The Volkswagen Jetta is one of the automaker’s most successful vehicles in the brand’s lineup and the new one carries a rap sheet that’s better in every single way. The 2019 Jetta made its debut today at the Detroit Auto Show and the vehicle sports some upgrades that should increase its popularity.
The seventh-generation of the Jetta now sits on VW’s modular transverse matrix (MQB) platform, which gives the sedan better everything, claims the automaker: more interior space, better fuel-efficiency figures, the ability to wear a more modern design, and the opportunity to tack on more high-tech features.
On the outside, the 2019 Jetta sports a look that’s not as mundane as the previous model, but it’s not radically different. A new enlarged grille dominates the front fascia that’s flanked by C-shaped LED headlights. The creased hood is also a nice touch at the front. Along the side, the sloped roof gives the sedan a coupe-like silhouette – again, it’s nothing crazy – while the changes to the rear end are much more minor: new taillights, exhaust outlets, and a chiseled rear fascia.
Moving to the MQB platform has given the Jetta new dimensions, as well. It’s longer, wider, and taller than before. The front overhang is shorter, while the overhang at the back has grown, which one would expect would allow the sedan to carry more stuff, but cargo capacity remains the same. The growth in overall size, though, has allowed Volkswagen to create a more spacious cabin, which has also been redesigned.
The Jetta’s cabin has gone from clinical to more upscale thanks to higher-quality materials, 10-color ambient lighting that wraps around the interior, and funky trapezoidal design pieces – like the vents. The redesigned center stack now features a larger screen – exact dimensions haven’t been released yet – that’s angled towards the driver and perched higher up on the dash. VW’s new, highly-configurable Digital Cockpit replaces the sedan’s regular instrument cluster on high-end trims.
Despite the coupe-like roofline, VW claims the Jetta offers more room on the inside. Head room, knee room, and shoulder room have all increased from the previous model. In addition to the more spacious interior, the Jetta’s list of safety features has grown too. Things like autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring with rear-traffic alert, and a lane keeping system are all available.
While the Jetta sports a new look and a classier interior, the engine under the creased hood goes unchanged. Power for the sedan comes from a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 148 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The old sedan’s six-speed automatic gearbox has been ditched in favor of an eight-speed automatic transmission. A six-speed manual transmission is standard.
In spite of all the changes, the Jetta’s price tag has decreased, though not substantially. The 2019 Jetta, which will go on sale in the United States in the second quarter of the year, will start at $18,545 before destination. That’s $100 less than the outgoing model. The vehicle will be available in six different trims when it goes on sale: S, SE, SEL, SEL Premium, and R-Line.