By on December 11, 2017

The standard Volkswagen Jetta rarely sets any hearts aflutter, given its sensible and sober styling and insomnia-curing interior. However, it is the marque’s bread-and-butter — its best-selling nameplate by many orders of magnitude, so mention of a redesign deserves notice.

Set to be shown at the Detroit show in January, it’ll likely launch as a 2019 model with new sheetmetal riding on the company’s MQB platform. Images that have surfaced around the ‘net seem to suggest a machine that’s sleeker and more expressive than today’s Jetta.

2019 VW Jetta

The above image was secured by Motor1 from the content of a presentation given by VW North America’s chief engineering officer, Matthias Erb, prior to a media event. It shows a sleeker-looking Jetta than the current model, along with a more bulbous nose and a set of rims that totally won’t make production.

Like the Grinch’s heart, the new Jetta will probably grow a couple of pant sizes, as that’s what replacements tend to do (except for the Miata, of course; the Miata is pure, the Miata is life; all hail the Miata). Rumours suggest the next Jetta will have a manual transmission at launch, with other trim variants such as a GLI showing up in due course. There may even be a Jetta R in the works.

This will be the seventh iteration of the Jetta, a car that was once the sedan version of the Golf but now shares precisely zero body panels with the hatchback. A turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder should reappear under the hood of the new car

2019 VW Jetta

On VW’s site in the Great White North, a countdown timer is shown alongside a shady image of the 2019 Jetta. The counter shows a date of approximately 38 days from now, placing the reveal smack dab in the middle of the next North American International Auto Show.

Precisely, however, 38 days from now is January 18th. Media days are January 14th to 16th, so we’ll have to wait and see what VW has up its sleeve. In any event, a whole cadre of TTAC writers will be at the show to bring you the news.

The current generation, on sale since the 2011 model year, has seen its sales dip with each 12-month cycle since its introduction. During its first full calendar year on sale, VW moved over 177,000 of the compact sedans in the United States. Last year, VW sold a shade over 121,000; the model is on track to fall short of that number in 2017 with 108,575 Jetta sedans sold through the end of November.

The fact that most American consumers are shunning sedans like an especially virulent leper is not helping the matter. Even the venerable Corolla is unlikely to best last year’s performance of 360,483 sales. In the segment, only the mighty Honda Civic seems poised to significantly build on last year’s numbers; having sold 345,880 year-to-date, there’s a solid chance the Civic will crest the 375,000 mark by December 31st, making it the best sales year in nearly two decades.

[Image: Motor1]

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41 Comments on “VW’s Bringing a New Jetta to Detroit; Still Won’t Outsell the Honda Civic...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Jetta doesn’t have to outsell Civic.

    It just needs to recover from its sales slide. It’s currently the 39th best-selling vehicle in the US market, which puts it way ahead of many, many others.

    But that black & white promo shot doesn’t look like an exciting vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      Agreed.

      If it closely resembles the rendering, then great.

      I think that Honda is spot on in their new design direction for sedans: it’s an affront to Teutonic sensibility, but the traditional sedan needs to funk it up a bit to remain competitive.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      A lot of the sales slide can be attributed directly to the diesel nonsense – 39,000 sales lost between the 2014 and 2016 model years. It’s stabilized quite a bit since (probably due to VW doing RIDICULOUSLY cheap leases on them…ask the man who signed up for one).

  • avatar
    cicero1

    “VW’s Bringing a New Jetta to Detroit; Still Won’t Outsell the Honda Civic” Thanks Captain Obvious.

  • avatar
    tonycd

    Since the Jetta’s body style still lacks the popularity in Europe of the Golf’s, I expect it’ll still lack the overall quality that VW bakes into the Golf by popular demand. So, it’ll still be a smaller US Passat, and still a forgettable and fast-depreciating car.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      tonycd –

      New Jetta will be MQB based, like the current Golf, so they’ll share just about everything, sans the hatchback. There’s huge economies of scale incentives for VW to get the Jetta there sooner rather than later, so the feared decontenting won’t occur. Witness the MK7 Golf/GTI that we get – it’s virtually identical in all regards to the equipment offered in Europe.

      Will be similar for the Jetta. Bodes well for the upcoming GLI.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      That “sleeker” look may be going in the wrong direction. The Golf is Europe’s version of a SUV, a utilitarian car with a more upright rear roof for passengers, and a hatch and folding rear seats for cargo. Americans don’t like hatches, but that’s what they’ve got on the tail of their SUVs/CUVs.

      The Passat also has a bit more upright roof over the rear seats and a decent trunk for storage. The Jetta is the sporty model in the lineup, without the cargo utility/trunk or the extra headroom for rear seat passengers.

      Volkswagen should consider making it a “sports” wagon with AWD and a couple inches of extra road clearance. But then, they’d be making an Audi A3, wouldn’t they?

      • 0 avatar
        notwhoithink

        “Volkswagen should consider making it a “sports” wagon with AWD and a couple inches of extra road clearance. But then, they’d be making an Audi A3, wouldn’t they?”

        I don’t know if you’re being sarcastic or what, but the Jetta Sportwagen has been around for years in the U.S., and was one of the more popular models in the TDI variants. They recently rebranded it as the “Golf Sportwagen”, and moved it to the MQB platform that the Golf uses. Then after that they did the lift kit + AWD to it and created a new model called the “Golf Alltrack”.

        • 0 avatar
          mittencuh

          That’s not quite accurate. The Jetta SportWagen WAS a Golf. VW USA just put a Jetta badge on it. When the Mk 7 Golf came out they began selling it as a Golf since that’s what it is.

  • avatar
    JuniperBug

    I find it hard to believe that the Jetta is VW’s “best-selling nameplate by many orders of magnitude.” Maybe, if for some reason you’re using a binary number system, but even then I’m skeptical.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    I liked the older Jetta with the square trunk, back when they looked European. Now they blend in with traffic a lot more.

  • avatar
    brettc

    So no diesel option then? (HAHA!)

  • avatar
    notwhoithink

    OK, so maybe I’m a weirdo, but I like the current generation Jetta. I really like the blue “concept” lines shown above as well. If they were to produce a GLI trim in that body style with all of the power/handling/etc of the GTI, then they’ve got at least one sale. Especially with that 6 year/72k mile warranty. A true Jetta R (and not just an “R-line” cosmetic package) might be really nice, though likely more than I care to spend.

    • 0 avatar
      Advance_92

      And an independent rear suspension?

      Heck an “R” with or without a manual could catch a lot of people that didn’t plump for an A3.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        FYI, VW dumped the beam rear axle in this car a few years back…and it did a world of good.

        • 0 avatar
          frank908

          Yeah well, they’re bringing the beam axle back.
          And the suspension is being softened.

          https://www.autoblog.com/2017/12/11/2019-volkswagen-jetta-prototype-first-drive-review/?hcid=ab-around-ab-tile-16

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            That sucks.

          • 0 avatar
            notwhoithink

            Interesting that they excused it by saying that using turbos puts them at a cost disadvantage. Pretty much everyone else is moving to turbos for their compacts these days, so…

            Anyway, as long as a more up-trim model with independent rear suspension is available I won’t be too upset.

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    “Still won’t outsell the Honda Civic” – of course, but that’s not saying much. Jetta is an odd duck in its own category. Deep down the Jetta is more of a highway car than city runaround, where Civic is happiest.

    “the new Jetta will probably grow a couple of pant sizes” – i think this is highly unlikely. I don’t think VW is headed towards consolidating the Passat and Jetta just yet because Europe. Only in that scenario do I see Jetta growing more than just an inch or two.

    “The fact that most American consumers are shunning sedans like an especially virulent leper” – is this as true for the compact segment as it is for the full size segment?

    I don’t care for sheetmetal “excitement” too much. If interior quality benefits a little bit more without a price hike, the Jetta will approach a really good place in terms of powertrain, size, and refinement combination. That actually excites me.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Agreed, I’m looking forward to this redesign and like the conservative and mature styling. I have always liked the solid and refined driving feel of Jettas and I’m glad this one isn’t chasing the audacious styling trend of some competitors.

      • 0 avatar
        Nick_515

        looks like the refined driving feel is slipping away. see the linked review from frank908 above… it’s a little depressing.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          Oh dear. We want a Golf sedan and we’re getting a VW Sentra instead.

          My fave remains the baby Benz 2010 2.5 w/ 5 speed. I’m still so annoyed with how they cost cut the interior of the Mk6 w/o lowering the price that I’m not sure the neat 1.4t and 1.8t make up for it.

          • 0 avatar
            Nick_515

            30-mile, those were actually on my radar, even SE had heated seats, and the SEL was nice. The Mk6 was atrocious when it came out, I drove it. Hubcaps, black plastic mirrors, and the 2.slow (there I said it!) I had already driven in the Mkiv?!? It was surreal. Kc1980 is correct below… current Jetta has come a long way.

    • 0 avatar
      civicjohn

      There’s a reason my name is civicjohn. I gave my 2007 Accord EX-L with 71k miles and the timing belt replaced to my son, so he got my leather and heated seats. I have owned a Lexus, a MB, but finally decided that I was wasting money. Hell. the back seat in my 2016 EX Civic has as much room as the Accord I gave away so he would have safe wheels for college.

      It’s just an EX, not a Type R or anything fancy, but it’s got the Honda Sensing package. Best $1k I’ve ever spent. As I said in an earlier post, we made a golf run and the SOB got 43 MPG, we all cracked up at that.

      I wouldn’t own a Volkswagen if you gave it to me. Their plant is 120 miles away, the biggest Nissan plant is 40 miles away, but they don’t make anything like the Civic. I broke my back the same month I bought it, so it’s got 4100 miles on it, but Ii wouldn’t be caught dead in an Altima. They suck and have horrible resale value as does the Volkswagen. Quite happy with my purchase .

  • avatar
    stingray65

    The blue picture and black and white picture are clearly not the same car unless one has been distorted. The blue one looks like one of those old commercial artist auto ads from the 1950s and earlier, where the car was invariably longer, lower, and wider than the frumpy reality.

  • avatar
    kc1980

    The current Jetta had an awful start but has evolved(through improvements) into a nice little car. Its a shame its so plain looking inside and out, because it quite good to drive. It has a nice punchy turbo engine, Nice ride and handling. Quite fun to drive, it took me by surprise. It is very much a smaller Passat, but thats ok. I could do without the excessive amount of hard plastics inside.

    The jetta won’t outsell the civic but should be a nice alternative to those who cannot stomach its immature styling

    I have a Jetta TSI sitting outside now as a loaner while my GTI is in the shop(shocking i know). It does have 135,000 the odometer so its earned some shop time.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    What I’m hoping is that the move to MQB doesn’t increase weight to the point where it overpowers the 1.4, which is a BRILLIANT little engine.

    (Ask the man who owns one.)

    Looking forward to VW sending me impassioned pleas to dump my ’17 in for a new one…

    • 0 avatar
      993cc

      I get piled on whenever I say this, but I wish that engine were available on the Golf Wagon for those of us who can’t get a diesel any more.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        You probably don’t, actually…the Golf wagon’s quite a bit heavier than a Jetta. That means you’ll have to really work the engine to get performance out of it, and that’s a prescription for worse fuel economy.

        • 0 avatar
          993cc

          My 2006 Jetta wagon weighs 3095 lbs, and gets along just fine with its 105 h.p., and 177 ft.lb. @ 1800 r.p.m. Tdi. The Golf Sportwagon, “quite a bit heavier” at … 3120 lbs. is going to have to be “really worked” to get any performance out the 1.4t with its 150 h.p. and 184ft.lbs @1400?

          Sorry. For me, I’ll take the improved efficiency of the smaller engine over whatever “advantages” the more powerful engine offers.

  • avatar
    vehic1

    “Still won’t outsell the Civic.” How many styling changes did Honda have to make over the last very few years to finally claw back to the top spot – however long/briefly that may last? What makers besides Toyota or Honda have had the TOP US car spot recently, for a full year?
    VW US sales, based more on the Jetta than any other model, are FAR, FAR closer to their 40-year US high (of 2012) than they are to the 40-year low point (of 1993). Obviously, some cranks were rooting for VW’s demise from the diesel affair – but it didn’t happen, waah; sales are up worldwide.

  • avatar
    DJM

    This might just be on my 2020 replacement list. Although that twist beam suspension might be a killer.

    I narrowed down my choice between Jetta and Civic in the summer of ’16. The Jetta won out with it’s reserved styling, better interior ergonomics and typical Teutonic instrumentation/switchgear layout.

    I have the ’16 Jetta Highline with all options and the 1.8 TSI. Price was about the same OTD although the 0% VW financing also helped. I’m sure I’ll take a bath in resale value vs the Civic though.

    So far just one issue with a leaking a/c charging port that was swiftly rectified by the Dealership.

    I had a Jetta 1.4 TSI as a rental and I swear it had more pep off the line than mine. Ran out of steam earlier though. Very sweet mill.

    Some of the complaints I have read about for the Jetta include numb steering and overly touchy brakes. I was able to adjust that out in the control modules using Ross-Tech vag-com. Now the steering is heavier, which I like and the brake assist is at a lower threshold. An Eibach F and R swaybar tightened the wallowy suspension up.

    I also added a Dinantronics boost controller, which woke the car up with an additional 40 lbs/ft of torque. I’m a happy owner so far.

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