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Generation Jetta

The Mk2 Jetta

Also known as the Jetta King (FAW) & Pioneer (China)

Like the Mark 1, the second generation was offered as a two-door or four-door sedan. External changes throughout the series' run were few: the front-quarter windows were eliminated in 1988 (along with a grille and door trim change), and larger body-colored bumpers and lower side skirts were added from 1990.


The second generation of the Volkswagen Jetta was the successor to the Volkswagen Jetta Mk1. The Mark 2 series is the longest running Jetta so far. Introduced to Europe in early 1984 and to North America in 1985, the second generation Jetta proved to be a sales success for Volkswagen. The car secured the title of best-selling European car in North America, it outsold the similar Golf by two-to-one in that market. Based on the all second generation Golf platform, the car was larger, heavier, and could seat five people instead of four as in the Mark 1. Exterior dimensions increased in all directions. Overall length was up by 100 mm (3.9 in), the wheelbase grew 66 mm (2.6 in), and the width went up 53 mm (2.1 in). The suspension setup was basically unchanged from the first generation, although refined slightly, for example by the inclusion of a separate subframe for mounting the front control arms to help noise isolation, as well as improved rubber mountings for all components. Aerodynamics improved considerably, With a 470-litre (16.6 ft3) luggage compartment, the trunk had grown nearly as large as some full-sized American sedans. Interior room was also increased 14%, which changed the EPA class from sub-compact to compact.


Cars built in Germany were assembled in a brand new plant at Wolfsburg in Assembly Hall 54. The plant was heavily robotised in an effort to make build quality more consistent. New innovations on the second generation included an optional trip computer (referred to as the MFA, German Multi-Funktions-Anzeige), as well as silicone dampened engine and transmission mounts to reduce noise, vibration, and harshness levels. In 1988, a more advanced fully electronic fuel injection system became available. This arrangement is known as the Digifant engine management system.


Engines and build

The car received generally positive reviews, with critics praising the car's excellent handling, as well as a roomier interior compared to the last generation. Stiff shifting manual transmissions were a downside, and braking worked reasonably well although some brake fade was evident in the lower trim lines equipped with solid discs in front and drums in back. A number of reviews noted that the ride was stiff and busy, even though it did have good control typical of German cars. Despite additional sound insulation, road noise was evident especially on coarse pavement. In top sport trim (sometimes called the GTi, GLI or GTX), some reviewers noted the car was a less expensive alternative to a BMW or Audi. The sport trim added larger wheels, a stiffer suspension, and closer ratios on the manual transmission. From mid-1987 the Mark 2 GLI and GTi were offered with a 16-valve Twin-cam 1.8-litre engine, and was upgraded in early 1990 with the newer Mark 2 body style to a 2.0-litre 16-valve power plant (in North America).


In North America the Jetta did not differ greatly from its European twin, besides requirements such as bumpers, glass, etc. Also, North American models in general have a narrower range of specification available. For example, most models had things like a larger engine, full console, door panel pockets, velour seating, and, later on, power steering, height adjustable steering column, and tachometer, standard. They also lacked some higher level options of European variants. The Jetta was perceived as slightly upmarket from the Golf. The level of features was always a step above the Golf (standard passive restraint in 1988, standard power steering in 1990, 14-inch wheels available for most years, etc.).


Canadian spec models were even better equipped. Generally, the Canadian base models received the same level of options as an American GL or UK GX, and the same with the GL and Carat. Other Canadian specification differences were diesel engines (both naturally aspirated and Turbo) available for all years (in the US, there was no diesel for 1988, and only the n/a for 1989 and 1990), a 2-door model for 1992 (it was dropped in the US), the early Carat model (which had heated velour sport seats, a GLi/GTi engine, and optional automatic), and color and trim differences.


in China the first Jetta was the Mk2 model that was used as a passenger car and a taxicab.

The Mk2 was then given a facelift in April 1997 where it was known as the Jetta King. Available engines were a 1.6 litre petrol engine called the EA113 for civilian cars and a 1.9 litre diesel engine only available for taxi models. A 4-speed manual gearbox was standard, which could be replaced by a 5-speed manual gearbox, and then a 4-speed automatic gearbox was made available from November 1998. For 2002, the Jetta King was facelifted with a new exterior. Trim levels consisted of the AT, ATF, Avantgarde, CDX, CiF, CiX, CT, GDF, GiF, GT, GTI, GTX and Meeresbrise. This model was also converted into a 2-door pickup truck in limited numbers.


The Mk2 was facelifted again in March 2010 with the same engines used by its predecessor; it was known as the Jetta Pioneer. This version of the Jetta was not offered in different trim levels and was a single model for the Chinese market. Mk2-based Jetta production ended in March 2013 where it was replaced by an independent model called the Jetta Night and the new model exclusive to China was developed based on the Volkswagen Group A05+ platform.