Volkswagen Jetta to hit Europe after US success

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TIMES Square, New York and on 15 June last year the wraps were taken off the all new VW Jetta and in a few months time the European versions will go on sale.

To date more than 10 million have been sold and since the US launch 123, 000 have been sold.

The sixth generation Jetta is an all new model and it slots into the Volkswagen family between the Golf and the Passat. Yes the Jetta is very much a car in its own right.

Better proportioned than the previous model, the latest version offers more space for rear seat passengers, is lighter, safer and with some versions offers a 20% saving in fuel economy.

I had the chance to drive several versions of the new Jetta in the South of France and I was very much taken by the premium feel of the car and little touches like the boot with load through, especially useful for those large items that we have to transport on the odd occasion.

Load capacity is 510 litres.

There is no doubt the most important market for the Jetta has been the US, but with the arrival of the new model on the European scene Volkswagen remains confident of sales success.

The European versions differ from the US versions with the fitment of a sophisticated multilink rear suspension, electro-mechanical steering, a superb range of both petrol and diesel engines and the choice of manual and DSG gearboxes.

I tried three different engines, two diesels and one petrol, the latter a real gem, but alas there are no plans to bring it to our market which is a shame.

The two litre TDI offers 140PS while the fuel saving 1.6 TDI pleases with 67mpg and a low emission figure of 109g/km. The petrol engine which I tried and how it impressed, a 1.2 litre with 105PS. Of course we will get petrol versions, both of 1.4 litre capacities with 122PS and 160PS respectively.

BlueMotion Technology is a key feature of the 1.6 TDI and it includes Stop/Start and battery regeneration.

The styling of the new Jetta is best described as elegant and was penned by Klaus Bischoff, Head of Volkswagen Design and it draws from the New Compact Coupe concept car which was exhibited early last year in Detroit.

Its clean lines are similar to those of the new Polo, Passat and Sharan models.

Well equipped and available in three trim levels, S, SE and Sport, standard safety features include six airbags, ABS and ESP.

The new Jetta can be described as a sports saloon and with room for five to travel in comfort it will be welcomed by the current customer and there is no doubt it will find new buyers.

Downsizing is popular and with the package that the new Jetta offers it can only be attractive.

Volkswagen are predicting that the big seller in the UK market will be the 1.6 litre TDI 105PS version and it is expected to be priced around £18,500 and to take just over one quarter of the total sales.

Starting price is expected to be around £17,000 for the 1.4 litre TSI 122PS version.

First customers should be getting their new Jetta in early May; however you can visit your local dealer now.