The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta is all business, as buttoned down as a German civil servant and nearly as free of smiles.
Unlike many other vehicles available today, this compact four-door lacks any whimsical touches.
In recent years, automakers from FCA to Jaguar Land Rover have embraced the “Easter egg” — they’ve sprinkled small, hidden design flourishes throughout their vehicles, whether it’s the silhouette of a Willys jeep climbing the Wrangler’s windshield frit or jaguar-print textures inside the new E-Pace.
But the redesigned 2019 Jetta lacks any such frivolity and for good reason. “It’s funny, yeah, but in the moment we… literally we don’t have the time to go into that playground,” said Klaus Bischoff, the head of design at Volkswagen. They’ve simply been too busy creating the company’s next generation of vehicles to mess around with things like Easter eggs.
Still, if the product cadence ever slows down, Bischoff said they may take a crack at this in the future. “But maybe we find our own way of, interpretation of it because I don’t want to copy.”
Another reason Volkswagen designers have shied away from whimsical touches is that they don’t drive sales. “Is that a reason to buy it?” asked Bischoff rhetorically. “No,” he answered in short order. There are much more important considerations when purchasing a vehicle, things like safety, fuel economy, and pricing.
Easter eggs or not, some pundits, particularly among the AutoGuide.com team have derided the new Jetta for being a visual snooze fest. Despite these sentiments, there’s actually a lot of sophistication to its design. Bischoff described it as having “true German character,” being classy and clean.
And that’s the critical aspect of what makes a Volkswagen look like a Volkswagen. Intricate detailing, proper proportion, crystal-clear surfacing as well as faultless fit and finish are VW hallmarks, explained Bischoff. “All this is brand identity.”
Accordingly, the 2019 Jetta’s silhouette provides a lower-and-longer look; its wheels are also bigger and track wider, for a more planted stance.
And if all that wasn’t enough, “We have a very fast C-post,” said Bischoff, which gives the car a near coupe-like roofline. This is also the first Jetta with a three-window daylight opening, that is, the glass on the car’s sides. “The proportions are far better than before,” he added.
Subtle details abound, like the crisp lines that run from the roof, down the A-pillars, across the hood and disappear into the grille. A pair of sharp creases also punctuates the vehicle’s flanks. Bischoff explained that every line was designed to carry throughout the car.
Front and center is a new lighting signature that’s connected to the grille. “[It’s] a feature you see on a lot of our cars,” said Bischoff, and it’s one that gives their vehicle a very wide appearance.
Moving rearward, the Jetta has a spoiler integrated into the trunk-lid, which according to Bischoff is “a little bit of Areton shining through,” a visual reference to the brand’s new premium four-door coupe. This double-line motif is continued on the back bumper as well.
Inside, the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta’s cabin is angular, with a driver-focused design. The optional Digital Cockpit provides a colorful and reconfigurable instrument cluster instead of traditional analog gauges. For enhanced ergonomics, this screen is on the same level and the infotainment system’s display.
But is this car boring, as many AutoGuiders seem to think (though not this author; I find it handsome and classy)? Bischoff didn’t outright deny this claim. “You have to put together a very good package here,” he explained. “It’s about seating five in comfort… you need to have a large trunk, you have to tick all the boxes.”
Perhaps a practical, value-focused sedan isn’t the place to go hog wild with design, Bischoff said. “We have our heroes, like a GTI, and a GLI. We play with that.”
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