2019 Volkswagen Jetta First Drive: Seventh Inning Stretch

– Durham, North Carolina

The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta, now the seventh generation of the compact sedan, is also the first to make use of VW’s modular MQB platform. Car nerds and VW fans will probably already know what that means, but for the rest of you, allow me to bottom line it: This Jetta is bigger, roomier, more feature rich, more fuel efficient, and less expensive than the last one. Pretty good, right?

Not all of that is down to the vehicle architecture of course, but the benefits of MQB, along with a smart attack plan on the current compact car landscape, could very well have this Jetta moving up the ranks of sales leaders. At the very least, if you’re in the market for a small sedan and not a small SUV – first of all, God bless you – this 2019 model demands that the VW dealership be a stop on your journey.

As always, that journey starts with the eyes. Many will look at the crisply minimal shape of the Jetta with a sigh of relief, brought on by the current era of challenging designs for mass-market cars. The Civic, for all that I dig its origami, isn’t sheet metal that everyone finds lovely. This VW sedan, meanwhile, with its strong character line, uncluttered bodyside, and sharply designed lighting elements, is handsomely conservative. There’s a bit of a big face going on here, but hardly on the level of whichever LSD-microdosing designer is now running Toyota.

2019 Volkswagen Jetta: First Drive
2019 Volkswagen Jetta: First Drive
2019 Volkswagen Jetta: First Drive
2019 Volkswagen Jetta: First Drive

I drove the middle-trim R-Line Jetta for most of the day, and I also find this version of the VW the ...