3. The Jetta is unabashedly North American.
When the next Olympics roll around, don’t look for the 2019 Jetta to root for the Germans. VW builds the latest Jetta in Puebla, Mexico—its largest assembly plant outside of Germany—for North and South America. A different version will be assembled in China for that market.
No 2019 Jetta will be sold in Europe, where the Golf reigns supreme. We can only imagine the head-scratching at VW’s headquarters in Germany: “if only the Americans would buy hatchbacks, we wouldn’t have to build two models. Bah, let’s go have ein bier.”
4. There are no fuel-economy hoops to jump through.
Press its rivals and many will confess that their fuel-economy stories vary considerably by trim level, engine, and transmission selected. In some cases—like the 2018 Honda Civic—those figures differ by as much as 4 mpg combined.
That’s not the case with the Jetta. Pick any trim level with either the manual or automatic transmission and it’ll be EPA-rated at 30 mpg city, 40 highway, 34 combined.
1982 Volkswagen JettaEnlarge Photo
5. It’s the great-great-great-great-great grandchild of the original 1979 Jetta.
Happy 40th birthday, Jetta. To celebrate, VW sourced a clean first-generation model (Mk1, or “mark one” to VW fans) from a private owner in New Jersey and commissioned an extensive restoration. The green-over-tan 1982 Jetta, undoubtedly the finest extant, will be paraded around for the next year or so to promote the new Mk7 Jetta.
It’s a hoot to see how far the nameplate has come from its barely post-Beetle days. The ’82 is delightfully spartan—aside from its decadent chrome hubcaps. Roll-up windows, lightly padded seats still wrapped in their original vinyl upholstery, and a big analog clock instead of a tachometer turn every ride into #ThrowbackThursday.
6. Get ready, enthusiasts: the Jetta GLI will return.
The 2019 Jetta is no thrill machine, that’s for sure. However, VW says its next Jetta GLI will be even more like its zippy Golf GTI. We don’t know when it’ll hit showrooms, but the automaker did promise us some nice bits: a 2.0-liter turbo-4, a multi-link rear suspension, 6-speed manual and 7-speed dual-clutch transmissions, and a trick front differential to split power between the wheels. The Jetta R-Line gets an electronic front differential, too, but VW suggests that it will be tuned differently in the GLI.