With Love from Germany: My Volkswagen Jetta
Our 2009 Hyundai Verna VGT SX was nearing the end of its useable life. It was a lemon right from the start. This car kept on giving us problems from day one including a broken seat adjuster and an extremely weak A/C compressor(an Achilles heel of the 2009 Verna and even certain i20s). The car had to visit the workshop four times to get the leak sorted. Apart from this, there were a host of other problems which the Verna gave in addition to the wear and tear parts. Although Hyundai's after-sales was supportive all throughout, they were helpless due to the poor part quality and build. Here's a short list of the cars we shortlisted with pros and cons. Hyundai Elantra A close family friend had bought a 1.8 petrol and was all praises for it. My dad however wasn't too keen on the 1.6 shared with it's siblings and the previous experience with our Verna had left a bitter taste in the mouth for us. The badge value might have also played a minor role here. What we liked: -A head turner whichever way you look at it. Fluidic styling looked swell. -1.6 CRDi was both refined and adequately powerful. -Automatic transmission was available at a lower price point than most competitors -Feature loaded:Ventilated seats, audio controls on the rear armrest, cruise control etc. -Hyundai's fuss free ownership experience and peace of mind What we didn't like: -1.6 was shared with the lesser Verna. Not an outright performer. -Automatic didn't have the shift times or the precision of the VAG group gearboxes -Rear looked too bulky and the roofline ate into valuable headroom -Lightly built. Couldn't match the Germans or even the Cruze Toyota Corolla Altis The Altis had just been launched in mid 2014, when we were looking for a new car. My dad was especially keen on the reliability and was ready to go for the more versatile petrol rather then the diesel(our primary choice otherwise). What we liked: -A value for money offering by a known brand -Feature loaded:Lounge lighting, projector headlamps, Touchscreen ICE with navigation etc -A versatile 1.8 petrol with good refinement and more than adequate performance on tap -a reliable choice in the segment -Toyota's excellent after sales and clean track record What we didn't like: -Puny 1.4 D4-D was a disappointment. A more powerful engine was a must in the saloon segments -Light build as compared to the Germans -Not as dynamically accomplished as the Germans -2 Airbags and ABS+EBD only on a car that cost 21 Lakhs on the road. Seriously Toyota? -200 mm of ground clearance and the Etios grill gave it an awkward stance. Styling could polarise opinions. Out of these points, the last two were what concerned us. Toyota has seriously goofed up the equipment list when it comes to safety on the Altis. 2 Airbags an ABS+EBD wasn't acceptable for the price. Hope they sort it out on the facelift. The stance of the car was also a bit underwhelming. My mom liked the styling while myself, my dad and my brother didn't like the overdone front. Apart from these minor inconveniences, the Altis has the potential to second the Jetta in my opinion. Chevrolet Cruze The Cruze had been my favourite since it's launch in 2008. I liked the looks of the car although it was more than 6 years old at the time of our purchase. It was owned by a close friend of mine and I had received positive reviews on the car. What we liked: -Ahorrendous after sales and spare part availability -lighter than the outgoing PQ-35 Laura Deletion of a multi-link suspension was truly shocking and not fair on Skoda's part(especially when the cheaper Jetta had it as standard). Another thing worth mentioning here is the fact that the new Octavia didn't feel as solid as the Jetta. Mind you, it is still a solid car by german standards but the outright builggressive looks and a good stance -Feature loaded:Sunroof, Bluetooth, cruise control etc -Good safety kit: 4 Airbags, ABS+EBD etc -Powerful 2.0 liter diesel was the torque king of its segment -A well-built car that could match the German duo at least when it came to driving dynamics What we didn't like: -Interior quality was ordinary to say the least -Rear legroom was average at best. Poor under-thigh support -An old offering in the D1 segment -GMs sub par dealership experience -fear of it being discontinued soon What further worsened things was the availability of Test drive cars. Although the dealer was eager to sell the car, TD cars were in short supply. Finally, we were given a 2013(pre-facelift) model for test drive. The condition of the car left a lot to be desired. Skoda Octavia The Octavia had been launched amidst quite a fan following. We had actually been to the Skoda showroom in 2013 for enquiring about the Laura, but the last fifty units had sold out by then. Had a look at the Octavia Ambience as it was within budget and fairly well loaded. The only problem was that it has 2 airbags unlike the Elegance. What we liked: -Clean and understated design language appealed to everyone -2.0 TDI mated to an equally capable 6 speed DSG gearbox -Well kitted mid variants:Touchscreen ICE, dual zone climate control, etc -Solid build quality -Interior design and quality was a notch above the Jetta What we didn't like: -The 2.0 and 1.4 diesels had an inferior torsion beam setup. Want the multilink, go for the 1.8 TSi only -Reliability was unchartered territory since the car was a relatively new offering -Over priced top end variants -The mid variant only had two airbags. 6 Airbags should have been standard across the range -Skoda's d(the heft in the doors for example)was missing. Buying experience he booking was done through Volkswagen Downtown(Shaman motors). The Sales Advisor Mr. Pranav was very courteous and cleared all of our doubts. The car had undergone a very minor facelift about 6 months before this test drive. The Highline now had Bi-Xenons and Dual zone climate control had been introduced as standard across the whole Jetta range. The car we test drove was a DSG. The DSG was only available in the highline trim(a shame if you ask me!). The TD car wore a Midnight blue colour which remains my shade of preference for the Jetta to date. We were initially looking to buy the highline manual, especially for those bi-xenons and the atlanta alloy wheels, but the dealer then offered a deal that we couldn't resist. He said that there were a few Comfortlines in stock for a while and he wanted to clear them. He said that he could do a one off deal for us and claimed that the cars were sitting for 7-9 months in the yard. It was a deal that we couldn't resist and went in for. The delivery was scheduled for 27th November(Thursday) but the RTO guys had a date of their own. The car was lying at the dealer's showroom but registration still hadn't taken place. I come home on the 28th of November and get a pleasant surprise. The dealer said that the car had been registered the other night. Turns out that the RTO agent was able to text the number to the S.A and the plates were attached the next morning. Very prompt indeed! We immediately rushed to Prabhadevi in a cab. The traffic on the way really had us worried.It took 2 hours and 40 minutes to get to the showroom. We left home at 4:30 pm and reached at around 7:00. The dealer assured us that the showroom would be open. Reached the showroom and saw her standing there. What a moment indeed! She had ribbons all over her ready for her owner!I wanted to get inside and take a look, but the gate where she was parked was too narrow and I didn't want to end up scratching the body. While dad completed the paperwork, I had a look at another Polo ready for delivery. The S.A was not present so his colleagues helped us with all the paperwork. He arrived shortly after. Immediately after the paperwork was completed, the car was taken out. As soon as the car was out, I checked the Odometer. The odo had only 16 Kms. We were given a quick demo of all the features and off we were. Introduction The Jetta was one of the halo cars for Volkswagen along with the Passat that helped it immensely in building an image for itself. The Jetta and the Passat were the ones which gave Volkswagen the solid and premium german image which the Polo and the Vento still carry. The jetta was initially introduced with a 1.9 litre pump duse(German for "Fuel injected"). The fifth generation Jetta was a golf with a boot. Although the sales were nothing to write home about, specifically due to the weak image of D segment cars, the Jetta did create a fan base of its own thanks to the understated looks and solid build along with equally competent engines for it's time. The corolla Altis petrol was the only one which was a threat to the Jetta but rising petrol prices made sure that the Jetta had a distinct advantage. Owing to the introduction of the D4-D, Volkswagen finally gave us a 2.0 TDI around late 2009. The TDI had 108 Horses but importantly had more torque and a more tractable nature for coping with traffic. Come 2011, and the Jetta was facing stiff competition globally and in India. It was time to phase the 5th Generation out. Styling and exteriors Default re: Our Silver Sprinter - Volkswagen Jetta 2.0 TDI. EDIT: 40,000 km & new Michelin tyres The car The Jetta was one of the halo cars for Volkswagen along with the Passat that helped it immensely in building an image for itself. The Jetta and the Passat were the ones which gave Volkswagen the solid and premium german image which the Polo and the Vento still carry. The jetta was initially introduced with a 1.9 litre pump duse(German for "Fuel injected"). The fifth generation Jetta was a golf with a boot. Although the sales were nothing to write home about, specifically due to the weak image of D segment cars, the Jetta did create a fan base of its own thanks to the understated looks and solid build along with equally competent engines for it's time. The corolla Altis petrol was the only one which was a threat to the Jetta but rising petrol prices made sure that the Jetta had a distinct advantage. Owing to the introduction of the D4-D, Volkswagen finally gave us a 2.0 TDI around late 2009. The TDI had 108 Horses but importantly had more torque and a more tractable nature for coping with traffic. Come 2011, and the Jetta was facing stiff competition globally and in India. It was time to phase the 5th Generation out. Solid build and a powerful diesel were the Jetta's USP before the mighty cruze stepped in: Name: volkswagenjettatsicrdiphoto.jpg Views: 19547 Size: 26.7 KB On a side note, many of my friends think that the previous generation Jetta looked distinct and the soft curves and rounded nose helped in differentiating it from a Polo or Vento. IMO I like the edgier nose of the current generation Jetta more than the rounded one of the previous generation. PQ-35 TAKE 2 Yup that's what the current generation Jetta is. It is still based on the same tried and tested (read: older) PQ-35 platform of the previous car. Volkswagen refers to the Jetta 2011 as an all new mark 6, I bet most bhpians know that it is still the same Jetta underneath which isn't necessarily a bad thing. The 6th gen Jetta is more of a 5.5th gen rather than an all new 6th gen. The Jetta was back with a bang in 2011. I fell in love with the understated looks completely ignoring the Vento-esque nose (Rudra da's photography made the car look even better ) : Name: 142752.jpg Views: 19640 Size: 76.6 KB Styling and exteriors Understated, edgy, elegant yet simple are the words that come to mind when one sees the Jetta. It might seem like the Vento at first glance, but then that's where the similarities end. The side profile is clearly longer than the Vento and then you have that beautiful rear inspired by the Audi A4. There are no loud design elements and neither does the car shout for attention in the crowd something that the Altis and the 5th Gen Elantra do. The headlamps are smoked on both the Highline, which gets xenons and on the Comfortline and Trendline which get double barrel Halogens. The rounded fog lamps on the 2011 Jettas don't have a chrome surround that the Vento did, just the way I like it. There is only a subtle chrome lining on the air dam and the two slats on the grill. All in all I love the minimal use of chrome on the front. Even though there is minimal chrome , the car manages to turn heads and that does say a lot about the design. The Volkswagen logo sits proudly on top of the grille. Unlike certain other cars, the parking sensors are well integrated and don't stick out like sore thumbs or feel after market. The paint quality on the bumper is good and the plastics used here seem solid enough to withstand a certain degree of abuse. The grille uses a piano black plastic (the shiny variety), while the air dam uses a scratch resistant matte black(the rough variety) of plastic to withstand stone chips. It must also be mentioned that the chrome used on the grille and air dam is of the glossy variety and not the brushed aluminium seen on the interiors. The Volkswagen logo has been neatly integrated although it requires a notch in both the bumper and the bonnet (unlike the 2015 facelift variants). The side profile is where the similarities with the Vento end and the differences start. Even a layman will be able to differentiate between the Vento and the Jetta due to the longer wheelbase. The B-pillar has been finished in gloss black as opposed to the Polo's matte black finish. The Highline gets a subtle chrome highlight on the shoulder line. The side skirts have a rough finish at the bottom to withstand stone chip and abuse. The ground clearance has also been increased for Indian conditions, and is officially rated at 158 mm. The 16 inch Sedonas suite the car well and also complement the Executive saloon theme. The Highline gets Atlantas which have a diamond cut effect or a machined finish. Yet again, there are no loud design elements such as heavily flared wheel arches or chromed door handles. Although the ground clearance has increased, the car doesn't look as disproportionate as the Altis which looks jacked up in comparison. The roofline is also a functional design element unlike the Elantra and aids headroom at the rear. There are no ugly black strips or spot weld marks on the roof all thanks to the laser welding technology that Volkswagen uses across its range. The Jetta's styling really comes into it's own especially when it comes to the rear. Almost all of my relatives think it resembles an A4. There is again no use of chrome here, unlike certain other cars which have a cheesy looking number plate garnish. What adds to the A4 resemblance is the fact that Volkswagen added LED number plate lights on the 2013 facelifts. The icy blue colour of the lights does make a lot of difference and I would highly recommend that the pre 2013 Jetta owners get these fitted as a simple DIY. The tail lamps have been smartly designed so that they pass of as LEDs to the layman although they use normal Halogenous bulbs. What is truly a shame is that there is only a single fog lamp offered on the jetta although it gets two reversing lights. There is an empty slot on the left tail lamp for a foglamp but Volkswagen seems to have skimped these. An omission which could have been avoided. The four parking sensors are again well integrated into the bumper. Dual exhaust pipes look meaty and add to the overall appeal of the rear. The lower portion of the bumper has been blacked out to break the bulk at the rear and a set of reflectors have also been provided. All in all a timeless design that is sure to offend none and more importantly age well. The car doesn't look menacing and there is no wow factor to it, but it is sure to impress with crisp and simple lines laid out in an elegant manner. Build quality This is surely one part of the review where I have a huge smile pasted on my face. The Jetta is surely one of the most solid cars available this side of the 30 Lakhs mark. From the satisfying thud that you get when you slam the doors shut to the heavy bonnet, all of it gives you an impression of how well built the car is. Vw also states that there are steel cross beams in the doors. I couldn't agree more. Paint quality is also a notch above other cars I have seen till date. There is barely any orange peel at all and the silver leaf colour has a metallic lustre when you view it in well lit conditions. The paint also appears to be very thick maybe because of the so called 12 stage paint process that Volkswagen uses. The quality of steel used was found to be much thicker than our Verna which felt like a hollow shell in comparision. Volkswagen has a 6 year corrosion warranty for the Jetta as standard. Music system The music system belongs to the RCD family of ICEs and coupled to the 8 speakers, produces good sound quality. At least I don't see any of the average customers complaining although audiophiles would have wished it had better bass. User interface and aesthetics are two places where I see it fairing poorly. The user interface is not very friendly and browsing through folders can get confusing. The monochrome display isn't the largest one you will find and there is no touchscreen either. Another problem is the lack of bluetooth or even USB. Sure, I don't miss them thanks to the aux cable, but you expect these features as standard on a 20 lakh car. You get 4 speakers+4 tweeters placed around the cabin. Buttons for the menus and radio are otherwise well laid out and you won't miss the touchscreen for the most. MID (Multi information display) The MID is a comprehensive one and throws out useful information as you drive along. Note that only the Comfortline and Highline variants had this so called MID plus display. The Trendline had a maxidot cluster like the Laura. However, as of 2015 all the variants get the MID as standard. Outside temperature and time are displayed along with the trip meter. One can cycle through various screens using the steering mounted controls on the right spoke. Luckily, there are no ugly stalks jutting out of the instrument cluster. Performance (2.0 TDI) The 2.0 TDI employs a Bosch injection nozzles along with a Turbocharger and an intercooler. Interestingly, it also has something called an altitude compensation ECU and is euro IV compliant. It is available in a variety of tunes ranging from 47 kW all the way upto 103 kW. It is used in a range of cars starting from the Jetta and Golf all the way upto the Dodge Avenger and Audi A6. Power figures stand as follow: 138 BHP @ 4200 RPMs 320 NM torque @ 1750-2500 RPMs Though the horsepower numbers might not impress petrol heads, it's the torque which is the talking point of the 2.0 TDI. In typical German fashion, it's not how much power is delivered but how it is delivered that matters. Slot the key fob into ignition and the Jetta compels you to depress the clutch. If you don't, the Jetta won't crank and there will continuously be a depress clutch warning on the MID. Turn the key and the 2.0 fires up, eventually settling into a muted thrum. While the clatter might be evident on the outside, there is none of it felt in the cabin. Matters only improve as the engine heats up. Even when you rev the TDI hard, you will only hear a distinct thrum and a turbo whistle but there will be no clatter or tractor like sound like the Vento. Slot the 6 speeder into first and tap the gas pedal, you will be surprised as to how easy the Jetta is to live with in the city. Low end response is excellent and the Jetta won't mind if you lug it around in 2nd or even 3rd gear. There is a minimal need to slip the clutch (something that I have heard certain 1.4 TSI owners complaining about) and the light steering only improves matters further for you. On the other hand, the clutch is slightly on the heavier side, although the kick back isn't too violent and the throw is average. The Jetta thus makes for a good in-city commuter and you won't find anyone complaining. The Jetta feels a much smaller car than it actually is, but do keep the sheer length in mind while tackling crowded streets. The Jetta is also equally fun to drive on the highways, Yes, there has been a reduction in power after the infamous recall, and the top end doesn't quite have the punch that it did before, but the tall 6th gear and an eager engine with non-existent turbo lag still make sure that the Jetta is one of the best cars to drive around in. Slam your right foot, and the 2.0 TDI gives out an addictive roar accompanied by a surge in acceleration. Keep the Jetta above 1750 RPMs and the performance on tap can put a smile to your face. The Turbo kicks in at 1750 RPMs and the engine pulls relentlessly upto the 4000 RPMs mark. The goodyears struggle for grip when you launch the Jetta hard, one of the reasons why a tyre change is a must when you take delivery. The dignified road manners only help in this respect (More on that later). You can truly make some good progress on the highways. On the cruising front, the magical 100 Km/h marks sees the TDI do a meagre 1650 RPMs. While you do get exceptional fuel economy, the tall 6th gear also means that you will need do downshift for an overtaking manoeuvre if you are doing anywhere below a 100 Km/h. At 130 Km/h, the rev needle is hovering around the 2000 RPMs mark. A slight prod on the gas pedal is all that's needed for an instant overtake. The engine is extremely refined while doing these speeds, while the only fly in the ointment is tyre noise from the rock hard Goodyears. On the fuel efficiency front, I saw figures drop to as low as 10-12 Km/l in the city. On the flip side, the Jetta did exceptionally well on the highways, doing nearly 20 km/l under constant speeds. On a rather interesting note, I found that keeping the engine around the 2000 RPMs mark (in the turbo zone) gave me almost 20.9 Km/l, while keeping it around 1500-1650 RPMs saw the Jetta do 19 Km/l. The turbo does have a minor contribution in the FE figures. The 6 speed manual is truly a treat to use. While some might find it to be slightly vague, I like the way in which it slots so easily. I had a go at the gearbox when the car was stationary and also tried the City's gearbox(belongs to my grandfather). While the City did have a very direct feeling to it, I liked the Jetta more. However, if it was enthusiast driving, it would be the City's gearbox for it's slightly direct and connected nature. All in all I don't see many people complaining about the engine even after the recall. Enthusiasts will surely find the top end to be weak, but a remap is not needed otherwise. Suspension, steering and NVH The steering wheel is an EPS unit or an electrically assisted one, much different to the hydraulic one that we had in the Corsa. The EPS remains light at city speeds. It doesn't take many turns from lock to lock and this only adds to the convenience. The non-existent turbo lag and a light steering go a long way in making sure that the Jetta is a breeze to drive within the city. The EPS also ways up well on the highways. There is not a lot of feedback from the steering, but the accuracy means that you can point the Jetta anywhere and attack the corners. The steering has a confidence inspiring feel otherwise and has none of the discomforting artificial feel or vagueness that the normal EPS units are associated with. The suspension setup is definitely on the stiffer side. You will feel the stiffness at low speeds but it's never discomforting or jarring. The jetta will absorb majority of the bumps and it's only the sharper bumps that filter through a bit. Pick up the pace and the suspension will dismiss all the bumps and the ride will become absolutely flat. On the flip side, suspension noise is definitely higher than expected and you can hear the thudding sound often associated with these kind of setups. The multi link suspension does wonders on the handling front too. The rear remains extremely composed during high speed maneuvers and the car feels extremely planted in any situation. Mid corner bumps don't upset the Jetta either all thanks to the stiff setup. Even while pushing hard through corners, the front grips very well for a car for this size and getting the power in will see the Jetta understeer in a very predictable manner. The presence of EDL or electronic differential lock helps the car hold a line and zip through it . ESP also ensures that you don't make a mess of an emergency maneuver. The brakes do an excellent job of stoping the car. The Jetta comes with all four corner disc brakes and the break pedal also feels very precise and confidence inspiring to shed all that speed. It has become a bit soft after 37,000 kms on the odo. Will need to get it checked at the next inspection. NVH levels are extremely well controlled all thanks to the fully clad wheel arches. Road noise and wind noise are kept at bay althought the tyre noise causes some serious intrusion and creates a racket in an otherwise silent cabin. Ground clearance is also adequate and combined with the stiff suspension ensures that the car doesn't sag too much when it is loaded fully. The mud flaps though are poorly designed. They are unnecessarily large and are the only part of the car which won't clear speed breakers. All in all, the Jetta surely impresses on the handling front for a car of its size. Although you won't find yourself complaining about the handling, I have seen many members upgrading the dampers to Bilstien B6 ones for tackling body roll. After sales service experience My experience with volkswagen has been better than expected for the most. The overall experience has thankfully been on an upward incline for the past 4 years. They have been improving. Here's what has been changed apart from regular consumables: - ABS sensor (Rs. 3.5K) - Water Pump (Rs. 7K) The car is still on stock suspension and brake pads at 62K km. Average service costs have been around 15-16K per service which I think is reasonable. I recently got the car remapped too. To sum up, I am extremely satisfied with the car on the whole. Yes it could have done with an Autobox on the mid variants and a better in car entertainment system, but it more than makes up for those with the driving pleasure it offers and the build. To sum things up: What I liked so far: -Mature, understated looks along with solid build -Safety equipment on offer: 6 Airbags, ESP, EDL, ASR etc. -2.0 TDI + 6 Speed manual are a match made in heaven -Unmatched driving dynamics all thanks to the Multilink suspension -Equipment as standard on the Comfortline: Steering mounted controls, Auto headlamps and wipers, Dual-zone climate control etc. What I didn't like so far: -RCD 300 Plus HU sucks. No USB or Bluetooth connectivity. --Looks straight out of the 90s -Interior design is a bit too understated. Some might find it b-o-r-i-n-g -VW did ruin its own reputation all thanks to the Dieselgate. Many disgruntled customers as well -Central floor hump is a bit too tall. Packaging and space is not the best in the business -VW's after sales experience has been average at best so far as compared to Maruti or Hyundai
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