The 2019 Jetta overview: A quintessentially American Volkswagen

Is there a extra quintessentially American Volkswagen than the Jetta? Having grown up in Europe, my default picture for VW is the standard Golf. But hatchbacks by no means actually caught on stateside. Until the age of the crossover, you wanted a trunk when you wished to promote, and the Jetta—a Golf with a trunk—proved that in spades. VW has offered far more than three million of them right here since 1980, maintaining the Jetta nameplate alive within the US market even whereas it referred to as them Ventos or Boras or Sagitars elsewhere.

Now there is a brand-new Jetta on the block, the seventh technology to bear the identify. Calling it a Golf with a trunk is underselling it. These days, automobile corporations like VW use architectures, not platforms, and the MQB structure lets it construct Golfs and Jettas but additionally Atlases, Tiguans, A3s, and TTs, plus some Seats and Skodas we can’t see for an additional 25 years. The structure fixes some dimensional relationships, together with the gap between the entrance axle and the pedals, for instance. But it leaves others free, so a Jetta might be as huge as a Golf however for much longer and with a bigger wheelbase. (Or plain larger throughout, like that Atlas.)

In truth, the brand new Jetta might moderately be referred to as super-sized; it is longer (185.1 inches/cm), wider (70.eight inches/cm), and even a tiny bit taller (57.Four inches/cm) than the sixth-gen Jetta. Despite this growth, the brand new automobile is actually slightly slippery, with a drag coefficient (Cd) of simply 0.27. It’s additionally not that portly, at a curb weight of two,970lbs (1,347kg). That’s good, as a result of for now your solely alternative of engine is a 1.4L turbocharged four-cylinder one. This affords 147hp (kW) and 184lb-ft (Nm) coupled to an eight-speed automated, until you decide the $18,545 S trim, wherein case the automated gearbox is an $800 add-on.

Consequently, the 2019 Jetta shouldn’t be a automobile that you simply wish to hustle, even when it does have a Sport mode. Perhaps underscoring that time, I am unable to even discover reference to a 0-60mph time anyplace in VW’s press package for the automobile. On the opposite hand, a slippery physique, a comparatively low mass, and a small turbocharged 4 could make for environment friendly cruising. The EPA charges the Jetta at 30mpg metropolis, 40mpg freeway, and 34mpg mixed. Based on my drive from Denver to Pikes Peak and again, I’ve no motive to doubt that. (Just a few weeks later, the perfect I might common was 25mpg, however that concerned numerous DC visitors and a slowish puncture that will even have affected gasoline economic system.)

That’s to not say Jettas cannot be quick. A few weeks in the past, one broke the 210mph (338km/h) barrier at Bonneville through the use of a modified model of the two.0L that can present up in subsequent yr’s Jetta GLI. Just do not anticipate 600hp and a braking parachute on the GLI’s choices record.

Car architectures like MQB are about extra than simply the bodily structure of the car—in addition they embody all of the digital stuff that we won’t do with out. That means superior driver-assistance methods like adaptive cruise management and numerous collision alerts (blind spots, rear visitors, ahead, and so on.), however it additionally means LED headlights that know when to show themselves on, infotainment, and devices.

Speaking of adaptive cruise management, the Jetta’s system works tremendous and saved me out of bother on lengthy drives and in visitors. The lane-keeping help is not anyplace close to as sturdy as you’d discover in a dearer Audi, although.

Both Jettas we examined have been top-of-the-line ($26,945) SEL variations, in order that they got here with all of the bells and whistles. As an illustration of how interconnected all these numerous subsystems are, think about the next: switching amongst Eco, Normal, and Sport modes remaps the throttle, modifications the transmission shift factors, and might even tighten the steering. But it should additionally tweak how the adaptive cruise management behaves, modifications the climate-control settings, and even modifications the inside ambient lighting.

The inside tech may effectively be the Jetta’s strongest card. SEL Jettas include the 10.25-inch “Digital Cockpit” show, a VW model of Audi’s “Virtual Cockpit” that I’ve raved about previously. You can configure it to an awesome diploma, from austere minimalism to data overload, and along with the MIB II infotainment system, the general expertise is slick. (Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and MirrorLink are included.)

The remainder of the inside can be fairly slick. Mostly. The seats and steering wheel are wrapped in leather-based, and nearly all of the bits you may contact usually are created from high-grade plastics and have nice finger motion. At the identical time, the entrance seats provide much less lateral help than you’d discover within the Honda Accord, and the uncovered bodywork on the doorways and B-pillar did bring to mind how some bits of this automobile have been positively constructed to a funds.

Indeed, VW makes a lot of the truth that the seventh-gen Jetta is cheaper than the sixth-gen automobile—$300 cheaper for the most affordable S trim and a helpful $1,380 cheaper for the SEL. Perhaps this comes into starkest reduction when wanting on the Jetta’s most Jetta-ish attribute: the trunk itself. Its felt lining is skinny and never effectively secured, however the larger drawback is the lid. Forget the gasoline struts that maintain up a Golf (or perhaps a Polo) hatch: listed here are two quite simple hinges, painted physique colour.

Mind you open the trunk lid all the way in which, although. Otherwise put together for a smack on the again of the top because the trunk lid makes an attempt to return to its pure resting state. This caught me out greater than as soon as in Colorado and at the least twice again in DC till I lastly seen the warning and instruction glyph.

Maybe it is the repeated head trauma, however I by no means fully gelled with both of the 2 Jettas I hung out with. Sure, the pricing is cheap, as is the gasoline economic system, they usually had some good tech. Then once more, the Honda Accord has all that, too, and is extra partaking to drive. I assume your desire will come all the way down to how a lot you want that dashboard.

Listing picture by Volkswagen

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