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The Volkswagen Jetta has been a staple of the small- to mid-size sedan market for decades. The new sevehth generation has just come out for the 2019 model year — and with it, a new trim level, the R-line.

This name is based off of the very popular Golf R that offers an upgraded engine and suspension from the normal Golf GTI. While the R-line isn’t the full performance treatment, it is how I would order my Jetta.

On the exterior, this whole new generation looks like a huge upgrade over the previous generation. The lines of the car are much more angular and really stand out, especially in the Habanero Orange Metallic paint that my loaner came in.

The R-line also has a special blacked out grille and a few other accents that make it look even better than the other trim levels.

Another piece of exterior styling that the R-line gets are special rims that look much sportier than standard rims.

The interior of the R-line carries over much of what makes the exterior more exciting into the cabin. Some of the accent pieces are blacked out and the seats are a leatherette material that helps hold you in place. The heated seats also are convenient on those chilly 20-degree mornings in South Florida. All joking aside (it’s forecast to be 85 degrees on this snappy April day), they warm up very quickly and would be a huge benefit for those in the northern part of the country.

The infotainment system is quick and responsive and easy to navigate on the eight-inch touchscreen.

The engine in the new Jetta R-line is the same 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that puts out an economical 147 horsepower and 184 foot-pounds of torque to the front wheels. For those looking for a sportier drive rather than just a sportier look, the Jetta GLI has the same two-liter turbocharged four-cylinder from the Golf GTI that makes 228 horsepower and 258 foot-pounds of torque.

While the GLI is faster, it is nowhere near as efficient as the R-line. The R-line gets an excellent 30 miles per gallon in the city and 40 mph on the highway.

With the engine being tuned for comfort and economical driving over performance, it is no surprise that the Jetta R-line isn’t quick or engaging. The Jetta is by no means incapable of passing people on the highway nor does it have trouble getting up to speed, but it does lack a certain zing. When driving in the city or in heavy traffic, it is nice to be both comfortable and still get good gas mileage.

While the base Jetta’s price starts at $18,745 before options, the R-line starts at $23,245. The base Jetta GLI, with the larger engine starts at $25,995, but thats with just the basic equipment. If you are looking for a reliable and economical compact sedan, you must have the Jetta R-line on your short list.

Grant Miller is the publisher of Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277 or via email at Grant@CommunityNewspapers.com.


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