FOR many years the Volkswagen Jetta has lived in the shadow of its more popular hatchback sibling the Golf and that is something of a shame since the latest version of the Jetta is an excellent car in its own right.
I've just tried the 1.6-litre TDi BlueMotion version and found it to be a very decent and comfortable companion.
Jetta sales have already crashed through the 10 million mark globally since the car first went on sale over 30 years ago - a huge number of them in the US market where customers prefer a boot to a hatchback.
The latest Jetta is the sixth version of the car and is now quite a polished machine.
The new car has been stretched by more than three inches and it has also been increased in height and wheelbase providing considerably more room for passengers.
Introduced into the UK in February of this year it enjoys an elegant look inside and out. Every visible internal and external panel is new and the result is a stylish saloon which shares many design features with the Polo and Passat.
The interior features the usual VW quality materials and finishing and the SE version has all the creature comforts you would expect.
These include fully-adjustable seats with lumbar support, front centre armrest, a leather-trimmed multifunction steering wheel, cruise control and an eight-speaker MP3-compatible CD sound system with USB and iPod connectivity.
The car also has air conditioning, electrically adjustable and heated body-coloured door mirrors with integrated indicators, electric windows front and rear, handsome looking alloys and a multifunction computer.
Safety and security features also figure highly in the Jetta package.
The car has six airbags, ABS, brake assist, ESP with electronic differential lock and traction control and active head restraints on the front seats.
It enjoys a five-star rating for adult, child and pedestrian protection making it one of the safest vehicles in the class. It also has an alarm with interior protection and an engine immobiliser which helps to keep down the price of insurance.
But it is really the engine that is the star of this package.
With its BlueMotion technology with start/stop and battery regeneration, the frugal 1.6-litre diesel offers a great combination of power and economy.
It powers the Jetta to 62mph in just 11.7 seconds and goes on to 118mph and yet it can return up to a staggering 78mpg and 67.3mpg on the combined cycle.
It is also punchy when you need it to be and very quiet when cruising.
A more powerful 2.0-litre diesel engine is also available along with two petrol versions but I cannot see past the 1.6 diesel for its all-round abilities.
Priced at £19,530 the model tested is certainly not cheap but it will hold its value very well and still represents decent value for money.
The Jetta is a fine town car and is also happy on motorways and country roads.
VW says it expects to sell 3,000 each year in the UK - a modest target for an excellent car.