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Steering, suspension and ride comfort

If you want nothing more from the Volkswagen Jetta than for it to be relaxing without being sloppy, then it exceeds those basic essentials, achieving a reassuringly stable, unflustered and well rounded compromise between body control and bump absorption. 

Secondary ride is particularly good, with the dampers soaking up bigger undulations and small, sharp creases very well, whether at motorway or town speeds. There’s some slightly messy body control when cornering forces are involved over uneven surfaces at higher speeds, but this is a minor and infrequent niggle.

There’s lots to be said for the ease of use of a simple, round, unsculpted steering wheel rim

The real success is that it doesn’t simply feel soft. There’s a noticeable control to the compression and rebound damping that makes the Jetta feel quite unflappable in the way it handles, yet it’s also appropriately pliant and comfortable.

Unflappable handling could also equate to dull handling, of course, and you get the impression that Volkswagen doesn’t really bother to avoid such criticism. It’s a shame, because a car doesn’t need to be overtly sporting at all to benefit from a little verve. Glimmers of sensation and enjoyment are rare at the wheel of the Jetta, however.

Still, there is pleasure to be had in threading it down the road and enjoying the decent grip, composed handling and nicely weighted steering. Between this and all the well balanced control weights, the Jetta is a remarkably easy car to drive smoothly.

Volkswagen Jetta 2010-2018 news

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It may be a bit bland, but it does everything it needs to with more polish than you might expect – to the point where it actually provides as good a driving experience as the Volkswagen Passat.

For those wondering whether the financial incentives that the Jetta offers over its bigger sibling are enough to warrant the compromises, you’re safe to assume that there is no compromise in this area.