2019 VW Jetta: Practical and Affordable

The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta proves that no matter how exotic cars become, it’s solid, dependable, practical, and affordable models that sell. The Jetta is a staple in Volkswagen’s lineup, and this year’s model is adding to the legacy.

Here’s why the newest iteration of the Jetta is furthering its reputation for a dependable and reliable car.

Exterior Styling

Some of today’s vehicles go for cutting-edge, contemporary styling that can be polarizing. Other models just seem to try to be different and end up being plain ugly. The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta doesn’t go down either route. Instead, the Jetta takes conservative styling to an art form, but manages to stay clear of being dull.

There really is no such thing as an unattractive Jetta. Even the most basic model will look pretty good while fitting-in perfectly outside the average suburban home.

If you want a little more sportiness, there’s a Jetta GLI performance variant. Even then, it’s certainly no Dodge Challenger SRT, so it won’t alarm the neighbors.

Engines and Performance

All standard versions of the 2019 VW Jetta come with the same 1.4-liter turbo-four under the hood that produces 147 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque. What power it has is delivered quickly and quietly, and the engine is a good match for the excellent eight-speed automatic transmission most models come with. There is another transmission, which is a six-speed manual, but that’s only available as the standard unit with the entry-level Jetta S.

And there is another choice: a 2.0-liter turbo-four. Getting it means going up to the Jetta GLI that costs a lot more than an entry-level Jetta S. The GLI’s 2.0-liter engine delivers 228 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque, which is then mated to either the six-speed manual transmission or the seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic. As the Volkswagen DSG is generally rated as one of the very best transmissions anywhere in the world, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a manual GLI without a special order. And if the engine in the GLI sounds familiar, it’s very close to the unit VW drops in the current Golf GTI.

Interior

It’s not unusual for cars in this class to have roomy, supportive and comfortable front seats, but for those sitting in the back have to put up with considerably less. To some extent, it’s the other way round here with the Jetta. It’s actually a little tight up front in the Jetta, where the front seats can be a little lacking in support and the center console steals some potential extra legroom.

For a compact, there’s quite a lot of room in the back of the Jetta.The large rear doors make getting in and out very easy. The good news for those shopping on a budget is the tough cloth found in the Jetta S is actually really good, and some buyers prefer it to synthetic leather.

Although the interior design isn’t going to leave you stunned, it is sensible, practical, well laid out and good in quality. Everything has a practical use, and the build quality and materials used are good for the price point.

Features and Equipment

Vehicles don’t sell in numbers like the Jetta without offering buyers good value for money and at least a decent level of standard features and equipment, and it has to be a big part of the reason why the Jetta is as popular as it is. The entry-level Jetta S comes standard with that very good cloth upholstery, a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system that’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible, LED headlights, 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, a rearview camera, an electric parking brake, and audio controls on the steering wheel.

The next model in the lineup, the Jetta SE, probably looks like the sweet spot for value. The SE also comes with a panoramic moonroof, automatic climate control, keyless ignition, heated front seats, synthetic leather upholstery, and leather around the steering wheel. The SE costs around $3,500 more than the S, but for just over $22,000, it looks and sounds like seriously good value.

Fuel Economy

Perhaps another reason the Jetta is as popular as it is could be its fantastic fuel economy. If you want better from a compact sedan, you’re going to have to pay for a hybrid.

It doesn’t matter whether you have a base S model with the six-speed manual or another model – every Jetta is rated by the EPA at 30 mpg in the city, 40 mpg on the highway and 34 mpg combined.

The Good

  • Plenty of safety tech
  • Ageless styling
  • High-tech options

The Not-So-Good

  • Not particularly exciting
  • Front seats lack support

The Last Word

To say the Jetta is an inoffensive car would be accurate, but also pretty unfair. It might not set pulses racing, but it does everything you’d want from an affordable compact sedan. And it does most things very well indeed.

Take a look around at how little SUV you can get for the MSRP of a 2019 Jetta SE, and you’ll understand why this car continues to sell.

Darren Brode / Shutterstock

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