Saturday, April 12, 2014


Volkswagen’s most popular offering, the Jetta is a handsome sedan at an attractive price point. A vast array of models and optional equipment cover the gamut from sparse to sumptuous to sporty—and even to diesel and hybrid versions. The last round of cost cutting has left us with mixed emotions to this generation of Jetta, although the new engine and rear suspension have us coming around to it. 

For 2014, Volkswagen is taking some concrete steps to restore some of that luster. Under the hood, a gen-three version of the EA888 four-cylinder turbo replaces the 2.5-liter five-cylinder in SE and SEL trims, which together represent 60 percent of Jetta sales volume. Although the new 1.8-liter turbo makes the same 170 horsepower as the now-retired five-banger, it generates a bigger dollop of torque (184 lb-ft) and holds that from a just-above-fast-idle 1500 rpm to the upper reaches of the rev range. 

A faster-responding turbo and reduced engine friction help make the 1.8T a very flexible engine that’s responsive to the throttle across a wide swath of the rpm band and not overly concerned what gear it’s in. With the base five-speed manual, for example, the engine will pull in top gear on uphill grades from 2000 rpm or lug down to 1200 to 1500 rpm around town without the need to downshift. Not that we have any aversion to shifting, as the Jetta’s five-speed stir stick offers low efforts, positive gates, and a precise feel. 

On paper, you might think the Jetta’s five-speed manual is one cog short of its competitors’ transmissions, but the turbo mill is so torque-rich that five ratios cover the waterfront amply. We expect the Jetta 1.8T will sprint to 60 in eight or fewer seconds, about a half second quicker than last year’s 2.5 model did. Also, unlike the premium-unleaded-sipping 2.0-liter turbo engine that powers the GLI, the 1.8-liter turbo runs on regular unleaded, which should save a couple of bucks at every fill-up.

The 1.8T is quiet, too, although when equipped with the optional six-speed automatic transmission, the powertrain can experience a low-frequency rumble when cruising in top gear under a light load at about 1200 to 1400 rpm. We suspect that VW’s desire to achieve the Jetta 1.8T’s impressive EPA highway fuel-economy estimate of 36 mpg had something to do with the noise. Left to its own devices, the six-speed autobox will upshift to sixth gear and lock its torque converter fairly quickly under light load, which can initiate the conditions for the graininess. 

Jetta History:
The Jetta was originally adapted by adding a conventional trunk to the Golf hatchback, and some distinctive styling (usually the front end, and sometimes slight interior changes). It has been offered in two- and four-door saloon (sedan), and five-door estate (station wagon) versions - all as five-seaters. As of 2005, over 6.6 million cars have been sold worldwide, over one-third in the United States alone. Since the original version in 1980, the car has grown in size and power with each successive generation. By mid-2011, almost 10 million Jettas have been produced and sold all over the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment