2019 Volkswagen Jetta Review

2019 Volkswagen Jetta - VW redesigns Jetta for 2019 while keeping prices stable.


In 2011 Volkswagen redesigned the Jetta to make it more attractive to buyers. Amenities were reduced and so was the price.

For 2019, VW redesigned the Jetta  again and the amenities have returned with prices for the various trim levels almost the same. Prices ranged from $18,000 to $25,000 in 2011. The 2019 prices are $18,500 to $26,945.

Changes are obvious. Today's Jetta comes with a 10.3-inch instrument cluster digital cockpit replacing speedometer and tachometer. Trunk space has been reduced from 16 to 14 cubic feet. At 2,900 to 3,000 pounds, the 2019 Jetta is lighter than its predecessor.  With the digital cockpit cluster, information can be customized  and the display an include speed, estimated fuel economy, and travel time to route guidance, assistance systems, and elevation.

The lighter weight accounted for impressive fuel usage numbers  on a recently tested 3,000-pound, top-of-the-line, $26,945 Jetta SEL Premium model. On one 430-mile jaunt in two-lane, four-lane, small-town driving with two adults and a child plus 35 pounds of cargo aboard, the four-door, front-wheel-drive compact sedan averaged 44.1 miles per gallon. On another 233-mile drive in mostly suburban driving with the same cabin load the average was 39.1 mpg. This is somewhat remarkable as the Jetta has four drive modes, Eco, Normal, Sport and Custom. The mode setting during test week was Normal, not Eco (economy). Premium 91-octane fuel was used to avoid the 87-octane regular gasoline mixed with 10 percent ethanol. Premium , although higher priced, gives better performance and economy.

Standard features on the tested Jetta included leather trim, heated and foldable power exterior mirrors, power tilt and slide panoramic (over two rows) sunroof, power, heated and ventilated front seats, four power mirrors and door locks, smart start, keyless remote entry and rain-sensing intermittent windshield wipers. It seemed that one drop of moisture from a cloud brought those wipers into action.

Manufacturers have a choice of putting controls for exterior windows on the driver's door armrest or on the A-pillar or dashboard. Guess which controls are easier to reach. In the Jetta, they are in front of the power window controls which are mounted on the armrest. Sensible and easy to feel and find, even in the dark. A trunk release control sits alone lower down on the driver's door. It is obvious and not placed on the floor, which is where some manufacturers put it.

Other standard fare included an eight-inch touchscreen navigation system, BeatsRadio sound system with subwoofer for AM-FM-satellite high definition radio, compact disc player, Bluetooth connectivity and voice control, USB and auxiliary ports.  The Jetta is the first VW product in the United States to offer BeatsRadio.

VW has what the company calls a Car-Net App-Connect system. Plug in a compatible smartphone and  apps, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, appear on the touchscreen.  

A flat storage bin sits below the easy-to-reach sound and climate controls. The bin is seven inches deep and eight inches wide. A slot to store a cell phone is ext to two beverage holders on the center console.

The interior ambient lighting includes 10 color choices.

The 2019 redesign has resulted in a sleeker Jetta with a sculpted hood. The LED projector headlamps and taillights add to the decor. So do the twin trapezoidal exhaust system tips.

Helping  sales is VW's expanded basic warranty coverage, which was introduced in 2017. The new basic warranty is six years or 72,000 miles including powertrain. Routine basic coverage on most vehicles sold in the U.S. is three years or 36,000 miles and occasionally four years or 50,000 miles.  Roadside assistance for VW remains at three years or 36,000 miles.

Vehicle: SEL Premium model of 2019 Volkswagen Jetta
Type: front-wheel-drive, four-door, five-passenger compact sedan
Price: $26,945
Engine: 1.4-liter, 147-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder
Transmission: shiftable eight-speed automatic
Wheelbase, length, width, height in inches: 105.7, 185.1, 70.8, 57.4
Trunk: 14 cubic feet
Weight: 3,000 pounds
Brakes: discs
Wheels, tires: 17-inch
Suspension: struts front, torsion-beam rear
Safety inclusions: seven airbags, antilock brakes, traction and stability controls, rearview camera, tire pressure monitoring system, adaptive cruise control, auto-dimming interior rearview mirror, lane keeping system, automatic headlamps
Assembly: Puebla, Mexico
Warranty: transferable, six years or 70,000 miles, three years or 36,000 miles roadside assistance
Information: www.vw.com

Jerry Kuyper

Born on a southwestern Minnesota farm, Jerrold E. Kuyper quickly became familiar with tractors, pickup trucks and related agricultural equipment. He left that behind to graduate from Augsburg College in Minneapolis and attend graduate schools in Evanston and Chicago. He was hired as a reporter for the Kenosha News, a daily newspaper in Kenosha, WI. After a stint of a dozen years at the Kenosha News, he became a columnist, layout, page and sections editor at the Northwest Herald, a daily newspaper based in Crystal Lake, IL serving northwest Chicago suburban communities.

While with the Northwest Herald he helped create, write reviews and opinion columns as well as edit the newspaper's Wheels section, a 16- to 40-page broadsheet that appeared weekly in the newspaper's Friday edition. Wheels was devoted to reviews of new vehicles, looks at automotive history, current trends in the automobile world and columns by automotive enthusiasts. Midwest Automotive Media Association members who contributed to reviews and columns included Mitch Frumkin, Phil Arendt, Matt Joseph and James Flammang as well as photo journalist Doug Begley and dragster specialist Fred Blumenthal.

Kuyper, who lives in Salem Lakes, WI, is a founding member of MAMA, is married, has three children and six grandchildren.