Volks populi - Volkswagen Jetta
Text by Thunder Storm, Storm.
It's not going to set the pulse racing with its looks, but the Jetta does know how to quietly and efficiently get its stronger points across to you.
Beyond its pleasant demeanour, the 1.4-litre engine turns in a more than adequate performance. Although it only puts out 90kW of power, with maximum torque starting at 1,500rpm you don't feel like you're in a car that is in need of a helpful push.
Since its debut in 1979, the Jetta has sold over 14 million units worldwide, and last year it sold close to a million cars. The German company's bestseller is marketed under different names - Vento, Bora, among others - in other parts of the world. With that long a history, it's a model that has a strong following and mass-market appeal.
For young families looking for a car that offers comfort, relative value (given Singapore's crazy tax structure) and performs well in city driving, the three variants of the Jetta offer entry-level comfort in the Trendline, a more comfortable and lighter ambience with the Highline and a sportier look with the Sportline. There is a Sport model, which tops the pyramid.
The front and rear design changes improve air drag which help the efficiency numbers. If that translates into getting to your destination smoothly and by saving some fuel, then it does a reasonable job, splashing out under eight litres to get you 100km. It would probably be a healthier figure if the automatic start/stop feature were available.
The space within is also more than adequate with lots of legroom and headroom in the back, and a boot that can take two big bags with little difficulty. The Highline model tested here had beige seats that looked comfortable and lived up to expectation.
The front is functional, with many features on the steering wheel. The seats have to be manually adjusted, but again, roominess is not an issue. Many of the features are incorporated for practical reasons, but would be considered premium in many other brands.
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