New Jetta TSI typifies what the brand stands for

Finally unfettered by the Golf design language, the latest Jetta is free to express its own personality. The result is a larger-than-expected sedan that benefits from a smooth and elegant styling execution to add visual interest. It’s now an upmarket sedan that’s climbed a couple of steps up the status ladder.

In fact, the VW badge is a rather rude reminder of the Jetta’s more humble beginnings!

Anyone familiar with Volkswagen’s current-generation cars will feel instantly at home in the Jetta TSI. The overall impression is smart and spacious, with classy finishes and upmarket materials. And as we’ve come to expect of Volkswagen, the quality is tangible.

The sound system is good but, however, the only snag there’s no USB-based interface for an iPod or an iPhone.

Instead, you have to make do with a rudimentary line-in jackplug, which is not only inferior sonically, but also doesn’t allow functional integration with the Jetta’s sound system.

Of course, as that long wheelbase has already implied, there’s no shortage of space. Both front and rear occupants can stretch out in style, and the boot is huge: 510 litres will easily cope with 5 donkeys, (as we tried breaking that record in my village, NW).

Standard specification of this 1.4 TSI model is quite comprehensive and ticks most of the key comfort and convenience boxes. There’s an effective air-con, remote central locking, cruise control and a full complement of airbags.

But while the four-pot mill under the Jetta’s bonnet makes do with a 1.4-litre capacity, this is no ordinary engine.

Assisted by the close attentions of both a turbocharger and a supercharger, it’s credited with 118kW of max power, and a torque peak of 240Nm. More importantly, that torque is already on song from only 1,500rpm.

VW claims 6.3 litres/100km for the combined cycle, and 145g/km of CO2 emissions. Real-world driving will yield slightly higher numbers of about 8 litres/100km or so, but that’s still impressive.

However, the twin-charged configuration means that both supercharger and turbocharger create ample punch when you put the hammer down – useful not only for boy racers, but more specifically during crucial overtaking manoeuvres and in the interests of overall tractability and response.

Not that you should expect red-hot performance.

The Jetta is swift, but it’s not a muscle car.

That said, it’s no slouch in performance terms, partly because of its comparatively slim kerb weight, which comes in at under 1,400kg. As a result, it benefits from a decent power to weight ratio of 87kW/ton, which in turn translates into a zero-to-100km/h sprint time of 8.3 seconds and a 221km/h top speed.


In-line four-cylinder, 1,398cc twin-charged


Six-speed manual

Retail price    

R307, 050


(1-10) Performance: 7

(1-10) Brakes and Petrol: 8






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