2019 Volkswagen Jetta is the ‘Betta Jetta’ Yet

Volkswagen is one of the leading automakers in the world, and right now is a great time for product here in the U.S. We have seen a great new 3-row SUV (Atlas) and a total makeover of the Tiguan crossover. Now we see the next-generation Jetta compact sedan, and what a winner this is.

2019 Volkswagen Jetta/Images courtesy Volkswagen

I will admit I am torn between the marketing and production departments at VW as the new marketing campaign of “Betta Getta Jetta” is lost on me, but behind the wheel of this new car is where I truly connect with Jetta. The marketing is focused on a younger demographic I believe, especially after seeing so many of the new TV ads during the World Cup coverage this summer. But actually driving this vehicle will make folks truly appreciate the improvements made for the 2019 model year.

Jetta has moved to Volkswagen’s Modular Transverse Matrix (MBQ) platform joining the aforementioned product above. This allows for longer wheelbase, wider track, and shorter front overhang – all of which translates to a vehicle that rides better, handles better,and even looks much better than the model it replaces. Hands down, this is the best Jetta yet from its styling to its content and its manufacturing. Vehicles like this and the new Atlas and Tiguan (not to mention the fun little Golf) will make us forget about the problems VW had a few years back with its diesel program.

The new Jetta is powered by the 1.4T turbocharged 1.4-liter four cylinder TSI engine that features direct injection. It is raged for 147hp and 184 lb. ft. of torque that propels the vehicle quite nicely. The turbo gives plenty of power off the line as well as across the midband when passing. The engine is smooth and quiet and achieves quite good fuel economy at 30 mpg city and 40 mpg highway. The Jetta features a six-speed manual gearbox as standard equipment while upgraded models can get the new 8-speed automatic transmission with manual shift, sport mode, and start/stop technology. Suspension duties are handled by strut-type under the front with lower control arms and long-travel coil springs and torsion beam setup in the rear with telescopic dampers for better balance of comfort and handling. Brakes are vented discs up front and solid discs in the rear and the electrically assisted rack and pinion steering provides enough feedback to allow drivers to enjoy the drive. Sixteen-inch wheels and tires are standard with our tester arriving with stylish 17-inch alloy wheels with all-season tires.

Inside the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta we find a more driver-focused cockpit with comfort for up to five adults. Thanks to new platform and body growth there is more occupant and cargo space making for a more pleasant riding experience. Volkswagen has included all of its latest creature comfort features and our SEL Premium tester was loaded to the gills. We enjoyed leather seating and steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seating, new BeatsAudio premium sound system, and cool 10-color customizable ambient lighting system – Jetta brings the party to you. New safety technology includes forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking, active blind spot monitor with rear traffic alert, lane keeping system with lane assist, automatic high beam control, adaptive cruise control, rear view camera system, and intelligent crash response system. Volkswagen also offers its VW Car-Net system of App Connect, Guide and Inform, and Security and Service network of connected services.

Pricing for the 2019 Jetta begins at $18,545 for the base S model. Volkswagen offers trim levels of S, SE, R-Line, SEL, and SEL Premium for the new Jetta and our loaded SEL Premium test model arrived with a final window sticker of $27,795. And in making an effort to win back customers, Volkswagen offers its People First Warranty of coverage for six years and/or 72,000 miles.

The new Jetta rides and drives like a midsize sedan. It is still rated in the compact segment, but it certainly proved to us it is a step above. I would have to say this may be the best improved vehicle for this model year. It is easy to drive and offers a very comfortable ride but can also provide drivers a bit more excitement thanks to the peppy little turbo engine and superior handling. Hopefully, Volkswagen’s new marketing campaign has gotten new customers into the showroom. For the rest of us, trust me when I say this is the best Jetta yet, and some of you just might “Betta Getta Jetta.”

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About the Author

David Goodspeed
David was editor of AutoworldToday at Today Newspapers in the Dallas suburbs until its closing in 2009. He was also webmaster and photographer/videographer. He got started doing photography for the newspaper while working as a firefighter/paramedic in one of his towns, and began working for the newspaper group full-time in 1992. David entered automotive journalism in 1998 and became AutoworldToday editor in 2002. On the average, he drives some 100 new vehicles each year. He enjoys the great outdoors and as an avid fly fisherman, as is his spouse Tish. He especially enjoys nature photography and is inspired by the works of Ansel Adams.