The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta debuted earlier this year at the Chicago Auto Show. This seventh-generation model replaces a fine but generally underwhelming car that lost much of the premium feel that made the Jetta such a strong car in the past. It's based on the same platform that underpins the Volkswagen Golf, Tiguan and next-generation Audi Q3. It's larger, too. In fact, it's longer and wider than a B5 Volkswagen Passat from just 15 years ago, though it doesn't weigh quite as much as that car. Our tester was a mid-grade R-Line. Currently, the only available engine is a 1.4-liter turbocharged inline-four. We're crossing our fingers for a new GLI performance model sometime soon. Power is sent to the front wheels through either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic. The R-Line comes with leatherette seating, 17-inch wheels, proximity entry and push-button ignition, blind-spot monitoring and more. Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore — The latest version of the Jetta feels like an Audi-lite. Dressed in R-Line trim and a snazzy shade of red paint, this tester certainly could pass for something from Ingolstadt. Under the skin, the Jetta has a solid chassis and a peppy 1.4-liter turbo-four. Dynamically, my only beef is with the steering, which feels overly light. The cabin is attractive and laid out intuitively. The materials on the door panels and dashboard are underwhelming, though the trim and the seats are nice. The infotainment feels dated, but it's easy enough to use. The trunk is spacious. A stroller fit in there, no problem. I'm a big fan of the exterior design, which has a bit of A4 in it. I suppose it also reminds me of the Hyundai Sonata, which is attractive-looking, too. The Jetta is a solid product. The new generation is doing a lot to advance its position in a crowded segment, though it still lags behind the overall excellence of the Honda Civic. Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder — When I sat in the Jetta on the Detroit auto show floor, I was unimpressed. I'm not a huge fan of the new looks — the grille, the excessive hood creases, the interior full of odd, angular shapes. But actually spending time in it on the road, it quickly grew on me. The first good omen: my full-size Nalgene water bottle fits securely in the in-door cupholder. I like the look of the two-tone perforated seats. I find the shape of the dash, with the infotainment screen tilted toward the driver — to be a functional form. I enjoy the behavior of the 1.4-liter turbo, too. I'm especially fond of the power it summons once the turbo spools up, which I find helpful passing fools on the highway. On the drive home, I took it through some sweeping turns. I was impressed with its poise as I held or built speed. The body seemed to set itself as I dialed in more steering angle — it reminded me of the 2018 Mazda6's early-to-mid-corner behavior. When I gave …
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|MPG||30 City / 40 Hwy|
|Transmission||6-spd man w/OD|
|Power||147 @ 5000 rpm|
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