Great News! you can still buy a sedan, the world is not yet full of SUV’s and Crossovers and best of all, for the budget conscious, you can buy a brand new 2019 Volkswagen Jetta 1.4T S for a shade over $20K; our tester coming in at $20,195. The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta has finally caught up with its Golf sibling and uses the now familiar MQB platform shared across a multitude of models. It’s also it’s unique to North America since the Europeans were never interested in it, preferring hatchbacks and wagons.
The new Jetta is now larger than the outgoing model, VW has extended it so it’s 1.3-inch longer, 0.8-inch wider, 0.2-inch taller, and its wheelbase has been stretched by an extra 1.3-inches. It looks good too, leaner with a new grille and hood creases giving it a sense of purpose and at glance you may be forgiven in thinking it’s a Passat. The 1.4-liter turbo-four has 147 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque and carries over from outgoing car unchanged, and is the only engine available, until the GLI model appears with a 2.0 T. The 1.4 t is paired to a new six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic. Thanks to those transmissions and the improved aerodynamics, the EPA says they can both achieve 40 mpg on the highway. We didn’t achieve that, but after a week of hard charging we couldn’t manage to get worse than 26.8 mpg, which is pretty good.
Initial impressions are that the 1.4 T would seem to have insufficient power to get out of its own way, however, that fat torque number of 184 lb-ft @ 1,400 rpm makes for very sprightly progress. The new 8 speed helps too being smooth and not hunting for gears even in D mode. In fact I preferred to use D over the S (Sport) setting since revving this engine past 4k doesn’t pay off. It’s much better to ride that torque curve. Strapping on test gear and launching at around 3,500 rpm the Jetta made it to 60 in 7.5 seconds, faster than expected. The engine is quite buzzy at high revs so burying your right foot for a drag race is not recommended, however, more than adequate progress can be made at partial throttle and this is the sweet spot that most drivers will enjoy. The new Jetta is so easy to drive.
Day to day driving
It really grew on me the more I drove it over the course of a week, commuting to the office was easy in heavy traffic, the torque is there whenever you need it and at freeway speeds the car is quiet and very composed. The new car rides very well either compared to others in the class or the outgoing model, which had the tendency to feel wooden and lifeless. The new platform maintains great body control and handling is above average, including in the corners where there is some body roll but it’s well controlled. Our tester was riding on 16 inch wheels shod with all season tires so if you want more grip I suggest you opt for a size up. Attack a corner with vigor and the Jetta will take you round with aplomb but on the limit under-steer will happen. Even when the roads get rough, the Jetta never brings that harshness inside — it’s all very quiet serene inside. hell, sound barely permeates the wonderfully hushed interior. All in all the Jetta is a sensibly entertaining everyday compact sedan.
My tester was a base S model and so lacked the new Volkswagen Digital Cockpit, which replaces the gauge cluster with a 10-inch configurable display. Even so what you get on the S model is a new infotainment system with a 6.5-inch touch screen display that blends in nicely to the dash and is angled towards the driver. While our car had a pretty decent 4 speaker sound system, choosing the upper trim levels bring a Beats Audio system, with a 12-channel, 400-watt amplifier and nine speakers, to the table.
The only gripe I have is the long seat cushion, which won’t be a problem for taller drivers but for those shorter in the leg the seats rub somewhat under the knee. Other than that the driving position is good, there are plenty of storage places, including a bin under the armrest, as well as pockets built into the doors . I did find the vents in the dash to be set too low due to the new design so it was a bit of a faff to cool you face. I found using the drivers left hand vent solved the problem.
VW has done a great job with the new Jetta, the 2019 model is much sharper in every way. It’s prettier, better equipped, nicer to drive and less expensive, by a hair. It’s better than almost all of its competitors at this price and it’s a better car than most of its compact competitors. The Jetta is available in S, SE, R-Line, SEL, and SEL Premium trim levels, starting at $18,545 and topping out above $27,000. Also they offer a 6 year, 72,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty that can be transferred to any number of owners until it expires. It’s the most extensive warranty available in the U.S. market………add to that remarkable fuel economy and the Jetta is a pretty good proposition for those buyers not wanting to spend a lot of money. What are you waiting for?
2019 VW Jetta 1.4 T S Numbers
|AS TESTED PRICE||$20,195|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, FWD, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan|
|ENGINE||1.4L turbocharged DOHC 16-valve I-4|
|POWER||147-hp @5,000 rpm|
|TORQUE||184-lb-ft @1,400 rpm|
|CURB WEIGHT||2,888 lb|
|0-60 MPH||7.5 sec|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||30/40/34 mpg|
|Our OBSERVED FUEL ECONOMY||26.8 MPG|
|PROS||Gutsy and torquey engine, interior quality, ride and handling|
|CONS||Somewhat vague steering, could use more grip|