What's the used Volkswagen Jetta saloon like?
Fashion is whatever goes out of fashion, as Coco Chanel observed. Once upon a time people buying a family car whether big or small didn’t quite trust this new-fangled hatchback business and preferred instead a conventional four-door saloon with a boot. Volkswagen filled this niche by sticking a boot onto the back of its immensely popular hatchback the Golf and creating the Jetta, the roots of which go all the way back to 1979.
The wheel having now swung all the way round the other way, this Jetta quietly disappeared from the VW UK pricelists in 2017, as buyers flock instead to hatchbacks and SUVs. However, a used example of a car that is essentially the same as a Golf underneath and remarkably similar to a Passat on the surface will still be seen as a good buy for many people.
On the road, all the engine options impress, although the lower powered 2.0 TDI diesel sometimes feels short of puff. The two 1.4 petrol units get along well, though, and both are smooth and refined in use, with an even spread of power. The most popular engine is the 2.0 TDI 150 diesel, which combines decent performance and low-end grunt with high-speed refinement and good fuel economy. The Jetta rides well, too, being both stable and unflustered, and it absorbs bumps and large road imperfections with a certain panache. It steers and handles competently, if without any real flair or driver enjoyment, and the only way you’re likely to run into any problems with the Jetta is if you enter a corner at supercar speeds.
Inside is a functional interior that bypasses style for a no-nonsense approach. The seats are firm and the driving position good, being adjustable in a number of planes. The dashboard and its surrounding areas are all laid out in an entirely logical pattern, with large, clear and sensibly located switches and dials. Although there are soft-touch plastics on display, the interior quality is, in fact, a little mixed, with some more brittle materials used lower down.