With the Dieselgate dust starting to settle, the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta made its first appearance Sunday at the 2018 Detroit auto show. The latest iteration of Volkswagen's bestselling U.S. model features a design that’s only slightly more aggressive than that of its predecessor, with an angular front grille that supports Audi-esque headlights and a short front overhang that makes for a smart look. The Jetta's cabin is stretched longer over the rear wheels, sloping into the trunk and creating a little of the “four-door coupe” look that the Germans seem to enjoy.
Now built on Volkswagen’s MQB chassis shared with the Golf and Audi A3, the Jetta has shorter overhangs front and rear and is longer, taller, and wider, with a wheelbase that is 1.3 inches longer overall, at 105.7 inches. It hits dealers in spring 2018 in five trims: S, SE, SEL, SEL Premium, and R-Line. The latter gets sportier styling, Volkswagen’s XDS differential, myriad styling tweaks inside and out, and of course, the badging.
DON'T MISS: Read our 2019 Volkswagen Jetta prototype first drive
In each case, the Jetta continues to derive its motivation from a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine, which makes 147 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed manual is standard on Jetta S models, with an 8-speed automatic optional. The 8-speed automatic is standard on anything above a base model, and includes a start-stop system.
The new Jetta brings much of the upscale technology offered in European-market Volkswagen products to the U.S. LED lighting is now standard across the lineup, and SEL and SEL Premium trims get Volkswagen’s Digital Cockpit display. There are other upscale interior bits, too, like optional heated and cooled seats and 10-color customizable wraparound lighting. Continuing a trend of bizarre audio partnerships (Dynaudio, Fender), the new Jetta will now be offered with an optional 400-watt BeatsAudio system.
In addition to onboard safety systems such as automatic post collision braking, the 2019 Jetta can be had with a bevy of driver aids: forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, and active lane control that will steer the car back into lane.
Like all 2018 and up Volkswagens short of the e-Golf, the Jetta features the company’s new 6-year/72,000-mile “The People First” warranty.
For more from the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, head over to our dedicated hub.