Volkswagen Jetta preview: What’s different about the new Jetta

Volkswagen’s Jetta was earlier launched in 2007, but has not been doing great numbers. So now the car is being given a fresh lease of life, with an all new 2011 Jetta being launched.  So what’s new in the 2011 Jetta and more importantly, does it have what it takes to battle the leaders effectively?

In fact, from January till June, Jetta managed to sell an average of just 163 cars a month, with 109 being sold in July. Comparatively, rivals such as the Chevrolet Cruze and Toyota Altis, have sold over 750 cars each per month.

Whether the new Jetta will boost sales or not, let’s look at the details of the new Jetta proposition.

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Photo: The new 2011 Jetta (On top) looks very different from the 2007 Jetta (Bottom)

Looks

The new Volkswagen Jetta follows VW’s new design theme of a more angular design. One can be forgiven for mistaking the Jetta for a Vento at first glance because of the striking similarity of design on the front end. The headlamps, though, are twin-lamp units, but are housed in a single Perspex housing that looks like the Vento’s. See more images of the new Jeta in our photo gallery.

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Photo: The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta gets an all new front much like that of the Vento

Where the old Jetta had a more rounded look, the new one is more angular. In profile too, the car gets a more rectangular design compared to the older car. The rear-view mirrors get an electric-retract function and house integrated indicators.

The rear of the car gets treatment similar to the new Passat, with Audi-style tail-lamps wrapping themselves on to the boot lid, replacing the old twin circular-shaped tail-lamps. The large, sculpted rear bumper houses sleek reflectors similar to the Skoda Laura. The car is based partly on the PQ35 platform, on which cars such as the VW Golf, Skoda Yeti and Skoda Superb are also based.

Engine

One of the big differences in the new Volkswagen Jetta is in the engine. The car will be launched only with a diesel engine, and no petrol variant initially. This is similar to Volkswagen’s strategy with the Passat, given the high demand for diesel cars in India. General Motors too have only a diesel offering in this segment with the Cruze.

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Photo: The Jetta will get a 1.6 litre petrol power-plant under its hood

The older Jetta was powered by a choice of either a 1.6-litre petrol engine that made a modest 101 bhp of power and 148 Nm of torque and a 2-litre diesel engine that made 109 bhp of power and 250 Nm of power. Clearly both these engines are underpowered for the segment (between Rs. 11 lakh and Rs 18 lakh), given that cars in the Rs. 7 lakh to Rs. 10 lakh segment make more power now.

The new Jetta will be powered by a 2-litre, 140 bhp diesel engine that puts out 320 Nm of torque. This is the same diesel engine that powers the Skoda Laura and Skoda Yeti as well. This will be mated to a 5-speed manual transmission or 6-speed DSG automatic depending on the variant. There were plans to bring in a turbo-petrol engine too, but that’s on hold for the moment.

Comfort and equipment

Like the old Jetta, the new Jetta’s emphasis too is on safety, though the new Jetta will sport additional kit compared to the older version. Six airbags and ABS with EBD will be standard. The interiors are likely to get a brighter look with a beige and grey combination, instead of the all-grey look on the older car. There are plenty of cupholders and the drop-down armrest in the rear also allows access to the boot.

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Photo: The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta will come with features like six airbags and ABS as standard

Climate control and heated-mirrors are part of the standard kit on the car, as well as a six-speaker audio system, with steering-mounted audio controls. We’ll have to wait for the launch to get you the finer details of the system.

Pricing

Expect Volkswagen to price the Jetta competitively. The old car was priced between Rs. 12.99 lakh and 15.93 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi, bang in the middle of its cousin the Skoda Laura’s pricing (between Rs. 13.48 lakh and Rs. 18.22 lakh). Main rival, Chevrolet Cruze is priced between Rs. 12.05 lakh and Rs. 14.45 lakh ex-showroom Delhi.

Volkswagen is assembling the Jetta at its Chakan plant near Pune from completely knocked down (CKD) form. This attracts about 30% import duty which would make it tough for Volkswagen to price the Jetta below its competition.

We expect Volkswagen to price the Jetta between Rs. 14 lakh and Rs. 18 lakh.

Do you think the Jetta can beat the Cruze, Altis and even the Laura? Watch this space for more on the Jetta after the launch tomorrow.