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Will VW's quick fix upgrade for the Jetta boost its numbers?

S Ronendra Singh  | Updated on March 10, 2018 Published on February 19, 2015

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It seems to be season for facelifts with VW also joining in with the new Jetta





Ladh, Jhagadh, Aage Badh! (Fight, Quarrel, but Go Ahead)… Now, hold on! This is not about declaring war, but the tagline of Jadhavgarh Fort close to Pune, where we had checked-in to drive the latest, facelifted Volkswagen Jetta. What is the connection between the two - you ask - we will get to that in a bit.

But first, let us run down the list of changes in the new Jetta. Though there aren’t too many changes, apart from a few cosmetic ones, Volkswagen is hoping to woo more customers in this segment with this 2015 model. Since its launch in 2011, VW has sold about 9,300 units of the Jetta in India, an executive sedan that competes with models like the Hyundai Elantra, Toyota Corolla Altis and Skoda Octavia.

Often VW’s cars have to fend off competition from within its own group brands. So, it is not surprising that the Skoda Octavia is always in the Jetta’s radar.

Exterior

You will recall that the 2013 model year Jetta saw some big changes, with a lot of design changes and new equipment, including those very Audi-like tail-lamps. 

Now, in an effort to make the Jetta even more appealing, Volkswagen has made changes to its exterior, with new Bi-Xenon headlamps and LED daytime running lamps, a new, sharper two-piece tail-lamp combination, and new bumpers with wider airdams and a three-slat bonnet grille. The choice of engines remains the same as in the outgoing model. However, the changes make the car look bigger, by enhancing visual width with features like the wider airdams, the chunkier the boot-lid and integrated spoiler.

Interior

The interiors, however, get more trim changes helping improve the car’s premiumness. The new Jetta get a flat-bottomed, three-spoke steering wheel with multi-function switches, such as cruise control and paddle shifts. The cruise control is now standard across all three variants. The flat bottom steering wheel was first introduced in the new Polo and in the refreshed version of the Vento. Jetta also gets a new touch-screen music system with a six-CD changer, ‘climatronic’ dual zone air-conditioning and a storage box in front of the co-driver’s seat. However, it still doesn’t get some simple features, such as a USB port. It has a port for charging only iPhones in the storage box. The new Jetta also has no start/stop button or keyless start button, or for that matter a sunroof or rear camera for parking assistance, which are common features in most of new cars, in this price range.

But, for safety, the new Jetta has quite a few add-ons, such as six airbags and a new fatigue detection feature in all the variants. Fatigue detection is based on sensing driver behaviour, and an indicator lights up to indicate that it is time for a coffee or tea break.

Performance

The engine, as said earlier, remains unchanged. The peak power remains the same 140PS at 4,200rpm in the 2.0 TDI diesel variants and the maximum torque is 320Nm at 1750-2500rpm. The climb up to Mahabaleshwar was good testing grounds for the Jetta TDI. With the six-speed manual transmission, the diesel engine can be worked to one’s expectations and with enough torque available, it is easy to exploit the powertrain’s strenghts. The steering has been tuned to offer extra assistance, but is precise enough to compliment the stiff chassis of the Jetta. On our return from Mahabaleshwar, the six-speed DSG (dual shift gearbox) made the drive effortless. The petrol engine has also been brought forward in the same state of tune. The Jetta’s 1.4 TSI puts out 122PS of peak power and 200Nm of torque. The petrol versions only get the 6-speed manual transmission.

Bottomline

While the new Jetta is packaged well in terms of drivability and comfort, some features are missing. For example, while the driver’s seat gets powered adjustments, the co-driver’s seat has manual adjustment levers. But, there is some relief with features like heated door mirrors, cruise control and LED DRLs, depending on the variant.

But the bigger miss is the fact that VW has not considered bringing in the bigger and more powerful 1.8 TSI petrol engine in the new Jetta, which even the new Skoda Octavia sports paired with the 7-speed DSG.

With competition peaking in the market, even as more buyers migrate into the Jetta’s segment, Volkswagen India will really have to ladh (fight), jhaghad (quarrel) to go ahead (aage badh)!

Published on February 19, 2015
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