Is the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta Better in Every Way? First Drive Review [Video]

The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta has moved to Volkswagen’s new modular platform, but does that mean the car is better?

After eight years in the North American market, Volkswagen has put its sixth generation entry-level sedan out to pasture. In its place, we get this: the all-new, 2019 Volkswagen Jetta, riding atop the company’s latest modular platform. As a result, it shares much of its architecture with the Mark 7 Golf, as well as the new Arteon, Tiguan and Atlas SUV. But does that mean the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta has improved over the previous generation? In today’s video, TFL’s Nathan Adlen counts down five ways in which the Jetta is different, at least, than the outgoing model.

MQB platform makes the 2019 cheaper to build and cheaper to buy

So let’s kick off with the platform. The MQB architecture is a modular setup where Volkswagen can share its powertrains and common points in the structure, such as engine mounting points, between models. That way, they can quickly move between different body styles while keeping the basic skeleton the same, apart from scale. Modular designs allow manufacturers the flexibility to shift production from one place to another without completely retooling for the new models, as they had before.

Despite riding on an all new platform, the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta actually starts $100 cheaper than the old one. This new model, in its base S trim, starts at $18,545. Now, to get the bells and whistles version with the Digital Cockpit, you’re going to spend $24,415 for the SEL trim. Still, less than $25,000 for a fairly tech-laden car like the new Jetta isn’t a big ask. Thanks to its modular construction, Volkswagen is able to lower their costs, which makes the car less expensive in turn.

2019 Volkswagen Jetta
[Photo: Volkswagen]

The Jetta has upped its warranty game and tech offerings

The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta also gets a bump in its warranty. Now, each model comes with a 6-year/72,000 mile bumper-to-bumper coverage. Not only that, but you get a lot of cool features as well. For instance, there’s Volkswagen’s Digital Cockpit, which is an option for a completely digital infotainment cluster on higher-trimmed models. The new Jetta also comes with a new infotainment display, supporting Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

It’s different in every way – well, nearly

The top item on our list of differences in the new Jetta, naturally, is the way it drives. Thanks to its shift onto the new, stiffer MQB platform, the Jetta is a better handling car. It’s also slightly bigger, it’s more comfortable, and is better to drive. That said, it’s not an out-and-out sports car. Its 1.4-liter turbocharged engine, interestingly, is one thing that hasn’t changed from the previous model. The engine’s 147 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque won’t set your hair on fire either. However, it’s still a gem of an engine, and it does return 34 MPG combined, and up to 40 MPG on the highway. Not bad at all.

While there are bigger-engined, more powerful models coming, the 1.4-liter turbo is the only powertrain option for now. Higher performance models should also get fully independent rear suspension, instead of the twist-beam setup the Jetta will have at launch. The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta will go on sale this summer.

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