Volkswagen has released the first pictures of the Jetta, which will be launched in Germany on 3 June and in the UK at the start of 2006. The newcomer replaces the Bora, and signals the revival of the Jetta name in Europe. By introducing a worldwide, uniform name for its compact saloon, Volkswagen decided to adopt the one already used in the USA, where the Jetta is not only the company’s best-selling car, but also the top-selling European car outright.

The Jetta’s most prominent design feature is its distinctive chrome grille, whose ‘V’ shape echoes those already seen on the Golf GTI and new Passat. The rear end also reflects current Volkswagen design themes, and features fast-acting LED lights.

The Jetta is a larger vehicle than the Bora that it will replace, for greater presence and improved interior space. At 4.56 m long, it has grown by 18.2 cm, while width has increased by 2.5 cm to 1.76 m. The height has also increased by 1.5 cm to 1.46 m, while the wheelbase is 6.5 cm longer than before, at 2.58 m.

The luggage area has also increased in size, now offering a generous 527 litres of space – 72 litres more than the Bora. For extra flexibility, the 60/40 split rear back-rest can be folded forwards to form an almost flat floor up to the front seats.

The Jetta will be offered to UK customers from launch with a choice of five engines – three petrol and two diesel. These comprise a 1.6-litre FSI 115 PS; 2.0-litre FSI 150 PS; 2.0-litre T-FSI 200 PS; 1.9-litre TDI 105 PS; and a 2.0-litre TDI 140 PS. Both diesel engines will be available with Volkswagen’s pioneering DSG (Direct Shift Gearbox) system. As with other recent Volkswagens, the Jetta will feature multi-link rear suspension and electro-mechanical power steering for appealing dynamic characteristics.

Standard specification and pricing will be finalised closer to the Jetta’s UK on-sale date, but the car is likely to offer strong value for money and a comprehensive equipment list.

Over 6.5 million of the Jetta’s predecessors have been sold worldwide to date, and the newcomer looks set to continue that success.