Volkswagen updates Jetta saloon

Volkswagen has announced a new version of its Golf-based Jetta saloon; this move has been expected since the Golf itself was heavily revamped just over a year ago. The crisp styling of the latest Jetta was foreshadowed by that of the company's New Compact Coupé design study, which was displayed at the Detroit Motor Show earlier this year.

Volkswagen says that every panel of the Jetta's body has been changed and that the wheelbase has been extended by 70mm (a little under three inches) which has permitted a similar increase in rear leg-room. The company chose to unveil the new model in New York, at Times Square, reflecting the fact that booted versions of cars in this bracket are much more popular in the US than they are in Western Europe, where hatchbacks tend to be the mainstream choice.

The first Jetta was introduced in 1979, a full five years after the Golf I on which it was based, and VW says that it has sold more than 9.6 million cars under that name since. Not all Golf-based saloons have carried the Jetta badge, however, at least not in Europe; the saloon version of the Golf III was the Vento, while the booted Golf IV was called Bora. The Jetta nameplate was only revived after a break of thirteen years in 2005.

One new engine will be offered in the latest Jetta, a turbocharged 1.2-litre TSI engine producing 105 horsepower. Another option is Volkswagen's “twincharged” 1.4-litre engine, which has both an engine-driven supercharger and an exhaust-driven turbocharger, and produces 160 horsepower. The existing 1.4 litre and 2.0 litre TSI engines, providing 122 and 200 horsepower respectively are also carried over. Diesel choices are a 1.6-litre engine producing 105 horsepower and a 140 horsepower 2.0-litre.

The latest Jetta will go on sale in the UK early next year, and prices will be announced nearer the time.