China. It’s the country where Volkswagen is selling the Jetta, Sagitar, and Lamando sedans – all of which are Jettas underneath their very similar skins. These three cars not only partially overlap in size and price, but make the lineup quite confusing for a buyer in the market for a sedan.
It’s so confusing up to the point it’s hard to identify this prototype spotted recently in the People’s Republic. The subpar quality of the images isn’t helping either. Is it a facelift for the CN-spec Jetta? Perhaps. An updated Sagitar? Maybe. Refreshed Lamando? Possibly. Plot twist: It might be a facelifted Lavida.
Joking aside, the upper character line that runs just above the door handles indicates it’s not based on the current Jetta, nor is it a Lamando "four-door coupe" because on these two cars the handles are actually on the same level as the line.
Left is Sagitar, center is Lamando, right is Lavida.
Whatever it is, this looks more like a model destined to be sold only in China, so the all-new global Jetta will look different, hopefully. For what it’s worth, the prototype seen here is hiding its headlights and taillights underneath stickers mimicking different designs. The overall appearance of the test vehicle is awfully familiar and is more suitable for a facelift rather than an entire new generation.
Speaking of a new gen, we do know for sure the U.S.-spec Jetta will make the switch to the new one beginning with December when VW will kick off production of the car. Details are very limited at the moment, but chances are the compact sedan will receive MQB underpinnings that would bring a weight loss despite an expected bump in size. The North American version might debut in the metal at the beginning of December during the Los Angeles Auto Show, but an online reveal could occur sooner.
If it will be a member of the growing MQB-based portfolio of models, the new Jetta should get just about the same engines, gearboxes, and technology as the facelifted Golf. After all, the Jetta is basically a Golf sedan.
It remains to be seen what will become of this thinly camouflaged prototype, though there’s a big chance it won’t leave China. Any idea what it might be? Even if it's a new Jetta, it doesn't necessarily mean the Euro and U.S. versions will be the same.