UK Volkswagen Jetta unveiled

* New bigger sixth-generation model * On sale next spring * Prices start at 17,500 (est.)...

UK Volkswagen Jetta unveiled

VW has just unveiled a new European-spec Jetta. The sixth-generation model will arrive in UK showrooms next spring.

What's new?
Quite a lot. Every panel both inside and out has been replaced, and the new Jetta is 90mm longer, which gives it 67mm more legroom in the rear. That means even four six-footers won't struggle for space.

The new Jetta has been designed for the US market, but the European version has been fitted with a more sophisticated rear suspension set-up. It also gets a soft-touch dashboard, instead of the low-rent materials used in American models.

Isn't it just a Golf with a boot, though?
No. Unlike the previous Jetta, this has a longer wheelbase than the Golf, which gives it significantly more rear legroom.

It has a bigger boot, too 510 litres compared with the Golf 's 350 litres although the saloon opening does make the space awkward to access.

Some of the interior plastics aren't as classy as the Golf's, either, although the dashboard is almost identical in both look and feel.

VW knows the majority of its UK customers will continue to choose the Golf or the Passat if a small family car won't cut it for size but the new Jetta does sit nicely between the two both in price and size.

Engines and prices
Four turbocharged engines will be available from launch. The 104bhp 1.2 TSI will be offered for the first time in the Jetta, alongside the popular 120bhp 1.4 TSI.

Diesel buyers will have the choice of 138bhp and 168bhp versions of the 2.0 TDI, but it's the 68mpg 1.6 TDI Bluemotion that's expected to be the big seller in the UK.

VW will launch hybrid versions of the Golf and new Jetta in early 2012.

Official prices haven't yet been released, but VW says the new Jetta will cost roughly the same as the outgoing model. With a VAT rise scheduled between now and the cars launch, expect the range to kick-off at 17,500.