What is it?
The second facelift for VW’s very capable executive sedan since this second-gen car was launched in India. You may remember that the company updated the car in October 2013, giving it more equipment and new headlamps. So this update is more of a cosmetic one, bringing it in line with the Volkswagen’s international model range.
Still, at first glance, you might have to squint to spot the differences. The LED-infused Xenon headlamps on the top Highline trim are similar to the 2013 model, but are sharper and a little more sculpted. The same goes for the tail-lamps which are slimmer and more angular. There’s a slightly reprofiled bonnet, a larger grille with three chrome slats instead of two, and a wider lower air dam with new fog lamps. It’s subtle, but it does make the car look a bit wider than before.
That aside, the sharp looking alloy wheels on the top-spec car remain the same, and the engine options are still made up of a 121bhp 1.4-litre TFSI petrol engine and a 138bhp 2.0-litre TDI diesel – VW hasn’t brought in the higher-powered versions of these engines that Skoda uses in its Octavia.
On the inside, there’s a more upmarket looking instrument cluster housed in a chrome-ringed binnacle, which is better befitting a car in this segment. There’s also the new three-spoke, flat-bottomed steering wheel from the Vento and Polo facelifts, albeit with a few more control buttons, and a driver fatigue monitoring feature which, thankfully, didn’t throw up any alerts during our test drive.
What’s it like to drive?
Since there are no mechanical changes to the car, it drives exactly as the previous version – which is to say, rather well. The 2.0 TDI diesel engine, a staple of the VW Group in various states of tune, has more than enough grunt for this executive sedan. It’s available with a six-speed manual as well, but we sampled it with the company’s quick-shifting DSG dual-clutch gearbox. In auto mode, it shifts quickly and without you noticing, and kickdowns are quite seamless too. However, in manual mode via the paddle shifters, it can sometimes be a little slow to react to your inputs compared to some more modern gearboxes.
Despite doing duty in its lower-spec 121bhp guise, the 1.4-litre TSI motor still packs plenty of punch right through its rev range. Surprisingly, for a turbo engine, it enjoys being revved too, and makes a good sound when you do. It’s also only available in the lower Trendline and Comfortline trims, and not the Highline, and only with a six-speed manual. We wish VW would’ve used this facelift to introduce a petrol automatic variant, or better yet, the excellent 1.8-litre TSI motor that’s in so many other VW Group cars.
Where this car has always excelled, though, is ride and handling. The suspension simply crushes most small to medium bumps, it stays flat at serious highway speeds, and you feel little drama in the cabin over most surfaces. It’s been set up for a good mix of stiffness and compliance, and the chassis feels solidly engineered. That also makes it quite tidy around a set of corners. Body roll is well contained, and the Jetta feels impressively light on its feet. The steering isn’t bristling with feel and it’s quite light too, but it’s still enjoyable on a twisty road.
Should I buy one?
This is not a very comprehensive facelift, and that’s largely because a lot of equipment upgrades were introduced in 2013. Still, competitors have more equipment on offer, and this would have been a good opportunity for VW to add more to the Jetta’s list. The same goes for the powertrain options; we would have loved to have seen the 1.8 TSI under the Jetta’s hood. However, as before, this is one of the most capable cars in the segment, and now it’s just a little more interesting to look at too.
Read more on the Volkswagen Jetta:
2015 Volkswagen Jetta facelift video review
2015 Volkswagen Jetta facelift launched at Rs 13.87 lakh
2015 Volkswagen Jetta photo gallery
2015 Volkswagen Jetta facelift review, test drive