Skip to main content

2019 Volkswagen Jetta is the compact car for hatchback haters

Read our full review of the new Volkswagen Jetta.

The Golf hatchback may be Volkswagen’s worldwide sales leader, but Americans have always preferred the Jetta sedan. Perhaps because of memories of horrid 1970s hatchbacks like the Ford Pinto, AMC Pacer, and even the old VW Rabbit diesel, U.S. buyers typically prefer trunks over hatches.

So it makes sense for the redesigned 2019 Volkswagen Jetta to debut at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. After working to clean up the mess of its diesel-emissions cheating scandal, VW is trying to put its best foot forward with the new Jetta and once again take on segment leaders like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.

The last Jetta was a virtually style-free car, with a very generic look that didn’t leave a lasting impression. The 2019 Jetta is a bit more distinctive, with a larger grille and a few more curves, but it probably won’t win any beauty contests. The swirl-pattern wheels in particular look like a holdover from the 1990s.

Things are a bit more encouraging under the skin. The Jetta rides on the same MQB platform as the Golf, Atlas, and numerous other Volkswagen Group models. That’s usually a good recipe for solid handling and refined road manners. Compared to the previous-generation Jetta, the new model is longer, wider, and taller, with a longer wheelbase. VW promises increased interior space as well.

The 2019 Jetta is powered by the same 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine used in the previous-generation model. This engine produces 147 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, which is sent to the front wheels through six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmissions. We’re awaiting the return of the sporty Jetta GLI model.

The new Jetta will be available with Volkswagen Digital Cockpit, similar in concept to the Virtual Cockpit from VW’s Audi luxury brand. Digital Cockpit replaces the traditional instrument cluster with a reconfigurable digital display. AppleCarPlay, Android Auto, and a 400-watt BeatsAudio system will be available as well.

Safety tech includes a standard rearview camera and automatic post-collision braking, which applies the brakes after a crash to prevent a second collision. Other available safety features include autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, and lane departure warning.

The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta goes on sale in the U.S. in the second quarter of this year. Pricing will be revealed closer to the launch date.

Editors' Recommendations

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
Volkswagen’s celebrated Golf GTI returns with more power and new tech
2021 Volkswagen GTI



Read more
Ford could build its next Mustang-inspired electric car on Volkswagen bones
Ford Mustang Mach E front view

Ford is eager to capitalize on the Mustang Mach-E's popularity by releasing a smaller, more affordable model in the coming years. While development work is on-going, company sources hinted the yet-unnamed car will use Volkswagen parts.

Decision-makers on both sides of the Atlantic are already plotting ways to expand the Mustang family beyond the well-known two-door model and the aforementioned Mach-E crossover, according to Murat Gueler, Ford's chief designer. "Yes, we have already talked about expansion, to some sort of family," he confirmed to British magazine Auto Express.

Read more
Volkswagen’s friendly looking robot would autonomously charge electric cars
Sketch of Volkswagen's battery wagon

Volkswagens Mobiler Laderoboter | Volkswagen’s Mobile Charging Robot

Volkswagen has created an autonomous charging station on wheels that could make electric car-only parking spots a thing of the past. Deploying smiling, friendly-looking robots in parking structures promises to turn every spot into a charging point.

Read more