TEST DRIVE: VW Jetta

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OUR Motoring Man Les Oliver goes on the pull with the Caravan Club’s towcar of the year, the VW Jetta.

THE new VW Jetta has great pulling power, fully deserving its place on the podium as the Caravan Club’s Towcar of the year.

The original Jetta was launched in Germany in 1979 with over 9.6 million vehicles sold since then.

The latest generation of the medium sized saloon replaced the model introduced in 2006.

The test model, the Sport 2.0TDI with a six-speed DSG auto tranmission, took the top honour in its price class and went on to be voted overall winner as the Caravan Club’s competition.

A panel of 11 judges applauded its suave design, its practicality as a caravanning family car and its great performance when towing in a variety of situations.

Other winners in the competition, which attracted 30 entrants.included the Škoda Superb Estate Elegance 2.0 DSG; the Volkswagen Touareg Escape 3.0 V6 TDI and the Volvo V60 D5 AWD Volvo Ocean Race.

Compared to its predecessor, the new Jetta is 90mm longer with an extended wheelbase which allowed designers to increase the rear legroom by 67 mm.

But the changes to the Jetta extend beyond the stretched wheelbase.

Like a mini Passat, it has an elegant new look both inside and out, and every panel is new.

A functional dashboard featuring subtle aluminium highlights sits ahead of a leather-trimmed three-spoke steering wheel.

Alongside the main dials, an integrated multifunction display and a CD stereo system is the central focal point with touchscreen satellite navigation available as an option.

The new car mixes the practicality of being able to seat five adults with a large, 510 litre loadspace and a comprehensive range of standard safety features including six airbags,ABS and electronic stabilisation programme (ESP).

Powering the new Jetta is a choice of four engines: two petrol units – a 1.4-litre TSI 122 PS and 160 PS; plus two diesels: a 1.6-litre 105 PS with BlueMotion Technology and a 2.0-litre with 140 PS. 

There’s a range of five and six-speed manual transmissions plus six and seven-speed DSG automatics.

The BlueMotion modifications including start/stop and battery regeneration allow the 1.6-litre TDI to return 68mpg with just 109 g/km CO2 emissions.

The two-litre 140PS TDI engine is capable of 0-62 in 9.5 seconds with a top speed of 129mph. Expect fuel consumption around 43mpg in everyday use. The official combined figure is 53.3mpg.

In normal non-towing road use the sleek, stylish and very capable Jetta Sport drives much like the Golf on which it has traditionally been based.

Though by no means a racer, the Sport TDI is a lively diesel with a firmer lowered suspension.

Bigger, heavier and more expensive than the Golf, it comes with more equipment for the money.

Standard features on the Sport DSG include hill hold function, rain and dusk sensors, automatic driving lights and dimming mirror, front fogs including, cruise control, AUX-in socket, USB and iPod connections and Bluetooth.

TECH SPEC

Jetta Sport

Engine: 2.0 TDI DSG

Power: 140PS

0-60: 9.5 secs

Top speed: 129mph

Economy: 53.3mpg

CO2: 138g/km

Price: £22,760