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Volkswagen Jetta TSI - first drive

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At a time when petrol prices are constantly on the rise, it’s not exactly a bad strategy to have only diesel engines on offer, but apparently, Volkswagen doesn’t agree. They’re planning on bringing out a petrol variant of their popular Jetta sedan. The 1.4 TSI.

Considering that the Laura and Jetta are platform-mates, we’d have thought they’d bring in the 1.8-litre unit instead of the 1.4-litre that it will now come with. Not to fret though, as the 1.4 is a strong performer as well. With 120 bhp of peak power on tap, it won’t be sizzling tracks anywhere, but it’s got more than adequate power for regular usage indeed. That 20-odd kgm (20.4 kgm, if you’re being precise) of torque certainly helps driveability too.

On the outside, the only things that give it away are different wheels, twin-tailpipes and, yes, the badge.

Inside, you’ll see some cost cutting, like a normal unit instead of the touchscreen unit and no power adjustable seats. There are only baseline and comfortline variants, with the highline reserved for the diesel version.

The 1390cc turbocharged engine starts pulling cleanly from just off idle and really only loses some steam at the very end of the rev-range. Turbo lag is almost non-existent, but it’s a real joy to work with that gearbox, so you’ll be tempted to drop a cog or two for some quick acceleration.

The slick-shifting 6-speed manual is the only transmission option here and we’re certainly not complaining. It is a great companion to the engine and allows you to manipulate the power however you want it.

With a little less weight over the front axles, the TSI feels like a slightly more agile car than the diesel version. There’s almost 50 kg (42 kg, to be precise) of weight savings to be had over the diesel car.

Unlike the DSG equipped diesel car where transmission drone filters through to the cabin, the petrol engine is barely audible from the cabin. You’d really need to take a look at the tach to tell if its on. Only when you’re really pushing the car does it start emitting some noise from the exhausts.

It still has the same high speed stability and road-holding ability that the Jetta has come to be known for.

It’s got a smaller engine than the Laura, which could either mean that this will be priced differently than the Laura or that there is a higher power version planned for later. We’re seriously crossing our fingers for the latter. No details about the pricing were announced, but keep your eyes and ears open for any news on that front.