The 2019 Jetta is available in five trim levels. They include S, SEL, SEL Premium, and the all new R-Line. All trims share the same 1.4L turbo-charged inline four-cylinder engine producing 184 foot-pounds of torque at a mere 1400 RPM. Horsepower is slightly down at 147 but with the slight decrease comes an astounding 40 miles per gallon highway rating. That makes the few dropped ponies hard to miss, especially when considering most turbocharged engines require premium gasoline while the Jetta is designed for regular 87 fuel. Base S vehicles are equipped with a standard 6-speed manual gearbox while SEL and higher gets the newly introduced 8-speed automatic with automatic start/stop technology standard for even more fuel savings.
Base S trim models come very nicely equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels, a rearview camera, Bluetooth connectivity and automatic LED headlights. On the inside there’s 6-way adjustable cloth seats, cruise control, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, and a 6.5-inch infotainment system with a USB slot and Apple CarPlay / Android Auto/MirrorLink smartphone integration. The SE trim adds keyless entry, blind spot monitoring, a panoramic sunroof, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated seats, and V-Tex leatherette seating surfaces. Stepping up to SEL trim buyers are treated to a BeatsAudio stereo system, 10-color interior ambient lighting, VW Digital Cockpit, and lane-keep assist. Finally, SEL Premium adds leather seats, 8-inch navigation, and 17-inch alloy wheels with premium finish. The all new R-Line gets blacked out aggressive exterior styling, a generous list of standard features and a race-inspired XDS Cross Differential. Exterior modifications include prominent R-Line badging, black grille accents, black painted mirrors a rear wing, 17-inch R-Line alloy wheels and fog lights.
Standard and available safety features are plentiful on the Jetta, among the best lineup in the segment. Volkswagen offers standard features for S trim that include electronic stability control, engine brake-assist, front and side thorax airbags, curtain airbags, tire pressure monitoring, and its Intelligent Crash Response System. Available features starting at SE include adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking, rear traffic alert, and blind spot monitoring.
The Jetta returns for 2019 as the newest edition to Volkswagens MQB platform allowing VW to utilize the same front axle placement, pedal box and engine positioning across all models, despite varying wheelbase, track and external dimensions. With the move to the new platform Jetta now features longer wheelbase, length, and width dimensions despite shedding some weight to become a sub three thousand pound chassis. The familiar 1.4L turbo-charged engine remains the sole power plant although with some tweaking now produces 187 foot-pounds of torque astonishingly early in the powerband providing excellent low-end acceleration. Coupled with a pair of new transmission options, the Jetta now claims 40 mpg highway and 34 mpg combined all the while reducing the starting price to $19,395 for a base S trim model.
Modern styling; practical and spacious interior; 40 mpg highway estimate; plenty of in-cabin entertainment options; advanced safety features
With rivals like the Honda Civic, Mazda3, and Subaru Impreza the Jetta stands out by not particularly standing out. A more modern take to a classic looking exterior, spacious interior, an excellent driving experience, on top of great standard equipment and gas mileage, make the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta a contender to take down the near dozen contenders occupying the segment.