"The latest Jetta distances itself from the Golf with its own look, a longer wheelbase and more room inside."
The latest Jetta shares its looks with the larger Passat, as Volkswagen tries to distance it from the Golf with which it shares many of its components. The saloon has a longer wheelbase than the Golf, so there's more cabin space, while it looks smarter. As with the rest of the VW range, the Jetta is well built from quality materials. Engines include a 1.4 TSI petrol, plus 1.6 and 2.0-litre TDI diesels. The 1.6 TDI is also offered with VW's BlueMotion Technology pack, which saves fuel by turning the engine off when the car is in neutral.
As it shares its suspension with the Golf, it's no surprise that the Jetta has the same sure-footed handling as the hatchback. The steering is sharp, too, and all of the engines have plenty of power, although the 1.4-litre TSI petrol needs to be worked harder to make the most of its performance.
Occupants up front are treated to the same comfortable and high-quality interior as the Golf, while in the back, there's more room for passengers than in the hatch. The Jetta's wheelbase is 73mm longer than the Golf's – and this not only creates more legroom for those sitting in the back, it also means that the saloon is more comfortable on motorway journeys.
The Jetta uses the same platform as the Golf – a car which was awarded a maximum score of five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests. Plus, all of the engines, gearboxes and components used in the saloon have already been tried and tested across the VW model range, so reliability shouldn’t be an issue.
THE 510-litre boot is 160 litres larger than the Golf's, and only 55 litres down on that of the larger Passat. There are also handy features to enhance the load bay, such as a shopping bag hook and 12V power supply. The rear seats fold in a 60:40 split on SE and Sport models, although the four-door saloon body shape means that the Jetta isn’t quite as flexible as a hatchback when it comes to carrying bulky items.
Value for money
Prices for the Jetta are lower than for the equivalent Golf, so you get more interior space for your money. All cars come with air-conditioning and electric windows all-round, while SE models add alloy wheels, cruise control and steering wheel controls for the stereo and trip computer. The top-spec Sport gets chrome trim, sports seats and lowered sports suspension.
Our pick of the engine range is the 1.6-litre TDI diesel with BlueMotion Technology. This adds a stop-start function which cuts the engine when you put the car into neutral. It helps the Jetta return 67.3mpg fuel ecconomy and emit 109g/km of CO2 – the latter means Road Tax costs only £20 per year.