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volkswagen jetta review when you like your sedans fast

Volkswagen Jetta review: When you like your sedans fast

With the new generation Jetta entering the solar system, the current car is geared up for one last hurrah

Christopher Ng Photo

Christopher Ng

4 May 2018

The Volkswagen Jetta loves speed. Proof of that love comes right off the green light when the car dumps all 250Nm as soon as the engine spins up to a near-idle of 1,500rpm. For the impatient, the wait for the turbo to spool up may seem one second too long but as soon as the torque drops, the Jetta launches itself off standstill with as much enthusiasm as a dog chasing a thrown ball.

It will take the Jetta 8.6 seconds to get to 100kph. It’s mighty quick for a family sedan; mightier still when that speed comes from a 1.4-litre engine that gets help from a turbocharger to produce 148hp and 250Nm of torque. The seven-speed DSG distributes that power to the front wheels as quick as a finger snap. 

Hitting AES-flashing speed with the small powerplant although trying to muster up mid-range torque can be frustrating at times, especially when you’re trying to overtake on the highway. However, when given a clear road, the Jetta has no difficulties getting to speed that makes the heart beat that much faster. 

Perhaps, the Jetta loves going fast so much that it absolutely hates getting stuck in traffic, especially the kind that makes you stop-go-stop-wait. It is difficult to creep behind the car in front just like how conventional automatics can because of the DSG’s nature that prefers a quick launch. And launch it will, if you’re not careful, right up to the backside of the front car. When you do manage to inch yourself slowly, the DSG acts up by constantly flipping the choices between first and second gear, and this is a shift that you can feel; it isn’t pleasant.

The only remedy to this, as I found out later, is to slot the gear into sport and force the Jetta to hold revs and ratio longer. Yes, it’s counter-intuitive but hey, it works! Volkswagen Malaysia has also said that they’ve sorted out the dual-clutch transmission and all improvements are machined into this latest Jetta batch. 

While we can entertain the Jetta having a ‘GTI’ or even an ‘R’ version, overseas Jettas do come with larger engines, the reality is that this is a family sedan so comfort takes precedence over performance. Volkswagen will point you in the direction of the Golf GTI if you must go faster.

You’ll find the suspension bordering on the firm – bone-shaking when it rolls over damaged tarmac yet completely plush when cruising over the regularly-encountered dips and bumps. Having that said, the suspension is set up to the regular tune of European makes. Of course, having a firmer setup also lends for better handling, with better dynamics are always on the cards. The steering is adequately quick to respond to your input although it can get vague at times, especially at car-park speeds. 

In fact, the NVH levels are of European standards also. Close the door and external noise gets cut off. Even when you're turning over large amounts of speed, you'll be wrapped in a well-padded personal cocoon which sole job is to keep you riding in comfort in a well made interior.

There’s a solid feel to the cabin that gives a sense of quality to the build and in a way reflects the simple interior design, which there isn’t much of to begin with. As uncomplicated as it is, the dashboard puts all necessary functions within arm’s reach. 

Functional also seems to be the theme for the Jetta’s exterior. To be honest, I thought the Jetta looked appropriately sporty when it launched about seven years ago and has aged gracefully. Since then, the Jetta has received many updates including a differently designed LED daytime running lights and LED taillights that will keep it fresh long after this generation has become a distant memory. 

The current Jetta has nearly completed its sunset, making way for the next generation to rise sometime in the near future. In the meantime, extremely late adopters can get a Jetta for RM129,578, in Highline specification, which means you’ll get the best configuration for this wonderful family sedan. At this late in the game, you won’t buy the Jetta for how fast it is or how well it drives. You buy one because you want to. 

Volkswagen Jetta



4-cyl., direct injection, turbocharged


7-speed Direct Shift Gearbox

Front-wheel drive








0-100kph 8.6s

220kph max speed, 5.0l/100km



On-the-road without insurance

Overall Rating

7 Rating