2019 a big year for Volkswagen

Slow to join the party, the all-new 2019 Jetta finally gets underpinned by VW s highly regarded MQB platform, which bowed in the U.S. under the 2015 Golf. Volkswagen photo
Slow to join the party, the all-new 2019 Jetta finally gets underpinned by VW s highly regarded MQB platform, which bowed in the U.S. under the 2015 Golf. Volkswagen photo

German brand offers two new models

Volkswagen has been busy.

At the recent North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Volkswagen unveiled the seventh generation of its compact Jetta sedan. Then, right on the heels of that announcement, VW at the Chicago Auto Show pulled the cover off its first-ever midsize Arteon, a coupe-like four-door.

Both are slated to come to our shores as 2019 models. Here’s a look at each.

2019 Volkwagen Jetta

With its new styling, redone interior and overall larger shadow, it’s obvious the Volkswagen Jetta is new. But the most important aspect of its rebirth is what an observer can’t see: its platform.

Having soldiered on through 2018 with a foundation whose origins date back to the early part of this century, Jetta, VW’s best-selling model in the U.S., finally is blessed with V-Dub’s universally praised MQB platform, underpinnings that have supported the U.S.-market Golf since 2015.

Under its stridently lined hood, Jetta will offer only one engine – its familiar 1.4-liter turbo I-4 that generates 147 hp and 184 lbs.-ft. of torque.

That power, purists will happily note, can be managed by a six-speed manual transmission – only, however, in the base S model – or an eight-speed automatic, which is optional on S, standard on SE, SEL, SEL Premium and R-Line trims.

Longer, wider and taller than the car it replaces, the all-new Jetta rides a wheelbase that stretches 1.3 inches farther.

Covering the added size is a large, sternly horizontal grille, sharply character-lined hood and a sleek profile enabled by a fast-sloping C-pillar.

Inside the new cabin are roomier accommodations and available goodies like changeable ambient light colors; Driver Personalization, which remembers radio presets, lighting hue, seat memory and more for up to four drivers; and a redrawn center console that can conceal an iPad. Available are Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink compatibility and a 400-watt Beats Audio sound system.

A rearview camera is standard while available active safety stuff includes Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking; Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert; Adaptive Cruise Control; and Lane Departure Warning and Assist.

Finally, VW has priced this new Jetta slightly lower than the car it replaces. An S starts at $19,395 – a hundred bucks less than its predecessor.

Look for this Jetta to arrive in stateside VW showrooms this spring.

2019 Volkswagen Arteon

It was a cold memo on which CC got cc’d: “CC is shelved.”

That’s the thanks the Volkswagen CC gets after trailblazing the “four-door coupe” niche way back in 2008. It’s a tough world.

However, the old Comfort Coupe – “CC” to its friends – can take solace in the knowledge that its legacy is being carried on in the all-new 2019 Volkswagen Arteon.

“Arteon is the spiritual successor to CC,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, CEO of Volkswagen’s North American Region, “but it is bolder and faster.”

And it’s definitely roomier, casting virtually the same-size shadow as Passat but riding a wheelbase that stretches more than 5 inches farther. The result is a roomier back seat than CC could claim.

Riding VW’s flexible MQB platform, this large four-door disguises its quad portals with a rearward-shifted cabin, short overhangs, fastback profile and coupe-esque demeanor, all fronted by a sculpted grille and a wild, fender-capping clamshell hood.

Every U.S.-market Arteon will be powered by a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 268 hp and 258 lbs.-ft. of torque that’s sent to the pavement through a standard eight-speed automatic.

Providing traction, at the buyer’s discretion, will be just the front wheels or all four, via VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive, which is available in each of Arteon’s trims: SE, SEL and SEL Premium.

And “premium” is the operative word for this clothes horse, which is designed to compete at a higher level than Passat. Even on the base SE, standards include heated front seats, three-zone climate control, 8-inch touch screen that’s Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink compatible, rearview camera, an adaptive-damping suspension and such safety nannies as Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert.

Look for the new Arteon in the fall. No pricing yet.