The Volkswagen Jetta is a compact car based on the VW Group A platform, produced from 1979 to the present in a span of seven generations. It was marketed as the Atlantic, Vento, Bora, City Jetta, Jetta City, GLI, Jetta, Clasico and Sagitar (in China) in 2-/4-door saloons and 5-door estates. The Jetta became VW’s top-selling model, selling over 14 million units as of 2014.
The First Generation (A1, Type 16; 1979-1984)
In 1979 at the Frankfurt Auto Show, the first-generation Jetta premiered as 2-door and 4-door sedans with a front-engine, front-wheel-drive layout. Giorgetto Giugiaro designed it based on the VW Golf Mk1. It was offered with a MacPherson strut front suspension with a twist-beam for the rear. Engine options were mostly based on EA827 engines ranging from 1.1L (37kW) to 1.8L inline-4 petrol engines (82kW, 150Nm) while choices in diesel engines included a 1.6L (37kW) unit as well as its turbocharged version (51kW, 130Nm).
The Second Generation (A2, Type 20E/1G; 1984-1991)
The second-generation Jetta was one of the top-selling models running for the longest time. It was produced as a 2-door/4-door notchback sedan with a front-engine, front-wheel/four-wheel-drive layout. It is based on the second-generation Golf platform becoming larger in all directions while the suspension setup left unchanged from the one used for the first generation. It added a trip computer, silicone-dampened engine and transmission mounts for noise reduction. In 1988, it came equipped with a fully electronic fuel injection system. The second-generation Jetta came along with both petrol and diesel engines available in 4-/5-speed manual gearbox and 3-speed automatic transmission.
The Third Generation (A3, Type 1H; 1992-1999)
The third-generation Jetta (aka VW Vento), which was a Herbert Schafer design, was revealed in 1992. Not only was the aerodynamics improved, but its suspension was also equipped with a broader track. It is a small family car offered in a 4-door notchback saloon body style with a front-engine, front-wheel/four-wheel-drive layout. Powertrain options introduced in the third generation were a 1.9L turbocharged diesel injection engine producing 66kW as well as a 2.8L VR6 petrol engine with six cylinders paired with either a manual gearbox or an automatic transmission.
The Fourth Generation (A4, Type 1j; 1999-2005)
The fourth generation began sales in 1999. It is better known as the VW Bora, named after the winter wind that blows over the Adriatic Sea. For more information about this generation, please read our article on the Volkswagen Bora.
The Fifth Generation (A5, Type 1K5; 2005-2011)
The Jetta (A5) is a compact 4-door notchback sedan and 5-door wagon with a front-engine layout based on the VW Group A5 (PQ35) platform. It was launched in 2005 at the Los Angeles Auto Show. It was the first Jetta to feature a multi-link independent rear suspension, a design based on the one used in the Ford Focus.
In Australia, it came in 2006 offering 2.0 FSI, 2.0 TFSI, and 2.0 TDI trims that were expanded in 2009 introducing 118 TSI, 77 TDI, and 125 TDI variants. The 2.0 TDI and the 2.0 TFSI became the 103 TDI and 147 TSI, respectively.
Powertrain options available in Australia were:
- 2.0 FSI, 2.0L petrol engine producing 110kW and 200Nm of torque paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission or a 6-speed manual gearbox
- 2.0 TDI (103 TDI), 2.0L diesel engine producing 103kW and 320Nm of torque paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission or a 6-speed manual gearbox
- 2.0 Turbo FSI (147 TSI), 147 TSI Highline, 2.0L petrol engine producing 147kW and 280Nm of torque paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission
- 118 TSI, 1.4L petrol engine producing 118kW and 240Nm of torque paired with a 7-speed automatic transmission or a 6-speed manual gearbox
- 125 TDI Highline, 2.0L diesel engine producing 125kW and 350Nm paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission
- 77 TDI, 1.6L diesel engine producing 77kW and 250Nm of torque paired with a 7-speed automatic transmission or a 5-speed manual gearbox
2.0 FSI, 2.0 TDI (103 TDI), 118 TSI: Dual Front/Head/Side Front Airbags Package, ABS, Auto Climate Control with Dual-Temp Zones, 16-Inch Alloy Wheels, Brake Assist, Cruise Control, Central Locking Remote Control, EBD, Electronic Differential Lock, ESP, Engine Immobiliser, Leather Steering Wheel, Parking Distance Control Rear, Power Mirrors/Steering/Windows, Radio CD with 8 Speakers, Seatbelt Pretensioners - Front, Trip Computer, Traction Control System
2.0 Turbo FSI (147 TSI), 147 TSI Highline, 125 TDI Highline adds: 17-Inch Alloy Wheels, CD with 6-CD Stacker, Front Fog Lights, Sport Seats, Sound System with 10 Speakers, Sports Suspension
77 TDI adds: Air-Conditioning
In 2011 in EuroNCAP, the fifth-generation Jetta achieved a 5-star rating which includes 94% for adult occupant protection and 86% for child occupant protection.
The Sixth Generation (A6, Type 5C6; 2011–2019)
The sixth-generation Jetta, produced from 2011 to 2019, is based on VW Group A5 (PQ35) platform having a 4-door notchback saloon and a 5-door estate body style. In Australia, it was sold from 2011 to 2018 as a compact, mid-size car with a front-wheel-drive layout offering the 118 TSI, 103 TDI, and 147 TSI variants that were available in standard, Comfortline, and Highline editions.
Powertrain options added in Australia were:
- 103 TDI Comfortline and Highline, 2.0L diesel engine producing 103kW and 320Nm of torque paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission or a 6-speed manual gearbox
- 118 TSI Comfortline, Highline and Trendline, 1.4L petrol engine producing 118kW and 240Nm of torque paired with a 7-speed automatic transmission or 6-speed manual gearbox
- 155 TSI Highline Sport, 2.0L petrol engine producing 155kW and 280Nm of torque paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission
118 TSI Comfortline and Highline and 103 TDI Highline: Air Conditioning, Adjustable Front Seats - Manual, Adjustable Steering Wheel - Tilt & Telescopic, Body-Coloured Bumpers/Exterior Door Handles/Exterior Mirrors, Centre Console Box, Child-Proof Rear Door Locks, Child Seat Anchor Points, Digital Clock, DRL, Emergency Brake Lights, Exterior Mirrors - Heated, Glovebox Cooler, Adjustable Headrests - All Seats, Halogen Headlights, Illuminated Entry/Exit with Delayed Fade, Leather Gear Knob/Steering Wheel, Multi-Function Steering Wheel, MP3 Compatible Audio/CD Player, Power Mirrors With Indicators, Seatbelt Load Limiters Front Seats/Lap Sash All Seats/Reminder Front Seats, Side Door Impact Beams, Speed-Sensing Auto Door Lock, Split Fold Rear Seat, Spare Wheel - Full-Size Steel, Tinted Windows
118 TSI Comfortline, Highline and Trendline adds: Automatic Climate Control Filtered, Apple Carplay, Alarm System/Remote Anti-Theft, Android Auto, 16-Inch Alloy Wheels, Bluetooth Connectivity, Crumple Zone Front & Rear, Deadlocking, Driver Fatigue Detection, Exterior Mirror - Reverse Tilt on Passenger Side, Lumbar Support Both Front Seats, Multi-Function Display, Radio
155 TSI Highline Sport adds: 18-Inch Alloy Wheels, Chrome Exhaust Tips, DRL - LED, Front Fog Lights, Headlights - Automatic Levelling, Heated Front Seats, Keyless Entry, Leather-Accented Upholstery, Push Button Start
In 2015, the VW Jetta was the best-rated car by the worlds' crash-testing agencies receiving 5 stars from both Euro NCAP and ANCAP as well as Top pick + in IIHS.
The Seventh Generation (A7, 2019-present)
The VW Jetta (A7) was revealed in 2018 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit as a compact car with a front-wheel drivetrain based on Volkswagen's MQB platform.
A7 offers the same basic equipment as its predecessor. It is roomier and equipped with advanced safety technologies such as ACC, BLIS, light and lane assist and rear cross-traffic alert.
Regarding powertrain options, only 1.4L turbocharged TSI (I4) is available producing 110kW, paired with a 6-speed manual gearbox offered in S trim, or an 8-speed automatic transmission offered in all other trims: SE, R-Line, SEL, and SEL Premium.
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Author: Andrijana Pavlovic