Witness the Return of the Jetta. The brand new 2019 mannequin looks like a return to type for the sedan after a era of delicate neglect.

Volkswagen’s compact sedan is now larger; not noticeably so, however with simply sufficient further room for folks and cargo. Nevertheless, the brand new Jetta feels extra like a transfer upscale, somewhat than only a transfer up in scale. The outside design, cabin supplies and tech are actually on par with VW’s greatest.

The place the last-generation Jetta felt like an afterthought in Volkswagen’s North American lineup — slumming it on an outdated platform with previous tech — this new mannequin looks like a fully-fledged, well-rounded member of the household.

New platform, who dis?

The most important efficiency information right here is that the Jetta is lastly on the MQB platform that underpins most of Volkswagen’s new fashions, from the Golf to the Tiguan, and even the bigger Atlas SUV.

The elevated cabin house is not actually noticeable up entrance, however an additional 1.three inches of rear legroom is a pleasant addition. The trunk gives 14.1 cubic ft of house, which is not as capacious because the outgoing Jetta’s 15.7, however mixed with rear seats that fold flat, means there is a ton of room, to not point out a pleasant, extensive opening that makes it simple to load cumbersome gadgets. Simply beware the weak hinge springs — the trunk will not keep open except it is pushed all the best way up. On quite a lot of events, the trunk lid got here down and hit me on the top whereas extracting cargo.

Sedate sedan

Not each driver desires one thing “sport-tuned.” The Jetta goals for consolation, and it delivers. The Jetta’s easy journey makes longer hauls a calming expertise. It is agile sufficient, with the identical responsive steering I’ve loved in different MQB-based automobiles, however general fairly chill.

The Jetta’s 1.Four-liter engine makes 147 horsepower, however is environment friendly sufficient to return as much as 40 mpg freeway.

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Underneath the hood you will discover VW’s 1.Four-liter turbocharged I4 engine, an up to date model of the 1.Four utilized in final yr’s Jetta. Energy is, surprisingly, all the way down to 147 horsepower (in comparison with 150 within the 2018 Jetta) whereas torque is unchanged at 184 pound-feet. I respect torque greater than ponies for commuter automobiles like this, and the Jetta nonetheless boasts a wholesome variety of pound-feet for a automotive of this dimension and weight — particularly because the new Jetta is 66 kilos lighter for 2019.

Nevertheless, the low-displacement 1.4T relies upon closely on the eight-speed computerized transmission to translate that torque into real-world efficiency. There’s a six-speed guide out there, however the overwhelming majority of Jetta consumers will find yourself with that computerized and, with programming skewed towards effectivity, you must in all probability mood your efficiency expectations. In its Consolation or Eco settings, the Jetta accelerates easily and quietly sufficient — and will ship EPA-estimated gas economic system scores of 30 mpg metropolis, 40 mpg freeway and 34 mpg mixed — however passing and merging in these modes can really feel a bit sedate.

Sport mode retains the engine’s revs barely elevated for a extra responsive throttle and higher acceleration. This setting feels nice round city and fairly darn good on a quick nation highway with easy, sweeping bends. However, even within the Sport setting, each the suspension and the powertrain really feel ill-suited for actually “sporty” driving on my favourite mountain roads. A mixture of robust understeer when pushed onerous by means of tighter bends and tall, economy-focused gear ratios leaving me wanting for torque when exiting a nook.

Digital Cockpit is not fairly as responsive as Audi’s Digital Cockpit, however it’s nonetheless higher than anything at this worth level.

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Smarter tech for 2019

The 2019 Jetta’s cabin considerably shakes up the traditional (learn: uninteresting) VW inside design with fashionable, angular particulars and a heavy concentrate on tech. Look carefully and you may see the place Volkswagen tried to chop price — the rubbery dashboard materials and a few panel plastics, for instance — however actually, you get what you pay for. The Jetta feels completely superb contemplating its sub-$20,000 beginning worth, particularly when you think about all of the expertise onboard.

Switching to the MQB platform means the Jetta can entry all of Volkswagen’s newest driver help applied sciences. On the high SEL and SEL Premium trim ranges, that features ahead collision warning with computerized emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping steering help, computerized excessive beams and adaptive cruise management that works in stop-and-go site visitors. The Jetta additionally options Volkswagen’s post-crash braking system that retains the automotive from rolling into further hazard after an accident.

I just like the delicate, mild help of the lane-keeping help system. The stop-and-go adaptive cruise management, in the meantime, is a bit too jerky for my liking in heavy site visitors, however works nicely at increased speeds on the freeway.

The spotlight of the Jetta’s cabin is the suite of dashboard tech. VW’s App-Join infotainment system comes normal, which implies that even the least-expensive base mannequin is suitable with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink, which permits drivers to carry their very own smartphone maps and audio streaming apps to the dashboard.

My SEL Premium mannequin makes use of an upgraded Eight-inch Uncover Media touchscreen navigation system, Volkswagen’s superior Digital Cockpit, 10-color ambient cabin lighting, a panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated seats, and a Beats Audio system.

Onboard navigation is fairly good, particularly contemplating its integration with the 10-inch Digital Cockpit LCD instrument cluster. Very like Audi’s Digital Cockpit, this second display screen in entrance of the motive force permits customers to view and management lots of the out there infotainment options — from navigation to hands-free calling to media choice — with out taking a hand off the wheel or a watch very far off the highway.

The inside could have some low cost bits, however its tech is by far the perfect in its class.

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Digital Cockpit is not as highly effective as Audi’s system — you’ll be able to’t show maps on each the dashboard and the instrument cluster on the identical time, for instance, and the display screen transitions between modes are a hair slower — however the performance continues to be superb. Significantly better than most digital instrument clusters you’d discover at this worth level, anyway.

In the meantime, drivers even have entry to Volkswagen’s Automobile-Internet suite of linked telematics options, together with subscription-based distant automobile monitoring capabilities like door locking or unlocking through smartphone app and extra. You’ll be able to even get a smartphone notification for those who’ve left your home windows or sunroof open and the forecast requires rain.

Tech, because it seems, is the brand new Jetta’s strongest level. That is an excellent factor.

Cozy, techy and never too costly. The 2019 Jetta is a very well-rounded sedan.

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How I would spec it

The 2019 VW Jetta S begins at $19,395 (together with an $850 vacation spot cost), which will get you out the door with Volkswagen’s App-Join tech and a reasonably fundamental suite of facilities. For consumers on a price range, it is a fairly whole lot.

Nevertheless, I would suggest wanting on the loaded SEL Premium mannequin that I examined. At $27,795, you get all the out there security tech, nicer cabin supplies, the bigger infotainment system and that superior Digital Cockpit. It might be the costliest mannequin, however nonetheless looks like a cut price contemplating simply how a lot stuff you get.

A strong alternative, as soon as once more

The Jetta faces robust competitors in opposition to all kinds of automobiles. On one hand, it is a wonderful different to compact sedans just like the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra or Kia Forte. However in its most-loaded spec, might be thought of a less-expensive different to bigger, four-cylinder-powered automobiles just like the Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata or Toyota Camry.

Both method, the 2019 Jetta is unquestionably price your consideration. Its snug, environment friendly dynamics and fashionable suite of tech make it a very strong alternative.

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