2019 Volkswagen JettaFeatured Test Drive Reviews Volkswagen 

Redesigned and Better Than Ever: 2019 Volkswagen Jetta SEL Test Drive

Sometimes, you just “Betta Getta Jetta” — which is not a corny joke we made up, but Volkswagen’s tagline for the 2019 Jetta. So is the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta something you “betta” check out? For starters, it’s completely redesigned and it looks better than ever. It also has a 10-color customizable interior ambient lighting system, Volkswagen’s version of Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, an 8-inch touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay, and much more.

While some may be saying that the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta is underwhelming in terms of power, and are eagerly waiting for the upcoming Jetta GLI, they would be shocked to learn that this Jetta is actually quicker than most of its opponents that carry a similarly sized engine. Let’s take a deeper dive into some of the fascinating things we discovered about the brand-new Jetta during our week with it.

2019 Volkswagen Jetta

2019 Volkswagen Jetta SEL Exterior

The biggest change to the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta is that it sits on the company’s new MQB platform which also underpins the Golf, Audi TT, and Audi A3. The second biggest change is the design. The exterior design is highlighted by a sharp grille, stylish LED daytime running lamps (LED projector headlamps on the SEL model tested here), and a sculpted hood that features sharp lines.

In an effort to cater to the larger North American market, the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta is longer and wider than the outgoing model. The new Jetta gets an extra 1.3-inches in length and is almost an inch wider. Not only is it longer than the outgoing model, it’s also longer than most of its rivals by three to four inches. With sharply designed LED taillights and a lip spoiler on the trunk, the rear end of the new Jetta really sticks out. With that being said, we like the overall design elements and proportions of the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta, and the more time we spent with it, the more the design grew on us.

In a crowd of compact sedans that are opting for an aggressive and sometimes overly designed looks, the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta stands out with a more sophisticated German appearance. It might not be super sexy or aggressive, but that’s okay because Jettas never really went for that kind of styling. Overall, we like to think of the new Jetta as a scaled-down version of the new Volkswagen Arteon — and that’s not a bad thing at all.

2019 Volkswagen Jetta

2019 Volkswagen Jetta SEL Interior

Like the exterior of the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta, the interior has also grown up a bit. With a more premium and classy feel, the cabin of the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta is a very comfortable place to be and is loaded with some advanced tech.

The Jetta SEL model we tested comes standard with dual-zone climate control, 10-color customizable ambient lighting, heated front seats, Bluetooth (with audio streaming), two USB ports, a Beats audio system (no more Fender), an 8-inch touchscreen display, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity. It also features the new Volkswagen Digital Cockpit Display which is very similar to Audi’s Digital Cockpit Display.

Space wise you’re looking at a total of 41 inches of legroom for front passengers and 37.4 inches of legroom for rear passengers. That’s very comparable to most of its competitors except for the Toyota Corolla which offers a massive 41.4-inches of legroom for rear passengers. Trunk space comes in at 14.1 cubic-feet which is quite roomy and you have 60/40 split rear seats if you need more space.

2019 Volkswagen Jetta

2019 Volkswagen Jetta SEL Performance

So, how is the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta is as an everyday car? As a daily driver, the new Jetta is well composed and offers a remarkably comfortable ride. At no time did we feel like this compact sedan was too rigid over bumps and cracks on the road or that driving it for a long period of time caused any back pains.

While it may not be the best handling compact sedan on the market due to its light steering, the new Jetta is faster to 60 mph than its opponents. Coming in at 7.6 seconds, the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta is quicker than the 2.0L Civic (8.6 seconds), Corolla (9.9 seconds), Focus (ten seconds), and the 2.0L Hyundai Elantra (8.9 seconds). Those figures are achieved thanks to a 1.4-liter four-cylinder turbo engine that pumps out 147 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Fuel economy wise, the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta averages an EPA-rated fuel economy of 30/40 mpg* (city/highway), which is pretty strong for a car in this segment.

2019 Volkswagen Jetta


When it comes to safety, the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta offers some useful driver assist technologies at a cheaper price point. Starting with the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta SE, drivers will get blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, rear traffic alert, and a rear view camera. The Jetta SEL model adds adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, high-beam control, and more.

2019 Volkswagen Jetta SEL Overall

There are many other things that give the Jetta a competitive edge including the fact that it has more torque than most of its rivals, has Volkswagen’s version of Audi’s Digital Cockpit display (a very cool option to see in this segment), an impressive Beats Audio sound system, and the 10-color interior ambient lighting system. Overall, the 2019 Jetta is ‘betta’ than ‘eva.’ Prices start at $18,545** for the base model and $24,415** for the Jetta SEL we tested here. Visit your local AutoNation-affiliated Volkswagen dealer for a test drive today.

*Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.

**MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

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