appealing car.
VW could see the growing popularity of mid-sizers like the Mazda6, Ford Mondeo and Subaru Liberty and wanted in on the action. Jetta was the ideal model to make it happen.
Externally the changes to the updated Jetta were minimal. Only the true believers would have noticed the new alloy wheels and the addition of front and rear parking sensors.
It was a similar tale inside where the instrument cluster was restyled and trim options changed. The cabin itself was still comfortable and spacious and the seats were still a good compromise between support and comfort.
Of course, the thing that really separated the Mexican- built Jetta from the Golf was the boot. It was huge, and with the split-fold rear seat could be expanded further to make it even more useful.
The biggest changes were under the bonnet — there were five engines, including three diesels and two petrol units.
All diesels were turbocharged four-cylinder engines and kicked off with the 77kW unit and maxed out with 125kW, with respective torque ranging from 250Nm to a massive 350Nm.
The petrol offerings began with a 1.4-litre engine that was both supercharged and turbocharged and delivered 118kW/240Nm and ended with the twin-turbocharged 2.0-litre hottie that gave a Golf GTIequalling 147kW and 280Nm.
All were offered with VWs dual-clutch DSG automatic, either six- or seven-speed depending on the engine, and some also offered manuals, either five- or six-speed, and all were front-wheeldrive. The underpinnings of the Jetta were the same as the Golf’s and it had the same onroad dynamics as its bootless cousin. With the wider choice of engines Jetta buyers had plenty of options. The 77kW diesel offered admirable economy without losing driveability, while the 147kW petrol would surely have satisfied anyone wanting performance.
VW’s recent troubles have been well-documented and these have taken a toll on its reputation. That’s unfortunate because overall VW makes good, solid cars,but it’s also a reality that anyone thinking of buying a VW needs to be aware of the issues.
A voluntary recall affecting all vehicles fitted with the sevenspeed DSG gearbox was carried out after owners reported their vehicles stopping without warning, sometimes in traffic, changing gears erratically, and doing other odd things.
Anyone shopping for a Jetta should check to make sure the vehicle they are thinking of buying has been back to the dealer to be checked. They should also conduct a thorough test drive by putting the DSG gearbox through every driving scenario, but especially low speed and parking situations. If in doubt have it checked by a VW-experienced mechanic.
There was an earlier recall of cars with the six-speed DSG that related to an incorrect temperature signal to the gearbox computer, which could cause the clutch to shudder and a loss of engine torque.
There was also a recall in 2012 to fix a situation where an injection pipe could crack and possibly lead to a fire.
VW issued a service alert to owners in 2010 about the 118 TSI engine after a customer’s engine blew up. Owners were asked to take their cars to a dealer to have the knock sensor software altered to prevent the problem occurring.
When checking to see the relevant recall work has happened it’s worth also checking your car of choice has been serviced regularly as per the VW recommendations.
Appealing sedan but check it over thoroughly.