While Volkswagen’s Jetta has proved a hit elsewhere in Europe and in the US, too, in Britain it hasn’t stirred us much to buy. But a new version – shown here and to begin UK sales early in 2011 – could perk up its fortunes.

There’s already a variant of this car on sale in North America. But the one we’re getting here is different. It packs a more sophisticated – and expensive – rear suspension along with a higher quality interior, matching that of the current Golf and forthcoming new Passat.

This will be the sixth version of the four-door saloon and is a complete rework, with VW claiming that every panel you can touch inside and out is new to the car. And while the cabin will now look much like that in the current Golf, the intention is to move away from the car’s old image as merely a Golf with a huge boot.

And, as is the way with new designs, the car grows in overall length and in wheelbase, meaning that the cabin also becomes roomier – by up to 70mm, in this case. Almost all of that goes to improve legroom for those sat in the back. The Jetta will now measure a little over 4.6m, bumper to bumper.

At launch, there’ll be a choice of two petrol and two diesel engines. The petrols will both be 1.4-litre units, turbocharged to produce 120bhp or 158bhp. There’ll also be a 1.6 turbodiesel developing 103bhp and a 2.0 pushing out 138bhp. The 1.6 will power a Bluemotion low-CO2, high-economy Jetta that will include Stop-Start and other fuel-saving features.

As before, the new Jetta will seat up to five adults and include a large, 510-litre boot while packing safety features including six airbags, anti-lock brakes and electronic stabilisation programme (ESP).

Volkswagen says it will announce prices and full model details nearer the on-sale time.

Stephen Jury


October 28, 2010

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