VW’s new entry-level Jetta brand has launched its first product in China, the VS5 compact SUV.
Built by the FAW-Volkswagen joint venture at its Chengdu plant, the VS5 is in fact a rebadged Seat Ateca and the dimensions attest that. The SUV is 4,419 mm (174 inches) long, 1,841 mm (72.5 inches) wide and 1,616 mm (63.6 inches) high, with a wheelbase of 2,630 mm (103.5 inches).
Those are almost identical with the dimensions of the Ateca and Skoda Karoq, but that’s hardly surprising given that all three models are built on the same MQB platform.
For now, there is a single powertrain choice in China, the EA211 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine rated at 150 PS (148 hp) and 250 Nm (184 lb-ft) of torque. It’s mated to either a standard five-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic transmission supplied by Japan’s Aisin Seiki. Interestingly, VW has chosen not to fit the Jetta VS5 with the 1.5 TSI Evo unit and the seven-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission, most likely for cost reasons.
Speaking of costs, the Jetta VS5 is very aggressively priced in China where it targets mostly first-time car buyers. The compact SUV went on sale earlier this month with a starting price of 89,800 yuan (approximately $13,050). The range-topping version costs 119,800 yuan ($17,415).
According to FAW-Volkswagen, this marks the first time a German-developed crossover is priced below 100,000 yuan ($14,535). The Jetta brand will have its own distribution network in China, with plans in place to open more than 200 dealerships by the end of this year.
First deliveries of the VS5 are scheduled for September. The model will be later followed by the bigger VS7 SUV (a seven-seat version of the VS5 likely based on the Seat Tarraco) and the VA3 compact sedan (a rebadged Chinese-spec VW Jetta).