Behind the Wheel

2019 Volkswagen Jetta Review: Good ole days of 'Betta Getta Jetta' have passed by

The Volkswagen Jetta has been redesigned for the 2019 model year but still isn't as good as its rivals.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

As catchy a marketing campaign as it is, the "Betta Getta Jetta," tagline falls flat when you test drive the latest iteration of the compact car. With stiff competition from the recently redesigned Toyota Corolla, Mazda Mazda3, and Kia Forte.

The Jetta a compact car that sits below the Passat and new Arteon in the German automaker's U.S. lineup. The Golf and Beetle are smaller than the Jetta. It was fully redesigned for the 2019 model year.

2019 Volkswagen Jetta The Volkswagen Jetta looks very similar to every other VW on the lot.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

In every grade, the Jetta is powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter engine that produces 147 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with a six-speed manual transmission in the base model, but all subsequent trim levels come standard with an eight-speed automatic. The powertrain is competent but doesn't differentiate itself from the competition. It's fuel-efficient, achieving 30 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway regardless of transmission.

The compact car has a cabin filled with materials that are just "meh." Compared to the thoughtfully styled and appointed surfaces of the Mazda3 and high-quality design and materials in the Corolla and Forte, the Jetta just doesn't cut it, especially in its lower trims.

The Jetta comes standard with a 6.5-inch infotainment touch screen, four speakers, a USB port, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink. That's a decent list but even when you add equipment like the dual-zone automatic climate control and 8-inch touch screen, the Jetta still looks cheaper than much of its competition.

2019 Volkswagen Jetta The interior of the Jetta is modern and straightforward.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Climate controls are intuitively laid out in the Jetta but certain functions, like dimming the driver information display, are controlled via the infotainment screen and frustratingly unavailable while driving at least as tested in the SE trim.

Unlike other vehicles in its class, the Jetta doesn't come standard with much driver assistance technology. Blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and lane departure warning are all available.

As is customary in Volkswagen cars, the seats in the Jetta aren't comfortable for long stretches of time but they are supportive, keeping a driver and passengers in place as the vehicle remains reasonably planted through twists and turns in the road. Unlike other vehicles in its class, the Jetta has enough room in its rear seat for two average sized adults.

2019 Volkwagen Jetta The Jetta has a good amount of passenger and cargo space.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

This redesigned Jetta has less cargo space than you'd find in its previous generation but it still holds up versus the competition. There are a good number of nooks and crannies to store things in, in the cabin.

There are few compelling reasons to choose the Jetta over the Corolla, Forte, and Mazda3. Each of those vehicles does many things better than the Jetta, and delivers at least one stand-out reason to choose it over the Volkswagen. If you're in the market for a new compact car, skip the VW lot.

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The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 is on sale now.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG
The all-electric range of the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 has been confirmed. The model is the first modern electric Volkswagen to be sold in the U.S. and a model that the German automaker is resting a lot of hopes on for the future of sales in the country.

The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Pro with all-wheel drive will achieve an EPA-estimated 260 miles of all-electric range on a full charge. The ID.4 Pro S and 1st Edition, which have more features and equipment and therefore weigh more, achieve an estimated 250 miles of range.

The EPA-estimated fuel economy for ID.4 Pro RWD is 107 MPGe in the city; 91 MPGe on the highway, and 99 MPGe combined. The ID.4 Pro S and 1st Edition does slightly worse achieving 104 MPGe in the city, 89 MPGe on the highway, and 97 MPGe combined.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4: Exterior The "1st" badging denotes the vehicle as a first edition model. Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

These new numbers come as part of a second round of EPA testing. Original testing found that the model did not quite hit its target.

How does that compare to other EVs? The Nissan Leaf Plus offers 226 miles of all-electric power. The Hyundai Kona Electric delivers 258 miles. Volvo's XC40 Recharge has just 208 miles of all-electric range but the Tesla Model Y can go up to 326 miles on one full charge.

First out of the Volkswagen gate will be ID.4 models with an 82-kilowatt-hour battery and rear-mounted AC permanent-magnet synchronous motor. That system delivers 201 horsepower and 228 pound-feet of torque.

At a public DC fast-charging station with 125 kW charging, the ID.4 can go from five to 80 percent charged in about 38 minutes. With purchase, ID.4 owners receive three years of unlimited charging at Electrify America DC Fast Chargers at no additional cost.

The 2021 ID.4 is on sale now, with pricing for the rear-wheel-drive ID.4 Pro starting at $39,995 MSRP, before a potential Federal tax credit of up to $7,500. The Pro S carries an MSRP of $44,495. The limited-run ID.4 1st Edition, which sold out the day the vehicle was launched, carried an MSRP of $43,995.

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Some Volkswagens won't wear VW badging anymore.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Editor’s Note: After sources from Volkswagen confirmed this story on backgroundto reporters on March 29, 2021, the company’s spokespeople went on the record on March 30, 2021 to explain that the name change is merely an April Fool’s joke gone awry.

The brand currently known as Volkswagen is going all-in on electric vehicles. The company's commitment to the powertrain change is so strong that they've decided to change their name from Volkswagen to Voltswagen, replacing the "k" with a "t".

The change was announced in an apparent public relations slip-up on the company's media page with a press release publishing today, March 29, instead of the intended date of April 29. The release was quickly pulled down. The change has been confirmed by the automaker and was first reported by USA Today.

According to mis-timed press release, Volkswagen's electric vehicles (EVs) will be badged 'Voltswagen' while gasoline-powered autos will wear the typical VW badge.

2017: Volkswagen ID. BUZZ Volkswagen says that a version of its ID Buzz vehicle is coming to the U.S. later this decade. Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen is currently amplifying its electric vehicle sales strategy going full steam into launching models like the ID.4, a small SUV, and promising that a production version of the ID Buzz, an electric concept that has its roots in the Volkswagen Bus, will make its way to U.S. shores as an electric vehicle.

Volkswagen Group, the brand's parent company, also owns Audi, which has developed an E-tron vehicle lineup that includes the E-Tron, E-Tron Sportback, E-Tron GT, and the forthcoming production version of the Q4 Sportback E-Tron concept car. Porsche, another Volkswagen Group brand, recently launched the Taycan all-electric sports car and the Taycan Cross Turismo wagon is on its way. Even sister company Lamborghini is getting in on the electrified powertrain bandwagon.

The automaker has plans to launch more than 70 electric vehicles worldwide by 2029 and sell 1 million by 2025. Those are lofty goals, though much of the optimism surrounding the target is bolstered by continuing government clampdowns that make driving gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles more costly and scarce. These regulations most strictly affect European nations and China.

Though electric vehicles are growing in popularity, in many cases because of government incentives, Americans are only very slowing getting on-board with adoption. Take out Tesla sales and EVs represent very few sales in the U.S. at the moment. Click here to see a history of Volkswagen's modern electric vehicle development.

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