2019 Volkswagen Jetta

2019 Volkswagen Jetta

Episode 3738
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

Volkswagen needs you…and a lot of other Americans…to reach their goal of 5% U.S. market share. It’s about 2% today. Their new atlas and Tiguan SUVs will certainly help, but they need more. So, enter an all-new Jetta compact sedan. Now, VW says that more than ever, it was designed with Amercian buyers in mind. But in doing so, VW risks ruining what made Jetta popular in the first place. So let’s see how well VW walks that tight rope.

With over 17½ million sold since 1979, the Volkswagen Jetta is a well-recognized, global nameplate. When the last Jetta sedan debuted right around the beginning of this decade, it was part of Volkswagen’s new strategy to not only build cars in North America, but to tailor them specifically for American drivers. 

What that meant was less emphasis on ride-and-handling, making space and price the priorities. That “bigger and cheaper is better” approach yielded exactly the desired results, record sales. 

For 2019, the 7th gen. Volkswagen Jetta not only doubles down on that strategy, but attempts to bring more driving excitement back into the mix. 

While it still bears a resemblance to the conservative Passat, it’s certainly the most dynamic Jetta we’ve ever seen, and if you were expecting to hear the words “coupe-like profile”; well, they’re here. 

The other usual descriptors apply as well, longer wheelbase, shorter overhangs, wider track; and cliché as it all may be, it’s hard to argue with the very handsome results. 

A slicker shape is only part of what VW has done to get back some of the fuel economy lost without diesel or hybrid models. Active grille shutters up front, and while technically the same engine, the 1.4-liter turbo behind that grille is now tuned for more efficiency. 

3-horsepower was lost in that transformation, now at 147; but torque remains the same at 184 lb-ft. 

Furthering the theme, base cars get an extra gear for a 6-speed manual, and the optional automatic is now an 8-speed.

The results are improved Government Fuel Economy Ratings of 30-City, 40-Highway, and 34-Combined; the same regardless of transmission. 

While far from flashy inside, the exaggerated tilt of the center stack, sets a more driver-oriented tone to the space; and there’s much less hard plastic to be found, leaving nothing much to complain about. 

And impressive features like the digital dash won’t be found anywhere else in this segment. 

Top SEL Premium trim will also get you leather seats, both heated and ventilated; a new 8-inch Discover Media infotainment with navigation; selectable drive modes, and a 10-color LED ambient lighting system.

There is indeed plenty of space inside to get comfortable, no matter whether you’re the driver or just along for the ride. And cargo space is plentiful as well, at 14.1 cubic-ft.; 60/40 split-folding seatbacks are standard.  

Our early drive time came around Raleigh, North Carolina; and we’ll jump right in with talk of the suspension. Yes, a torsion beam is back at the rear on all trims. And while it’s easy to complain; for American Jetta buyers, it’s likely the ideal blend of capability with great everyday comfort.

And, it keeps costs down. Helping offset that is the fact that that torsion beam is now bolted to VW’s MQB architecture. Does it provide A4-like sport sedan agility? Not quite. Is it a sensibly entertaining everyday compact sedan?  We’d say yes and then some. Certainly more lively than segment leaders Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. 

The new 8-speed automatic stays very busy managing power delivery from the little 1.4-liter; but it does so without undo effort. Sporty R-Line trim has no any added power, but it does get an XDS electronic differential, unique wheels, black trim, and dual exhaust tips.  

VW is certainly attempting to attract your bucks by delivering as much bang as possible; very well equipped base S trim starts at $19,395, down 100 bucks from last year; top trim SEL Premium goes for $27,795. Plus, VW’s new People First warranty includes bumper-to-bumper protection for 6 years or 72,000 miles. 

It would be foolish to expect the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta alone to put the brand’s sale’s goal within reach. But, it is another correct step in that direction. VW has walked the tight rope well. So, if you’re thinking about a compact sedan, with Corolla and Civic on your list, we think you should add the very entertaining VW Jetta at the top.

Specifications

  • Engine: 1.4 liter
  • Horsepower: 147
  • Torque: 184 lb-ft.
  • EPA: 30 mpg city / 40 mpg highway
2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Front

2024 Subaru Solterra

The Solterra Gets Subaru Into The EV Game

Episode 4339
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

You could say that Subaru is one of the more conservative brands out there. So, it’s no surprise it took them a little longer than most to venture into pure EV territory. But now that they’ve staked a claim with this Solterra, it’s time for us to see if Subaru buyers should plug in.

The Subaru Solterra is indeed the brand’s first full battery-electric vehicle; and while it took partnering with Toyota to make it happen, as we’ve seen with the BRZ and GR86 sport coupes, that partnership can lead to some great things.

So, we’ll start there; the Solterra’s counterpart is the Toyota bZ4X, and they do share most powertrain elements, specs, and features; but Subaru has done a few things to establish some unique vibes for their brand. That starts with the drivetrain, as all-wheel drive is standard here as in most Subarus, and in similar tradition, power won’t overwhelm you, it’s more safe and familiar feeling than overpowering as some EVs can be. Called StarDrive, this Subaru’s dual-motor setup rates 215 horsepower and 249 lb-ft of torque. Subaru loves to tout that their drivers are second only to Jeep owners when it comes to venturing off pavement, so capability is a must.

2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Front
2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Front
2024 Subaru Solterra Headlight
2024 Subaru Solterra Front Emblem
2024 Subaru Solterra Wheel
2024 Subaru Solterra Profile
2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Rear
2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Rear
2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Detail
2024 Subaru Solterra Badge
2024 Subaru Solterra Charge Port
2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Front2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Front2024 Subaru Solterra Headlight2024 Subaru Solterra Front Emblem2024 Subaru Solterra Wheel2024 Subaru Solterra Profile2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Rear2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Rear2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Detail2024 Subaru Solterra Badge2024 Subaru Solterra Charge Port

We did find Solterra as competent as every other Subaru. Their X-Mode has been programmed to work seamlessly with the electric motors, and its 8.3 inches of ground clearance is higher than the bZ4X; plus, you can use Grip Control to moderate speeds and maximize traction.

While most new EVs seem to be hovering around 300 miles of range, max here in the Solterra from its 72.8-kWh battery pack is 227 miles, 222 here in Touring trim. Our results were much less than that, on pace for just 172 miles in our driving loop. But that may be a fluke since we managed 210+ in our bZ4X test.

Only 100-kW max for DC fast charging. But even though it has only been on the market for a year, they’ve already cut down charging times for ‘24 models. An upgraded battery conditioning system, needs 35 minutes for an 80% charge. Subaru always seems to come out on the right side of being cool while remaining authentic, and the Solterra’s styling works, as does its beefier roof rack for ’24 which now holds up to 700 lbs. for tents and the like. Touring trim comes with some great looking 20-inch alloy wheels and there’s lots of body protection, but they did go a little overboard with all of the EV badges everywhere.

We found ride quality to be quite good, and handling spunkier than expected.

In addition to being a good-looking small SUV, it’s a highly functional one too with plenty of room for 5, durable materials, and a bridge-type center console with lots of storage space underneath, though there is no traditional glove box. Subaru also claims it was designed to be dog-friendly, so that’s a plus too. It does have the roomy feel of an Outback, and rear cargo capacity is pretty close, too, at 29.0 cubic-feet.

We found ride quality to be quite good, and handling spunkier than expected. It really shined in the handling course at our Mason-Dixon test track; the EV low center of gravity giving it a very planted feel through the cones. There was minimal body roll and great all-wheel-drive grip; though when it came to us getting a grip on the steering wheel. Well, it’s an oddly shaped steering wheel that took some getting used to. It’s another thing that separates it from the bZ4X, though it seems a little bit like just being different for the sake of being different.

2024 Subaru Solterra Dashboard
2024 Subaru Solterra Instrument Cluster
2024 Subaru Solterra Central Display
2024 Subaru Solterra Shifter
2024 Subaru Solterra Front Seat
2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Seat
2024 Subaru Solterra Trunk
2024 Subaru Solterra Dashboard2024 Subaru Solterra Instrument Cluster2024 Subaru Solterra Central Display2024 Subaru Solterra Shifter2024 Subaru Solterra Front Seat2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Seat2024 Subaru Solterra Trunk

On the other hand, while not insanely fast like some EVs, there was good punch off the line; enough to get us to 60 in 6.2 seconds. And rather than rolling back the power, the Solterra kept it consistent the whole way down the track. We finished the quarter-mile in 14.8 seconds at 93 mph. There wasn’t much feel coming through the brake pedal, but panic braking stops were fade-free with an average amount of nose dive; our stops from 60 averaged 120 feet.

Using 33-kWh of electricity per 100-miles, the Solterra earns a good efficiency rating. Pricing starts at $46,340 for the base Premium, and tops out with Touring at $53,340, with Limited in between.

Being the rugged and lovable outdoor types, Subaru owners have proven to be willing to sacrifice certain things for the good of the environment they spend so much time enjoying. Whether that will translate to them going all-in on the 2024 Solterra remains to be seen. It’s no surprise Subaru has finally gone all-electric, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise they’ve entered the EV game conservatively. Something tells us Subaru owners wouldn’t have it any other way.

Specifications

As Tested

  • Motor Setup: Dual Motor
  • Battery Size: 72.8-kWh
  • Horsepower: 215
  • Torque: 249 lb-ft
  • EPA Range: 222 miles
  • 0-60 mph: 6.2 seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 14.8 seconds at 93 mph
  • 60-0 Braking: 120 feet (avg)
  • MW Test Loop: 172 miles