2019 Volkswagen Jetta First Look


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Volkswagen gave us the opportunity to review a camouflaged 2019 Jetta prototype last month, and in the words of Jonny Lieberman, “It had no rough edges. It seemed like a well-thought-out commodity product, though one that doesn’t tug at my heartstrings.” At the time, Volkswagen kept most of the specs and details to itself, preferring not to release those until the redesigned Jetta’s official 2018 Detroit auto show debut. Now that it’s been revealed, VW has given us much more information.

As you can see, Volkswagen hasn’t tried anything particularly daring with the Jetta’s new look. The press release is quick to point out the coupelike roofline, but the overall styling isn’t nearly as sleek as the concept sketches we’ve already seen. Still, the 2019 Jetta is generally handsome even it’s not a total design knockout. More important than the design, however, is the architecture. The new Jetta is finally built on the MQB platform like the Golf, a car that impressed us so much that we named it our 2015 Motor Trend Car of the Year.

Volkswagen says the new Jetta is now longer, wider, and taller than the previous version, with a wheelbase that’s grown by 1.3 inches to 105.7. Thanks to its larger size, expect a more spacious cabin, as well. Plus, despite the sportier, sloping roofline, VW promises that rear headroom hasn’t been compromised.

The interior has been completely redesigned, and depending on the trim level, Volkswagen now offers its own version of Audi’s Virtual Cockpit. The infotainment system has also been moved further up to make it easier to read. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink are also available, as is a 400-watt BeatsAudio sound system.

As far as safety goes, a rearview camera is standard, while forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, lane keep assist, and automatic post-collision braking are available.

Under the hood sits a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 148 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. In the previous Jetta, that engine proved strong enough to hit 60 mph in 8.4 seconds. The new Jetta swaps out the old car’s six-speed automatic in favor of an eight-speed auto that will likely prove quicker. A six-speed manual is also available.

At launch, Volkswagen will break the Jetta out into S, SE, SEL, SEL Premium, and R-Line trims. If you’re looking for more power, expect a Jetta GLI to join the lineup after a year or two.