VW Jetta TSI Driving Review

Nithyanandh

Nithyanandh K, As a toddler, those wheeled machinery fascinated me even before I knew what they’re called as! So here I'm, petrolhead by birth, Mechanical engineer by qualification and automotive reporter by profession!

For obvious reasons it’s not all that lucrative to sell petrol cars in India, especially in the Rs. 15 lakhs – Rs. 20 lakh segment, as its populated by some really well equipped diesel cars.

VW Jetta TSI engine bay
The 1.4 litre TSI develops 120 bhp and is extremely refined.

Contrary to the thought, VW believes that their path breaking turbocharged direct injection petrol technology will appeal to the petrolheads who are scouting for a nice driver’s car with a decent economy in the D Segment. So, did VW make a right move by putting the Jetta TSI on our roads? Let’s find it out.

Crank it and the 1.4 litre 120 bhp TSI comes into life without awakening your sleeping pet. The turbo petrol motor is superbly refined in all the conditions and gets off the line without a fuss.

Where there is a turbo, there will be a lag, in this case there is not much of a problem as long as the tacho needle is lingering above 1,300 rpm.

The power delivery is strong from 1,500 rpm, the mid-range is meaty and is easily the best place to be in. The motor loves to be wrung and goes all the way to redline without any vibrations. It sounds good too.

The power build up is progressive and there is no significant turbo kick which I expected, however the acceleration is really quick.

Floor the throttle at 120 kmph in sixth gear and the TSI still has some juice left! I couldn’t help but wonder how the 1.8 TSI with forty extra horses would feel like!

VW Jetta TSI gear knob
The gear shift is short and precise, the ratios are simply brilliant.

The clutch is well weighted and the gear knob’s throws are short and precise making the shifting business a delightful affair.

What earned our admiration are the amazing powertrain package and the brilliantly thought out gear ratios of the six-speed manual transmission. The engine, turbo and the gearbox have struck a beautiful relationship with each other. Together they feel at home, be it while strolling around town, cruising on the highway or when the pedal meets the metal.

However, the flexibility of the engine comes with a cost. Have a glimpse of consumption calculator every time you performed a full bore launch and you know what I’m talking about. Our test car gave a wallet scorching average fuel economy of 6 kmpl and we couldn’t manage any better than 8.5 kmpl. Perhaps a more sensible driving style would’ve improved the fuel economy.

VW Jetta TSI economy
The fuel economy figure makes you mark and locate fuel stations along your route

The chassis is tuned towards driving pleasure and hence the ride feels a little stiff but never gets uncomfortable. High speed ride and stability are pretty good. Attack a corner enthusiastically and the Jetta shows a slight hint of understeer, but goes round the bend with an undisturbed poise.

The steering is light enough in city and weighs up consistently as the speed increases. More feel of the road would have made the steering a driver’s delight.

The Jetta TSI is a fast car and shedding all that speed is effectively taken care by the brakes. The brake pedal feel is terrific and under emergency braking, the car came to a quick halt without kicking its tail out of the line.

One can safely term the VW Jetta TSI as a good driver’s car. The engine could win the slugfest with all other rivals except for its big cousin, the Laura 1.8 TSI.

If we were to give one strong reason in favour of the Jetta TSI, it’ll be the feel good factor associated with its engineering finesse. Come on VW, bring the Polo 1.2 TSI here. Please!

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