2019 Jetta Review from Autotrader.ca
RALEIGH, NC – The Jetta might be Volkswagen’s biggest seller in Canada and the US, but in the hierarchy of compact sedans, the Jetta trails big players like the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, and Hyundai Elantra. As they say in show business, “Tough room.” With this all-new seventh-generation 2019 Jetta, VW is coming at the competition with some slick technology, a roomy cabin, the expected signature Volkswagen driving experience, and crucially for this segment, aggressive pricing.
There’s a solid, planted, and highly engineered feel to the Jetta that separates it from others in this segment.
Built in Puebla, Mexico, this Jetta now rides on VW’s modular MQB platform, which underpins most Volkswagen models from the Golf to the Tiguan to the Atlas. The 2019 Jetta is marginally bigger in every dimension than the outgoing car (largest in class they tell us), and benefits from this platform’s greater rigidity and reduction of unit cost.
VW is keeping it simple in Jetta-land. At launch the 2019 Jetta runs with one engine – a 1.4L turbocharged four with auto stop-start technology that makes 147 horsepower and a healthy 187 lb-ft of torque from 1,500 rpm. It is mated to either a six-speed manual (replacing the old five-speed) or an eight-speed auto that replaces the old six-speed unit.
Trims and Packages
Volkswagen further streamlines the Jetta experience by offering only three trim levels – Comfortline, Highline and Execline. The entry-level Trendline of Jettas previous is gone, largely because the only real function of that “stripper” model was to advertise its bottom line. In the real world nobody bought them.
Canadian pricing for the 2019 Jetta starts at $20,995 for the Comfortline with six-speed manual. Add $1,400 for the eight-speed auto. The Comfortline is nicely equipped with standard LED headlights, LED taillights and LED running lights, 16-inch alloy wheels, disc brakes at all wheels, heated fabric front seats, 6.5-inch touchscreen interface with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, USB, back-up camera, heated washer nozzles, heated exterior mirrors, four-speaker audio, cruise control and more.
Stepping up to the Highline ($24,095/$25,495) gets you different 16-inch alloys, leatherette seating surfaces, 60/40-split rear seats, auto-dimming interior mirror, blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert, proximity key with push-button start, 8-inch touchscreen with six-speaker audio, SiriusXM, CD player, voice control, auto climate control, leather-wrapped steering wheel, panoramic sunroof, and rain-sensing wipers.
The Execline ($27,695/$29,095) ramps up the luxury with leather, six-way power driver’s seat with lumbar, ventilated front seats, navigation, 400-watt Beats audio, 17-inch alloys, special interior décor, ambient lighting, front fog lights with cornering lights, selectable driving modes (Eco, Normal, Sport, Custom), and Volkswagen’s cool Digital Cockpit that replaces the analogue gauge cluster with a 10.2-inch configurable digital screen à la Audi’s Digital Cockpit.
Upgrades include the $1,700 R Package (unique 17-inch alloys, 15-mm-lowered sports suspension, specific trim and badging, ambient lighting, XDS Cross Differential, fog lights, remote start) for Highline only, and the $995 Driver Assistant package (for both Highline and Execline) that adds adaptive cruise, autonomous emergency braking, lane assist and auto high-beam.
While Volkswagen US only offers the six-speed manual in their lowest-spec S model, up here in Canada we can get the stick right across the entire Jetta lineup.
Performance and Handling
The turbo four and eight-speed auto make a fine pair. It’s a smooth, eager, lag-free, and generally quiet powerplant that packs a healthy whack of torque, allowing for effortless getaways and easy passing. The auto is also a smooth operator, not averse to kick-downs and, when the shifter is tapped into sport mode, it responds instantly to manual operation (forward for upshifts, back for downshifts)……….