Bucking thetrend of strategic withdrawal in luxury sedan category, VW has launched 2015 facelifted Jetta in Indian automobile market. This is second makeover that Jetta has gone under since its first update in 2013. Back then, VW adored Jetta with extra equipment and new frontage though this time changes are not that recognizable. In fact so subtle is makeover that most of the folks will be hard-pressed to appreciate new additionson 2015 Jetta. Further, this facelift assumes significance in a sense it contrasts sharply to ongoing lull in luxury sedan segment. Today most of D-segment offerings are bearing customers indifference with chunk of prospectsabandoning luxury sedans in favour of their lower mid-size counterparts. Dimensions like exclusivity and elegance, once confined only to luxury sedans, have now tricked down to lower mid-size category which has upped pressure on high-end offerings to justify their hefty price tag. This, in large part, explains declining sales and relevance of D-category in Indian auto market. Unlike other manufacturers who have left revival hopes here, VW Jetta has decided to take head-on with all these challenges. High on exclusivity and rich on equipment, new Jetta is all-set to redefine its image and appeal its owners. With newly imbibed sense of sumptuousness, Jetta is sure to get attention irrespective of view seized by beholder. A sure shot-winner on looks, 2015 Jetta claims similar appeal inside the cabin as well as under the hood. Now to know, how good these claims are and whether they can stand trial of ECARDLR; we took new Jetta for a long spin and here’s our verdict.
Although subtle, changes have surfaced on both outside and inside of new 2015 Jetta. For keen observers, there is now new 3-slat front chrome grille that has replaced two-slat version on previous iteration. Headlamps are exactly same though their appearance has been chiselled a bit. Same applies to rear lamps though in profile, this silhouette has carried over its profile status.
Chunky and fabulous looking alloy-wheels remained similar to outgoing model and that’s a similarity we appreciate more than we rue. Long extending bonnet, housing similar motors, looks attractive though practically requires more driving attention and skills, especially in normal congestions we are encountered on daily basis.
Jetta’s rear is still ovoid though its shaped, wrap-around tail lamps have disguised this flaw quite handsomely. Twin-cut muffler is concealed neatly under bumper though reflectors are positioned more outwardly than their usual middle placing.
Jetta’s interior is epitome of luxury and craftsmanship. Each and every part is precisely stitched together and though overall lay-out feels a bit Spartan, there is no suspicion about desirability of interiors. Two-tone dash, beige upholstery, and inserts of faux-wood trim makes Jetta’s cabin one of the finest interiors available in India. There is new steering wheel with flat-bottom that has been straight lift from its younger cousin Vento though in Jetta it sports more features. Chrome-ringed instrument cluster has got speedometer and rpm meter and in-between lies multi-information display, which allows driver to have information on host of critical components.
There is no lack of space either, as Jetta has got acres of room at both front and rear bench. Front driver has got electrical seat adjustment and at rear, occupants are pampered with ac vents. Even three persons can sit comfortable at back without jostling on confrontations arising out of space limitation.
In line with cabin space abundance, boot space in Jetta is more than enough to swallow your entire luggage. Wide-mouthed lid is added advantage though its height is not as convenience as we would have liked. Nonetheless, trunk is laid out in very practical way as it has got almost nil intrusions from suspension towers.
Engine, Transmission & Dynamics
Based upon exactly similar underpinnings, engines and transmissions, 2015 Jetta derives in a quite familiar way. We sampled 2.0-litre TDI model that come fitted with 6-speed manual transmission though there is optional DSG convenience too that is up for grab. Displacing 1998 cc, 4-cylinder, in-line common rail, turbo-charged diesel engine puts out 140 PS and 320 Nm of max torque. This engine is quite capable and with humongous amount of torque at its disposal, it pleases driver with its enormously mighty nature. Low-range power delivery is smooth though it is mid-range of this TDI motor that is real jewel in its crown. Strong rush of torque that stretches between 2000 – 3500 rpm is quite addictive, and certainly represents best band to drive Jetta.
6-speed manual gearbox has got all the preciseness to handle and transfer large quantity of power to front wheels. All gates are well-defined and slickness of unit is easily among the segment benchmark. Ergonomically designed gear-lever further complements its direct shifting. All-around disc brakes are incredibly inspiring and stopping distance can be easily considered as another benchmark. Backed by ABS, Jetta owners can rely upon its stopping power in almost all circumstances though that doesn’t misperceive as a certificate for rash driving. Clutch is middle-of-the-rung as it weight neither heavy nor extra light though it has good progressive feel attached to it.
Sitting on 16” alloy wheels with road contact as wide as 205 mm, Jetta has got excellent combination of ride and handling abilities. Remaining unperturbed at slow speeds, Jetta maintains its superb demeanour while cruising too. There is no annoyance of any sort; be it road noise, suspension creaking or filtering of bumps inside. Chassis is superbly refined and its taut composting helps in containing body roll. Even with such a large length, VW Jetta feels more like small hatchback while handling corners.
2015 Jetta has got some interesting cosmetic additions though scratch surface and mechanicals throw up a similar story. Undoubtedly new addition feels more luxurious, upmarket and up-to-date, it still lacks from the extra excitement that VW should have introduced in this luxury sedan. Power and performance bar should have been revised and VW could have launched Jetta with more powerful variants. In the same vein, the equipment offering feels too skimped for the car that starts at Rs 13.87 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai). We believe that VW has missed a great opportunity of making Jetta more desirable though for fans of Teutonic craftsmanship, new Jetta has got the appeal that is hard to resist.
Style & Substance 4/5 Ride & Handling 4/5
Interiors & Ergonomics: 3/5 Safety & Equipment 3/5
Power-Plant & Transmission 3/5 Fuel Efficiency 3/5
Value for Money 3/5