Test Drive: 2019 Volkswagen Jetta Execline

There’s an old saying that good things come to him who waits.

Sometimes those old adages are true. A case in point is the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta. It’s been a long time coming, but time has brought a good thing and if you’ll pardon a bad pun, there are ample reasons for joining the Jetta set.

I’ve just spent some time in a model-topping Execline trim provided by VW Canada and the long wait for the seventh-generation sedan appears to have been worth it.

Built on the HQB platform that also underpins the Atlas SUV, the all-new sedan is longer, wider and taller, wheelbase is longer, track is wider, and the front overhang is shorter than the previous model. That increases space for people and trunk cargo.

The new look has a pleasant coupe-like presence with the upscale look of the long roofline and sharp character lines in the profile. The front sports a large grille flanked by LED running lights and fog lamps in the lower fascia while the rear carries an integrated decklid spoiler and large LED tail lights.

Drag coefficient is just 0.27, a 10% improvement thanks to active radiator shutter and air curtain intakes on each side which allow air to flow smoothly past the front wheel arches.

Inside, Jetta has moved upscale in a driver-oriented environment featuring leather seating and what the company describes as “sliced metalbrush” highlights. The front seats are heated (and ventilated.

I’ve got a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel to grip. Between the speedometer and tach is a multi-function trip computer that monitors everything from fuel consumption to trip distance, Bluetooth status and navigation directions. My wife loved the ability to put those navi directions front and centre.

The centre stack houses an 8-inch touchscreen radio with proximity sensor (that takes getting used to), a CD player (remember those?) and voice-control satellite navigation.

The Bluetooth system gets high marks for connectivity. It hooked into my iPhone in just 16 seconds start to finish. No fuss, no muss, no problem. Brilliant.

Engine choice is unchanged from the previous model: a 1.4L turbo four cylinder which can be hooked up to a new 8-speed automatic transmission or six-speed manual. The tester has the automatic. It’s not a combination that will get your pulse pounding, but it’s adequate with good low and mid-range power from its 184 lb. ft. of torque. The transmission always seems to be in the right notch, making its shifts quickly and smoothly.

Fuel consumption is rated at 7.8L/100 km in the city and 5.9 on the highway (7.0 average). The best average I could get in my week of mostly highway driving was 7.9 L/100 km. Not bad since I am what could be called an “enthusiastic” driver at times.

This Jetta has a fun side despite its diminutive power plant. It’s strong off the line and a quick passer on the highway. Turbo lag doesn’t exist. The thing is, you don’t need big horsepower to have a good time behind the wheel, you just need corners and while I live on the Prairies, I do know of a few delightfully curvy country roads to play on. The new platform works magic for handling and ride. Jetta handles the bendy bits without discernible lean or dive, responding quickly to steering wheel inputs.

On long drives, Jetta gets high marks for its quietness. There is virtually no engine noise, road noise is negligible and wind noise only shows up if there’s a substantial wind blowing. Outside influences don’t prevent enjoyment of the output from the BeatsAudio premium audio system.

With the addition of driver assistance package, the already safety-conscious Jetta adds adaptive cruise control, front assist autonomous emergency braking, lane-keeping and assist and automatic high beam headlights to go with standard front fog lights with cornering lights, blind spot monitor, ABS and stability control.

All things considered, the new vehicle sets a benchmark for the segment and gives some valid reasons for joining the Jetta set.

2019 Volkswagen Jetta
Trim level: Execline
Price before taxes: $30,090.00
Freight: $1,645.00
Configuration: front engine, front-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 1.4L turbo four-cylinder/ 8-speed automatic
Power/torque: 147 hp/184 lb. ft.
Fuel economy ratings: 7.8 L/100 km city, 5.9 highway
Warranties: 4 years/ 80,000 km comprehensive
Competitors: Chevrolet Cruz, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte, Toyota Corolla

Related links:
Volkswagen Canada

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