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Volkswagen Jetta Test Drive Review

Date: 13 January 2015   |   Author:

he VW Jetta has always been in the shadow of its Golf and Passat siblings. The same basic size as the ubiquitous Golf but saloon-shaped like the larger Passat, the Jetta is overlooked by a surprising number of people, given, in the top GT guise driven here, it is nearly £1000 cheaper than the Golf five-door.

VW refreshed the car at the back end of 2014, bringing updated front and rear styling, plus revised instruments, steering wheel and trimmings.

Not many brands still bother with a saloon version of their lower medium car, with only VW Group sibling Audi's A3 saloon and the Mazda 3 Fastback being logical, booted rivals.

The Jetta is longer than its competitors, offering decent rear space and particularly a large boot of 510 litres, outpointing the Audi and Mazda by at least 85 litres, and comparing well with the Golf's 380, thanks to the Jetta being more than 400mm longer. It does, though, obviously suffer the saloon problem of a narrow boot opening compared with the more practical hatch.

There are no complaints with the comfortable and refined drive, while the 150hp diesel is pleasingly gruff under acceleration but aurally anonymous the rest of the time.

So the Jetta looks classy and is both bigger and cheaper than a Golf, but suffers from a comparable lack of brand recognition and prestige, and possibly as a result, a residual value deficit. The same spec and engine of Golf holds a 36.7% RV against the Jetta's 31.2%, while the Audi A3 saloon manages 42.1%, both more than making up for the higher P11D.

It's a shame that the Jetta can't quite compete on costs because it's an otherwise intelligent, practical and classy choice that deserves a higher profile.