Join the Jetta set

It’s like a Mex­i­can Golf but with a boot

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Car - GRA­HAM SMITH gra­ham.smith@carsguide.com.au

NEW

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.

NOW

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.

SMITHY SAYS

Ap­peal­ing sedan but check it over thor­oughly.

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