JETTA

New VW has lower cost than pre­vi­ous year

Chicago Sun-Times - - TO DRIVE - BY JOHN STEIN

The all-new 2019 Volk­swa­gen Jetta of­fers a hand­some, bold de­sign with more in­te­rior space and the im­pres­sive high-tech of­fer­ings that make it a joy to drive. Be­sides the newly im­ple­mented ex­ten­sion of the war­ranty from last year, the new sev­enth-gen Jetta’s best news is that it costs less than last year’s model.

The Ger­man au­tomaker has been steadily win­ning back cus­tomer con­fi­dence after the diesel scan­dal cre­ated a road bump a few years ago and the huge suc­cess the new war­ranty brought has been a wind­fall for the brand. The 2019 Jetta comes with a trans­fer­able, 6-year/72,000-mile new ve­hi­cle lim­ited war­ranty.

Trim Lines

Of­fered in S, SE, R-Line, SEL, and a new SEL Premium trim for 2019, the start­ing price of the 2019 Jetta’s base S trim with an au­to­matic trans­mis­sion is $19,345 ($18,545 man­ual), which is $300 less than the 2018 Jetta’s start­ing price.

Look for an SE start­ing at $22,155 ($90 less than 2018). Step up to the SEL trim, and you’ll spend $24,415, or $1,830 less than the 2018.The R-Line is for more ad­ven­tur­ous driv­ers and starts at $22,995, and the SEL Premium starts at $26,945, or $700 more than the top trim level in 2018.

Amer­i­can De­sign

Ac­cord­ing the Volk­swa­gen, the new model is de­signed with the Amer­i­can mar­ket in mind. The new-gen­er­a­tion Jetta is longer, wider, and taller than the out­go­ing model. Of­fi­cially, it’s a com­pact sedan, but it looks and feels much larger, which bodes well for con­sumers look­ing for more in­te­rior space on a com­pact price.

Aes­thet­i­cally speak­ing, the Jetta has al­ways been a hand­some, though mod­estly styled, com­pact sedan. The VW style is con­ser­va­tive, though they may do more-with-less bet­ter than any­one els when it comes to dis­tinct style. My tester fea­tured 17-inch rims that gave it more of that “Amer­i­can” bold ap­peal (stan­dard is 16-inch rims).

Cabin Com­fort

Head­room in the front seats is 38.5 inches, while in the rear seat it’s 37.2 inches. Legroom in the rear seat is 37.4 inches. This falls into the bet­ter than av­er­age cat­e­gory and like I men­tioned, it feels even larger than the ac­tual di­men­sions.

In­side the cabin, you will get the ex­pected qual­ity lev­els of Volk­swa­gen ma­te­ri­als. Look for soft-touch ma­te­ri­als and no hard plas­tics, some­thing that re­ally can change the level of com­fort im­me­di­ately. The S trim gets cloth seats, the SE gets leatherette seat­ing sur­faces, and the SEL Premium gets leather. My tester had out­stand­ing leather seat­ing sur­faces with front seat heaters and power ad­just­ments for the driver.

The Jetta’s avail­able safety tech­nolo­gies in­clude for­ward col­li­sion warn­ing and au­tonomous emer­gency brak­ing, rear traf­fic alert, adap­tive cruise con­trol, lane keep as­sist, and au­to­matic high beam head­light con­trol.

Per­for­mance

The Jetta is avail­able with one en­gine, a 1.4-liter tur­bocharged four-cylin­der de­liv­er­ing a re­spectable 147 horse­power and 184 lb.-ft. of torque. There is a bit of turbo lag noted, but it is not an is­sue at any point, just no­tice­able when try­ing to jump out into traf­fic from a dead stop. Four driv­ing modes are avail­able: Nor­mal, Sport, Eco, and Cus­tom.

A 6-speed man­ual and 8-speed au­to­matic are avail­able. I tested the au­to­matic and found it to be a plea­sure to op­er­ate with seam­less and quick shifts.With ei­ther trans­mis­sion, the en­gine is rated at 30 miles per gal­lon city, 40 mpg high­way, and 34 mpg com­bined.

Tech­nol­ogy

The 2019 Jet­tas get rearview cam­eras, and SE and above trims get dual-zone air, heated seats, key­less en­try with push­but­ton start, and a blind-spot mon­i­tor.VW’s Car-Net sys­tem runs smart­phone apps on the ve­hi­cle’s 8-inch dis­play.

Car-Net, which starts with a six-month trial and then re­quires a sub­scrip­tion, of­fers re­mote ve­hi­cle ac­cess that can lock/un­lock the doors, find your parked car, or check the fuel level. Also in­cluded are au­to­matic crash no­ti­fi­ca­tions and emer­gency calls, road­side as­sis­tance, and stolen ve­hi­cle lo­ca­tion as­sis­tance. Speed and bound­ary alerts can also be set for younger driv­ers. The Jetta de­liv­ers at ev­ery level in 2019.

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