Volkswagen Jetta 1.4 TSI first drive

Team OD  /
24 Jul 2013 15:09:37 IST

We all knew this was coming. Numerous test mules were spotted running between Mumbai and Pune and then word got out that VW wouldn't be using the 1.8TSI engine from the Laura but instead use the smaller 1.4 TSI. Now that's no bad thing considering the range topping 1.4 TSI Twincharger can make up to 200PS by the combined use of a supercharger and a turbocharger (hence the name). Needless to say this was one eagerly awaited car, especially after we drove the Polo R-Cup car with a version of the same engine.
Then came the government's slap across the face with its new fuel price hike and suddenly the word petrol was taboo. As things stand diesel seems to be the way to go. Nevertheless VW decided to go ahead and let the media experience the Jetta petrol .
And then came the big surprise. As it turns out we aren't getting the fire breathing 200PS version. Neither is VW offering the more mildly tuned 160PS (which would be on par with the Laura TSI's output). What we get instead is a 1.4 TSI sans the supercharger. Power stands at 122PS while the turbocharger helps produce a healthy 200Nm of torque that peaks from a low 1500-4000rpm. The engine is smooth, refined and quick revving. Power delivery is linear with no sudden surges or flat spots. The engine pulls strongly from as low as 1500rpm but drop below that and you get lag. The engine is mated to a snappy, short throw six speed manual gearbox. Again we'd expected VW to go one up on Skoda and offer a DSG automatic but you can only get a manual transmission for now.
The Jetta will be available in two variants for now, namely the base Trendline and the mid spec Comfortline model that we drove. Interiors wise the car is identical to the diesel Jetta. This means you get a well laid out cabin with great build and quality of materials, albeit at the expense of some basic features like climate control.
We are trying to see things from VW's point of view and we know this isn't the wisest time to be launching an all out sporty petrol saloon, and for most parts the Jetta 1.4TSI is an accomplished car that gets the job done perfectly well. To put a number to it we expect this particular option to be priced somewhere in the range of 17-19 lakh rupees. The more powerful engine would have made the entire ownership experience completely unaffordable. But then again if you had to do it might as well have done it the way it was always meant to be, with the firebreathing 1.8, how my right foot yearned for those 160 horses.
Keep watching this space as we will have a road test with all performance and efficiency details for you soon.

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