Volkswagen Jetta 1.6

TDI SE

Volkswagen Jetta, dashboard

FOR a quarter of a century in the UK Volkswagen must have enjoyed playing the name game.

While the title Jetta was retained by the US market for VW's medium-sized saloon, the UK market was nowhere near as consistent.

From 1980 to 2005 this particular model was answering to a trio of names.

Known as the Jetta until 1992, the car then became Vento for six years before blowing in as the VW Bora in 1999.

It replaced the Bora in 2006, returning as Jetta and this latest VW medium saloon came on stream.

The new version is significantly larger all round than its predecessor, two and a half inches wider, half an inch taller and eight inches longer.

These external statistics have translated into more generous occupant space and comfort, greater cabin length particularly helping to deliver greater legroom alongside more shoulder width and increased headroom while providing a further 72 litres of stowage space in the boot.

The latest Jetta rivals the likes of the Toyota Avensis, Honda Accord and Renault Laguna in a class which accounts for around one in every four cars bought in the UK.

As you would expect from VW, the Jetta features an engine range which includes four petrol in the 1.4-litre TSI 120bhp, 2.0-litre in 138bhp and 168bhp, plus 2.0-litre 198bhp TSI turbo while diesel urge comes courtesy of  the 1.6 TDI 195bhp driven here, 1.9-litre TDI 103bhp and 2.0-litre TDI 138bhp. The Jetta is also offered in three generous trim levels, S, SE and Sport.

The SE model in the frame here includes the likes of electric windows all round, eight-speaker sound system with MP3 compatible CD, multi function computer, curtain airbag system for front and rear occupants, rain sensor, dusk sensor plus coming and leaving home lighting function, while all models include driver safety aids of ABS braking with hydraulic brake assist and electronic stabilisation programme with traction control.

While climate control comes as standard on the Jetta,  semi-automatic '2Zone' electronic air con is offered as an option.

This system is much improved over that experienced in the Bora with increased airflow into the passenger compartments and a coolable glovebox while the '2Zone' system also enables driver and front seat passenger to adjust their own climates individually and independently.

With family occupants very much in mind there are a number of stowage areas in the comfortable cabin. A driver's side cubby which accomodates a drink can, generous door bins which can hold one-litre drink bottles and on the SE model driven here there are large storage drawers under both front seats.

A special sunglasses compartment adds a further touch of class while smaller items include a foldaway bottle/cupholder and a bottle opener, already experienced on the Golf, which sits next to the handbrake lever.

Luggage space with all seats taken is a family sized 527 litres and with the 60:40 split rear seats folding to create an almost flat floor further useful stowage space becomes available.

Specially designed seats provide maximum comfort for urban trawling and motorway cruising while an expansive range of adjustment includes the standard seat height adjustment feature on the driver's pew being accompanied by automatic tilt adjust which angles the seat base appropriately for larger or smaller folk at the wheel.

FAST FACTS

Volkswagen Jetta 1.6 TDI SE

Price: £19,170

Mechanical: 103bhp, 1,595cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 116mph

0-62mph: 12 seconds

Combined MPG: 60.1

Insurance Group: 6

C02 emissions: 122g/km

Bik rating: 21%

Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles

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