Sunday, August 18, 2019

2019 Volkswagen Jetta SE: The Brand's All-New Seventh Generation Sedan

Highlight: The Jetta interior cabin is larger than most of the vehicles in the segment.

Test Vehicle's MSRP: $23,005 (S Model: $19,640)

Seating Capacity: 5

Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; a rearview camera; daytime running lights; an automatic post collision braking system; a hill start assist system; and a tire pressure monitoring system

Standard Equipment (S Model): 16-inch alloy wheels; a 6-speed manual transmission; adjustable front seats; cloth seats; a tilt/telescopic steering wheel; a 6.5-inch infotainment screen; single zone manual climate control system; an eco mode selection system; and electric parking brake  

Standard Equipment (SE): 16-inch alloy wheels; an 8-speed automatic transmission; power tilt and sliding sunroof; dual zone automatic temperature control system; leather wrapped steering wheel; rear center armrest; pass through from back seat to trunk; heated front seats; leather-like seating; rear seat down; an electronic blind spot system with rear traffic alert; a keyless ignition starter system; and heated front washer nozzles

Options: None

Other Trim Levels:

R-Line; SEL; SEL Premium and GTI 

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 4-speaker with AM/FM

Bluetooth Connectivity: Standard

USB Connectivity: Standard

Apple/Android Connectivity: Standard

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 6 years or 72,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 6 years or 72,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 1.4-liter, 4-cylinder turbo/147-hp

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage:

What’s New: The seventh-generation Jetta compact sedan is all-new for the model year.

Why: For the 2019 model year, the wheelbase and the shoulder room are significantly more in some instances than the outgoing model.

The Jetta’s size places the vehicle in a segment that is larger than a traditional compact, but significantly smaller than most midsize sedans.  

Depending upon the trim, VW’s new volume sedan is available with a new 6-speed manual or an all-new 8-speed automatic transmission. The all-new Jetta is available with two engines, too.

While the 4-cylinder, 184-horsepower engine is a carryover, the base SE model we reviewed was fueled by the brand’s new 148-horsepower turbocharged engine. The new 1.4-liter engine is a hare short in terms of horsepower, when compared to last year’s model. According to, the engine is capable of racking up 450 miles on a full tank of gas. To enhance the driving range and maximize fuel efficiency, our test vehicle was equipped with an off-on start-stop engine.

The Jetta is available with 16 or 17-inch tires. All Jettas now come with alloy wheels, as opposed to wheel covers.

Inside the vehicle, the interior designers have created two touchscreen infotainment centers, a 6.5-inch screen or an 8.0-inch screen. The larger screen is screen reserved for the SEL trim.

And, the compact Jetta is available with the latest safety driving aids too. Those features can range from a blind spot monitor with a rear traffic cross alert system to a lane keep assist system to a forward collision warning system to a radar activated cruise control system. These features are only available on select trims.

Moreover, the all-new Jetta is available with such premium features as a power panoramic roof to a heated steering wheel to leather seats with both a cooling and heating system to a keyless entry system to a memory operated power driver’s seat.

Lastly, the Jetta offers one of the best new vehicle warranty in the industry. The bumper-to-bumper new vehicle warranty is 6 years or 72,000 miles.

But: For those expecting a dramatic shift, the exterior styling for 2019 is Jetta is more evolutionary than revolutionary. Traditionalists will love the styling.

And with the exception of the Japanese makes from Mazda, Honda, Subaru and Toyota, pricing for the German-engineered VW starts out higher than the other compacts. While the noted models are available in a hatchback configuration, the Jetta is only available as four door sedan.

The new Jetta has slightly less headroom than the model it replaced. And the CD player and the adjustable front center armrest have been traded-in for a fixed front center armrest. The SE trim we reviewed also deletes SiriusXM radio from the option list. One will need to step up to the top of the line SEL trim or use a smartphone to play the subscription-based service through its App.

Lastly, the manual transmission is only available on the base S trim and the sportier GTI trim.

Verdict: As the Detroit car makers have walked away from the compact segment, VW has decided to stay in the game, providing an affordable four-door alternative to today’s pricier crossovers.

Competition: Hyundai Elantra; Honda Civic; Nissan Sentra; Kia Forte; Mazda3; Subaru Impreza; and Toyota Corolla

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