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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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The expected range of the Volkswagen ID.4 has been confirmed.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 will have an EPA-estimated 250-mile range. The estimate is for ID.4 1st Edition and Pro models. The EPA-estimated fuel economy for city driving is 104 MPGe; highway driving is rated at 89 MPGe, and combined city/highway at 97 MPGe. It will be VW's first long-range model sold in the U.S.

The ID.4 1st Edition and Pro will be the first models out of the gate for VW. They feature an 82 kilowatt-hour battery and a rear-mounted motor that produces 201 horsepower and 228 pound-feet of torque.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 The interior of the ID.4 features a minimalist aesthetic.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen says that at a DC fast-charging station, with 125 kilowatt charging, the ID.4 can go from five to 80 percent charged in about 38 minutes. VW is providing three years of Electrify America fast charging with every ID.4 purchase at no additional cost. Electrify America is the nation's largest open DC fast charging network with more than 470 charging stations and over 2,000 DC fast chargers. Earlier this year the company completed its second cross-country charging route.

Based on calculations by Volskwagen using the EPA's cost allowances, it will cost $700 per year, on average, to fuel the ID.4 in the U.S. The company estimates that over five years owners will save $2,250 compared to the average new model.

The first ID.4s will be made overseas soon. VW will make the battery electric vehicle (BEV) in the U.S.A at VW's Chattanooga plant. The model will be made and go on sale in early 2021.

Pricing for the ID.4 starts at $39,995 for the ID.4 Pro. Buyers may qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit. The limited-run ID.4 1st Edition, which sold out the day the vehicle was launched, carried an MSRP of $43,995.

Volkswagen has plans to release a 302-horsepower, electric all-wheel-drive variant of the ID.4 later in 2021. Range estimates for that model are forthcoming.

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Little Sesame's Volkswagen Bus allows the restaurant's chefs to travel the country in search of new flavors.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Holiday shoppers this year, once again, have shopping small on the mind. For some businesses, their idea of small is smaller than most. From a hummus shop to a coffee shop, to a mobile bookstore, many small business owners rely on vintage Volkswagen products to help their businesses run.

Little Sesame

Little Sesame Volkswagen Bus

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

In 2015, chefs Nick Wiseman and Ronen Tenne opened their hummus shop in Washington, D.C. They didn't just want another restaurant, they wanted to create a different way of doing business than they'd experienced in some of the New York City area kitchens they'd cooked in over the years. They wanted travel.

In order to inspire new flavors , Wiseman and Tenne hop into their robin's egg blue 1978 Volkswagen Bus and explore the country. Their current Bowl of the Week brings in autumn and wintertime flavors with ingredients like maple roasted winter squash, pomegranate molasses, crispy chickpeas, za'ata, and herbs.

The restaurant, with locations in the Golden Triangle and Chinatown, is currently open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They offer catering and meal kits as well as online ordering for pickup and delivery.

Dom's Coffee

In Farmington Valley, Connecticut, a European-style coffee shop sits on a strip of real estate next to buildings similar to what you'd find in nearly anyone's hometown - a car dealership and a church. The brick-and-mortar shop was opened by Andrius Plankis and Asta Plankiene in May 2015, two years after the couple emigrated to the U.S. from Lithuania.

In addition to their shop, they run a fully-equipped mobile espresso bar out of the back of a Volkswagen Atlas R-Line. Their specialty is artistically crafted drinks including espressos, affogatos, specialty lattes, cold brews, and hot chocolates.

The Cincy Book Bus

The Cincy Book Bus

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

After retiring from 25 years of teaching, Melanie Moore decided it was time to pursue her dream: opening a bookstore. But she didn't just want to own the shop around the corner, she wanted to have a business that would work to get books into the hands of children that need them the most. Just as she was about to sign a lease for a storefront, she got cold feet.

Inspired by a novel centered around a fictional, female horse-drawn carriage bookseller, Moore decided to launch the Cincy Book Bus – a mobile bookstore – out of the bed of her husband's teal 1962 Volkswagen Transporter. The van holds about 150 books, and Moore regularly rotates titles to cater to her audiences.

Moore dedicates her profits to stocking classroom libraries.

While these three businesses are small, three large corporations (including Nike) were founded from humble beginnings thanks in no small part to their Volkswagens. Click here to read their stories.

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