STATUS: New for 2019 and unchanged for 2020 - What appears as the Passat sedan's smaller sibling is built using Volkswagen's latest MBQ platform, which is the foundation for a number of VW and Audi models. The Jetta comes with a 147-horsepower four-cylinder engine linked to either a six-speed manual transmission or available eight-speed automatic. To save weight and cost, Volkswagen installed a torsion-beam (solid) rear axle in place of the previous independent multi-link setup. That's reserved for the hotter-performing GLI. As with the GTI hatchback, the GLI sports a 228-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder connected to a six-speed manual transmission or an optional seven-speed paddle-shift automatic. Base Jettas are reasonably turned out, including an electronic parking brake and 16-inch alloy wheels. The SE adds a panoramic sunroof, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, 17-inch alloy wheels and blind-spot monitor with rear-traffic alert. You can go all out with the R-Line, SEL and SEL Premium trim levels, the latter being equipped with navigation, leather seats, heated steering wheel, remote start and crash-avoiding/mitigating dynamic-safety technology, such as automatic emergency braking.
Base price (incl. destination): $19,800; $27,150 (GLI)
Type: Compact sedan
Engine (h.p.): 1.4-liter I-4, turbocharged (147); 2.0-liter I-4, turbocharged (238)
Transmissions: Six-speed manual; eight-speed automatic; seven-speed automated manual (opt. GLI)
Base mpg (city/highway/combined): 30/40/34 (MT)
Base weight (lb.): 2,900