2019 Volkswagen Jetta

2019 Volkswagen Jetta

When crossovers and SUVs are attracting more buyers across every brand sold in this country, there will be a sedan that will buck the trend.

Case in point: The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta. At the end of 2018, the Jetta returned as the brand’s best-selling vehicle after a year competing for attention alongside the newest Volkswagen models – the Tiguan and the Atlas.

The reason for its recent success is that the Jetta is much better than ever before. We had the chance to drive two different Jetta models: The sporty R-Line and the luxurious SEL Premium. Both examples show how well executed the new Jetta turned out.

It starts with a sharper design that is longer than the previous Jetta. The sleek look has a bit of Audi influence in it, which gives the Jetta a more upmarket feel, even in its lowest trim level. The new grille is larger, indicating a new brand identity for Volkswagen to be found ion future models. We also like the rakish roofline and creases that shape the new Jetta all around.

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The biggest reason for this upgrade is that the Jetta is now built off of the MQB platform – the most versatile architecture in Volkswagen history. The MQB platform serves as the basis for all current Golf, Tiguan, and Atlas models. The advantage of the MQB platform is solidity and structural rigidity. It is a great platform to build a popular car on.

The sleeker exterior is just the beginning. Once you step inside the cabin, you will find a vast improvement upon the last generation Jetta. The materials have been upgraded, including soft touch areas above the interior’s belt line. Our SEL Premium tester came with the Digital Cockpit, a fully customizable TFT screen that encompasses more than just the instrumentation. Similar to Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, you can bring in the navigation screen to full resolution, while you get key readouts in digits instead of dials.

In contrast, our R-Line tester came with analog dials and a digital TFT in-between them. Either way, you are always informed of how your Jetta is doing. In both models, controls and switches are easy to work and to the touch – just like a lot of modern Volkswagen models. Our two testers were equipped with the Car-Net-backed touchscreen infotainment system that has smartphone integration.

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Seating for four is achieved in a cabin that was increased over the last generation. The front seats offer plenty of support for most bodies. The SEL Premium had power adjustments for rake, recline, and lumbar support for the driver. Rear seat room may be a bit of a challenge for those of us with tall torsos, as the head will brush against the roof where the sunroof folds into. Four average-sized adults will have no problem enjoying the ride inside the Jetta.

Trunk space is very generous, with 14.1 cubic feet to stuff everything inside of it. There is a bit of a higher lip for roller luggage to manage, but space itself goes deep. The rear seats fold down in a 60/40 split for longer loads.

Currently, the Jetta is powered by the 1.4-liter turbocharged TSI four-cylinder engine. It offers 147 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, which brings the power right off the bat with nominal turbo lag. The base S model get a six-speed manual transmission, while the new eight-speed automatic is standard across the rest of the range. Fuel economy is superb, as we saw a high average of 37.5 MPG between the two testers.

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In both versions of the Jetta, we found a superb balance between ride and handling. The Jetta offers solid ride quality, while managing the road with its superb reflexes and sharper cornering. The brakes are superb with excellent pedal feedback and feel. Normal and panic stops were also good. The steering system offers a solid turning radius with great wheel feedback. The steering wheel is the right size, which is great because of the system’s solid on-center feel.

Standard on these two testers were some key driver assistance features. These features include a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, rear traffic alert, and forward collision warning with autonomous braking assist. The SEL Premium tester added adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, and high beam control among other enhancements.

The 2019 Jetta is also a great value in its class. Starting price for the S model with manual transmission is $18,745. Our R-Line tester came with a sticker price of $24,140, while the SEL Premium tester was priced at $27,795.

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The compact sedan field is still a strong one, but the Jetta matches well and even exceeds those of its key rivals, namely the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, and the new Kia Forte.

In all, the new 2019 Jetta has jumped to the top of the compact sedan class. Its sharp styling, improved interior, superb fuel economy and driving manners will absolutely win you over.

Story Credits: Carsoup Editors

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