Volkswagen Jetta (1979 – 1984) Review

Volkswagen Jetta (1979 – 1984) At A Glance


+Just as good to drive as a Mk1 Volkswagen Golf, the boot is enormous for such a small car

-Ugly in comparison with the original Mk1 Golf

The Volkswagen Jetta was an interesting addition to the range - especially as it was Golf-based, and didn't actually hit the market until five years after the car that sired it was launched. It was designed to appeal to conservative customers, primarily in the USA, for whom the hatchback was too funky a concept. At the time of its launch at the Frankfurt motor show in 1979, the Jetta was arguably the first saloon-from-hatchback conversion to achieve genuine sale success. During the next few years, rivals such as the Ford Orion and Vauxhall Belmont appeared, proving that Volkswagen was right to pursue the Golf-based small saloon.

The Jetta was available in two- and four-door forms, although the UK was limited to the latter only - where the car was sold with an upscale price tag to distance it from the Golf. Aside from the huge boot at the rear, the main visual difference was the new grille and rectangular headlamps, and small crease in the C-post - but for all and sundry, it was a Golf-with-a-boot. The overall length was up by 380mm, and the luggage compartment was a very generous 377 litres - but in the UK, it was a marginal seller, just like its other small saloon, the Polo-based Derby. Engine range mirrored the Golf, spanning 1.1- to 1.-5-litres - and unlike the next Jetta, no GTI version was offered. Today, it's a likeable addition to the Volkswagen scene, and values are just as strong as its hatchback cousin...