VW Reveals More Details on Next-Gen Jetta Drivetrain and Trim

Volkswagen has yet again revealed tantalizing new details about the Jetta A7, this time at a no-cameras event in Manhattan.

Having taken the veil off the Jetta, VW revealed that the MQB-based compact sedan will be powered by a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine. That engine is the only one available for the regular lineup, though it might be replaced (the MQB platform, after all, means the Jetta can fit any engine the Atlas can) when the GLI comes around.

Coming in a familiar range of trim levels, the new Jetta will likely churn out about 150 hp and a little more than 180 lb-ft of torque. That might not blow your socks off, but attached to the 8-speed transmission and powering a car that’s about 40 kg lighter (about 90 lbs) than the one it replaces, it should be good for better fuel economy.

Unfortunately, the new Jetta’s EPA numbers have yet to be reported, so we’ll have to wait to find out for sure.

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With an optional digital cockpit, an up to 8-inch infotainment screen, ventilated seats up front, and heated seats in the rear, though, it’s sure to also be one of the more luxurious cars in its segment. Despite that, VW is insistent that it won’t be priced as such.

Chastened by its previous experience in America and interested in continuing the Jetta’s record as the volume marque, VW assured us time and again that the pricing would be competitive in the market. If it’s anything like the Atlas, also advertised as competitive within its class before official numbers were released, then it will still be priced high in its segment, but won’t be the most expensive car in it.

As for standard equipment, the car will come with aluminum-alloy wheels no matter how much you spend, but your price will determine whether they’re 16- or 17-inches across (the GLI’s will likely be even bigger, but again we won’t know for some time).

Volkswagen is also fitting LED daytime running lights onto all of its Jettas and you’re likely to get safety features like blind-spot monitoring no matter how much you spend.

Unlike the Golf and the Beetle, which have Fender audio systems, VW has partnered with Beats for the Jetta. Part of the brand’s bid to position the car as the first choice for hip young folks, app-connect and the wide range of available tech will make this irresistible to millennials, hopes VW.

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Unfortunately, we can’t show just what it will look like since we were asked to hand over our cell phones and cameras before entering the venue, but we can tell you that there are no surprises. You pretty much know what it will look like, but the good news is that the design reads well in person.

A handsome car that looks a little chunkier than the outgoing model, the new Jetta has what Hinrich Woebcken, CEO of Volkswagen’s North America Region, calls “muscular at the front” and like a “coupe at the back.”

It does have a Golf-like slash ahead of the front door, where the trim badge nestles, and the DRL design is attractive. I’ll admit to not being totally sold on the new, sharply angled grille quite yet, but overall it looks good, albeit not terribly exciting.

Inside, meanwhile, there is a palpable sense of improvement in quality. The outgoing Jetta somehow felt ineffably cheaper than the Golf, but there’s no sense of that here. Like the exterior, the interior design is good, if a little dull.

My only major complaint with the back seats is that the door frame cuts off the line of sight for passengers chopping up the view from the back seat rather unpleasantly.

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The back seats are genuinely comfortable, though, and actually cradle your buns, rather deflecting them like the stiff benches in so many other cars. Folding down in a 40/60 configuration, they open into a cavernous trunk that does hint at where VW is saving money.

With unhidden springs keeping the trunk lid moving smoothly, the brand was able to save a few bucks on materials, something the North American engineers have been tasked with doing to lower prices low for the customer. It is a little surprising to see a spring just hanging out there at the top of the trunk, but it’s by no means in the way of anything and is entirely out of the way, so it does seem like an intelligent place to save money.

We’ll have to wait and see if cost savings have affected the car more adversely, though you likely won’t have to worry about reliability either way since VW announced that the Jetta, too, will be available with its 6-year/72,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty.

Unfortunately, for pricing details, more on the trim levels, and actual photographs of the car, you’ll have to wait until January for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit where the car will make its official public reveal.