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The Mercury Cars Guide : April 17th 2010
24--- Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au Saturday, April 17, 2010 Tidy package packs a punch Save the planet. Think small. Neil Dowling sees the trend in downsizing SMOOTH: The Volkswagon Jetta's handling is superb and makes the driver feel instantly at home. IN Japan, they shrink trees. In city centres, it's squeezing peo- ple together in concrete hutches. In the car world, it's downsizing engine capacity. But while you're aware that the trees are small enough to sit on the coffee table and that the apartment is small because it has only room for a coffee table, the trick about downsiz- ing cars is that you'd be hard pressed to pick the difference. Welcome to the next phase in car makers' task of weaning us off big cars. Within a decade, you may be driving a two or three-cylinder car and, probably, finally understanding why Fiat Bambinos made so much sense in the 1960s for financially- strapped Italians. Volkswagen is thinking small to gain energy efficiencies but you'd never pick it. Among its new small-capacity models is the Jetta 118TSI. The gobbledygook is 118kW and the TSI indicates it is both supercharged and turbocharged. That is, the supercharger works from idle through to about 3500rpm when the turbocharger takes over. You get punch from idle right through to the red line without even knowing what's happening under the bonnet. The boot wears the 118TSI badge but the only thing it doesn't tell you is the engine capacity. Maybe you don't need to know. Certainly, in performance terms it feels like a 2-litre, maybe a 2.2. It's quick off the mark and the seven-speed DSG-direct-shift gearbox automatic box flicks from ratio to ratio like a card shark dealing a hand. You can play along as well because the box is sequential and the gear- lever can be shuffled forwards and backwards to maximise performance. But, after a short time, you recog- nise that the gearbox can do the job just as well as you and with a lot less effort on your behalf. The engine is hungry to offer performance, free in the way it wants to rev and seamless in its power delivery that starts from idle and wants to go straight into 7000rpm. Watch the trip computer and you'll notice that only when you savage the accelerator does the fuel consumption numbers increase. Take it easy or cruise the highway and the Jetta will deliver 6s and 7s in the litres/100km readout. That's really good considering that though the Jetta is basically a Golf with a boot, it has a stupendous cargo- carrying ability. The boot is huge --- bigger than a Commodore apparently --- and has a full-size spare tyre beneath the floor. The rear seats split and fold down to further boost luggage room. Volkswagen offer a sports suspen- sion on other Jetta models that further tightens the suspension but, honestly, you don't need it. Handling is superb. Like the Golf, the Jetta makes the driver feel instantly at home. The seating pos- ition --- with height adjustment --- and the tilt-telescopic steering wheel fits all sizes. But it's also the way it drives. The Jetta sits confidently on the tarmac with excellent steering feel and strong --- almost abrupt --- brakes. It will corner hard and fast before giving way to understeer and should surprise many drivers used to more exotic machinery. It just feels right. The icing is the drivetrain. The engine is revvy and the DSG box is very responsive. There are times when the box can be too responsive. It's not always smooth on take off, with a bump from the box as all the oily bits connect, and a sudden prod on the accelerator pedal will show some indecision. But that's at odds with the way it smoothly slides up and down the seven cogs when in motion. Cabin treatment is clinically Ger- man with switchgear that works very well and set into an attractive dash- board that reflects high build quality. I recognise that lockable gloveboxes aren't necessarily a deterrent to thieves but I appreciate that an owner can store personal items with some peace of mind. The Jetta comes in five models and this, the 118TSI, is the cheapest petrol model starting at $30,990 as a manual. As tested, with all the fruit --- and believe me, it's very well equipped --- it costs $33,490 plus on-road costs. Features include front and rear parking sensors, eight-speaker iPod/ MP3 audio with single CD player, cruise control, trip computer and a climate-control dual-zone aircon- ditioner with pollen filter. More important is the standard seven airbags, stability control, tyre pressure warning and five-star crash rating. I forgot two things: This is a well- designed yet somewhat indescript sedan. You will love the way it works but compared with a Mazda3, for example, is as flashy as a cardboard box. The second thing is the engine size. Not that it matters but it's a puny 1.4 litres. Drive this thing and you'd never believe it's this small. In Germany, they shrink engines. small torque Volkswagen Jetta 118TSI DSG Origin: Mexico Price: $33,490 Engine: 1.4-litre, 4-cyl, supercharger, turbocharger Power: 118kW @ 5800rpm Torque: 240Nm @ 1500-4500rpm 0-100km/h: 8.5 seconds Fuel: Premium unleaded Fuel tank: 55 litres Economy (official): 6.6 litres/ 100km Economy (tested): 7.2 litres/ 100km Greenhouse: 153g/km (Corolla: 175g/km) Transmission: 7-speed DSG automatic, sequential; front-drive Brakes: 4-wheel discs, ESC, ABS, EBD, brake assist, hill start assist Suspension: Front --- MacPherson struts; Rear --- multi- link, coils Wheels: 16-inch alloy, 205/55R16 tyres; full-size spare Warranty: 3yr/100,000km, roadside assist What we like: economy, handling, space, quality What we dislike: Jerky acceleration 83/100 Rivals Honda Accord Euro3 ($35,490) 85/100; Mazda3 SP25 ($31,920) 87/100; Toyota Corolla Ultima ($30,690) 83/100 www.djmotors.com.au firstname.lastname@example.org Glenorchy 275 Main Road, Glenorchy Phone: 6 213 3 315 Brian Anning 0418 531 853 Chris Wakefield 0400 635 446 Allan Gebel 0428 729 659 Hobart 1a Brisbane Street, Hobart Phone: 6213 3300 Warren Amos 0417 544 829 Jason Spong 0408 473 756 Easy finance available with DJ Financial Services 05 Mazda3 Maxx Sport 2.0 litre manual; front, side & curtain airbags; power windows; ABS; alloy wheels; 6 CD player. Stock No. 322416 07 Mazda6 classic sports hatch 2.3 litre sports automatic, leather seats, electric sunroof, six airbags, cruise/climate control, 17" alloy wheels, 6CD player, tow bar. Stock No. 322375 $11 .75 per day†1 †To approved business clients only, with a $2,500 deposit over five years with a 30% residual payment. Interest rate: 1. 12.20%. 2. 11.20% 07 NISSAN Navara STX Dual cab, 4x4, 2.5 litre turbo diesel automatic, dual airbags, cruise control, alloys, side steps, bull bar, tow bar, roof racks, 6 disc CD. Stock No. 322357 WA S $34,990 NOW $33,890 DRIVE AWAY WAS $37,990 NOW $36,990 DRIVE AWAY $21.50 per day†2 $19 .75 per day†2 DRIVE AWAY, NO MORE TO PAY! $19 ,990 DRIVE AWAY Only 38,000km
April 10th 2010
April 24th 2010