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Volkswagen Jetta 1.4 TSI DSG Highline

Photos by Julian and Low Fai Ming. Text by Julian Kho, sgCarMart.

Comfortable compact companion

Attractive price, good looks, generous space and loveable driveability, what's not to like about the new Volkswagen Jetta?

I can't say I'm much of a watch person but I do understand that Tudor is a sub brand of one of the world's most renowned watchmaker, Rolex. There are some resemblances between the two brands, although Tudor has its own unique designs that differ from its bigger and more expensive sibling. And in that sense, the new Volkswagen Jetta is like a Tudor, while the bigger and more expensive Passat is like a Rolex.

The car you see here is trimmed as Highline, which is like a Tudor Black Bay, but the one that comes close to the Tudor Heritage Chrono Blue will be the Jetta Sport, a more powerful car.


Up close and Personal

Volkswagen has done well with the Jetta, thanks to a more elegant sheet metal that puts it on par with more expensive models in its segment. While it's arguable that the Jetta has finally become a car that the German carmaker should have built since the beginning of time, it's always noteworthy to know that a fine watchmaker requires time and experience before it's able to fully reach a potential where its products can be admired, respected and valued.

Like how a Tudor is often mistaken for a Rolex, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the compact saloon is a Passat from a distance. And, mind you, this is no bad thing.

The updated Jetta features a new face, with a refreshed grille that emphasises the car's width and a new set of head and taillights that allow the car to keep up with the competition. But more relevantly, it's the overall understated look that makes it very sleek and desirable. In fact, unlike the Toyota Altis or the Kia Forte K3, it's completely without any drama.

Just as elegant is the cabin. Wrapped with a new and upmarket 'Corn Silk Beige' trim, it feels clean and light-hearted here. Upgrades include the piano black sleek steering wheel that's in line with the current generation Golf while the 5.0-inch touchscreen display gives the Jetta the much needed modern touch to keep it fighting fit with the competition.

This probably also explains why the functionality of the car hasn't been compromised, too. Nicely shaped and the largest at 510 litres, the boot space trumps the Altis' 470 litres as well as the K3's 421 litres, which means you can haul that extra golf bag or the luggage or even that Ikea product if you need to.

The Drive

Like all Volkswagen cars of late, the 122bhp Jetta is easily one of the most civilised and comfortable sedans out there in its segment. The ride is supple enough to even out road undulations without coming across as overly soft and boring. And when paired to the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, the 1.4-litre powerplant is certainly perky on the go. While the century sprint figure states 9.8 seconds on paper, it feels a lot faster than that in real-world driving conditions.

A pleasant surprise from the Jetta, over its predecessor, is the high levels of interaction from steering to driver. While it's not anything near a BMW 3 Series, it's communicative and confident enough to make you go faster around long arcs. The nose of the car reacts predictably, with controlled body roll, which helps a lot in such situations.

The car isn't without quibbles though. Although noise is kept to a bare minimum, even at illegal speeds, it does get a tad strained when you slot the car in Sport mode. Revs are held and gear change-ups are delayed, causing the car to sound more shaken than stirred.


Given its changes, the car has become more desirable than before and is certainly one that we would be happy having on our To-Buy list. It may not be as boast-worthy as a Rolex, so to speak, but knowing that it's just as credible and capable as one makes it that much more appealing.

Read the original article here.

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