Review and Test Drive: 2019 Volkswagen Jetta SEL Premium

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Switching to sport mode keeps the engine’s revs high, at least somewhat, giving the driver a more responsive throttle and improved acceleration.  This is the setting we used the majority of our time with the Jetta as it does lend a sporty feel to the drive.  If only the suspension and powertrain could keep up, as they are seemingly better suited for autobahn cruising, but this is a Jetta, not a Golf.

The use of the MQB platform allowed VW to bestow upon the higher-level Jettas the latest in driver-assistance tech including stop-and-go adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, forward collision warning with automatic emergency breaking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic high beams.  In the event of a collision, VW’s post-crash braking system will keep the car from rolling after an accident.

All trim levels of the Jetta get App-Connect that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.  The Wolfsburg implementation of CarPlay is flawless and well integrated into the vehicle.  One limitation of using CarPlay, however, is that you miss out on the 10” Digital Cockpit’s navigation capabilities, which in native mode can fill the screen with the appropriate map and driving directions.

There’s still more tech for us to cover.  Purchasing a Jetta includes Volkswagen’s Car-Net telematics suite, which includes remote vehicle monitoring, remote control of door locks, and notifications to your smartphone if you’ve left the sunroof or windows open and rain is in the forecast. Forget “SEL,” we began to call this the Jetta Tech Edition.  Oddly enough, we were only able to locate one USB port in the vehicle, a shortcoming given its early adopter status in other aspects of tech.


With a low starting price for the base trim level, a striking design, good fit and finish, good ride quality, and a mind-boggling array of technology, the new 2019 Jetta is certainly at the head of its class.


2019 Volkswagen Jetta SEL Premium
Base price/price-as-tested $27,695/$28,590
Drivetrain Front engine, front-wheel drive
Engine 1.4-liter inline four
Horsepower/Torque 147 / 184
Transmission 8-speed
Curb weight (lbs) 2,888
Wheelbase (inches) 105.7
Length x width x height (inches) 185.1 x 70.8 x 57.4
0-60 mph (seconds) (est.) 8.6
Fuel economy(mpg) (city/hwy) 30/40

Jonathan Spira contributed to this review.

(Photos: Accura Media Group)


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