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Volkswagen Jetta: All-New for 2019

By Steve Wheeler, December 15th, 2018

Volkswagen's 2019 Jetta arrives on a new platform to deliver a quiet and comfortable ride, as well as more interior room. But one of the best things about the new seventh-generation Jetta is that nearly every trim level costs less than the 2018 model -- and in some cases significantly less.

Manufacturer photo: The all-new 2019 offers bolder design, more interior space and the newest technology from the premium class
Manufacturer photo: The all-new 2019 offers bolder design, more interior space and the newest technology from the premium class

The Jetta is offered in S, SE, R-Line, SEL, and a new SEL Premium trim for 2019. The starting price of the 2019 Jetta's base S trim with an automatic transmission is $19,345 ($18,545 manual), which is $300 less than the outgoing car's starting price. The SE starts at $22,155 ($90 less than 2018). Step up to the SEL trim, and you'll spend $24,415, or $1,830 less than the 2018. The R-Line is for more adventurous drivers and starts at $22,995, and the SEL Premium starts at $26,945, or $700 more than the top trim level in 2018.

While some other automakers didn't see increases in sales last year, Volkswagen is among those that did. VW sales grew 5.2 percent in 2017, Volkswagen's Jan Dickman told the automotive press in the Raleigh-Durham triangle of North Carolina who were getting a first look at the all-new Jetta. It's good evidence that the German automaker is winning back customer confidence after the diesel scandal.

The Jetta is one of the company's best sellers, and the new model is designed with the American market in mind. The 2019 Jetta comes with a transferable, 6-year/72,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty.

The Jetta is available with only one engine, but it's a pretty good one. The 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder develops 147 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque. Two transmissions are offered, a six-speed manual and an eight-speed automatic.

Manufacturer photo: The all-new 2019 offers bolder design, more interior space and the newest technology from the premium class

With either transmission, the engine is rated at 30 miles per gallon in the city, 40 mpg on the highway, and 34 mpg combined. Four driving modes are available: Normal, Sport, Eco, and Custom.

After a half-day behind the wheel, I was impressed with how quiet the new Jetta was. Wind noise was practically non-existent. With its turbo-four, the Jetta certainly isn't overpowered, but is adequately powered. Steering was excellent -- precise and on-center. Hard cornering produced scant body roll.

The new-generation Jetta is longer, wider, and taller than the outgoing model. Officially, it's a compact sedan, but it looks and feels larger. Headroom in the front seats is 38.5 inches, while in the rear seat it's 37.2 inches. Legroom in the rear seat is 37.4 inches.

Inside the cabin, Volkswagen uses quality materials and puts the soft stuff in all the correct places. The S trim gets cloth seats, the SE gets leatherette seating surfaces, and the SEL Premium gets leather. The S and SE trims get 16-inch wheels, while the upper trims get 17-inchers.

All Jettas get rearview cameras, and SE and above get dual-zone air, heated seats, keyless entry with pushbutton start, and a blind spot monitor. Every Jetta also gets cool ambient lighting that comes in 10 colors, including hot pink.

Manufacturer photo: The all-new 2019 offers bolder design, more interior space and the newest technology from the premium class

When it comes to connectivity, Volkswagen's Car-Net system runs smartphone apps on the vehicle's 8-inch display. Car-Net, which starts with a six-month trial and then requires a subscription, offers remote vehicle access that can lock/unlock the doors, find your parked car, or check the fuel level. Also included are automatic crash notifications and emergency calls, roadside assistance, and stolen vehicle location assistance. Speed and boundary alerts can also be set for younger drivers.

The Jetta's available safety technologies include forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking, rear traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and automatic high beam headlight control. If you're shopping in the crowded compact sedan segment, the Jetta is worth a good, long look.

Specifications

Base price $24,415 (as tested: $25,310)
Curb weight 2,970 lbs.
Displacement 1.4-liter
Engine type 16-valve turbocharged 4-cylinder
Epa mileage rating 30 mpg city, 40 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 13.2 gal.
Horsepower (net) 147 at 5000 rpm
Overall length 185.1 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 184 at 1400 rpm
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Vehicle type 5-passenger compact FWD sedan
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