On the surface, the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta appears to have received no changes when compared to the outgoing model other than more aggressive styling. Underneath the sheet metal and inside the cabin, however, is an entirely different story. For 2019, the Jetta, the best selling VW in America, gets new architecture and a redesigned interior that brings it curiously close to being front-wheel-drive Audi, just with a different badge on the grille.
The next generation Jetta will be built on the MQB architecture, the same platform VW uses across most of its line up, including a few Audi models. The shift to the new foundation lets the Jetta grow in size in almost every direction but helps bring the base MSRP down compared to the 2018 model. The 2019’s price tag is $18,545 — if that seems like your standard bargain car offer… it is. To get anything worthwhile option-wise, expect to shell out something closer to $25,000 mark. But when you do, the Jetta’s interior transforms into a space you would want to spend a lot of time in.
It goes without saying that the first option you should tick is for the six-speed manual (obviously). Once that’s out of the way, the more premium models include Volkswagen Digital Cockpit (which is essentially Audi’s fantastic Virtual Cockpit), 10-color ambient lighting, panoramic sunroof, and the modern necessities of heated and ventilated leather seats.
Even when it’s completely spec’d out, and as long as you can do without all-wheel-drive, what you end up with is an entry-level Audi sedan — and you’ll have saved an extra $10,000 in the process. All modern Volkswagens and Audis share some percentage of their DNA; what VW is doing to its current lineup — by bringing them even closer together and sharing even more DNA — is moving the VW brand upmarket without the price inflation. Whether or not this move draws potential buyers away from Audi isn’t certain, but what is definite is this is a major win for anyone looking to get a real taste of Audi without the accompanying dent in the bank account.
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