With petrol prices the way they are, it may seem like an odd time to launch a petrol car, but that’s exactly what VW has done. There is some logic to this move. VW knows there are quite a few people who don’t hold onto their cars long enough to offset the high cost of buying a diesel but still want a large, comfortably why VW luxury cars It’s also probably why VW has favoured the smaller 1.4-litre TSI over the 1.8-litre TSI that sister Skoda brought in with the facelifted Laura a few years ago. The smaller-displacement motor will be more fuel efficient and bring in all of VW’s cutting-edge turbocharged, direct-injection tech to the Jetta.
The 1.4-litre TSI in this car is a 1390cc four-valve, twin-cam motor that makes a reasonably healthy 121bhp and 20.4kgm of torque and is mated to a slick, six-speed manual. There is no automatic option for now.
This engine comes from VW’s EA111 engien family and is different from the Laura’s 1.8 TSI, which is from the EA888 family. It’s been slightly Indianised – the ignition timing has been latered and the ECU’s calibration is different from its European counterpart as well.
Initial impressions are good. It’s so quiet and vibe-free at idle, you need to glance at the rev-counter to convince yourself that the engine is on. Slot into first, get off the progressive clutch, and you’ll see the engine responds rather well past 1500rpm and pulls strongly right upto 5500rpm, after which power starts tailing off. But when the turbo is off-boost, this engine simply doesn’t have the guts of the competition’s bigger-displacement engines and you will feel the need to snap down a gear when you want to pull away quickly. There actually is no replacement for sheer displacement. Also highlighting this deficit is the rather tall gearing.
Still, performance is more than adequate and the strong mid-range helps the jetta TSI hit 100kph from rest in around 10.5sec. Gearshifts are snappy, the cultch is light and there’s fun to be had in rowing up and down the gearbox as well.
As for refinement, the engine is smooth and quiet for the most part, but past 4000rpm there is some thrumminess from the four-cylinder motor and it gets pretty vocal. It is nowhere as quiet or creamy as the 1.8 TSI in the Laura.
The Jetta TSI weighs 42 kilos less than the diesel Jetta, and this shows in the way it handles. It feels slightly more eager to change direction and this, combined with the Jetta’s shattering grip, makes for quite an entertaining drive. It rides quite well – there is some low-speed stiffness and the suspension thumps over sharp bumps, but it’s not too bad. At higher speeds, the Jetta is simply phenomenal – the ride is absolutely flat and stability is mind-blowing.
Other desirable Jetta traits remains. It feels like a mini - Passat on the inside, with top – notch plastics, and micrometer-perfect fit and finish. The front seats are generous and the rear seats are the most comfortable in this segment. If there is a fault, it’s with the cushioning, which is a touch too hard, and the backrest that’s a wee bit too upright.
The Jetta TSI is available only in the base Trendline trims. Our Comfortline-spec test car was missing some essential equipment like powered seats and climate control, but it does have six airbags and a CD player with an aux-in port.
The Jetta TSI’s performance and refinement are not class-leading, but looking at the spec sheet, it doesn’t come as a complete surprise – the competition have bigger, more powerful engines. It’s also why VW should back the trend and price it aggressively.
Price weren’t announced at the time of going to press, but we expect the Jetta to be pegged at around the Rs 12.5-lakh mark, at which price it’s great value and makes a strong case as a sensible saloon for short runs.
Source: Auto car July 2012