The 2019 version of the VW Jetta is new from the inside out, as the automaker continues to move models to what they call Modular Transverse Matrix or MQB platform. This platform allows the company to use the same underpinnings for a multitude of different vehicles in its lineup.
With parts and components like the engine and other basic items, no one thinks about keeping them the same across the platform, but it allows VW to save money. Therefore, they are adding things like adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning and other features back into their vehicles with little or no cost. Consumers are getting more bang for their buck and added luxury we would have thought not possible at the price levels they have set.
This MQB platform also allowed designers to reshape the body on the Jetta, giving it a longer wheelbase, a wider track and a shorter front overhang. Then by adding a faster-sloping rear roofline, the sedan now seems even more coupe-like than ever. The SEL Premium trim was really more like an Audi than we would have ever thought possible from VW as it continues to up their game both visually, technologically and also in the drivetrain.
Speaking of driving, we would never have thought it possible to get from Denver to Springville on just one single tank of gas in a nonhybrid sedan. However in keeping with the 1.4-liter turbocharged engine and making it even better than last year, our delivery driver was able to do just that and still had 125 miles to empty showing after he arrived.
That puts his mileage just over 45 mpg, and after a week of mostly running round town and the occasional jaunt out on the freeway and 400-plus miles, we were not able to drain the tank. The EPA said we would come in right around 34 mpg but we did better at 35. Our hats are off to the engineers that have kept gas mileage as an important part of the new design!
The engine make 147 horsepower and 184 ft.-lbs. of torque and will get the sedan to 60 in just over seven seconds. A new automatic eight-speed transmission can now be had in the Jetta and was what our test ride came equipped with.
This is up two speeds from the previous 2018 model with first gear being of a very short duration to give a more spirited driving experience. A start stop option now comes standard with the automatic transmission turning the engine off when the car comes to a stop and the brake is depressed. The automatic transmission is an add-on as the Jetta comes standard with a six-speed manual.
The new Jetta has a great exterior look and will appeal to all ages of drivers, but the interior is where the new VW really shines. The new SEL Premium, which is the top trim level of this new sedan fully loaded as our test ride was, comes in at just $27,695, a real bargain considering all the great inclusions in this package.
To start with, the seats were leather-clad and were both heated and cooled up front and very comfortable even on our longer outings. Soft touch points were everywhere giving the inside a very upscale and luxurious feel and look.
Our favorite addition was Volkswagen’s new digital dashboard which is just — that a full-on digital screen in front of the driver instead of the old analog gauges. This could be configured in a number of different user definable ways, with our favorite being just having the navigation map right there in front of the driver!
On SEL, there is also an 8-inch touchscreen used for the infotainment center in the dashboard that is now tilted slightly towards the driver to make interactions even easier when driving. The best thing about this screen is it acted just like our iPad, with pinch to zoom and swiping to get to other menus. This should work better than the old clicking around menus to get to different functions.
Also included on the SEL trim level is the Beats Audio premium sound system with a 400-watt amplifier and included subwoofer. It’s something we would never have expected at this price level. It was just a few short years ago that VW was at the back of the pack when it came to technology in their vehicles, but oh how things have changed as we would now put them at the forefront of adding all the tech they can to their cars.
On the safety side, the engineers didn’t skimp, again with the new MQB architecture allowing them to add more and more features. The SEL came with adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keep assist, high beam light control, and keyless entry and push button start.
And let us not forget the addition of the new Volkswagen Car-Net that works as a subscription service through Verizon Telematics, allowing smartphone access through a downloadable app — with everything from vehicle maintenance monitoring to calling in emergency services in the event of an accident.
Technology-check, safety-check, gas mileage-check, ride comfort-check, sound system-check, looks-check and most important of all price-check! After a week, we were in love all over again with the new Jetta and all it had to offer. All the boxes were checked for under $30,000 for a new sedan, we would be hard pressed to find a better combination.
Base Price: $27,695
Price as Driven: $27,695