VW-Jetta has the goods to make even the Audi A3 envious.
Volkswagen’s reworked Jetta has the goods to make even the Audi A3 envious
At some point, Audi is going to lose it on Volkswagen. Rest assured, the middle child will someday soon throw a tantrum on the mother corp, and there’s little doubt Audi has a compelling argument.
Audi has every right to be miffed at Volkswagen over the 2019 Jetta: The new car comes substantially close to Audi’s own A3 and A4, even sharing the same platform with the A3 and Q3, as well as a whole manner of mechanical bits and electrics. Buyers who don’t care if their jeans are Wrangler or Levis will undoubtedly opt for the cheaper option, essentially getting a base Audi for half price.
Almost. No, there’s not a lot of cachet in owning a Jetta, made worse in years past by savage cost-cutting that lowered the Jetta’s appeal to a level where thieves wouldn’t steal them. The design was bland, the engine old and lumpy, the interior so drab and unhappy. However, the 2019 Jetta breaks free from that.
VW couldn’t completely eat its stylish Audi young, so the new Jetta maintains a highly conservative look. The Jetta’s trout-like snout and creased sheet metal won’t be something preteen boys will fantasize about. But the overall package, starting at just over $27,500 for the top-tier Execline model (with a manual transmission) is so well sorted and well equipped, it marks the comeback of a nameplate that began in 1979.
Riding on busy looking 17-inch Tornado alloys, the Jetta Execline gets a slew of coveted features as standard equipment, including a 10.3inch digital and configurable screen as an instrument cluster, a BeatsAudio sound system and an eight-inch touch-screen infotainment system with satellite navigation. Plus there’s dual-zone automatic climate control, blind-spot monitoring, leather seats and steering wheel, a big sunroof (which tended to rattle a bit), full LED exterior lighting and beautiful interior ambient lights. All this for under $30,000.
Slightly larger than the previous model, the 2019 Jetta grows to 4,702 millimetres yet loses a bit of trunk space, although it’s still sizable at 396 litres. Up front, the cabin feels roomier than a Golf, but about the same as a Tiguan. Back-seat room is not exactly Uber material, but fine for most occasional passengers or kids in car seats.
Powered by a turbocharged, 1.4litre in-line four-cylinder engine, the Jetta can sound a little lumpy at startup, but it smooths out nicely when underway. Some road noise is evident, but it’s not annoying. Punch the throttle and it’s surprising how such a small displacement engine can move this car so quickly. Off the line, it’s easy to rotate the tires; the engine’s 184 pound-feet of torque is in full supply at just 1,400 rpm.
Only when hitting the higher gears does the engine run out of steam, when 147 horsepower shows it isn’t quite enough to blow past semi trailers with confidence. The engine tends to reveal a coarser throat when being whipped for all its power, too. But somehow it gets the job done while earning highly favourable fuel economy. Our average came in at just over 10 L/100 kilometres, but the official ratings average to 7.0 L/100 km (5.9 highway and 7.8 city) with the eightspeed automatic transmission.
That automatic worked well for the most part, with no detectable confusion. It just wasn’t as engaging as the six-speed manual would be, a transmission that would help the Jetta feel somewhat quicker because power would be squeezed a little more for the sake of power, instead of efficiency. A manual might make the car more soulful, too, because the Jetta feels as though its mission is transportation only, with little deviation for fun.
2019 Volkswagen Jetta Execline.