Most of us mature as we age, sanding off the tough edges and maybe muting a few of the rowdier elements of our characters for the sake of grace and politeness. This typically accompanies a shift in conduct to accommodate some extra upscale habits and hobbies – dressing higher as your checking account grows, for instance. Or perhaps taking in operas as an alternative of rock live shows.
Not all youthful spunk is misplaced, nevertheless – even probably the most cultured of the grey-hair set cuts unfastened occasionally.
Peek on the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta, which marks the car’s seventh era, and you may see this course of in motion. Inside supplies and street manners recommend a car that prefers a mild life quite than a sporty trashing, however the exterior design, which stays conservative general, makes use of particulars similar to character strains to infuse some enthusiasm that was lacking in recent times, probably in a bid to chop a bit unfastened.
Full disclosure: Volkswagen flew me to Durham, North Carolina and paid for an evening in a really good lodge proper downtown in order that I might drive the brand new Jetta. The corporate additionally fed us a number of good meals and snacks, however gave no present to my information, which I’m A-OK with.
Compact car consumers as an entire care much less about “sport” than most of you studying this piece (that’s true throughout the business, as you little question know). Worth, consolation, fuel financial system, area – that’s what issues now on this class, particularly with the dreaded rise of the crossovers. If clients are nonetheless going to purchase mainstream compact sedans (and hatches, and coupes) as an alternative of leaving retailer behind the wheel of yet one more car-based mostly CUV, the brand new breed of compacts should be robust in these classes.
MQB to the rescue. That platform is seemingly in all places throughout the model lately – it’s beneath the Atlas, the Golf, the Arteon, the Tiguan and even the Tanoak idea truck. In English, it means Modular Transverse Matrix (the “MQB” comes from the keyboard-breaking German: Modularer Querbaukasten).
On this software, it provides the Jetta an extended wheelbase, wider monitor, and a shorter entrance overhang in comparison with the earlier-gen car. It’s now additionally longer general, wider general, and taller, with extra interior area.
Jetta consumers can select from 5 trims (S, SE, R-Line, SEL, and SEL Premium) and two transmissions (nicely, sorta – the guide is just obtainable on the S), however in terms of engines, there is just one. It’s a 1.four-liter turbo 4 that makes 147 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. As talked about, you will get a six-velocity guide transmission on the bottom car. In any other case, it’s an eight-velocity auto for you, bucko.
At $18,545, the bottom car undercuts the minimal price for the earlier Jetta, and standard features embrace aluminum alloy wheels, smartphone mirroring, USB port, Eco mode, rearview digital camera, automated publish-collision braking, and LED lights all through. Base automobiles value $18,545 with the guide and $19,345 with the automated.
A Driver-Help Package deal may be added to the bottom mannequin. It provides Entrance Help, blind-spot monitoring with rear-visitors alert, and heated sideview mirrors.
Pop for the SE that I drove, and also you now add in a leather-based-wrapped steering wheel, a visit pc, sunroof, twin-zone local weather management, leatherette seating, heated entrance seats, keyless entry, push-button begin, entrance help, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-visitors help. That’s $22,one hundred fifty five earlier than D and D.
Our prescribed drive route was principally gently curving rural two-lane, with slightly little bit of round-city and freeway driving combined in. With no Sport mode within the SE (obtainable on the upper trims, which I didn’t drive), there was no solution to agency up the suspension or steering of the Jetta. The steering feels a bit synthetic – it’s appropriately sporty at occasions however mild at others.
Not that I actually wanted to. The car isn’t precisely tuned to sport, however it’s not mushy, both. It’s a cushty, compliant commuter cruiser that felt comfy on the street. I don’t understand how it might maintain up on a significantly difficult street, however most consumers gained’t care – they only need a calm commute, and this car achieves that. If you would like sport in your compact, VW will fortunately promote you a Golf, and Honda’s Civic additionally provides sporting character.
Definitely, don’t anticipate a lot from the engine. It’s loud and trashy within the higher rev ranges, and freeway passes felt just a little labored. I did discover the guide-transmission prototype car to be peppier (having a stick will do this), however the stick-shift base car has cheaper seating materials and, as a lot as I really like rowing my very own, I’m not positive I need to save the manuals so badly that I might surrender even the SE’s content material.
No less than the clutch is agency and interesting, even when the shifter’s throws are a bit lengthy. Brakes felt agency and straightforward to modulate, though our cruise by no means really put them to the test.
I dig the exterior styling – it’s conservative with out being almost as bland because the earlier car. A pleasant mixture of character and anonymity. One grievance: The pretend exhaust vents on the upper-trim automobiles look nice – till you notice the muffler hanging out under. You’ll be able to’t unsee that, and it ruins the look. I want VW would’ve simply spent extra – and sure, in all probability charged extra – for a real twin exhaust outlet.
The interior supplies stay high quality for the category, with a gentle-contact sprint being a spotlight. The middle stack is now angled in the direction of the driving force, which takes some getting used to. The infotainment system and gauges within the SE are by now very acquainted to VW.
I shot photos of a better-trim car with the digital cockpit digital gauges and the bigger eight.zero-inch touchscreen infotainment system seen in different new VWs just like the Atlas (decrease trims get a 6.5-inch touchscreen unit that also has bodily buttons across the edge). I couldn’t put it into follow on the street, nevertheless it appeared good within the Carolina solar.
Area isn’t a problem. Automobiles are rising throughout the board – the ‘90s Accord I as soon as owned in all probability had much less passenger area than a contemporary Civic, by a good bit – so “compact” doesn’t imply what it as soon as did, however my tall body was snug in each the entrance and rear seats, and getting a very good driving place was straightforward. Trunk area is 14.1 cubic ft – a lot for baggage.
New for 2019 is the supply of an R-Line trim on the Jetta. That is principally an look package deal that features 17-inch wheels, a black grille, and fog lamps as its highlights, however it additionally consists of the XDS differential, which is actually an digital restricted-slip differential that apply the brakes to the pushed inside entrance wheel if a discount in understeer is required. The R-Line rings the register at $22,195.
Step as much as SEL, and also you add in LED headlamps, a second USB port, a drive-mode selector, satellite tv for pc radio, the eight-inch infotainment show, telematics, adaptive cruise management, Beats audio, lane help, and lightweight help. That car will set you again $24,415.
Two grand and a few change extra will get you to the $26,945 SEL Premium, which provides aluminum-alloy wheels (nonetheless 17s), fog lights, flip alerts within the aspect mirrors, the rear bumper from the R-Line, leather-based seats, cooled entrance seats, sport consolation seats, energy driver seat, navigation, an alarm, and later this yr, a Chilly Climate Package deal (heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, distant begin, and a heated windshield-wiper relaxation together with heated windshield-washer nozzles). Vacation spot payment for every trim is $850.
Stacked up towards the closest rivals, the Jetta presents an fascinating enterprise case. The Honda Civic sedan’s price is only a bit extra, however you need to step to the subsequent trim to get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and the feature deck is a bit totally different. Nonetheless, every Civic trim is cheaper throughout the board, even if Jetta pricing has dropped as VW provides features.
In the meantime, the decrease-grade trims are according to Jetta pricing however a tick extra, whereas the Premier-trim Cruze undercuts it a bit.
Volkswagen has cooked up a car that retains numerous the conservatism of the earlier-gen car, but the styling exhibits that it may well minimize unfastened and benefit from the get together. Too dangerous the thrashy engine lacks punch and refinement — it’s a bummer, although comprehensible, that VW left a lot of the sportiness to the platform-sharing Golf.
Commuters in search of worth gained’t be disenchanted right here, because of high quality interior supplies, a pleasant content material combine, a clean experience, and oodles of area.
Which is ok. That’s how most automobiles are used nowadays. Getting old gracefully typically means accepting the arduous fact and making the best of it.
[Images © 2018 Tim Healey/The Truth About Cars]
– 2019 Volkswagen Jetta First Drive – Moving Forward Gracefully –
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