Wednesday 26 October 2016

Ready, JET set, go

New Jetta is perfect step up between hatchback Golf and the Passat, writes Philip Hedderman

It's the classic automotive middle child.

Often neglected or left out, the Jetta carries the burden of being constantly compared with its more noted siblings.

Is it any wonder then that she suffered an identity crisis some years back?

It went from Jetta to Vento to Bora and then back to Jetta.

To the motoring world, though, it was always known as the Golf with a boot.

In recent years, however, it's become closer to the elder sister in styling and even shares a similar snout and rear end.

In fact, there's not a panel on the car that's remotely like the hatch, and VW even decided to update the old chassis rather than use the MBQ platform in the MK VII Golf and Octavia.

Step inside and the shared DNA hits you like a ton of bricks - but it's with the previous generation Golf.

That's in no way a criticism, as only a VW geek could sit and go through the actual changes.

Yes, the "evolution rather than revolution" ethos comes into play here with a smidgen of the best of both worlds.

A Golf with a boot that looks likes a Passat - it's a no-brainer, really.

For starters, it's cheaper than the entry-level five-door Golf (€21,280) and probably a bit more practical for the typical Irish family of 2.4 children.

It's also longer and therefore more comfort- able, especially in the rear for those long jaunts to see granny over the summer.

You'd be surprised how the extra 73mm equates to extra legroom, and the 510 litres of luggage space means you can take the kitchen sink if needed.

There's also a range of tried-and-tested engines to choose from, including the petrol-sipping 1.2-litre with 105bhp, 1.4-litre 125bhp TSI and 2.0-litre 110bhp TDI diesel.

The oil-burner will be the commuter's choice, returning an eye-watering 70mpg, and with emissions at 105g/km road tax is €190 a year.

Drive-wise, the Jetta is not the most exciting and certainly lacks the dynamic and handling of the Golf, but that's a compromise worth making over comfort.

The biggest incentive here is the sheer value for money and how competitively priced the new Jetta is, with VW slashing €1,440 off to lure 152 platers.

Also in the mix is a host of upgrade packs which will see a Trendline model come with a free Technology Pack worth more than €700 which includes a leather, multi-function steering wheel, cruise control and Media-In interface for music streaming and Bluetooth.

Opt for a Comfortline model and that Technology Pack is worth €1,500 with park distance control, a digital radio that features a large TFT display and the free Media-In interface.

The top of the range Highline gets a free Styling and Technology pack worth more than €2,500 with 17-inch alloy wheels and climate control.

The sixth generation Jetta arrived a little late for the 151 rush and VW reckons July sales will be brisk.

In fact, industry sources believe that around 1,100 will find homes in the next 12 months, giving the German brand the No1 slot.

In an effort to take the accolade, the VW bank has launched a range of finance offers with PCP from €259 a month with rates as low as 2.9pc. The VW Jetta starts from €20,895.

Feast your eyes on the new savage 350bhp Focus RS which will be here early next year. It's powered by the same 2.3-litre engine as the Mustang.

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