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2016 Volkswagen Jetta 1.4 TSI Review 

KANATA, ON: Driving the 2016 Volkswagen Jetta with its new 1.4-litre TSI engine, my co-driver exclaimed “there’s something wrong with the speedometer on this car.”

  • VW Jetta 1.4 TSI 2016 main
HIGHLIGHTS
ENGINE
1.4L I-4 FWD
POWER
150hp @ 5,000RPM
CURB WEIGHT
1,333 kg
TORQUE
184 lb.-ft. @ 1,400RPM
FUEL TANK CAPACITY
55.0L
ECONOMY
5.9L/100 km
BASE PRICE
$15995
PRICE AS TESTED
NA

THE PROS & CONS

    • What’s Best: Lots of power, spacious and thrifty on gas.
    • What’s Worst: A good car at a bad time.
    • What’s Interesting: The Jetta lineup is now all turbo powered.

2016 Volkswagen Jetta 1.4 TSI at a glance

BODY STYLE: Compact sedan

DRIVE METHOD: front-engine, front-wheel-drive; five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission

ENGINE: 1.4-litre direct injection turbo four-cylinder (150 hp, 184 lb/ft)

FUEL CONSUMPTION: (Regular) five-speed manual, 8.3/5.9/7.2L/100 km, six-speed automatic 8.5/6.0/7.3L/100 km

CARGO: 440 litres

PRICE: (Manual/automatic) Trendline $15,995/$17,395; Trendline + $18,795/$20,195; Comfortline, $22,595/$23,995.

KANATA, ON: Driving the 2016 Volkswagen Jetta with its new 1.4-litre TSI engine, my co-driver exclaimed “there’s something wrong with the speedometer on this car.”

We were in an 80 km/h zone to the south and west of Ottawa and my friend was startled to discover he was exceeding the limit by a sizeable amount.

“I don’t get it,” he said. “It feels like 80, but I’m doing (I don’t want to convict him in print).”

I noticed the same thing. In a 90 km/h zone, the Jetta was happiest at about 110 km/h. I had to keep my eye on the speedo and brake often just to get back to the limit.

On one stretch I had to pass a truck doing 80 km/h and not about to slow down to let me by.

I stood on the accelerator and, to my surprise, vaulted around him instead of the white-knuckle tepid performance I was expecting front such a Lilliputian power plant.

The reason for this is an amazingly small but powerful direct injection twin scroll turbo 1.4 TSI four-cylinder that Volkswagen is using to replace the long-serving 2.0-litre four banger.

Known to VW insiders as the 2.0-Slow, not 2.0, new technology lets carmakers do more with less, which is what the new 1.4-litre is all about.

VW considers the 1.4 TSI the Jetta entry engine. There are 1.8- and 2.0-litre motors, both TSI, available.

2016 Volkswagen Jetta engine

Although it is a bigger car than the Golf, VW decided a few years ago to make the Jetta the entry-level sedan instead of the Golf, even though they are both considered compacts.

As readers know by now, sales of the 2.0-litre turbo diesel have been halted while VW deals with the rigged emission testing that threatens the company’s global reputation.

VW is not taking any chances and has halted all diesel sales until they solve the problem.

RELATED: 2015 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagon Review

If you are the owner of any 2009-2015 Golf, Golf Sportwagon, Jetta, Beetle or Passat model equipped with a 2.0 TDI Diesel, VW Canada has a call centre and a website set up to deal with owner/customer concerns.

But back the 1.4 TSI that produces 150 hp and 184 lb/ft of torque on regular gasoline, when most twin scroll engines have premium recommended.

There is a five-speed manual transmission standard with a six-speed automatic optional. Drive is to the front and all-wheel-drive is not available.

Fuel numbers for the manual are 8.3/5.9/7.2L/100 km and 8.5/6.0/7.3L/100 km for the automatic, which is a 22/14/22 per cent improvement of the 2.0-litre automatic.

The new engine is found in the three base trim models. Pricing for the manual/automatic Trendline is $15,995/$17,395, Trendline + $18,795/$20,195 and Comfortline, $22,595/$23,995.

2016 Volkswagen Jetta shifter

A lot comes standard, including Bluetooth, a trip computer, touchscreen infotainment and even a backup camera.

But if you want air, you move to the Trendline + and that includes an alarm system, remote entry, USB, heated front seats and wiper nozzles and power/heated outside mirrors.

2016 Volkswagen Jetta repeater

The Trendline + is the most popular and the one I drove during the press launch in Kanata.

Both Trendlines come with steel wheels with covers. For 16-inch alloys, you move up to the Comfortline and that also includes climate control sunroof, automatic headlights and rain sensing wipers.

The Jetta’s forte is passenger volume, especially the back seat, with 1,362 mm of shoulder room and 967 mm of legroom making it one of the best in class.
2016 Volkswagen Jetta trunk space

With four-wheel disc brakes, a MacPherson strut suspension up front and a multilink at the back, the Trendline + tracked very well through the rolling hillside and braking was positive, with lots of pedal travel for modulation.

Last year the designers cleaned up the exterior with things such as a new nose with three cross fins that make the Jetta look wider.

The body was designed to meet or exceed all current crash standards, while offering a full suite of optional driver/safety aids such as rear traffic alert, blind spot warning and a forward crash warning system.

One of the few options is the $400 Connectivity Package with App Connect that lets owners access Apple CarPlay, Android Auto or MirrorLink.

The lesson here is connectivity has become a major buying decision maker and VW is not scrimping, even on its basic models.

With a $15,995 staring price, the 1.4 TSI has the power, ride and handling to make it a serious contender in the economy compact sedan segment.

2016 Volkswagen Jetta rear

RELATED: VW Canada vows to clean up the diesel scandal

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