The Volkswagen Jetta was known as being a driver’s car and a way to get a European badge without the high price tag. While the Jetta is certainly a decent compact car and still has diehard fans, other rivals offer better performance and nicer interiors.
The Jetta is redesigned for 2019 and gets a bit more power, better fuel efficiency, a bigger touchscreen, and more available driver assistance technologies.
The Jetta comes in S, SE, R-Line, SEL, SEL Premium and GLI trims. Starting prices range from $18,745 to $29,995 which is about average for a compact car. It has front-wheel-drive and has room for five passengers.
Two engines are available. The standard engine is a 1.4-liter four-cylinder that makes 147 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, paired with a six-speed manual transmission. An eight-speed automatic is standard on all trims except S. My GLI tester has the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 228 horses and 258 pound-feet. It’s paired with a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic.
The 2019 Jetta doesn’t have the zippy performance of past models but it still boasts lively handling and a smooth ride. It stays composed when cornering and can handle daily driving scenarios such as merging and passing at freeway speeds.
Fuel efficiency is very good. EPA ratings for my tester are 25 mpg city and 32 mpg highway with a combined rating of 28 mpg. I got 28 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving. Models with the smaller engine get 30 mpg city and 40 mpg highway with a combined rating of 34 mpg.
The interior is pleasant not as nice as many competitors. There are some soft-touch materials but also a fair amount of hard plastics. Controls are sensibly laid out and easy to reach. Seats in both rows are comfortable and supportive, even for long trips and adults in both rows of seating will have decent leg- and headroom.
Standard features include a rearview camera, cloth upholstery, MIB II infotainment system with a 6.5-inch touchscreen, four speakers, USB port, Bluetooth, and VW Car-Net App-Connect which includes Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and MirrorLink.
Available features include keyless entry, push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control, leatherette and leather upholstery, front sport seats, heated front and rear seats, ventilated front seats, power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated steering wheel, sunroof, eight-speaker BeatsAudio sound system, additional USB port, HD Radio, satellite radio, and an upgraded infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen and , navigation.
Available driver assistance features include blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, and rear cross traffic alert.
The infotainment system is user-friendly but looks a bit dated with its smallish screen. The touchscreen is now at least 6.5 inches, up from 6.3 inches in the older models, but it’s still smaller than what you’ll find in many other vehicles.
The Jetta has 14.1 cubic feet of storage in the trunk which is good for the class. The rear seats fold and there are several storage bins and cubbies in the cabin.
Great fuel efficiency
Easy-to-use infotainment system
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard
Decent cargo space
Interior not as nice as some rivals
Less engaging to drive than some competitors
My tester starts at $27,795. The Pure Gray with black roof exterior is $295. Destination charge is $895 bringing the grand total to $28,985.
The Jetta provides a comfortable ride, roomy cabin and lots of available tech and driver assistance features. While the interior isn’t as upscale and performance isn’t as sporty as some rivals, Jetta fans will still like this redesigned version.