By Mauricio Lezcano / carsntravel.com / Photos VW US Media Newsroom
The Volkswagen Jetta is one of the world’s most successful sedans, with more than 17.5 million models sold worldwide since it was introduced in 1979. Now based off the award-winning MQB platform, the all-new 2019 Jetta offers bolder design, more interior space and the newest technology from the premium class.
For the 2019 model year, the Jetta is based on Volkswagen’s Modular Transverse Matrix platform architecture. Working with the flexible MQB platform allowed the designers to reshape the body, creating a longer wheelbase, wider track, and a shorter front overhang. The fast-sloping rear roofline translates into a coupe-like profile. Dynamic lines and taut surfaces combine with the new silhouette to give Jetta a look that’s at once elegant, yet athletic.
The front-end design, with its emphasis of horizontal lines, at once identifies the new Jetta as a Volkswagen. Specific to the model is the distinctive unit formed by the radiator grille and the standard LED headlights. The trapezoidal grille is composed of four chrome bars, two of which flow into the headlight housings where the LEDs pick up the lines and connect them for a wrap-around effect.
The car’s silhouette is marked by its taut surfaces and a long, extended side window. The coupe-like impression of the Jetta is reinforced by an offset roofline known as a “phase” a narrow strip that runs parallel to the actual roofline and into the C-pillar—which visually reduces the car’s height. Beneath the shoulder, on the level of the door handles, there is a precisely carved character line that runs as an undercut. Its shadow surface tapers toward the rear, slightly arrow-shaped. The muscular wheel arches and side sills also form a powerful unit. The side sills here are marked by an integrated light line, which continues into the rear body.
At the rear section the style is defined by the arch-shaped trailing edge that extends into the shoulder section and forms the aerodynamic termination of the trunk lid. The spoiler, which is integrated into the body design, emphasizes the sedan’s impressive width. This width is also highlighted by the sharp lines of the LED taillight clusters.
The Jetta interior architecture is redesigned, having been engineered for increased comfort while supporting a sophisticated, upscale design. The 2019 Jetta has more headroom, knee room, and shoulder room than the previous car. The trunk space is 14.1 cubic feet and split-folding rear seats (60/40) are standard.
The cockpit is a driver-focused environment, with form following function. Both the instruments and the infotainment system are arranged in an easy-to-read horizontal orientation. Both the infotainment system and the climate-control interface are located on the center console, which is angled towards the driver.
Meanwhile, trapezoidal design elements from the exterior are repeated in the cabin for a touch of sportiness, and premium soft-touch materials are used. The lower instrument panel has a similar horizontal design, with a fine decorative trim strip that runs beneath the cockpit, across the entire instrument panel, and into the doors.
Every 2019 Jetta comes with a multi-function steering wheel that is leather-wrapped on SE models and above. R-Line models receive a unique leather-wrapped, R-Line badged steering wheel, and the Cold Weather Package on SE models and above offers a heated steering wheel. Between the large speedometer and tachometer is a multi-function trip computer that helps monitor everything from fuel consumption to trip distance, Bluetooth connection status and navigation directions. Dual-zone Climatronic automatic climate control is standard on SE trims and above. An aerodynamically and acoustically-optimized panoramic glass tilt/slide sunroof is standard equipment on SE trims and above.
SEL models offer the Driving Mode Selection feature as standard equipment. This system includes four modes to choose from: “Normal,” “Sport,” “Eco,” and “Custom.” Normal mode gives a balanced drive experience, while Sport is tuned for a more dynamic throttle response, tighter steering and more spirited ACC settings. Eco mode optimizes shift points, throttle response and climate control settings for improved fuel economy. Individual allows a driver to tailor the steering and throttle, ACC, and climate control settings.
SEL and SEL Premium trims also feature Volkswagen Digital Cockpit technology, which offers drivers a reconfigurable instrument-panel screen instead of conventional instrumentation. The high-tech, 10.25-inch display can show key vehicle data in five driver-selectable modes, including one that positions navigation data front and center for easy viewing.
The new Jetta is powered by Volkswagen’s 1.4-liter turbocharged and direct-injection TSI engine, making 147 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The 16-valve engine can generate peak torque at just 1,400 rpm, while at the same time returning EPA-estimated fuel economy of 30/40/34 mpg (city/highway/combined) regardless of transmission choice.
While the 2019 Jetta is more technologically advanced, retaining its fun-to-drive character was of critical importance. Thus, a six-speed manual transmission is standard, with an eight-speed automatic available optionally. The all-new eight speed automatic transmission offers the benefit of two additional gears over the Jetta’s predecessor, while remaining the same weight. Primary goals in its creation were driving comfort and, of course, fuel economy. A shorter first gear is designed to provide faster acceleration than the previous model as well. Shift-by-wire hydraulics pair with optimized gear teeth and ultra-low friction mating surfaces to create a seamless, efficient, and comfortable drive experience.
Outside, the all-new Jetta marks an evolution in Volkswagen’s clean and timeless design DNA, with modern lines and a refined appearance. The combination of a large front grille and sharper lines exudes a bold character, while the addition of more chrome and LED lighting lend a premium feel; Jetta was redesigned with the American consumer in mind, it offers a host of available technology and driver assistance features designed to make people’s lives easier.
Pricing for the Jetta S starts at $18,545, less than the outgoing car’s starting MSRP despite more new technology and features. The SE trim starts at $22,155 and offers a host of upscale convenience and driver-assistance systems. The first ever Jetta R-Line features sporty styling and the XDS® Cross Differential System and has a starting price of $22,995. The SEL trim starts at $24,415 and offers innovative tech features like Volkswagen Digital Cockpit and 10-color ambient lighting, while the top end SEL Premium features standard luxury touches, like navigation and leather seats with front ventilation and driver memory and starts at $26,945.