Volkswagen’s small saloon won’t excite, but it’s difficult to fault otherwise.
The Irish market loves a small saloon, so add the appeal of the Volkswagen badge to one and the Jetta is a sure-fire hit. Borrowing from its Golf hatchback relation, the Jetta’s a fine, if unexciting drive, with good looks, solid build and the promise of decent economy and emissions, too.
What is it?
A Golf with a boot or - more accurately - a previous-generation Golf with a boot, Volkswagen creating the Jetta from its big-selling hatchback. Nothing wrong with that, either, as buyers in Ireland do like a compact saloon, and the Jetta fills the brief perfectly. It’s sensibly priced, and while the dashboard and trim feel like the old-Golf kit it is, the engines under the bonnet are bang-up to date so promise decent economy and tax-friendly emissions. Good standard equipment and a spacious cabin also appeal.
What is it like?
We’d be lying if we said it was exciting, but then buyers in the small saloon class aren’t looking for thrills behind the wheel. It’s competent, unremarkable even, which is spot-on in this class. It rides decently, the engines, particularly the 2.0-litre diesels, offer enough urgency, and the steering is accurate and nicely weighted. There’s a bit of diesel clatter at low revs, but it’s not intrusive. The cabin feels a bit old-fashioned now, but it’s all very functional and of good quality.
Carzone verdict: 3.5/5
Buyers here are more likely to be concerned about the badge, the equipment, space and style than how the Jetta drives, and in fairness they’ll not find anything to be disappointed with. Even the entry-level Trendline has air conditioning, a leather-covered steering wheel and remote central locking, Comfortline adds more luxury, and the option of a slick automatic, which does nothing to your tax bill, but adds €1,800 to the price. It’s arguably worth it though, as it suits the Jetta’s laid-back ease.