2019 Volkswagen Jetta first drive: steady and staid Page 2

April 12, 2018
2019 Volkswagen Jetta

2019 Volkswagen Jetta

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Inside, the Jetta sports equally conservative lines at first glance, although the cockpit-like cant to its dashboard that puts the radio closer to the driver than the passenger might make a few Duke professors step away from their old Saabs.

Even the Jetta’s warmer interior tones, which include a pleasant two-tone black and brown, are only so aspirational. Up front, the seats want for more lumbar support and the center console intrudes into the driver’s footwell more than it should. The rear seat redeems the Jetta, though, with its spacious feel and easy ingress/egress.

The Jetta scores the most points for its value, another sign that it has grown up and has responsibilities now. The base Jetta S lacks for little other than automatic emergency braking at its sub-$20,000 starting price, but VW wisely makes that safety gear available for an affordable $450 for the S (it’s standard on the rest of the lineup). At about $23,000, the Jetta SE’s synthetic leather seats are like a durable version of real hides and its panoramic moonroof and keyless ignition are upgrades that’ll make passengers situated in the roomy back seat think you paid more than you did.

2019 Volkswagen Jetta

2019 Volkswagen Jetta

Enlarge Photo

Loaded up, the range-topping $27,500 Jetta SEL Premium delights with a configurable 10.25-inch TFT display that takes the place of conventional gauges, heated and cooled front seats wrapped in real leather, and navigation.  

At every step of the way, that’s more car for the dough than the Honda Civic and Mazda 3, our two favorite compact sedans. That pair comes across as co-eds that never stopped working out, unlike the Jetta that let itself go after graduating as it adjusted to the real world. However, with this redesign it does feel like the Jetta just signed up for the gym again in an effort to rekindle its youth. Hey, progress is progress.

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