What It Is: After more than a half-dozen years on the market, Volkswagen’s sixth-generation Jetta is finally getting a well-deserved redesign. Although today’s Jetta has improved with age thanks to running changes such as an independent rear suspension, a wider availability of desirable infotainment features, and a host of powertrain improvements, Volkswagen’s compact sedan has grown long in the tooth and suffers from cut-rate cabin materials and a boring exterior design.
While we can’t say whether Volkswagen will give the next-generation Jetta an interior built to the quality standards set by its Golf and Tiguan siblings, these spy shots reveal that the new sedan will possess an extra hint of style that today’s car lacks. A high beltline, a wide stance, and an arching roofline give the seventh-generation Jetta prototype captured here a more coupelike look compared with its tall and upright predecessor. While we’re not entirely sold on this camouflaged prototype’s massive rear overhang, we’re certain the new model will continue the Jetta’s tradition of offering expansive trunk room.
Why It Matters: The Jetta may not be the most exciting product in Volkswagen’s lineup, but it’s VW’s best-seller with 121,107 leaving American dealerships last year—putting it 48,105 units ahead of the brand’s second-best-selling model, the Passat. While the redesigned Tiguan and the all-new Atlas crossover SUVs are sure to take some weight off the Jetta’s shoulders, the sedan will continue to play an important role in the brand’s plan to move more metal in the U.S. market.
Platform: The 2019 Jetta is all but guaranteed to ride on the brand’s MQB scalable architecture. Stiff, refined, and versatile, the platform should help the Jetta regain some of the luster it lost transitioning from the acclaimed fifth-generation model to the current sixth-gen car.
Powertrain: Expect today’s standard turbocharged 1.4-liter inline-four to carry over to the new Jetta. It’s currently rated at 150 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, but Volkswagen may find a few more ponies by the time the turbo four makes its way to the new Jetta’s engine bay. Plan on a standard manual transmission and an optional automatic. A more powerful GLI version seems inevitable as well.
Estimated Arrival and Price: The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta could be unveiled as soon as this calendar year. Given the model’s importance to the U.S. market, that unveiling could take place at this fall’s Los Angeles auto show, with cars reaching dealerships in mid-2018. Expect the cost of entry to rise slightly from today’s $18,715 starting price.