Alfa Romeo
Land Rover
Volkswagen Jetta
Jetta flies high
June 2010

THE car park at trendy James St Market in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley drips with big money.

As you look for a rare space to slot your car, you pass the pride of BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, Audi and Porsche, all driven by people who like paying a fortune for swordfish, artichoke and sundried tomato for their latest MasterChef-inspired creation.

We zip in and out in various test vehicles to grab a quick coffee and savoury muffin from Spoon café.

A recent visit was in the refreshed Volkswagen Jetta, a mid-sized sedan that is sometimes referred to as the Golf with a boot.

What struck us as we returned to the car juggling our java was how comfortably the Jetta sat in such esteemed company.

It is an elegant, understated and wonderfully proportioned machine that oozes style and class.

And unlike some of the more upmarket offerings, Jetta is quite affordable.

The 2010 model range, which now includes five engine options - two petrol engines and three diesel - is priced between $28,990 and $38,990 plus on road costs.

The popular 1.6 77TDI engine, recently introduced to the New Golf range, is now available along with a second new diesel engine _ the 2.0 125TDI.

We tested the 2.0 135TDI which was a sheer delight.

Several new features have been introduced to make life easier for owners, such as parking distance sensors in the front and rear combined with the Optical Parking System (OPS).

A choice of trims is included in the update, along with a new-look steering wheel and revised instrument cluster.

Jetta seats five and all passengers are reasonably well catered for.

The boot space is remarkable, with 527 litres of cargo capacity. This puts much bigger family cars to shame.

The 125TDI engine is a world-class unit and it’s nicely matched to the 6-speed DSG automatic.

Our test Jetta was a little sluggish off the mark, but once up and running sliced through city traffic with ease.

It is capable of completing the 0-100km/h dash in a respectable 8.5 seconds.

On the open road, the sedan sat effortlessly on the highway limit and consumption level averages less than six litres for every 100km covered.

The Jetta has a tight, sporty feel and stays committed even through the sharpest corners.

Steering is precise, tyres grip firmly and brakes are accurate.

The list of standard features in the 125TDI is impressive. You get dual zone climate control air conditioning, automatic headlights and windscreen wipers, reverse parking sensors, electric heated wing mirrors, cruise control, central locking, 6-stack CD player, auxiliary input, sports suspension and a comprehensive trip computer.

Safety is a priority and there’s ABS with Brake Assist and Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Electronic Stability Program (ESP), and six airbags.

With an expanded engine line-up and successful cosmetic makeover, the Jetta now presents an even more compelling package.

It is a must-consider for those looking for a mid-sized sedan that delivers comfort and class at the right price.



ENGINE: 2.0, 4-cylinder turbo-diesel

POWER: 125kW at 4200rpm

TORQUE: 350Nm at 1750-2500rpm

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic

0-100km/h: 8.5 seconds

ECONOMY: 5.9 litres/100km

CARGO CAPACITY: 527 litres

DIMENSIONS: 4554mm long, 1781mm wide, 1459mm high, 2578mm wheelbase

WEIGHT: 1503kg

PROS: Looks, equipment, value for money

CONS: Lethargic off the mark, rear head room

BOTTOM LINE: $38,990