By on April 25, 2018

2019 Jetta

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.

2019 Jetta

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.

2019 Jetta

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.

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31 Comments on “Ace of Base: 2019 Volkswagen Jetta S...”


  • avatar
    VW4motion

    Looks and sounds like a killer deal. Will also be one of the safest cars on the road.

  • avatar
    gtem

    Making the 1.4TSI the base motor, replacing the ol’ “2.Slow” 8 valve motor, turned this Ace of Base from zero to hero. I test drove one of those previous base models with the 2.0+5spd, and it was a real dog. A 4spd Corolla felt sprightlier going up the same hill on a back to back test drive. The Jetta felt like a much more comfortable, better driving car otherwise. Now, longevity wise, I guess my money would be on the good old 8-valver vs the new direct injected, turbo charged 1.4L.

    • 0 avatar
      sirwired

      The 2.Slow may have been downright agricultural in refinement and power, but I expect it was one of those engines so reliable (because they’ve been making it so long) that the rest of the car (especially those VW electrics of infamous reliability) will fall apart long before the engine does.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        Our family friends had an MKIV Jetta Wagon with the 2.0+5spd and a very basic trim package, made in Wolfsburg for what it’s worth. I never really heard them having a lick of trouble with it.

    • 0 avatar

      My daugther has the 1.4 in the prior gen base Jetta. It feels good, is slightly faster than the TDi I used to have, gets her 30 mpg or so, and for the power it makes, is a very good engine. Lifespan ? we leased….I also had the Brand Ambassador for the dealership, who knew of, and assisted me in, my diesel buy back….

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Lease it if you do and haggle the hell out of it.

    The outgoing Jetta 1.4S has a KBB tradein of $11K after a single year of ownership, against a $21K MSRP. That car isn’t nice enough to warrant the destruction of your personal capital at that rate, and this one won’t be either. Our local dealers have been advertising $13K bait-and-switches for the past year on 2018s, which destroys brand perception by making the car look like undesirable goods to anyone seeing the ad, and by drawing customers into dealership to witness the shenanigans face to face.

    I loved my 2010 2.5 Sportwagen, it earned a lot of goodwill on the brand. Dieselgate, resale value of that 2010, and the dealership antics on the 2018 Jetta burned that goodwill right up.

    Golf platform or forget it with this brand.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      Not surprising, around here too you can get brand new ones at dealers for 12-14k even if you don’t get the unobtainium discounts like left-handed jockey’s tall nephew’s rebate..

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      This is Golf platform.

    • 0 avatar

      The as leased price for our outgoing Jetta with 1.4 base base was 17k…..my payment is 189 per month in high tax NY state….3 yrs 36, no $ down, and NY taxes you on the deal up front.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      The outgoing cars real-world price was $15K +/- (my bestie bought one in ’15), so $11K tradein after a year seems just about right. Why would you trade it in after a year, so who cares?

      The new one IS the Golf platform. Though I certainly would prefer a Golf, and own a ’17 GTI. Which I paid $6K under MSRP for.

      I really don’t care what the dealers do, or what VW does for that matter. I care about two things only – the car itself, and what the bottom line price I can buy it for is. Some people take this stuff WAY too personally.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        “Some people take this stuff WAY too personally”

        Yes, apparently they do. I’ll give the Jetta this, though: it stays true to its European roots by being lease fodder only.

  • avatar
    MrGrieves

    You can probably haggle like crazy on a car like this. VW dealers seem to love unloading cars that are already on their lot and have the potential to languish. I’d definitely consider a Jetta S.

    Also, just my opinion: I’ve test driven the 1.4L in the previous Jetta sedan and it’s no more thrashy and loud than any other small turbo-4 out there. It felt like a great engine. I asked the salesman if it had a timing belt or chain and he didn’t know the answer (“You’ll have to ask a service advisor.”)

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      I thought the 1.4 was more than refined enough for the segment. Runs out of breath early when compared to the delightful 1.8T, but the good low and midrange response is there. It’s a nice engine to drive. Nasty turbo lag from a stop when equipped with the automatic, though. Better learn to brake torque when turning left against traffic.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Agreed – I own a ’17 with the 1.4T and a manual, and as long as you’re between 2000-5000 rpm, and “in the boost,” life’s great. I’ve never found it to be rough or unrefined in the least. Maybe the prototype Tim drove was set up differently.

      The 1.4T has two weak areas:
      1) When you’re trying to max out on fuel economy (i.e., during your daily commute in stop-and-go traffic), it’s easy to find all kinds of dead spots in the power curve. You have to keep this engine “in the boost” for it to work right. Of course, that means your mileage suffers.

      2) There’s no point at all in revving past about 4900 rpm – it truly is unrefined after that point, and there’s zero power.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      Good to hear of some real-world experience from 30-Mile and FreedMike. I’ve reached a point where my brain almost automatically ignores an “unrefined engine” comment coming from a blogger or journalist. If they don’t love a brand, they’ll cite an unrefined engine, confident that no one will challenge them on the opinion.

      A pre-balance shaft GM 4.3 V6? Sure, that’s unrefined. A 2010s I4 with only 350cc of swept volume per cylinder and (I presume) balance shafts? Probably reasonably refined in most daily driving situations, so I appreciate the clarification. And in fairness to Matthew and Tim Healey, they’ve been fairly specific here. I’m criticizing the general use of “unrefined” as a crutch more so than their use of it here.

      I am, though, a little confused by Matthew’s claim that loudness and thrashiness are “long a hallmark of high-strung, low-displacement mills.” So, Integra Type Rs are good at low revs, and Packard Eights are good at high revs? I think what he probably means (and 30-mile gets at this) is that modern, “non-sporting” turbos are tuned for low- and mid-range response rather than top-end power.

      /unwarranted rant

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Assuming it is fundamentally the same as the 1.4T in a 2015 that I have plenty of seat time in, there is really no reason to rev it past 4K. It makes full torque at 1500rpm or so. Pretend it is a TDI and shift early and often. My bestie bought a 5spd 2015 and routinely gets 40mpg in suburban commuting. These were pretty fantastic cars for the money on the old platform, and the new one will be even better for probably very little more. She paid $15Kish for an S with tech, which is exactly what the new S is. Has had zero issues with it, other than nailing a deer to the tune of $12K in damage four days after she bought it.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        Three things I really like about the outgoing Jetta S (the first two noted by Matthew):
        1) You actually can get bright colors–and at no extra charge–on the base trim. This is pretty rare in the industry.
        2) The base trim comes with cruise control. In many subcompacts and compacts, you have to do an expensive-ish upgrade to the next trim up to get cruise.
        3) Comes with 16″ alloys that actually give you some sidewall. Per the configurator, the 2017 actually came with steelies and the 16″ alloys as a very reasonable $300 standalone option.

  • avatar
    d4rksabre

    As someone who swore off VW after Dieselgate, it’s hard not to want to go back given the warranty they’re offering and the fact that I still generally like their cars, especially the Sportwagen.

    I just wish they offered remote start. I’ve grown too attached to that little convenience.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I’m a Jetta owner, and got a little bit of seat time in one a couple of weeks ago (don’t ask how).

    I love the way this car drives, but there’s no nice way to put this – the interior quality sucks. The new model is a massive upgrade in this respect.

    I’ll be interested to drive one once it hits the lot.

    • 0 avatar
      VW4motion

      You’re a few steps ahead of the person that wrote this article. You actually touched and drove the car.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        No, just sat in one.

        But that’s an interesting story, though – every day during my lunch break, I take a walk, and my route takes me past a Marriott. What should I see one day there but – voila! – a bunch of new Jettas! Turns out VW was hosting a clinic for dealers there. They had all the new models. I told the attendant I was a current VW owner and he let me check them out.

        So I got to (kind of) sample them, but couldn’t drive one.

        Good news: the interiors are a massive upgrade. The car still feels like ultra-solid goods. And the new infotainment system looks terrific.

        Bad news: it’s back to the beam axle in the rear, and no ETA on when the GLI comes out.

        • 0 avatar
          derekson

          No one complained about the torsion beam rear suspension on the TDI Golf VII, so perhaps the MQB platform handles it better?

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          It’s a non-sporting FWD economy car. What possible difference does it make if it uses a torsion beam axle in the back? It’s cheap and it works well enough.

          I think for the real world price, the interior of the old Jetta was WAY more than good enough. It is also VERY durable. My friend who owns one also has one of the worlds most spastic and annoying dogs, and that mutt has done no damage to the car at all – and she is in it all the time. Other than the smell. Ugh. I am SO not a dog person.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    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.

  • avatar
    Fred

    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.

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