The Jetta is offered in several levels, with three different powerplants. The S and SE models offer a 1.4L 4-cylinder engine that makes 150 horsepower. SEL models are powered by a 170-horsepower 1.8L 4-cylinder turbo. GLI models are powered by a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder making 210 horsepower.
A 5-speed manual transmission is standard on S and SE models, while a 6-speed automatic with Tiptronic and Sport mode is optional. The SEL is equipped only with a 6-speed automatic, while a 6-speed manual is standard on the GLI, with the 6-speed auto optional.
Jetta S models come equipped with standard goodies such as heated power side mirrors, one-touch up/down power on all four windows, an AM/FM/CD stereo with MP3 playback, 6-way manual seat adjustment, air conditioning, a rearview camera, and a 60/40 split folding rear seat. Jetta SE models add power reclining front seats, metallic interior trim, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter and V-Tex leatherette seating. SEL trims bring a 6-way power-adjustable driver's seat with manual lumbar support, adaptive cruise control, a "soft-touch" dash, 17-inch alloy wheels, bumper-integrated halogen fog lights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, chrome accents, touchscreen navigation, Bluetooth, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, interior leather accents and a multi-function trip computer.
The GLI is equipped much like the SEL but with the larger engine. It also rides on 18-inch alloy wheels with a sportier suspension and stronger brakes. Exterior differences include chrome exhaust tips, a spoiler, a unique grille and LED taillights. Inside, there are sport seats, a Fender sound system with nine speakers, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The GLI does not include adaptive cruise control, however.
Packaged convenience options for the SE add many of the premium features of the SEL, including heated seats, a premium audio system and Bluetooth, while a sunroof package includes an even more robust touchscreen stereo system with a six-disc in-dash CD changer and SD memory card reader, plus a tinted power sunroof. The sunroof is available on the SEL as well.
Standard safety equipment on all Jettas includes 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, driver and front passenger front and side thorax airbags, side curtain airbags, traction and stability control and engine braking assist. New optional safety technologies include blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, frontal collision warning and Park Distance Control.
Witness the Return of the Jetta. The new 2019 VW Jetta model feels like a return to form for the sedan after a generation of mild neglect.
Volkswagen's compact sedan is now bigger; not noticeably so, but with just enough extra room for people and cargo. However, the new Jetta feels more like a move upscale, rather than just a move up in scale. The exterior design, cabin materials and tech are now on par with VW's best.
Where the last-generation Jetta felt like an afterthought in Volkswagen's North American lineup -- slumming it on an outdated platform with old tech -- this new model feels like a fully-fledged, well-rounded member of the family.
The Good Tech and comfort are the 2019 VW Jetta's strongest points. Fuel economy is up to 40 mpg highway. The new chassis rides smoothly and comfortably.
The Bad The 1.4T and eight-speed transmission combo isn't the most fun. The trunk hinge seems poorly designed.
The Bottom Line The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta feels more like a move upscale, rather just than a move up in scale, and is once again a solid choice for an efficient and smart compact sedan.
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