From £17,325
A confusing option - for the same money you can have the bigger Passat.

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Jetta

The Volkswagen Jetta has a big boot, pleasant dynamics and good pricing, but is a bit dull

19 January 2006

What's new?The Golf with more boot is back, as is the name Jetta. This 2.0 Sport TDI version comes with an impressive array of standard kit including 17in alloy wheels, front and rear electric windows, heated door mirrors and air con.What's it like? Rather pretty actually. Following on from the Bora, this is quite an achievement. Approach the Jetta from the front and it’s pure Golf, the nose brandishing the chromed grille seen on the R32. Unlock the car from behind and the rear light clusters burn with a similar LED glow to the Passat's. These are nice touches but no coincidence; VW is trying to pitch this car against Honda’s Accord and Ford’s Mondeo.Given this car’s more humble hatchback roots, and the obvious use of the family parts bin, that’s somewhat difficult to swallow. If you didn't look behind you, you would put money on the fact you were driving a Golf. The cabin has the identical Germanic layout and the same solid switchgear. It's certainly desirable, but it doesn’t have the elegant feel of the Passat - and the absence of wheel mounted controls is certainly an oversight for a family saloon.With slight damper adjustment to accommodate the bigger rear overhang, the ride quality is still impressive at controlling all manner of camber changes and road undulations, but the steering feedback still has that slightly numb feel.The VAG diesel unit behaves predictably, initially displaying little purpose in performance. But creep to just below 2000rpm and 236lb ft of torque abruptly awakens, pushing the car on to 60mph in under ten seconds. This sudden arrival into the power band can be frustrating when pulling out at junctions, but there is no doubting the power when you want to overtake. Insulation from engine noise could be better, however.Should I buy one?VW’s positioning of the Jetta is somewhat confusing. For £18k you also have the option of buying a 5dr Golf GT TDI or their other Mondeo rival, the Passat 2.0 TDi S. With both using the same 138bhp unit, it appears VW already has already catered for the hatch/saloon customer dilemma.Jon Quirk

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