2019 Volkswagen Jetta Preview

Christian Wardlaw | Jan 14, 2018
  • Redesigned compact sedan is bigger inside and out
  • New styling presents a more rakish, sportier appearance
  • Interior is upgraded with higher quality materials and technology
  • Turbocharged 4-cylinder engine paired with manual or automatic transmission
  • Safety and technology improvements
  • Optional Volkswagen Digital Cockpit
  • New 400-watt BeatsAudio sound system option
  • Available R-Line trim level adds sporty appearance


Perhaps no other vehicle better defines the reference “3-box sedan” than the current Volkswagen Jetta. That’s because it looks like three different boxes, taped together and equipped with wheels.

With the debut of the redesigned 2019 Volkswagen Jetta at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, that changes. And when the new Jetta goes on sale later this year, it will be offered in S, SE, SEL, SEL Premium, and R-Line trim levels.

Exterior Features

The new 2019 Jetta is larger inside and out when compared to the car it replaces, which was already among the most accommodating sedans in the compact segment.

Wrapped in what Volkswagen calls “coupe-like” design, the 2019 Jetta is longer, wider, and taller, and features a longer wheelbase and shorter front and rear overhangs. A large grille flanked by LED headlights gives the front end a bolder look, and aluminum wheels are standard.

Volkswagen uses sharper character lines and added chrome trim to impart a more upscale look, while R-Line models feature a sportier appearance than other Jetta models.

Interior Features

Volkswagen aims to make the new Jetta’s interior a more pleasant place to spend time. As such, the company describes it as “upscale” and assembled using “premium materials.”

Highlights of the “driver-centric” cabin include numerous soft-touch surfaces, greater interior space, and an oversized center console storage bin large enough to hold a standard-size tablet computer. As the sporty model in the lineup, the Jetta R-Line features a uniquely detailed interior.

Every 2019 Jetta includes a Driver Personalization system. It allows different four drivers to save various vehicle settings, depending on equipment levels. Those settings include driver assistance technology preferences, radio station pre-sets, cabin temperature, the driver’s-seat position, ambient lighting color, navigation map view, and the instrumentation theme.

Optional Features

Depending on which of the five trims you choose, the 2019 Jetta is offered with dual-zone automatic climate control, ambient cabin lighting with 10 available colors, a panoramic sunroof, a power driver’s seat, leather upholstery, and heated and ventilated front seats.

Under the Hood

For 2019, the Jetta finally moves to Volkswagen Group’s MQB vehicle architecture, a far more sophisticated platform than the one it’s been sitting on since 2011. Other vehicles based on MQB include the VW Golf and Tiguan, and the Audi A3 and TT. That’s good company, and as a result of the move Volkswagen promises that the Jetta will fun to drive.

A direct-injected and turbocharged 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine is standard in the new Jetta, and it makes 147 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque. That doesn’t sound terribly impressive, but Volkswagen says the torque figure is class leading, and if the car has lost weight, this engine should provide sprightly acceleration.

A 6-speed manual gearbox is standard, with an 8-speed automatic transmission available in lower trims and standard in higher trims. Fuel-saving automatic engine stop/start is standard equipment with the automatic transmission, and the Jetta R-Line gets the Electronic Cross Differential (XDS) from the racy GTI.

As is true of all modern Volkswagens, the new Jetta comes with a standard 6-year/72,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty that is fully transferrable to subsequent owners. That ought to provide some peace-of-mind.


No doubt, the new Jetta’s structure will help to improve the car’s crashworthiness. Additionally, the Jetta will includes a standard reversing camera and an automatic post-collision braking system, the latter system designed to bring the car to a halt as soon as possible after a collision in order to reduce the potential for secondary impacts after the air bags have already deployed.

Safety-related options include a long list of driver assistance and collision avoidance technologies. They include adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic high-beam headlights.


Most versions of the Jetta will include a Car-Net infotainment system with connected services and App-Connect smartphone integration supporting Apple, Android, and Mirror Link platforms. Navigation is also available, and a new BeatsAudio premium sound system is included with SEL and SEL Premium trims.

Volkswagen Digital Cockpit will also be standard for the Jetta SEL and SEL Premium, allowing owners to configure the instrumentation to specific preferences.


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