Ace of Base: 2019 Volkswagen Jetta S

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Our man Healey sampled the latest Jetta not long ago, finding it to be a conservative box that has left most of the sporty spunk to its Golf cousin. VW’s MQB platform knows no bounds.

Of the five trims available, the base S has potential to sit at the Ace of Base table. After all, no matter how much ones spends on a 2019 Jetta, one will – right now, at least – find the same engine under its hood. The only trim on which a stick shift appears? The base S. Achtung!

Let’s find out what else is on board.

An automatic is available for $800, of course, but the true Ace of Base shopper will not even acknowledge its existence. Also to be left on the cutting room floor is the $450 Driver Assistance Package that bundles some safety nannies with heated side mirrors. The latter is a feature I am slightly disappointed to learn is not included on the base machine.

That engine – the only engine – is a 1.4-liter turbocharged four, making 147 horses and 184 lb.-ft of torque. Our correspondent found it to be “loud and trashy in the upper rev ranges,” long a hallmark of high-strung, low-displacement mills. I was pleased to read the base prototype offered a good clutch feel and woke up the 1.4L a little bit.

Other standard equipment on the S include natty LED lighting front and rear (hooray for economies of scale), 16-inch alloy wheels, and a carload of airbags. Germans love acronyms, so I am pleased to report that ESC, ASR, EDL, EBA, ABS, HBA, EBD, ICRS, and TPMS are all included with the base trim.

Air conditioning makes an appearance, along with cruise control and a driver’s seat that adjusts six ways. Infotainment, sometimes a low point on base VWs of yesteryear, now features a 6.5-inch touchscreen serving up Bluetooth connectivity and a rearview camera. One of the last industry holdouts, VW added a USB port to its machines not long ago; it shows up here, too.

EPA fuel economy ratings are a remarkable 30 mpg city and 40 mpg highway. Only the spicy Habanero Orange paint costs extra; the other six hues are offered gratis. It is pleasant to find bright colors on a base car when so many manufacturers penalize thrifty shoppers by restricting them to the greyscale. Blue Silk shown here is especially attractive, as is the Tornado Red in Tim’s review.

I am still getting used to the styling choices, as the new Jetta’s face appears to have an overbite or something going on. I’ll reserve final judgement until I see one in person.

Heated mirrors would make the $18,545 2019 Jetta S a shoo-in for Ace of Base honors. As it stands, your author would probably spring for the R-Line trim – a $4,000 walk. Actually, no. Who am I kidding? For that coin, I’d go for the Golf SportWagen … in base S, of course.

Not every base model has aced it. The ones that have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown with American options and is priced in Freedom Dollars absent of any rebates or destination fees. As always, your dealer may sell for less.

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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2 of 31 comments
  • CincyDavid CincyDavid on Apr 25, 2018

    When I look at the '19 Jetta, that heavy character line at the door handles just JUMPS out at me. I had a neighbor back in the 90s who was the paint rep at the Chrysler plant in Fenton MO. I think he worked for PPG but I won't swear to it. He said they had a terrible time getting pain on the side of the vans starting with the 2001 models..the heavy line down the side was a bear to make the robots paint properly, especially the 3 stage pearl white.

  • Fred Fred on Apr 25, 2018

    I've driven for 50 years without heated side mirrors but as I get older and more feeble some of those nannies might save me or even you.

  • Dave Has to be Indy 500. Many more leaders and front passes than NASCAR, and Monaco is unwatchable with the inability to pass on that circuit.
  • Jeff How did the discussion get from an article about a 56 billion dollar pay package for Elon Musk to a proposal to charge a per mile tax on EVs in California or paying increase registration on vehicles to make up for lost gas tax revenue? I thought such a discussion would better fit Matt's Gas Wars series.
  • Master Baiter Both people who bought ID.4s will be interested in this post.
  • Urlik Not a single memorable thing happened in the big three races this weekend IMHO.
  • Ajla If Goodyear makes rain tires that allow NASCAR to race in damp conditions at longer ovals (other that at Daytona and Talladega) then I promise to purchase at least four new sets of Goodyear tires in my remaining life.