2019 VW Jetta customs for SEMA show off houndstooth seats and more

Only one has a manual transmission

VW at SEMA 2018
VW at SEMA 2018 / Image Credit: Volkswagen
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As with many other automakers at the SEMA Show, Volkswagen has brought a few custom versions, in this case the 2019 Jetta, to show what customers can do. Only three custom Jettas were built for the show, and they're mechanically mild but visually classy.

Our favorite of the trio is easily the 2019 VW Jetta S built by Jamie Orr. There are two main reasons for that. First, it's the only one of the group to feature a manual transmission, which is only available on the base-level Jetta S. Second, it has some drop-dead gorgeous houndstooth Recaro seats. It's also slick on the outside, lowered on adjustable, remote-reservoir coilover suspension. It has a prototype body kit from ECS Tuning that helps make the car look more aggressive without being too over-the-top. It all sits on 20-inch Work wheels, which also hide huge six-piston front brake calipers with ECS rotors and rear brakes from the Golf R.

Our next favorite is the Air Design USA Jetta SEL. It doesn't feature any real performance upgrades outside of lowering springs, but that's OK, because it looks great inside and out. We dig the retro paint scheme, even if the stripes seem more Toyota than Volkswagen. The Air Design body kit is subtle but adds a nice bit of custom flair. Perhaps the best part, though, is the rich-looking black and brown leather interior.

The H&R Special Springs Jetta R-Line rounds out the trio of cars. It actually uses the same body kit as the Air Design USA car. And naturally it has coilovers from H&R. The rest of the modifications include color-matched six-piston brake calipers and 19-inch wheels with sticky tires, plus some gray stripes we don't love.

These Jettas generally look pretty sharp, and their suspension modifications are sure to make them more fun car in corners, but it's disappointing no one addressed the 1.4-liter engine's modest horsepower. We're sure there are plenty of companies, such as APR, that would have been happy to help upgrade the little engine. On the upside, the Jetta can be quite sharp with a little work, and that should bode well for the upcoming GLI, which will certainly fix the power shortage right from the factory and provide more sophisticated independent rear suspension for even better handling.

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