VW Jetta A6. It’s no longer just a Golf with a boot and it’s no longer an aspirational Passat either. It’s exactly what the VW Bora was supposed to be – VW’s compact sedan. I’m no VW fan, but the VW Jetta A6 really is something else.
It’s not exactly a hot and intimate match between Sasha Grey and Salma Hayek. It’s not even a hot and intimate match between John Goodman and Harvey Weinstein. It’s not even a televised debate between Trump and everyone really. But still, the VW Jetta A6 has a charm of its own.
If in the past VW Bora was a Golf IV with a boot and had a station wagon version that was identical to the Golf station wagon because VW didn’t have the concept of internal communication, if in the past VW Jetta A5 was a Golf V with a boot, VW Jetta A6 differs radically from Golf VI. Just as the incense doesn’t look like heroin, the VW Jetta A6 doesn’t look like the Golf VI and the panels don’t match. So the Jetta A6 is no longer a Golf with a boot.
It remains instead an aspirational Passat B7. Either you didn’t have the money for the Passat, or you were intimidated by the size of the midsize sedan, or you wanted to save money so you could buy tickets to Graham Norton’s live shows. The fact is, you wanted a sedan that wouldn’t embarrass you anywhere. Basically, you’re a Passat B7 owner who wanted something smaller. You’re 40-50 years old, have a couple of kids, and have some management position. You don’t have an aspirational position, because if you had an aspirational position you’d definitely be in an Octavia, satisfying your dreams and fetishes somewhere in the company car park at night in the dark.
But at least you’re left with one of the most reliable cars in the modern VAG range, a company littered with reliability issues and environmental scandals. But you’re still going for the safe bet, a simple car that looks good and won’t embarrass you anywhere you show up. “I have a Jetta”. No one will laugh at you, but not many people will envy you either. VW Jetta A6 – the Lambrusco of the automotive world.
VW Jetta A6 Engines
- 1.2 TSI of 105 horsepower – You’ll notice here that I’m going to insist on the facelift version. The same goes for the 1.2 TSI, the aspirational engine in the Jetta. Buy the belt-driven version as the first units had chain timing, with the chain coming off point at every third engine start. It’s an aspirational engine for those without friends and family, as the engine is more for city, occasional trips out, and usually accommodates 2-3 people max.
- 1.4 TSI of 122, 125, and 150 horsepower – Like the 1.2 TSI, the timing issue was fixed in 2013 with the facelift. The 125 came straight off the line with timing belt, first on the Seat Leon, and then it came on the Jetta.. They’re not ugly, they’re not exceptionally beautiful, they present themselves decently in absolutely every situation and you never embarrass yourself with them.
- 1.6 TDI of 105 horsepower – No. I talked more about this engine in the Golf VI article so I’ll let you read there. And I only put the link because I know that europeans only buy VW diesels.
- 2.0 TDI of 110, 140, and 150 horsepower – A new generation 2.0 TDI, this Machine Gun Kelly of the automotive world is ready for fun. If you want reliability go for the 110 horsepower, if you don’t care what engine you have get the 140 and if you have a bigger budget than John Goodman before her surgery, go for the 150 horsepower version, which is a new generation engine.
1.4 TSI hybrid of 150 horsepower – So basically we have the 1.4 TSI with 122 horsepower and a small electric motor. Really reliable, really economical, but what’chu gonna do when the battery goes flat? What’chu gonna do when they come for you?
VW Jetta A6 General Issues
- For VW Jetta A6 owners with an automatic transmission, watch out for the DSG and especially the Mechatronic. The Mechatronic is the automatic gearbox computer and you don’t want to know how much one costs when it inevitably gives up. And so you don’t completely panic at the disco, do the right thing and change the oil every 60,000 miles.
- Diesel engines have the classic flywheel and clutch issue. It wouldn’t be a very serious issue if it didn’t come with a double mass flywheel and break down at every ramp start. In some extreme cases, the flywheel breaks so badly that it takes the gearbox with it.
- The VW emissions scandal is hitting the Jetta the same way Naomi was cut and punched by 4 male suspects in 2009. Whether it has any revelation to you or not is another matter to me.
- Most of the issues are solved with the 2014 facelift, including the classic engine issues where interior bits get divorced at every pothole. Good thing we are in UK and don’t have issues with potholes, unlike third-hand countries like Holland or Germany.
VW Jetta A6 Verdict
VW Jetta A6 – the Lambrusco of the automotive world. It’s not quite the full dose of Moet either, but it certainly doesn’t embarrass you with a Lambrusco. So with the Jetta – not quite the full Passat experience, but not a car to avoid either. If before it was just a Golf with a hatchback, now it really is the compact sedan it was meant to be from the beginning in 1358. But does a compact saloon still have a place in a world dominated by crossover cars? Like the Mondeo, the Jetta A6 follows a classic recipe and executes it flawlessly. But is this recipe still relevant?
Which engine do I recommend? For petrols I definitely recommend the 1.4 TSI, regardless of power as long as it’s after 2013. As for diesels, the most civilized and common sense engine remains the 110-horsepower 2.0 TDI. You don’t need more in a Jetta. It’s not like you’re going to sport a diesel Jetta. Like you’re 40 years old with two kids in the back.