New Compact 2021 Volkswagen Jetta Crossover Fuels Possibility of a High-Performance R Variant
Often compared to the Honda Civic but in more recent years growing in size to be a more suitable rival to smaller midsize sedans like Nissan’s Altima, the Jetta has always been about taut European-inspired handling and tightly-wrapped body creases, both of which have contributed to the 2021 Volkswagen Jetta compact appearance.
Volkswagen’s Jetta has been something of an oddity amidst the automotive landscape, what with the somewhat compact sedan’s inability to find a mainstream loyalty beyond died-in-the-wool VW enthusiasts – and that moniker applies more to VW’s generation-leaping Beetle more than any other model in its stable.
But with the 2021 Volkswagen Jetta around the corner, it may be time to start asking…what’s in store for the four-door that can possibly catapult it out of the shadows it sometimes seems to be hiding in?
What We Can Expect From the 2021 VW Jetta
In Europe, Volkswagen expanded its “R” portfolio – that is, more souped-up variants of certain models a la BMW’s M division and Mercedes’ AMG arm – to include the recently teased T-Roc R, which is slated to serve as a crossover alternative to the Golf R.
While the T-Roc is not available in the United States, Volkswagen of America hinted at the possibility of diversifying its R lineup by way of an entirely different model – with that model perhaps being the Jetta R.
Indeed, VoA’s vice president of sales and marketing announced that VW plans on transforming the Jetta into a “serious sports car” in the same vein as the Golf GTI and R hot hatches, though there is concern that this could cannibalize some sales. In looking at the bigger picture, the VP of sales and marketing suggested that performance-oriented variants of the Jetta could attract more buyers compared to Golf GTI/R enthusiasts, so in the end, it may in fact be a good idea for VoA to spice up its compact-midsize sedan.
What Users Tell Us About the 2021 VW Jetta
Though not too much is known about the Jetta for 2021 beyond the aforementioned considerations for making the car much sportier, we can tell you that previous owners have had a lot to say about the current generation, which began life circa 2019. All-new for this generation, the Jetta is now in the seventh variant of its life, and most owners point out the vehicle’s value, quick response of its engines, inside looks and fuel economy. Further, the Jetta’s 1.4-liter turbo and eight-speed transmission tend to deliver adequate power together, adding to the impressive MPG.
2021 VW Jetta Versus the Competition
Most buyers in the Jetta’s class of motor vehicle tend to gravitate to Honda’s proverbial Civic, and while that car is not without its faults, it seems to deliver a commendable balance between comfort and performance. Will this trend continue with the arrival of the 2021 Jetta? Difficult to say; it is a bit too soon to announce what tricks VW has up its sleeve for the new Jetta, but in judging from past comparisons, people who shopped the Volkswagen also looked at the Mazda 3, Chevy Cruze, Subaru Impreza and Ford Focus.
2021 VW Jetta Facts
• Safety – VW hit all the high notes with its redesigned-for-2019 Jetta, with the automaker announcing safety news that further heightened its appeal. The sedan earned a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and that was despite the Jetta failing to snag an award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (due to the vehicle’s headlights). This trend should continue in 2021. Safety features include blind spot monitor, adaptive cruise control and improved driver assistance capabilities.
• Fuel Economy – The 2019 Jetta hit a 30 city/40 highway MPG rating by way of its 1.4-liter four-cylinder powerplant, and this should translate to the new car when it arrives. After the 2016 model year, VW discontinued its Jetta Hybrid model, and the Touareg Hybrid SUV was discontinued prior to that; there is no current data regarding whether the automaker will offer such a variant for the 2021 Jetta.
• Interior – Admittedly, VW injected a bit more style into this current Jetta generation, though it does boast more hard, scratchy plastics than its Golf sibling. There are also signs of cost-cutting, such as the highly reflective plastic parcel shelf and the center console storage lid that crudely thumps down without a latch; things do get better when you move into the GLI courtesy of its upgraded upholstery and red-accented sport steering wheel. These are areas VW may want to look into before launching its 2021 variant of the Jetta.
• Exterior – As we have mentioned, the Jetta is the “biggest compact” car in terms of exterior dimensions on the market, with rear legroom that is vast and a backseat that easily swallows a rear-facing child seat, making the current version of the Jetta, at least, a good option for families on a budget. The trunk isn’t as big as what you’ll find in a Kia Forte or Honda Civic, though; we have to wait and see if VW addresses these areas with the new Jetta, as well.
• Driving Comfort – Jetta drivers in the past have reported on handling that’s both responsive and comfortable, with the current model coming equipped with a sport, eco or comfort mode when engaging the custom drive mode screen. Drivers can also tweak settings for steering, front differential lock (for traction and handling), drive system (throttle response) and more, making the Jetta quite versatile in the driving comfort department. Expect Apple Carplay and Android Auto and al least one USB port. Rear seat tends to be crammed, but we find the drivers seat in Jetta’s very comfortable.
• Engine Options – The primary engine options for the current version of the Jetta consist of a 1.4-liter turbo, 1.8-liter turbo on the SE Sport and SEL trim levels and a 2.0-liter turbo; we have to assume these powerplants will continue on in the 2021 version, though perhaps tweaked a bit to increase horsepower and torque. Expect a 6 speed speed automatic transmission and a front wheel drive. The 6 manual transmission might no longer be an option since Volkswagen is discontinuing the Jetta from the European markets.
• Reliability – J.D. Power gave the 2019 Jetta a slightly-above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five.
• Type of Vehicle – The Jetta falls into the larger end of the compact sedan segment, though this may or may not change with the introduction of the 2021 model.
2021 VW Jetta Pricing and Expected Release Date
There is no information as of yet regarding the 2021 Jetta’s price structure, though the current model wears an MSRP of $19,395 for a base model S, $23,005 for an SE and $28,000 for an SEL Premium. There is also no indication of when this vehicle will be released. We expect no huge pricing change over the 2020 Volkswagen Jetta or 2019 Volkswagen Jetta.
Have any thoughts about the upcoming 2021 VW Jetta, or perhaps some “wish list” elements you’d like to share? Join our discussion! Also check our other 2021 previews here. Source of images: Volkswagen Newsroom. Impressions based on previous model years.