Motoring Monday: 2019 Volkswagen Jetta – Smarter than the average bear

Being a bear in today’s world is tough.  Tech jobs don’t pay what they used to pay.  Rents are ridiculous and finding roommates who are compatible for the length of a lease is more challenging than getting a waitron to split the check four ways. Even if you do have an inheritance coming, modern medicine has made it so that your chain-smoking, martini-drinking, pill-popping parents may be on life support long after the Do-Not-Resuscitate directive expires.

What to do with the money you don’t have when you need to get around town? Starting at $18,745, you should check out the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta.

Long, long ago, the VW Jetta was a bit of a luxury car, aimed solidly at those who had money and wanted some German engineering and interior elegance.  Earlier in this century, Volkswagen wanted to make the Jetta more affordable, made some changes that did not go over well but they have since corrected course.

Now, the Jetta is a nice simple small car that is affordable. It’s basic. Average combine mileage is 34. You can go up the food chain of trims and spend, say, $25,265 for the top-tier SEL (which is the one I tested) and really be impressed.  But if you need to just get around town until Mark Zuckerberg or Reed Hastings comes personally calling for you, the fully-redesigned 2019 Jetta could be what you need, simply because your body and many of your life possessions can get in the car comfortably.

Most notable for me was the engine, as is always the case with Volkswagens these days.  Across the board on all Jettas, you get a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine that offers 147 horses. There really is something about these VW engines.  They are responsive when you give it the gas.  All it takes is a little acceleration and you are taking off like a bolt of lightning, yet you never feel like you are losing control. Maybe it’s the turbocharged engine.  Maybe it’s Volkswagen. For those of you who want a kick-arse engine that delivers the goods even when you economically can’t, the Jetta or any VW engine could be your savior.

To go along with all that giddy-up is a smooth ride that is remarkable for a small car.  One expects a small car to ride a bit bumpy.  I didn’t find that to be the case here. Dare I say, the 2019 Jetta was poised, but not like your A-List co-worker at the LGBT center who makes snide comments about you behind your back but cozies up to you when his hard drive crashes. I mean ‘poised’ as in unassuming yet graceful, seamlessly enough so that you can dart about town without giving a rip about anything but the stage show going on in your head at the time in which you are the star.  And the traffic, of course, in which you are (sadly) a minion.

To be sure, the small car field is a crowded one, whereas there is plenty of room in your empty wallet for far too few paper notes. Other small cars that I have driven that I like include the Kia Forte, Mazda 3 and Honda Civic.  Prices will vary but so will the standard features and your comfort level. I say get in and see how you like ‘em, which is the same advice I’d give you about a boyfriend…..

….because simply put, if you aren’t crazy about the ride and comfort now, how crazy are you really going to be about the payments and the sluggishness five years down the road?


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