2017 Volkswagen Jetta 1.4 TSI (Comfortline): Smooth and economical

By THOMAS HUONG | 12 March 2018


The refined, redesigned Volkswagen Jetta which was introduced more than a year ago received important improvements for a better drive and fuel efficiency.

This test drive unit is the mid-range Comfortline variant (priced at RM118,578).

The other two variants of the 1.4-litre turbocharged Jetta are the entry-level Trendline (RM109,578) and range-topping Highline (RM129,578).

Prices are on-the-road without insurance.

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The C-segment Jetta is among the world's most popular sedans and a top-seller for the Volkswagen Group, which is why much is always expected from the latest model.

Since its introduction in Malaysia in 2011, the Jetta has been one of Volkswagen's most popular models in the country.

It is also one of the most powerful cars in its class.

Exterior

The new Jetta incorporates the Volkswagen design DNA, featuring elegant design lines and redefined aerodynamics.

New highlights include the chrome radiator grille with three cross fins, and front and rear fog lights.

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Standard kit on all Jetta variants include daytime running lights, powered wing mirrors with kerb view feature and puddle lights, and integrated turn signals, front and rear fog lights, heat insulated windshield, side and rear windows (useful in a hot tropical climate), LED rear license plate lights, static cornering light, twin exhaust tailpipes and 8-sensor front and rear parking sensors.

This is quite an attractive list of exterior kit.

This mid-range Comfortline variant also adds on automatic headlight activation with "Coming/Leaving Home" feature.

Headlights are the more cost-effective halogen type with manual range adjustment.

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Performance

The Jetta has a 1.4-litre 4-cylinder petrol, direct injected turbocharged petrol engine mated to a 7-speed silky-smooth shifting DSG, which produces 150ps at 5,000rpm to 6,000rpm and 250Nm at 1,500rpm to 3,500rpm.

That is plenty of punch, and with maximum torque coming in from as low as 1,500rpm - performing quick overtaking manoeuvres is easy.

Power is sent to the front wheels - allowing it to reach 100kph from standstill in 8.6 seconds and onwards to a top speed of 220kph.

The tachometer needle hovered around 1,700rpm when we drove at 80kph, and at just below 2,400rpm at 110kph.

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Fuel Consumption

The 1.4-litre turbocharged DSG-equipped Jetta is rated with a fuel consumption of 5.0 litres per 100km on the combined cycle.

It has regenerative braking, which recovers energy released during braking, and stores it in the battery to aid vehicle acceleration.

Also, it has two other outstanding fuel-saving technologies, namely auto Engine Start/stop and the Coasting functions.

Auto engine start/stop function automatically switches off the engine when the car comes to a standstill at traffic lights or in heavy traffic.

This is increasingly found in cars nowadays, including the latest Perodua Myvi - although the degree of smoothness in the engine stop/re-start varies in different cars.

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With the Jetta, the transition from engine stop to re-start is quite smooth and not rough at all.

We also noticed that if the air-conditioning is in automatic mode, the fan speed will be turned lower when the engine is turned off automatically at standstill.

You can opt to turn off the auto Engine Start/stop if you are not comfortable with it.

As for the Coasting function, this is not common and is seen only in highly priced premium cars.

The Coasting function saves fuel by decoupling the engine from the drivetrain when the driver's foot is taken off the accelerator pedal.

This allows the vehicle to coast and roll over a longer distance, with the momentum of the vehicle used to save fuel.

The engine is re-engaged when the brake, accelerator pedal or the gear selector lever is operated.

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When we engaged the Coasting function, we noticed that the tachometer meter's needle drops to just below 800rpm as we just let the car coast, using its momentum.

The tachometer meter's needle stays at just below 800rpm as we watch the car's speed slowly dropping or even increasing when we drove downhill.

We drove the car which has a 55-litre fuel tank, for six days in mixed traffic conditions across the Klang Valley.

During the six days, we had driven 719km, with a remaining travel range of 200km.

Based on the digital trip meter, our average fuel consumption was 5.9 litres per 100km which is quite impressive, as it is not far from Volkwagen's rating of 5.0 litres per 100km on the combined cycle.

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Interior

The Jetta Comfortline variant does not get push-start ignition, leather seats or a reverse camera.

Still, the fabric seats are solid, firm and comfortable and there are 8-sensor front and rear parking sensors to help with making sure you don't knock into something.

And there is plenty of premium kit to enjoy, such as automatic headlights and wipers, and a 5-inch touchscreen display radio with USB and iPod interface, SD card slot, AUX-IN, Bluetooth, Mirror Link and 6 speakers which produce crisp audio quality.

The interior is clean and minimal-looking, with decorative wood inserts, black plastic trim and chrome surrounds.

There are rear air conditioning vents and dual-zone automatic air conditioning.

A digital display in the instrument cluster provides data like remaining travel range, average fuel consumption, average speed, and distance travelled.

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Practicality

The Jetta has a huge and deep 510-litre boot, and a load-through gap for accessing the boot, which is revealed by pulling the panel with the rear centre armrest.

There is plenty of storage options, from the front seat-back pockets, bins on the four doors, four cupholders to a deep centre console storage box.

There are two 12V power sockets (one each for front and rear occupants).

The Jetta scores high marks for practical usage and design utility, in our opinion.

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Ride and Handling

Running on Goodyear Assurance ArmorGrip 2 tyres sized 205/55 R16, the Jetta provides good grip on wet and dry roads.

The drive quality is quite refined (we like this quality in many premium Volkswagen cars), as the sound insulation is top-notch - you are hardly bothered by the presence of noisy motorcycles and trucks on the road.

Handling is outstanding, with little body when cornering at speed, and the Jetta generally provides a planted, confidence-inspiring drive quality.

Like the larger Volkswagen Passat sedan, the Jetta also offers a marvellous "steer, point and shoot" quality.

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The suspension is well-tuned, and provides a nice balance between ride comfort and sporty driving.

The speed-sensitive electric power steering is precise and responsive.

There are no paddle shifters here, but the 7-speed DSG gearbox (with sport mode and semi-manual mode) is a lightning quick performer.

Safety

- Six airbags
- Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Brake Assist (BA)
- Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)
- Electronic Stabilisation Control (ESC)
- Side-wind compensation and Brake Disc Wiper
- Hill-hold control
- Intelligent Crash Response System (ICRS)
- Multi-collision Brake System
- Safety-optimised front head restraints
- Anti-submarining seats
- Anti-theft alarm system with immobiliser, interior monitoring and towing protection
- Brake pad wear indicator
- Central locking system with SAFELOCK
- ISOFIX child seat anchors
- Static Cornering Light
- Front and rear Park Distance Control (PDC)
- Front and rear fog lights
- Daytime running lights
- Auto-dimming rear view mirror

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Equipment

- Engine Start-Stop system with Regenerative Braking System
- Fuel-saving Coasting feature
- Rear air-conditioning vents
- 60/40 split-folding rear backrest with load-through feature
- 510 litres of boot space
- Heat insulated windshield, side and rear windows
- Automatic headlight activation with ‘Coming Home / Leaving Home’ feature
- Automatic wipers
- Dual-zone automatic air conditioning.
- Cruise control
- Halogen headlights with manual range adjustment
- 205/55 R16 tyres
- ‘Sienna’ fabric seat upholstery
- 5-inch touchscreen display radio ‘RCD 330G’ with USB and iPod interface
- SD card slot, AUX-IN, Bluetooth, Mirror Link
- 6 audio speakers

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Reliability

- 5-year manufacturer's warranty
- 5-year roadside assistance
- Free 3-year/45,000km (whichever comes first) maintenance programme which covers all maintenance costs, as per the standard maintenance schedule with the exception of wear-and-tear parts such as brake discs, pads, windscreen wipers and bulbs.

Price

RM118,578 (on-the-road excluding insurance)

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Summary

The Jetta Comfortline variant does not get the bi-xenon headlights, 12-way powered driver's seat, keyless lock and starting system, combination leather seat upholstery in the Highline variant (costs RM11,000 more).

However, if you can live without the extra kit, the Jetta Comfortline variant represents good value.

At the end of the day, the Jetta is a smooth, comfortable and very fuel economical steed (if driven in the right way).

But underneath the mild demeanor is a powerful, responsive powertrain and well-tuned chassis that can also provide some fun, dynamic driving.

There is ample interior room for the family, lots of storage options and a high level of occupant comfort.

Like many Volkswagen cars, the Jetta is another marvellously engineered and well-packaged steed from the world's largest car maker.

2017 Volkswagen Jetta 1.4 TSI (Comfortline)Engine: 1,395cc 4-cylinder petrol, direct injection/turbocharger
Transmission: 7-speed direct shift gearbox
Maximum power: 150ps at 5,000rpm to 6,000rpm
Maximum torque: 250Nm at 1,500rpm to 3,500rpm
Fuel consumption - Combined : 5.0 litres per 100km

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Keywords

Overview

Styling
70%
Comfort
70%
Performance
80%
Safety
70%
Value
60%

CarSifu's Rating: 7.0