We drive the 2019 VW Jetta

We drive the 2019 VW JettaThe seventh-generation Jetta has finally been redesigned from the ground up using Volkswagen’s new MQB platform. The sixth-generation model rides on a much older platform, despite the Golf having made the switch way back in 2012. The new modular platform — which also underpins vehicles ranging from the compact Golf to the three-row Atlas — allows VW to create a new Jetta specifically catered to the North American market.

The engine powering the Mk. 7 appears to be a holdover. The Jetta will be powered by a 1.4-liter TSI turbocharged engine; specific output figures haven’t been stated but VW claims “class leading torque.” The current Jetta Mk. 6’s turbo four makes 150 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, so we can expect something in that ballpark.

Unfortunately, none of our testers were equipped with the six-speed manual transmission, but the good news is one will be offered. The eight-speed auto will make the average slushbox Jetta buyer perfectly happy, though – it’s smooth and reasonably quick to shift, and it’s good at keeping the 1.4-liter turbo four in its sweet spot in normal driving. On the road course in sport/auto mode, it occasionally frustrated with sluggish downshifts during rapid brake/throttle transitions, but it’s not the kind of driving 99 percent of automatic Jettas will ever see.

Until we see it – and drive it – uncovered and on regular roads, any Jetta impressions have to be qualified. But it appears Volkswagen’s best-seller is poised to return to its premium compact roots, with driving dynamics that should again interest enthusiasts. Whether that’s enough, in the face of the market’s wholesale shift to SUVs, to retain its prominence remains to be seen.

We drive the 2019 VW Jetta

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