Volkswagen’s new 2019 Jetta boasts plenty of big changes, starting with its transition to the MQB platform that is shared with the Golf and myriad other Volkswagen Group products. The redesigned sedan gets a boost in its EPA fuel-economy ratings, with both the manual- and automatic-transmission versions now hitting the magic 40-mpg mark in the government’s highway testing (previously only the manual was rated at 40 mpg, while the automatic was 38). The combined ratings also go up, with both drivetrains achieving 34 mpg—a 1-mpg improvement for the manual-transmission car and a 2-mpg increase for the automatic.
Credit the Jetta’s new transmissions, plus the addition of stop/start technology for the automatic version. Although its turbo 1.4-liter four-cylinder with 147 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque is mostly carryover, it now comes standard with a six-speed manual rather than a five-speed, and an eight-speed automatic steps in for the old six-speed. (The previous 1.8-liter has been dropped.)
These ratings puts the Jetta in good company in the compact segment, as it matches the most efficient gasoline-powered versions of the Chevrolet Cruze and Hyundai Elantra in hitting the big 4-0 mark. It’s not quite the class leader, however: The Honda Civic with its optional turbocharged 1.5-liter four and CVT hits 42 mpg in the government’s tests. Of course, we’re curious to see what the VW will do in our real-world 75-mph highway fuel-economy test; a 2017 Jetta with a manual transmission returned 37 mpg in that test.
The 2019 Jetta is scheduled to go on sale this spring, and VW has announced a price of $19,395 for the base S model. Stay tuned for more info about full pricing that includes the SE, SEL, SEL Premium, and R-Line trim levels.