Volkswagen Jetta: style and substance
THE 2012 Volkswagen Jetta can best be described as a premium product at a bargain price, given its blend of style and technology.
On paper, the Jetta may be easily overlooked due to its 1.4-litre four-cylinder motor which seems more at home in some Asian micro econobox rather than a compact family sedan. However, look deeper and the truth becomes clearer leading to a host of key factors that lift the Jetta above the plain bread-and-butter machines in this market segment.
Such a small engine is only possible due to the high level of German engineering permeating every inch of the car.
The Jetta's 1.4-litre motor not only spits out 160bhp, but an amazing 170lb/ft of torque due to its use of sequential forced induction.
The engine is both super and turbocharged. At low speeds, the supercharger gives instant throttle response. Push the accelerator further and the turbocharger comes into play, swinging the tachometer into the redline with enthusiasm. This is no wheezy 1.4-litre motor. Acceleration is easily available through any of the seven gears in the standard DSG automatic transmission.
Speed isn't the Jetta's only trick. It's able to provide such performance in a safe and comfortable manner. On the safety side, its heavy-duty suspension sucked up the roughest roads thrown at it, while eating up the corners when asked. The Electronic Stability Control (ESP) and Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) kept things from getting out of hand. In case of an unavoidable accident owners will be reassured by the dual front airbags and 5-star Euro crash test rating.
Comfort comes from the fact that the Jetta is both a pleasure to be in and the sheer number of standard options that make driving just a bit easier. It's both a big-picture and small-touch type of vehicle. Everything that needs to be powered or can be remotely operated, like the door locks, the trunk, and the radio has those features. Small details like the aspherical passenger side mirror offering a wider field of vision to the driver indicate the level of thought that went into a sedan that starts at just over $3 million.
The VW Jetta is available at ATL Automotive Limited.
-- Rory Daley