Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Volkswagen Unveils the Brand Spanking New Mk7 Jetta


By: Sebastien Bell
Volkswagen took the wraps off the brand new upscale Jetta tonight ahead of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Despite growing in every direction, introducing a bevy of new features, and moving onto a new chassis, the Mk7 Jetta will start at just $18,545—which the keen-eyed reader will have no doubt noticed is roughly $100 less than the Jetta it replaces.
The Mk7 moves off the PQ35 chassis and onto the MQB platform, joining the Golf, Tiguan, and just about anything with a VW badge on it (apart from the Passat). Thanks to its new platform, the Jetta has a longer wheelbase (105.7 inches, or about one-and-a-third-inches longer than the Mk6) and is wider, taller, and longer than the outgoing model.
Despite that, the Jetta still has shorter overhangs, which is good through the corners—something we can confirm the Jetta is. Along with the growth spurt, the new Jetta’s outline also changes somewhat, thanks to a handsomely sloping roof. Thanks to a new hexagonal grille, the Jetta is also perhaps more distinct from the Golf.
Inside, VW makes good on all that extra exterior space by increasing the volume of the cabin, though VW hasn’t yet revealed by how much.
Under the hood, VW has disappointingly opted not to fit its excellent 2.0-liter engine and has instead fitted the familiar 147-hp, 1.4-liter engine. While it’s possible to find compact sedans with more horsepower, none make more than its 184 lb-ft of torque.
What might make up for the disappointment of the familiar small-displacement engine are the transmissions to which it’s attached. As standard, the Jetta is fitted with VW’s six-speed manual(!), or you could opt for the 8-speed auto (with stop-start), instead, but for the love of God buy the manual and prove to VW that it’s a worthwhile option.
As is increasingly popular, the Jetta also comes with a suite of available active safety tech. Among them: forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warnings, automatic high beams, and more. All can be added as options, but every Jetta will have a standard rearview camera to help with reversing maneuvers.
And finally, the cabin will be filled with all sorts of new technology as well. Buyers of the highest trim Jettas, that is the SEL and SEL Premium will be treated to a standard Volkswagen Digital Cockpit, which replaces the mechanical gauges with a screen that can change depending on the circumstances.
The Mk7 Jetta is also the first VW in the US to offer an available 400-watt BeatsAudio—because apparently the space in the middle of that was too much damn effort for the hashtag crowd—system. It can be controlled by an infotainment screen placed high on the dash for optimal operation.
And to cosset you in luxury, the Jetta now has seat memory, two-zone A/C, and interior lightingthat can change to any of ten available colors. As for interior feel, VW has brought back its soft-touch plastics, which ought to make our resident Jetta expert happy.
Every Jetta will be sold with VW’s transferable People First Warranty, which is good for 72,000 miles or six years.
For now, the 1.4-liter is all you get, regardless of which trim level you opt for, be it S, SE, SEL, or even SEL Premium. Even the R-Line, which is coming a little later this year with an XDS electronic differential, will come with the same engine. Encouragingly, though, we have heard through the grapevine that the GLI will be properly powerful when it comes out. You’ll have to wait patiently before that one arrives, though.
The all-new Mk7 Jetta is expected to hit showroom floors this spring.
And if you should find yourself wondering about any of the Jettas that preceded this one, you can read all about them in our excellent (I can say that because I didn’t write them) “Model Rewind” series.


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