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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Volkswagen Jetta AT selfdrive from Myles Mumbai!

Volkswagen Jetta is a premium sedan priced between 18 to 25 lakhs on road approx.. Jetta is about 6 to 7 lakhs more expensive than equivalent variant of Vento, Jetta’s cheaper and better selling cousin. I have driven Vento and Polo earlier, but not Jetta.

Going by the car purchase price, hiring vento should be much cheaper than hiring Jetta. But for some reason, Myles Cars Mumbai had priced Jetta way below much cheaper cars like Figo and Vento. I was searching for a car to rent in Mumbai for my visit and the cheaper Jetta instantly caught my attention. Without much thought and not even bothering to check completion, I quickly booked the Jetta for 2 days at Rs 5400. Just a week later I see that rent has gone up by 25%, but still Jetta is priced cheaper than Vento
I suspected Jetta was probably priced cheaper because it could be an old car. But to my delight, it was brand new with about 20000 kms on the odo. I picked it up from Hotel Trident, BKC on Friday evening and was all set.

Rest of the post shares my review of Jetta and photos clicked during our trip.

I was not a big fan of automatics. I prefer manual. Whenever I had driven both MT and AT variants of a car, I had felt MT is more fun and precise. The sheer pleasure you get while shifting from 4th to 5th is not possible in AT. However, for the first time I thoroughly enjoyed an Automatic, thanks to world class DSG gearbox in Jetta. DSG stands for Direct Shift Gearbox. DSG technology is very unique to Volkswagen group (Also available in other brands owned by VW) and the difference between this and other automatics is quite significant. I didn't miss the manual for the first time, as DSG gear shift is super quick, silent and without any compromise on the acceleration. In normal automatics, gear shift takes a second or two with noticable dip in acceleration. In VW DSG, there's always enough acceleration and torque on demand while the car shifts to a more appropriate gear. It is like car anticipates all combinations of scenarios (you want to race or overtake or climb hill etc) and keeps itself ready. Jetta I drove has a 6 speed automatic. Latest Vento gets 7 speed.

Add to DSG, Jetta also gets a paddle shift. I can put it to manual and change gears at the tip of a finger, thanks to paddle shift levers behind steering wheels. This is so much fun.

I drove to Matheran, Alibaug and Murud. Check some photos before we proceed further.
At Korlai fort
Enroute to Matheran


Murud Janjira on the right

On the inside, Jetta is obviously wider, longer and more spacious than any ordinary sedan. Though Jetta is available in many cheaper variants (Petrol Manual starts at 15 lakhs ex show room) AT is available only in top of the line Highline TDI. Highline also gets dual zone climate control, paddle shift, 140 PS power, Bi-Xenon headlamps with corner lights, DRL, headlamp washer, leather perforated seats, touch screen entertainment system and so on.

Instrument cluster is pretty standard, but you can select what info need to be shown in central display.
Dual Zone climate control is cool
Leather seats are perforated for better ventilation, there's nice tough of wood, controls are easy to find.  6 airbags for safety. Highline gets 8 speakers, rain sensor and heat insulating windshield.
Almost everything can be controlled via steering wheel. Jetta senses if passenger seat is occupied or not. Only when occupied, if seat belt is not engaged it beeps. Smart.

Steering wheel gets both tilt and telescopic adjustment and driver seat gets 8 way electric seat adjustment and lumbar support. But No memory function.

My passengers never complained of any discomfort, despite occasional bad roads. Ground clearance is low but is at par for its category.

I drove the Jetta for about 500 kms in 2 days- Mumbai to Matheran-Alibaug, Murud and back. Road included highway, hill and a bit of rough roads. Jetta handled all perfectly well. It gets lots of safety features- ABS with EBD, Hill hold control, Electronic stability control and more. Cutting corners at good speed is sheer fun. Car hold on to line and lenth without any over or under steering. When I had to brake abruptly on spotting an unmarked, hard to detect speed breaker last minute, car stays in full control and doesn't disrupt the passengers much either. (Thinking of this, why can't cars have a speed hump sensor?)

For th 500 kms I drove, I had to fill up Rs 2400 worth fuel. This averages to a fuel economy of 12.5 kmpl. I think it is a decent number for its class, with four passengers and good use of AC.

Myles cars has a 120 kmph speed limit.

What's great:
  • DSG and Paddleshift
  • Dual Zone climate control
  • Comfortable Ride
  • Fun to Drive
  • Great value for money
What's missing in Jetta:
1. No rear view camera- only parking sensors (front and rear) with acoustic warnings.
2. I couldn't see auto roll windows. In some Polo cars I have seen owners rolling up windows automatically, standing outside the car without having to insert key into ignition. I think this is a cool thing to have. Must be standard in Jetta.
3. A push button start would have been great for its price bracket.

Only drawback about VW is that all their cars look similar- Polo, Amero, Vento, Jetta, Passat all have a similar looking front. Unless you're well trained, the differences are hard to spot. Even on the rear the design looks same to amateur eyes.

I wish I could spend more time with Jetta or take some more better photos of it. The trip was over before I knew it. Glad I spotted it on Mylescars website, happy it was priced cheaper than Vento. The Highlight Jetta TDI AT carries an on road price of about 25 lakhs. With heavy heart I returned it on Sunday evening and headed to airport.

Zoomcar had vento on its fleet but now discontinued, possibly due to higher maintenance cost. I am glad I got to try this Jetta for 2 days.

Jetta doesn't have too much competition in its class. Skoda Octavia and Superb are its own brands. Maruti has stopped Kizashi, Honda is not focusing on Accord now, Toyota Camry/Hyundai Elantra/Sonata don't seem to be selling in huge numbers to worry VW.

2 years ago VW group faced a major scandal world wide known as Diesel Gate- company admitted to cheating emission norms in US and many other countries. Looks like they have managed the crisis well- VW beat Toyota and GM recently to sell maximum number of cars in an year (2016). VW Group also owns Skoda, Audi, Porsche and many other brands. Best wishes to them.

Related: VW Polo Cup in Chennai *  VW Touareg and Passat in Malmo, Sweden * Zoomcar vs Myles vs Revv self drive comparison *  Tata Hexa

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