Many manufacturers strive to attain a theme for their cars, a dynamic and tactile DNA that runs throughout the range. Volkswagen has achieved this with the Jetta, one suspects, without actually trying.

In making its cars simple to use and straightforward in their ergonomic and driving characteristics, it has created cars that are as relaxing as they are practical.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Road test editor
Almost painfully fit for purpose. Pleasant, inoffensive and useful

The Jetta's drivetrain is easy, its seating position first class and its controls light and progressive. That there’s nothing here for the enthusiast is a matter of note, rather than concern. The car is pleasing enough to drive but lacks the involvement you might find in a Ford Focus, for example.

That can make the Jetta slightly forgettable, but that’s not its biggest problem, which is that Skoda’s Octavia does much the same thing for less money.

Its increased length of new car has caused it to lose some of its compact appeal, but the boot and cabin space is excellent as a result. Generally, the British market prefers hatchbacks to saloons at this size and price, which makes the Golf a better proposition again. The Golf is a more dynamic steer, too. But if you fancy a saloon, and one that’s refined and frugal at that, the Jetta makes a convincing case.

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It’s not quite a Skoda Superb with a VW badge on the nose, but it has a little of the Skoda’s magic ingredient: it just seems to deliver more than expected for your money.

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