Category Archives: Automobile

What we learned at the New York Auto Show 2018 – Plenty Of Power, Sometimes Electric, Sometimes Fossil Fuel

P00132_1The 2018 New York Auto Show opened with a lot of energy surrounding releases of what Americans want: SUV’s, small and large, as well as vehicles with big performance engines, tried andHyundai's new Kona true sedans, and yes electric powertrains, from plugin to hybrid to hydrogen-powered vehicles.

Body styles took center stage, while powertrains continued to jostle for attention.

 

We also saw the revival of the hatchback, and no question the station wagon is going to be making a comeback. Both now, much sportier and better tailored than ever before.

A lot of the models that were released are freshened models, though a couple of close to market concepts went on display. Powertrains from two different mindsets seemed to be everywhere; electric and an increasingly higher horsepower SUV’s and muscle cars.

Highlight Vehicles

The hatchback twins from Toyota and Lexus, The Kia K900, Volkswagen’s Pickup Truck Concept, Maserati’s Levante Trofeo, and the Mazda Kai concept were all stars of the show.  Add to that a redesigned Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester and a very close to reality “Sport” version of the VW Atlas are just a few of what was on display in New York.

 

Hot Hatches

Hatchbacks, one of the most sensible vehicle designs is making a strong comeback and from Toyota, a brand that celebrated them for many years. Four-doors and a hatch make them easy to get into for both passengers and cargo. Toyota and upscale sibling Lexus brought the small hatchback into the spotlight, with the Toyota Corolla Hatchback and the Lexus UX. While you can see the family resemblance, each is very much a part of its own brand. Toyota has wisely included a 6-speed manual transmission in their offering, and Lexus has a hybrid version with their Direct-Shift continuously variable transmission  (CVT.)

 

Luxury Cars and SUV’s

 

Maserati Booth at NYIAS

Driver’s today expect luxury touches no matter the brand, and both Kia and Maserati have stepped forward. Kia with a redesigned K900 that has an understated exterior and updated interior design and Maserati with a fire-breathing full-size SUV with a screaming 590 hp 8-cylinder engine. Not to be left out the luxury high-performance Sedan is still a strong contender, with Audi’s new 444 horsepower RS5 Sportback letting everyone know that the five rings are ready to roll.

 

 

Small SUV’s

Nissan KicksVW Atlas Sport

The Subaru Forester, Nissan Kicks (shown above) and the Toyota RAV 4, took center stage, and rightfully so, these brands have a very loyal consumer following. Volkswagen sent the Atlas to the Gym and has returned with a buffer though tad smaller Sport version.

 

Staid Sedans

IMG_1484While four-door sedans are being left in the dust by the SUV in today’s market, Nissan has redone the Altima and put it in All-Wheel Drive mode and Kia has put some new energy into the Optima and has brought the K900 into modern style.

 

The SUV

Lincoln AviatorThe SUV of last few decades seems to be growing into larger 3-row seat size.  From the mundane to the ultra luxurious there are plenty of sizes and price points for the trusty family hauler. Be it the Ford EcoSport or a Land Rover Coupe, Lincoln Aviator to the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen, there are plenty of sizes and price points for this trusty family hauler.

 

Pickup Trucks

America has always been a country of roughneck cowboys, and what once was thought as a work | Farm vehicle is now the mainstream family car. With four doors and numerous creature comforts the pickup truck is no longer bare-bones with rubber mats, Naugahyde seats, and if you were lucky, an Am Radio.  Even Volkswagen brought forth a Pickup Concept, that seems about ready for market. RAM, Ford, Chevy, and GMC, as well as Toyota and Nissan all, were displaying plenty of full-size pickups with more creature comforts than many cars. The mid-sized pickup is making a rebirth with the Ford Ranger, GM with the Colorado, and no doubt more will be coming.

Electric Vehicles

Electric once only thought of as a very specialty vehicle driven by the look-at-me self-possessed eco-conscious consumer. Indeed the EV Fad is now mainstream, almost every band has at least one model that is pure battery-powered electric

As EV’s continue to be major sellers in markets where the tax incentives and other green benefits perks are dwindling. The panache of the electric vehicle is starting to be overshadowed by the technology and daily benefits with Plug-In Hybrids and hydrogen-fueled vehicles starting to become more commonplace.   Nissan with the Leaf, the Tesla line up and most recently the Chevrolet Bolt is more mainstream and competing in the upmarket as well as the daily driver arena.

While there are several charging systems out there, and none are universal, Charge Point seems to be a big partner to these new vehicles, as well as pushing heavy in the home charger market.

Technology

There is no question that the New York International Auto Show is a collection of the latest and greatest automobiles, but it is also a place where technology meets the consumer. Nissan took center stage with its Pro-Pilot and Toyota has had XX for a while now.

Alexa?  With the prevalence of Amazon’s Alexa in homes, the Alexa voice assistant was very well apparent being touted along with Apple Car Play and Android Auto. Now the same voice-activated artificial intelligence service comes to your vehicle. Google’s AI product Google Home and Apple’s Siri were remarkably absent from in-car virtual assistants. Just when Android Auto and Apple CarPlay seem to be becoming more prevalent is when that witty woman’s voice is now becoming apart of your driving experience. And what a great way to just talk to your car. Anyone remember the short-lived TV show of the 1960’s My Mother The Car? Of course, you don’t, the future was displayed in a Model A.

Built-in Hotspots are becoming commonplace as the vehicles become more interconnected with their driver’s.  Software that recognizes drivers by their phones upon entry is the next step in making vehicles more shareable.

What is in the future.

In the near term, hydrogen power and station wagons along with the continued expansion of models that powered by batteries will continue.

In the midterm look forward to seeing those odd 3-wheeled trike vehicles. A cross between a motorcycle and a 2-seater car. Several manufacturers and not motorcycle companies were displaying them.  Malcolm Bricklin, founder of Subaru of America, the Canadian made Bricklin sports car and importer of Yugo cars, shared with me his electric version is about 2-years out to come to market.

Upscale Luxury vehicles. Manufacturers are learning that the ultra-luxury high-performance supercars and SUV’s mean one thing, a stronger bottom line. Each of them is starting to add such profitable models to their line up.

Until Next Year

Or the Next Auto Show, whichever comes first.

20180328_134148

Words and photos by William West Hopper.

 

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What is Happening at MBUSA

As originally posted on the Mercedes-Benz Club of America | Greater Washington Section July-August 2018 Quarterly News Round-Up 2018 vol. 3

MBUSA Goings On

What is happening with Mercedes-Benz USA these days? This question was raised after Mercedes-Benz, like Cadillac, was noticeably absent from the Washington Auto Show floor this year.
MBUSA continues to grow and bring new and updated models to market, continuing to meet sales goals even in a softening market. Now housed out of a new U.S.-headquarters, the company continues to be on the leading edge of technology.
 
Tobias Moers New York International Auto Show 2019 GWagen // Photo Credit: William West Hopper

Auto Shows and Tightened Budgets

With consumers increasingly buying by a click on the screen of a smartphone, tablet, or computer, the lure of the annual auto show is no longer enough to return for the big dollar investments that automakers put out. More focus is being placed on social media and direct consumer experience events and interactive marketing with wide-ranging appeal and contact. Have you noticed when you respond to an automotive marketing outreach, a dealer almost immediately contacts you? Getting consumers interested in products and putting them in touch with dealers as soon as possible has become the business model of choice.
Daimler and Mercedes-Benz have rethought the auto show model, along with other manufacturers who are also starting to step away from even the big shows like Detroit. At this year’s New York International Auto Show, Mercedes-Benz had a toned-down presence in comparison to years past. With plenty of vehicles on display, the pomp and circumstance were noticeably reduced. In speaking to MBUSA’s public relations department, the Washington, D.C. market continues to be a very important one for the brand, and the region’s buying power is an important one. It is expected they will return to the auto show, just not in the format we have seen in the past.
Dietmar Exler _ President and CEO of MBUSA and NAFTA __ Photo Credit_ William West Hopper

Models and both EV and ICE Powertrains

The German Government is investing in the electrification of all transport modes through incentives in R&D, procurement and charging infrastructure. Thus, German automakers have made electrification of vehicles a specific focus, be it hybrid, battery electric, or any combination of them along with the internal combustion engine (ICE). No matter the powertrain or the model, you will find equal amounts of attention paid to the technology that goes into them from the Smart EQ to the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury – an over the top SUV concept.

Do not think for a moment that Mercedes-Benz will retreat from high-performance vehicles. These days high horsepower internal combustion powered vehicles bring with them high profit. Thus, AMG and Maybach vehicles will still be a major market focus. This year alone we have already seen a new version of the G-Wagen for 2019, both a G-550 and a G-63AMG, as well as a lineup of E and C Class vehicles including the AMG E53 and C43 and 63. The AMG GT 63 S and others continue to show the commitment to daily driving vehicles as well as ones you will want to drive just for the enjoyment of the road.

 

MBUSA Atlanta Headquarters __ Photo courtesy of MBUSA Media

New American headquarters for MBUSA

MBUSA recently relocated from New Jersey to the suburban Atlanta, Georgia. Many speculated this was done to reduce costs and take advantage of tax incentives. While this was no doubt a factor, being closer to the American factory in Alabama, and recently opened Sprinter van production facility in South Carolina also had much to do with the decision. Another factor is their focus on research and development here in the USA – not only in California but now in Georgia with a soon-to-open Lab1886 location.
MBUSA is now housed in a steel and glass 200,000 square-foot building, located on a 12-acre campus. Housing more than 1,000 employees and is designed to be sustainable and energy-efficient. MBUSA has implemented initiatives as part of their commitment to sustainability, bike racks, twenty EV Charging stations as well as dedicated MARTA shuttle to help reduce traffic impact in an area that is already heavily congested.
Lab1886 Atlanta
Daimler will open the fourth Lab1886 in Atlanta this summer joining three existing locations in Beijing, Berlin, and Stuttgart. MBUSA feels that with Atlanta’s excellent colleges and universities offering highly skilled and motivated graduates, and that more and more innovative technology and digital companies make their home in Atlanta, it is a perfect match for Mercedes-Benz’s own incubator.
Mercedes-Benz is actively adapting to an ever-changing transportation market. Be it selling C-Classes, AMG’s, Sprinter and Metris vans, or with the growth Daimler’s Car2Go car-sharing platform that offers Smart and Mercedes-Benz vehicles on demand. Providing users with a car only and exactly when they need one. Expect to see Mercedes-Benz continue to work beyond traditional transportation.
Words & Images by William West Hopper
Past MBCA|GWS President,
MBCA Eastern Regional Director,
MBCA National Director and National Treasurer
For more Mercedes-Benz insight and images, follow William West Hopper on Twitter (@wwhopper) and Instagram (DCCarGuy)!

Corvette, Customized, and off the Assembly Line Too!

Calloway Cars gave us a chance to try out their latest Aero edition of the C7 IMG_1191Chevrolet Corvette Areowagen, which opened our eyes to this all-American automotive customizer.

It is interesting to hear the history as well as the intense involvement that Calloway has with this vehicle and other General Motors products like the Tahoe, Suburban, Escalade, and Yukon, not to mention the Camaro and Sierra/Silverado pickups. While the firm was founded on a simple modification for BMW race cars.

Callaway started customizing vehicles the way many do, with passion and need for faster cars. Reeves Callaway, who with a passion and talent for auto racing, being voted the best of the new crop of SCCA drivers in the early 1970’s, turned the garage of his Connecticut home into a shop constructing a turbocharger system for his own racecar. A Car and Driver article propelled him to be sought after by professional and amateur racers alike, from which a business was created that has grown and continues today.

IMG_1189Callaway’s products have since become a General Motors factory installed options, as well as a whole line of customized cars that are sold, and warranted by GM as original equipment. Being one of the only automotive aftermarket suppliers that provide products that can be ordered directly on the sales floor of a dealership that qualifies for both a factory and a Callaway warranty.

The Callaway Corvette

10-callaway-aerowagenTake a factory C7 (or many of the models prior to that) and make it faster, and more aerodynamic and you have the Aero C7, with the supercharger, intercooler engine management systems as well as other upgrades including intake and exhaust.

Our drive experience was tame, being on suburban roads. The Vette purred like a kitten and growled when asked. While the car could be mistaken for a standard off the dealer lot model. Driving it you knew the power and performance were but the touch of an accelerator pedal away.

IMG_1190Inside only some simple badging distinguished it as a Callaway product. Outside the rear hatch had been converted into almost a wagon or Sportback.

Words and Images by William West Hopper

Tech Heavy, the Audi A5 Coupe Is So Easy

Audi A5 Coupe CooperstownThe A5 Coupe that Audi of America provided for us to attend the Hero Fund America Road Rally in update New York was an easy and fun car to drive, and one we would not mind as part of our daily fleet. Well balanced with tight comfortable handling was one reason. Easy on the budget and on the eyes, this car is just fun in every way possible. Seriously!  I can see why so many young professionals become Audi customers.

Audi, which has long been the luxury brand for the people’s car brand Volkswagen. Though when you look at the history of Audi, it is often as much a contender in high-speed road rallies with their competent all-wheel drive and fuel-efficient engines, tight handling chassis, as it is as a luxury car.

Light and nimble in handling was what I first experienced behind the wheel, it was not long before I realized I was going way over the speed limit, the A5 is effortlessly FAST!

 

Technology Heavy

Audi Dash Display

Where to start on the technology on this vehicle? It is more than just the dashboard. While having detailed GPS is considered standard in upmarket vehicles, Audi’s just is so much more vivid and attractive. The incredible detail in the display of the Google Earth-based navigation system immediately grabs your attention. Similar to the difference between early black and white TV and today’s 4-K video from what other onboard automotive GPS systems display. Does it provide more information, probably not, but visually it is more pleasing. And it does not stop there, the dash of the A3 was as well detailed as any high-performance jet plane just more luxurious.

20170927_091123Following in the other high-line German vehicles Audi has a handwriting pad area as well as a “knob” to command the center console screen. While the writing feature is not easy, as my handwriting is terrible – anyone who has signed a screen for a credit card knows how hard it is to make handwriting legible. In this day of voice recognition and artificial intelligence, the spoken words are about as good, I suppose after training the AI within the vehicle you might have more success than I did

 

Sculpted Exterior Design

2018 Audi A5 Quattro Coupe
2018 Audi A5 Quattro Coupe

Subdued and classic, while Audi has never been known for flourishes, the smooth and clean sculpted lines of this A5 Coupe are elegant and graceful, while not all that eye-catching with added extras. And that is not a bad thing, as the lines are purposeful and elegant defining a very well proportioned body.

Ride and Handling

We took the 2018 Audi A5 Quattro Coupe on a 900-mile drive from Washington DC to Sharon Springs NY and back through back roads, highways as well as city streets, and even unpaved country lanes. Every mile was a delight as the A5 was nimble and fun to drive. The ride, while this is a sports coupe, it was still comfortable, with even on the washboard lanes of the New York Throughway. Road-hugging as the four drive wheels gripped the pavement. The all-wheel drive was nimble with a tight turning radius making the A5 feel smaller than it actually is.

 

Interior Design

20170927_091046Inside well laid out instruments, comfortable seats with thigh extenders in a spacious cabin for the driver and front passenger as well as trunk. Though not for those who would have to squeeze into the rear seat. While this is a roomy coupe, the rear seating would be tough for anyone larger than a child.

Audi A 5 Quattro Rear Seat
Audi A5 Quattro’s Rear Seat is tight on legroom.

 

 

As one would expect in a car at this level it had an exceptional Bang & Olufsen sound system. Even with a CD player hidden in the glovebox, the audio system provided all the modern amenities with satellite radio as well as Bluetooth and USB inputs from a smartphone brought into the vehicle.

 

Powerplant

20170927_090738The A5 ran a powerful 2.0 liter 252 hp i4engine and 7-speed Quattro all-wheel drive and provided 33 mpg average over the thousand mile trip.

 

 

A Downfall

With all the love here the only thing we found annoying was that with the start/stop engine cutoff, that happens at stop lights, the power steering would become stiff until the engine restarted. And with all the other great things this A5 Coupe had to offer, that was something we could overlook.

Overall

20170926_192256.jpgWe loved our week in the Audi A5 Coupe. It was fun to drive, stylish, and comfortable. With plenty of power, we found ourselves zipping along more often than not. Even in the slowest of traffic, the Audi A5 was a delight to be driving.  This is a car that would be a first pick for a car to drive every day.

 

Words and Images by William West Hopper

 

Cute Perky Fun To Drive – The Nissan Kicks

Nissan Kicks SR Premium
Nissan Kicks SR Premium

Little cars are back in a big way, be it because people do not want to spend a lot, or they do not need much more than fun transportation.  The New Nissan Kicks is now on sale and steps in a field of outdated competitors with a lot of safety, looks, and room for the price.

 

Nissan is known for Sport Utility Vehicles and Crossovers from the larger than life Armada, family hauler, Pathfinder, classic Cross over’s Rogue, Murano and Rogue Sport. Now a little brother has joined the lineup for 2018, the new Nissan Kicks. It is new, and not a replacement for the recently departed Nissan Juke, which is still available in other world markets.

 

What is new with the Kicks?

Nissan Kicks white roof, blue body and blacked out B and C pillar.
Nissan Kicks white roof, blue body and blacked out B and C pillar.

Smart styling and expressive design, with colors that POP out in a quick little four-door hatchback. We love it that automakers are bringing back COLOUR as a major part of the styling of their vehicles. The Kicks has bright, expressive color choices, blacked out pillars and the option of five different two-tone contrasting roof color choices, which brings this small crossover to life. Add Nissan’s Color Studio options which bring about even more excitement to the exterior.  Built on the Versa Note platform, with the signature V-Motion Grill, boomerang lights, and floating roof, this may be a little car on the outside, but on the inside, it is very spacious, even in the back seats with front passengers, and has an amazing amount of cargo room.

 

Intelligent Driving

Nissan Kicks 7 inch screen with an all around camera.
Nissan Kicks 7 inch screen with an all-around camera.

Standard on all trim levels of Nissan Kicks is Automatic Emergency Braking, which you will not find on other small CUV competitors even as an option. Available as an option Cross Traffic Alert, Blind Spot Alert, and Intelligent All-Around View® Monitor, a 360-degree camera option. All safety items you can afford are worth the investment.

 

Nissan Kicks fits the engine in with plenty of room to spare.
Nissan Kicks fits the engine in with plenty of room to spare.

Kicks is a front-engine, front wheel drive platform with Nissan’s 1.6- Liter DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder engine with continuously variable valve timing. Producing 128 horsepower @5800 RPM, 115 lb-ft of torque @ 4000 RPM connected to Nissan’s Xtronic transmission®, a continuously variable transmission (CVT) provides Kicks with class-leading fuel mileage with 31 city, 36 highway, and 33 combined.

https://www.nissanusa.com/experience-nissan/news-and-events/xtronic-cvt-continuously-variable-transmission.html

Independent strut front, multi-link independent rear suspension, both with twin tube shocks and a stabilizer bar provide Kicks a solid ride for a short wheelbase vehicle. All Kicks come with ventilated front disc and rear drum brakes with ABS, Electronic Brake Force Distribution and brake assist.

 

What Drivers and Passengers Will Appreciate & May Not

  • No question the Kick’s easily accessible and visible 7” touchscreen to control the audio. Large symbols make It is easy to read. Some of the drop-down menus can be confusing and hard to find again. To prevent finger smudges a screen protector on the glass, as you can apply to a tablet would be a helpful addition. (This should not be hard to find an item in a local electronics store, custom cutting, installing, and fitting it is the hardest part.)
  • Standard Bluetooth streaming audio with available Apple Car Play and Android Auto is almost a necessity today in any vehicle. Only the front USB port (there are three easily accessible USB ports in the Kicks,) direct wires into that desirable technology.
  • Nissan Kicks Bose Personal AudioBose® Personal Plus Audio System with 360 degrees of immersible sound, available on SR Premium Package. (While it was good, only the driver’s headrest has the built-in speakers. You may want to explore the Rockford Fosgate® Audio System for $595 as an option.) I was not enamored with the Personal Plus’s sound quality, for a Bose system, while it is pretty darn good, I expected it to be a bit better. I did not get to experience the Rockford Fosgate®; the large rear cargo area-mounted sub-woofer is where the optional $195 Cargo Load Floor may interfere with it.
  • While the standard seating upholstery has a diamond pattern stitched in, the more upscale Perma-Tex™ seats have little decoration. To many, the diamond stitching can be perceived as a higher level of trim.
  • The expansive back seat and cargo area is a big plus in a small car; I would want to add $200 interior accent lighting, or the $555 interior electronics package, as it is hard to see the interior door handles and lock and window switches at night with a black interior.
  • While the driver’s seat has a fold-down center armrest, the right front passenger seat does not, nor do we see a spot for an optional one to be attached to the seat back.
  • Closed compartments are not a Kicks thing, there is a glovebox, but the openings on the doors and trays on the center console are open, while you can get $45 optional rubber mats for those.
  • No spare tire, while there is a well under the cargo, it is filled with a Styrofoam block that holds the jack and inflator kit. Weight reduction and quality of the modern Firestone Tires are no doubt a consideration in not providing a spare.
  • The optional $211.29 rear cargo cover and $195 cargo load floor are handy but seem easily damaged or could end up as part of the stash of junk in the garage. Though turning over the cargo load floor it looked useful to hold shopping bags in place, but not if you had the sub-woofer in the back.

 

Money Talks

Nissan Kicks RearThe Nissan Kicks is made in Mexico and the basic model, the S starts at $17,990, $19,690 for the SV, $20,290 for the SR (more of a sports package), and $21,290 for the SR with a premium package that includes the Bose® Personal Plus 8-Speaker sound system, Perma-Tex™ appointed seats, heated front seats, and a security system. A $975 destination charge, taxes and tags. Minus any incentives, you may be offered from the dealer or through an organization you belong to such as AAA, Costco, USAA, or a buying service. The SR Premium model I found most desirable with optional rear sonar, and interior ambient lighting came to $23,720. Build a Nissan Kicks for yourself.

In Conclusion

Nissan Kicks LRKicks are all about fun; this little four-door is a great get up and go vehicle.  While its trendy styling may be more youth-oriented, Fun Grannies and Grandpop will be attracted to this easy to drive, economical, roomy, small crossover. We found it light and easy to drive, with plenty of power and pickup, tight turning radius and great visibility.  The Kicks is a very light vehicle at 2672 lbs curb weight, while it handled well on a hot breezeless summer’s day, I would want to try it on the interstate during a Spring wind.

Check out the Nissan Kicks in person at your nearest Nissan dealer.

 

Parsimonious Wheels – VW still makes a Great Car for Cheap Money! – The 2019 VW Jetta

2019 VW Jetta Line Up
2019 VW Jetta Line-Up

If you are like many, you never want to spend too much money. Alternatively, if you don’t have much dough to spend in the first place, keeping the purchase price to a minimum is a major factor in the buying process.  With car purchases being a big chunk of change. What do you do, when you want a nice car but don’t want to spend a fortune?

You think “Previously Owned Automobile,” a nice way of saying “Used Car.” Even then it is going to set you back around twenty G’s.  With the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta at under $19K, you can think new as an alternative. With Jetta’s starting price of an S model at $18, 545 (add on the $450 driver assistance package, because it could save your life.)

However, is an under $19K car worth buying?

2019 VW Jetta SEL
2019 VW Jetta SEL

With the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta, you get more car for the money than if you bought the same 2018 model. VW has re-engineered the seventh generation Jetta under the MQB Platform making this sedan even better value than ever before.

1980 VW Jetta
1980 VW Jetta

 

 

The VW Jetta was born 40 years ago as the next step up from the Golf (Rabbit as it was known in the USA.)  That Golf/Rabbit replaced the much-beloved Beatle in the mid-1970’s. In that time Jetta has become one of the most successful sedans with worldwide sales of more than 17.5 million, 3.2 million sold in the USA alone.

 

Base Model Jetta

2019 VW Jetta S interior dash with 6-speed manual transmission
2019 VW Jetta S interior dash with 6-speed manual transmission

How good is the lowest priced 2019 Jetta S? We loved the fact that you could get it in a 6-speed manual. Maybe it was because of the oddity of a manual transmission, but more as we drove it and its more upscale brothers.  VW interpreted their lowest trim level of the Jetta in much the same way they started out as a car company, which is how it came to the US in the 1950’s. VW provided a basic, well-engineered car, that was a bit out of the ordinary.  While today the Jetta may no longer be out of the ordinary, as VW now conforms to the pack with design and fluid-cooled engines.

Jetta S

2019 Jetta SEL Premium has a few more nice interior details.
2019 Jetta SEL Premium has a few more nice interior details.

The S gives you much of what the more expensive Jetta trim levels have to offer, without the cost. While it does skimp on a few things, they are not all that impossible. Cloth Seats, a single USB and the 6.5-inch center screen are noticeable but not a hard stop. For example, there is a real key, while it is a modern switchblade key, not some radio-wave thing that you never know what to do with once inside the car. The other models have remote keys with push-button start. Eco-driving mode, because when you are cheap from the get-go, you want to run with it. Other features that score one in the wallet like 16” alloy wheels and tires. Real 16” alloy wheels, not steel wheels with plastic hubcaps, so it does not look less expensive.

You Get A Lot In The S

2019 VW Jetta dash display
2019 VW Jetta dash display

You get what the other trim levels have on the Jetta: More headroom, knee room, and shoulder room than the previous generation. Trunk space is 14.1 cubic feet, and split-folding rear seats (60/40) are standard. Jetta for 2019 has a 1.4 Turbo-charged 4-cylinder engine with 147hp, 184 ft-lbs of torque, which runs on regular 87 octane gasoline, this is the same engine for all trim levels. Standard LED lights all around multi-function wheel, car-Net-App-Connect (that connects to Apple Carplay and Android Auto). Moreover, safety features like automatic post-collision braking. Add to that VW’s People First Warranty, a best-in-class 6-year/72,000-mile with bumper-to-bumper coverage (See VW for limited warranty details), that can be transferred to subsequent owners. Not much is optional on the base S Trim Level: Start/Stop which is a fuel saver and an 8-speed automatic with Tiptronic and sport mode.

VW's 2019 Jetta, take it out for a drive.
VW’s 2019 Jetta, take it out for a drive.

 

Take an S trim level 2019 Volkswagen Jetta for a drive, if, for nothing more than the manual transmission, you will be surprised with what $18,995 (plus a low $850 delivery fee, then local taxes and tags) buys.

 

Words by William West Hopper

Photos from VW Media & William West Hopper