There are four engines on offer with two petrol options and two diesel versions. The petrol choice is the 1.4-litre TSI, fitted with a turbocharger and supercharger, which produces either 120bhp or 158bhp. The 120bhp model will cover the benchmark 0-62mph sprint in 9.9 seconds while the higher-powered version will hit the same target marginally quicker at 8.3 seconds.
Both of these come with either a six-speed manual gearbox or the seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox. The diesel options on offer include the 1.6-litre TDI badged as BlueMotion Technology (this means you get start/stop as well as break regenerative technology) that produces 103bhp. Thanks to the BlueMotion Technology additions the 1.6 TDI will achieve a claimed 67mpg, while emissions of just 109g/km make it cheap to tax.
It’s not the most refined engine and can feel a little noisy at low speeds. Despite this it is a capable engine with a decent amount of low-down pulling power. It’s hardly rapid with a 0-62mph time of 11.7 seconds and will take some consideration when overtaking, but if your priority is purely low running costs it’s the pick of the bunch. It comes with a choice of a five-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed DSG auto ‘box.
The other diesel option is the 2.0-litre TDI that comes with 138bhp. As an overall option combining both performance and economy, it is the best engine in the line-up with plenty of pulling power and decent acceleration for tackling slower traffic, while it will reach 62mph in 9.5 seconds. There’s a choice of six-speed manual gearbox or six-speed DSG auto 'box with this model.
It might not be the most entertaining of cars to drive, but at the same time it isn’t lifeless and feels composed on the road. Steering is precise, but does lack feedback for the driver. The steering weight is good and is light enough at low speeds, getting heavier as you hit higher speeds thanks to electrically assisted steering. There is plenty of grip and the car feels assured on tight roads.
The ride is firm and while it won’t ruin your enjoyment of the car completely on poor quality roads it could make journeys a little uncomfortable.
Sitting in the cabin you could be in any Volkswagen model with all the familiar dials and buttons. Everything is finished with the usual efficiency from the manufacturer, although some small some fittings didn't feel as robust as say, a Golf. Getting in to a comfortable driving position is easy as even the entry level S models come with a good level of seat adjustment, while all models also get steering wheel adjustment to make things even easier.
The Jetta is well refined and a quiet place to be. Engine noise is only really intrusive on the 1.6 TDI at low speeds (the 2.0 TDI is incredibly quiet), while road noise and wind noise are minimal.
This is where the Jetta has seen the biggest improvement, particularly for rear passengers. Rear legroom is seven centimetres longer than the previous model which makes sitting in the back even more comfortable and will fit a couple of six foot plus adults with ease. The middle rear seat is best reserved for children and teenagers as the centre console makes things awkward.
Front passenger and driver will also find things comfortable with well supported seats that should make long journeys pass without too much trauma although the stiff ride might irritate after a while.