2019 Volkswagen Jetta
Volkswagen’s entry-level sedan has been redesigned specifically for North America.
By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | May 2018
One of the highlights of the Midwest Automotive Media Association annual Spring Rally was the presence of the fully redesigned 2019 Volkswagen Jetta. The rally, which takes place at Wisconsin’s Road America, had plenty of exciting vehicles, to be sure. We at car-ED have a long and rich history with VW, however, so the new Jetta was a must-drive. The powers that be at VW didn’t let us take the Jetta out on the track, but we got some solo time around the area’s lakes and country clubs. Here’s what we learned.
The new Jetta now rides on the MBQ modular platform, which VW has been using for several years, and comes with a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine that is rated for a modest 147 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission comes standard in the base model, but most cars will get the optional eight-speed automatic. Acceleration is solid, not particularly sporty, but the engine and automatic transmission feel like and a good pair and we liked the tight handling.
The two-tone upholstery is nice, but we thought there was a little too much texture in the cabin. Our test car featured a soft-ish to the touch upper dash, brushed metal accents across the middle, and a weird, shiny, wallpaper-like material on the lower dash. Despite the interior styling quirks, we really appreciated the driver-oriented cockpit. By that, we mean the center stack and storage are angled toward the driver, which makes everything easy to see and to use, and it also makes the entire cabin feel more upscale. It’s a very nice touch. A 6.5-inch touch screen hosts the straightforward infotainment system, which comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The steering wheel has rather thin spokes, which makes it easier to see the Digital Cockpit. This customizable digital display is the new feather in VW’s cap and goes a long way toward making the Jetta feel fresh, new, and upscale.
Exterior styling looks a little too much like the outgoing model, though the Sage Green Metallic paint dressed it up a bit, new LED lighting adds some flair, and the stylish alloy wheels on our test car provided a much-needed visual kick. It’s worth noting, too, that despite all the new features, this Jetta actually costs about $100 less than the model it’s replacing. Overall, it seems like a pretty good car for the sub-$19,000 price point.
The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta starts at $18,545 and will be available this summer.