The service indicator lit up as the Jetta crossed 16,000km, and this is significant. Reason number one is that this is the first time the Jetta has needed any attention since we picked it up last November. Honestly, it’s been used every day over Mumbai’s ‘stellar’ roads, been as far away as Kerala, taken in all that dust, rain and jam-packed traffic, and sailed through everything without needing as much as a new lightbulb.
There was just one tiny issue with a rattle at low revs from the engine bay (mentioned in the last report, March 2012), and this was sorted out at the service as well. Turns out a bush for the air filter box had worn out, allowing the box to rattle against its mount. We’ve noticed this on other Jettas we’ve driven and maybe it’s something that VW should look into.
What’s really impressed me about the Jetta experience is its not-so-German running costs. Given it hasn’t had an easy life; I was expecting a hefty service bill, so the Rs 11,258 that it finally amounted to was a pleasant surprise. This is a big, comfortable luxury car, remember. That and its fuel economy, which has been at a steady 14.8kpl, mean if you stretch your budget a bit and reach up for a Jetta, running it won’t really blow a hole in your wallet.
Now that the rattle is fixed, the Jetta’s become incredibly smooth and quiet, and is truly living up to its German executive saloon reputation. I love the way it feels so secure and well-built — if you ask me, I think the Jetta is where the true VW experience starts. Lesser VWs, though well built, feel too Indian-ised and simply don’t have the same sense of solidity that the Jetta or the Passat ooze.
There are a few gripes though, and they are mainly to do with the audio system. The SD card reader plays only WMA and MP3 files and this just won’t do when everyone’s moved on to better formats. Maybe a software upgrade will take care of this, but till then, I can’t listen to Van Halen’s ‘Stay Frosty’. Sure, I can get around this by using the iPod connector in the glovebox, but I just don’t feel like letting my iPhone bounce around in there.
This apart, the Jetta’s been so good, it’s a struggle to get it back from anyone who’s got his hands on the keys. And, sure enough, someone has just whacked the keys from my desk. Allow me to end this report here — I’m off to get those keys back!
Price: Rs 21.77 lakh (on-road, Mumbai)
Maintenance costs: Rs 11,258
Test economy: 14.8kpl