By on January 14, 2018

Image: Volkswagen

Volkswagen today took the wraps off its latest salvo in the compact sedan market, the new 2019 Volkswagen Jetta. Based on the MQB platform that also has produced the Golf, Tiguan, and Atlas, the newest Jetta promises more interior room via a longer wheelbase and increases in overall length, width, and height — with a starting price $100 less than the outgoing model.

The Jetta has long been the most important weapon in Volkswagen’s arsenal — after all, one out of every three Volkswagens sold in the United States is this compact sedan — but sales have been steadily dropping, from a 2011 high of 177,360 to 115,807 last year. Certainly, some of that reflects the loss of the incredibly popular TDI models, but the de-contented nature of the outgoing sixth-generation Jetta has surely turned off prospective buyers who can find better equipped vehicles, often with better driving manners, elsewhere.

Compared to the prior model, the styling is evolutionary but distinctive, with a strong horizontal line extending back from the front wheel wells, defining the profile view. Volkswagen takes pains to call the rear roofline “coupe-like,” and indeed the rear glass does have a good bit of rake to it. Still, it’s not as extreme as the new Civic or even Volkswagen’s own outgoing CC. Rear headroom, which was quite good in the outgoing Jetta, should not be negatively affected.

For some reason, Volkswagen also saw fit in its official photos to offer the exact picture with and without funky lens flare:

The short trunklid tapers to a abrupt cutoff that, from some angles, looks to create a bit of a ducktail spoiler effect. It’s a handsome feature that lends a touch of sportiness to an otherwise mainstream sedan. The hood features a series of fore-to-aft lines creating the illusion of power bulges, and the new wider grille features plenty of chrome to liven up the face. Standard LED headlamps ape the irregular hexagon of the big grille.

The redesigned interior looks to be more upscale, with Volkswagen’s lovely Digital Cockpit now available on higher trims to replace the standard gauges. Heated and ventilated leather seats are available, as is a 10-color ambient lighting feature — I look forward to the VW hackers at Ross-Tech unlocking a pulsing disco-themed light pattern.

The Jetta boasts a wheelbase of 105.7 inches, up 1.3 from last year’s car, and has shorter overhangs front and rear. Mechanically, the 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is carried over (147 horsepower, 184 lb-ft torque), mated to a new six-speed manual transmission or an eight-speed automatic. All automatic-equipped cars will feature start-stop technology for the sake of fuel economy.

 

Optional safety aids include autonomous emergency braking with forward collision warning, blind spot monitor, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning.

The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta hits showrooms in the second quarter of 2018, with pricing starting at $18,545.

[Images: Volkswagen]

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55 Comments on “2019 Volkswagen Jetta: The Wind Cries MQB...”


  • avatar
    make_light

    I’m a little confused. Many years back, VW introduced an “Americanized” Jetta that was supposed to be roomier and cheaper than the model it replaced. Over the years, VW gradually improved the Jetta, giving it a better interior, better engine, and multilink rear suspension. The slow improvements made it actually a decent little, if outdated, car.

    Now in 2018, the company is introducing a new Jetta that’s, erm, roomier and cheaper than the model it replaces, and regresses once again to a torsion beam rear suspension.

    I honestly think that getting a good deal on a current Jetta with the 1.8 wouldn’t be dumb move at all, as the new one hits dealers.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      No one seemed to mind the torsion bar rear suspension on the TDI MQB Golfs; perhaps it’s executed similarly well here?

      The Jetta was already a large compact—a bit bigger really seems to make the Passat superfluous with the bigger Tiguan and Atlas on offer.

      • 0 avatar
        notwhoithink

        “The Jetta was already a large compact—a bit bigger really seems to make the Passat superfluous with the bigger Tiguan and Atlas on offer.”

        I agree with your first statement. I had a 2013 Jetta TDI, and I had a difficult time finding many mid-size cars that had similar amounts of leg room, particularly in the rear seats. But the comment about the Passat…nope. The Passat is absolutely cavernous inside. It has by far the most interior room of any “mid-size” sedan I’ve ever driven.

        • 0 avatar
          thornmark

          Accord has more room 105 to 102 cu ft – and much more legroom in the rear seat 40.4 to 39.1. Plus the Accord’s trunk is larger.

          Accord is ranked #1 and Passat is #24.
          https://www.thecarconnection.com/car-compare-results/honda_accord-sdn_2018-vs-volkswagen_passat_2018

    • 0 avatar
      Sub-600

      “Decontenting’” is what VW called it. They announced they were going to use cheap materials and Americans couldn’t buy them fast enough. Anything to save a buck.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Thing is, they weren’t cheaper than the prior un-decontented Jettas. Granted, you could get the Sad Sack 2.Slow for less, but comparably equipped they cost just as much as the nice ones.

        Autojournalists never pointed this out.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Getting a good deal on a 1.8T Jetta would NEVER be a bad move, far as I’m concerned.

    • 0 avatar
      Advance_92

      And the next one will have rear drum brakes.

  • avatar
    993cc

    Any word on how much it weighs compared to the outgoing model?

  • avatar
    ajla

    “All automatic-equipped cars will feature start-stop technology for the sake of fuel economy.”

    Just a reader request, when reporting on a new vehicle or powertrain equipped with stop/start would it be possible to also add if it is defeatable or not?

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      The 2018 Golf’s start/stop is defeatable, so I imagine Jetta will get the same button.

      Press it each time you start the car to disable. Press it again to enable it (or wait until you restart the car to enable it). It’s a simple short of a pin to ground.

      Someone has come up with a simple bit to automate that, too.

    • 0 avatar
      CRConrad

      Why would you want to do that?

      • 0 avatar

        Because VW has a lot of parameters you can move…like hill holders, Daytime Running Lights, Fogs with High Beam, etc that you can change. I had my DRL turned off on my TDI, although the dealer told me he couldn’t do it, and the Tech wrote “can’t change” on the repair order but still turned them off for me in VAG COM. Likewise, my BMW was told at some point it lived in Great Britain. This changed my nav parameters to Miles and Yards, not Miles and Feet, and got rid of the “Lawyer Screen” before you could use the nav system. I find it interesting that most Japanese and American cars will allow you more customization than German cars, where the attitude is “ze dealer vill set zem” not you….

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          If you can tell me how to defeat the traction control on my ’17 Jetta without some kind of reprogram, you’re entitled to a six pack of whatever beer you want.

        • 0 avatar
          CRConrad

          Yeah, yeah, I get that customisability is good, and I actually think I have a button to shut off the start-stop in my Tiguan. But I never use it. That’s what I was asking: Why would one want to shut off the start-stop, specifically? Does anyone _want_ to waste fuel idling at red lights, or what? Just wondering, since this feels like the last thing one needs to be able to set.

          (Pro tip: If you absolutely need to disable start-stop and don’t have any other way to do it, put the A/C in Windshield Defrost mode. At least in my car, that seems to disable the start-stop function.)

  • avatar
    derekson

    Apparently it actually has standard LED headlights, unlike the Tiguan where you need to pay up for SEL Premium. Nice to see VW finally ditching the cheapo halogen reflectors for all but the $$$ trims.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Intrusive goose neck hinges. VW is still a cheap skate on the small details.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      What car in this class doesn’t use goosenecks?

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Sad to say, the articulating trunklid hinges that even GM adopted to the W body of past are gone in most cars. I, too, miss them. Along with folding sideview mirrors, trim on the exterior of the rear window, and a host of other cost cutting measures that many cars – even modestly priced ones – once had.

    • 0 avatar
      genuineleather

      The type of trunk hinges used is a pretty poor proxy for quality. The Chrysler Sebring, a famously bad car, had gas struts; the old Mercedes W124 and 126, famous for being expensively-engineered, had goose necks. Virtually all of today’s six-figure flagship sedans also have them (in power operating form.)

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Nice to see them keep the conservative linear styling and implement an interior that doesn’t look 25 years old.

    Peak Jetta to me was still the 2010 MkV 5 cylinder, though; it blew the competition away in refinement and material quality in a way that this new one probably won’t given the stiffer competition. The refreshed prior Jetta with the 1.8T available in midlevel trim is a close second–that engine transformed the car and allowed you to forgive the godawful regression in interior quality that generation suffered.

    I have a difficult time getting excited about the 1.4T when the Honda 1.5T, Mazda 2.5, and VW’s own 1.8T perform as they do.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      I think the 1.4T is well suited to this car. It has good low end torque and gets better mileage, and thus serves as a semi-replacement for the TDI. Anyone who wants a sportier engine should probably be going for the Golf anyway since it has the IRS and presumably stiffer suspension.

      • 0 avatar

        My ace of base Jetta 1.4 has IRS. Why go backwards ? You can feel the difference between torsion bar vs IRS on NYC area roads all the time, whenever the grade changes – think road to overpass to road, with two off camber changes. The 1.4 is “as fast” or “as slow” as my TDi, sans the endless torque on the highway. The TDi had way better soundproofing. Still, back to torsion bar ? Does VW save that much money by making one bar instead of two and one additional set of bushings ?

  • avatar
    la834

    All I know is that the Mk5 Jetta used out of the way gas-charged struts.

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      Mk 4 did the same thing. Much better design, that is until the struts fail.

      • 0 avatar
        JuniperBug

        Mk4 had a “semi-independent” torsion beam rear suspension, same as the three preceding generations and the new Mk7, apparently. Mk5 was the first Golf/Jetta to feature an independent setup, including the GTI/GLI. Witness the pre-Mk5 cars lifting their inside rear wheel in the air in hard cornering for proof.

        I presume that both designs used struts. Gas-charging them simply reduces the damping oil’s tendency to cavitate and froth, and has nothing to do with how the wheel is located or sprung other than providing a nominal amount of extra spring rate.

      • 0 avatar

        True, but replacement struts can be shipped to your door for under 20 bucks. I had to do this for my 2000 Lexus last year, and it took less than 10 minutes.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    I don’t see a German car in these pictures. Although, interior seem nice. But I see more Japan/Korea here

    • 0 avatar
      vvk

      Completely agree. Also, I think it is very ugly.

    • 0 avatar
      scott25

      It’s too upright to look Asian. Korean cars are all about upswept flow (see Cruze, Elantra). It does kinda look 90’s Japanese but to me it mostly looks like a Fiat Tipo (Mexican Dodge Neon) or a Dart from the side.

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      Please get Sajeev to do a review of this design. I’m a big vw fanboy, but this thing annoys me. At the front all I see is cheap plastic topped with a Sebring hood. The most annoying design “feature” is that d pillar window with the limp little curve – make it straight or do a more dramatic curve. And the way the panels meet the tailights is awkward from some views, and this is something VW used to be the best at doing. I just don’t see any effort being put into the design. Good to see they can make a 6 speed manual – perhaps when they finally get around to putting it in the golf I’ll have to buy one of those.

  • avatar
    Prado

    ZZZZZZZZZ

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Well, speaking as a Jetta owner, it looks like the new model fixes the one truly glaring problem the current one has: the interior.

  • avatar
    scott25

    As every compact tries to become more masculine to compete with the femininity of crossovers, the most feminine of them all (still the official title holder of favourite gay vehicle since they haven’t done another survey since then), the Jetta, only becomes more so in the exterior with this generation. It’s so cuddly and safe looking. Especially when compared to the angry maws of the competition.

    Agree the interior is nice though. VW, Mazda and Kia are definitely the leaders in interior design at the moment.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    It was intended to look like this

    https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-nJFGJY96M_U/WMUcd5SJgKI/AAAAAAAAAyg/mX8EZof87_g23Zyi7vZk6OfL2M9mXBHggCLcB/s1600/Jetta%2B2017%2B2.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      CRConrad

      Could it be that the white one in the pic you link to is a Euro-Jetta, while the blue one depicted here is an Ameri-Jetta?

      At least a generation or two ago they had a separate (slightly larger) model for the US, and another one for Europe and the rest of the world.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    Is it just me or does the new Jetta in these photos look lifted like a Subaru Outback sedan? And if that’s in official mfr pics, where often cars get their springs cut (literally or using Photoshop) to look lower and sportier, does that mean the real thing will look taller still? I know VW pioneered elevated hip points in compact cars before it was cool, but this seems a bit much.

    I kind of see a lifted Neon here, with all the cuteness and charm ironed out if it. Or a widened Fiesta sedan, maybe.

  • avatar

    Not very excited about the 1.4T being the sole engine (outside of the GLI). 1.8T should have remained in combo with auto stop/start.

  • avatar
    notwhoithink

    Great looking car, great looking interior. Hopefully after the first wave they offer another engine option, preferably a GLI with the same engine as the GTI and an independent rear suspension.

  • avatar
    firebirdlife

    It looks like an 8 year old Chrysler.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      I definitely see refreshed Charger in the wraparound DRL headlight things.

      It looks like the trunk was slammed onto it and wasn’t originally intended to be there, like the final Metro. Of course maybe the pictures don’t do it justice and I’ll have to wait until I see it in the flesh.

      I saw an artist’s rendering which was pretty sweet, but this doesn’t do it for me at all, and I generally find VWs to be tastefully understated.

  • avatar
    nlinesk8s

    I’m a little curious what demographic VW is aiming this car at.

    Aside from a nice interior and good driving experience, you’d like to have a car that at least inspired some level of emotional attachment. I think of older Mazda 3’s and the older Jetta’s that actually were at least attractive, and were popular with the 20-something drivers.
    This looks like something aimed at what would previously have been a Buick demographic.

  • avatar

    True, but replacement struts can be shipped to your door for under 20 bucks. I had to do this for my 2000 Lexus last year, and it took less than 10 minutes.

  • avatar

    Those wheels look like shit.

    Coming from a 6th Gen 2.5 with torsion beam to a 6th gen 1.4t with multilink rear, there is a BIG difference in handling and on road behavior. The newer car is an absolute dream to drive – nothing in the price range comes close to the balance of firm shock tuning with ride quality (think traditional German ride, like what BMW used to offer before they got all stupid).

  • avatar
    skotastic

    wow – it looks A LOT like a Focus sedan (esp. from the rear 3/4) with a Chrysler Sebring hood.

    I think it’s official for me now. Keep one new/newish car for function, and focus on oldtimers/youngtimers up to the early 2000s (well, really the late 1980s) for interest/passion.

    I’m sure this is a really nice and functional car, but engender interest other than lease/finance payments it does not.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    As a guy in my 50s who drives a ’17 Jetta SE, the only comment I’ve ever had that was negative about my car came from a 40ish female co-worker of mine. She said “only big-titted young women drive Jettas”.

    I’ve never associated the Jetta with a particular demographic and if anything I see grubby male hipsters driving older ones more than anyone.

    Chances are one of these will follow me home if I don’t buy mine at the end of the lease. I like the “snooze factor”, I like to blend and be invisible in traffic.

  • avatar

    I think the front end is a modernization and improvement, and the grille gives it a nice wide, low stance.

    But the rear end does not say Volkswagen to me, but rather Hyundai and Sonata. And the interior is a bit “of the moment” with the flim-flam and lights here and there. That won’t age well.

    Not that Jettas last more than five years on the road anyway, so I guess whatevs.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Not crazy about the Dodge-Dart greenhouse and the window in the sail panel. What good is the Jetta’s enormous trunk if it’s compromised by a tiny opening?

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