This is the first new Jetta built on the up-to-date MQB/Mk7 Golf platform. Only it isn't a Jetta. Leave it to VW China to make things hopelessly complicated.
The Mk7 Golf is out, but the sedan version, America's beloved Jetta, is still riding on the Mk6 platform. It will be great to get the Jetta on the same platform as the Mk7 Golf because 1) the Mk7 Golf is great and 2) that's the MQB platform, which lets VW build all of its small to midsize cars on a single architecture. It's a massive simplification of their complicated and overlapping platforms, though the roll out hasn't been going as well as VW had hoped.
So that's why it's so exciting to see this Mk7 Jetta debut. Only it isn't a Jetta — it's a Lamando.
Up until its debut today at the Chengdu auto show, the Lamando was called the New Midsize Coupé. I mostly made fun of the fact that the car was not a coupe, despite the Shanghai-Volkswagen joint venture's protestations otherwise.
In design and platform this is a Mk7 Jetta. The only difference (other than the name) is that the roofline is a bit more cut down than you'd expect for an ordinary Jetta. If there was a Jetta CC, this would be it.
That said, the roof isn't very dramatically chopped. If VW brought this car to the US as the new Jetta today, nobody would bat an eye.
It is a handsome design. No fancier than the current Jetta, but it's nicely proportioned.
The drivetrain should be familiar since it's the same as the current Golf: 1.4 and 2.0 liter four cylinders connected to a seven-speed DSG. The price is 180.000 yuan (that converts to $29,000 USD), as Car News China reports.
The whole thing is interesting because it once again shows that the Chinese car market is something like a bizarro version of what we have in America. Roomy highway-oriented cars are the prestige vehicles, from Audis to Buicks, and there's a strong preference for sedans, too.
Now they're even getting a new Jetta before us.
Photo Credits: Shanghai-VW