Most of us mature as we age, sanding off the rough edges and perhaps muting some of the rowdier aspects of our characters for the sake of grace and politeness. This often accompanies a shift in behavior to accommodate some more upscale habits and hobbies – dressing better as your bank account grows, for example. Or maybe taking in operas instead of rock concerts.
Not all youthful spunk is lost, however – even the most cultured of the gray-hair set cuts loose once in a while.
Peek at the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta, which marks the car’s seventh generation, and you can see this process in action. Interior materials and road manners suggest a car that prefers a gentle life rather than a sporty trashing, but the exterior design, which remains conservative overall, uses details such as character lines to infuse some enthusiasm that was missing in recent years, possibly in a bid to cut a bit loose.
The next-generation Jetta, now virtually indistinguishable from other cars when viewed from the side (but unmistakably Volkswagen in its front and rear styling), has plenty of newness on offer, having switched to the company’s MQB platform for the 2019 model year.
Along with a stretch in wheelbase, the new Jetta gains expanded passenger volume and updated features, though not an updated engine. The well-regarded 1.4-liter TSI turbocharged four-cylinder carries over to the seventh-generation model, making 147 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, but a brace of new transmissions arrive to bump the compact sedan’s fuel economy to new (gas-powered) heights.