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The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta For Enthusiasts Is The Cheapest (For Now)

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If you want a six-speed manual, forget about buying anything but a base Jetta S.

Volkswagen boasted its all-new 2019 Jetta would start at a lower base price than the car it will replace later this spring. Now the German automaker has released full pricing for its new compact sedan, and, oh, does it get pricey! A base Jetta S equipped with a six-speed manual will set you back $19,395 (including the Jetta's $850 destination fee), which is $100 less than the outgoing model. At the other end of the Jetta range, the SEL Premium rings the till at $27,795, some $700 more than the old SEL 1.8T.

The Jetta has new top-line trim for 2019, making direct comparisons a bit difficult. It's also muddied by the fact the new car's entire range is powered by the smaller 1.4-liter TSI engine producing 147 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. The previous 2018 model is available with the same engine on lower trims and a more stout 1.8-liter TSI engine with SE Sport and SEL trims. Jetta buyers could also pair a manual transmission to higher-than-base trims on the outgoing car; not so on the new model as the six-speed manual is only available on the Jetta S. Speaking of the base model, the Jetta S is fitted with enough kit to make you feel like you aren't driving a penalty box on wheels.

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For $19,395, the S comes with 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, LED headlights/DRLs and taillights, a multi-function steering wheel, cloth seats, a rearview camera, automatic headlights, a 6.5-inch touchscreen with Volkswagen Car-Net and 4-speaker audio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, MirrorLink, Bluetooth, and a USB port. Optioning the eight-speed automatic will set you back an additional $800, while a Driver's Assistance Package—which includes Forward Collision Warning, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Blind Sport Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert, and heated exterior mirrors—will cost you another $450.

Moving up to the Jetta SE trim will net you the eight-speed automatic as standard along with two-tone 16-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, a panoramic sunroof, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, leatherette seating with heated front seats, keyless entry, push-button start, Front Assist, and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert for $23,005. Volkswagen said a Cold Weather Package—heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, heated windshield wiper park and washer nozzles, and remote start—will be available midway through the model year for an additional $450. This package will also be available on higher trims.

The R-Line trim adds to SE trim 17-inch dark gray alloy wheels, R-Line badging and appearance items, dual exhaust, fog lights, a black roof liner, two-tone black and grey seats with contrast stitching and an XDS electronic differential for $23,845. SEL models also build upon the SE trim and adds LED projector headlights with signature LED DRLs, automatic wipers, auto-dimming rearview mirror, Drive Mode Selection, customizable ambient lighting, a 10.25-inch digital instrument panel, Car-Net connected services, upgraded 400W BeatsAudio, voice control, an additional USB port, Adaptive Cruise Control, High Beam Control, and Lane Keeping System for $25,265.

The Jetta's new trim ladder ends with SEL Premium, which enhances the SEL trim by adding two-tone 17-inch wheels, the same rear bumper as R-Line, fog lights, power driver's seat with memory, an 8-inch information system with navigation, and an alarm system for $27,795. The new 40-mpg highway, 2019 Jettas will begin arriving at dealers later this spring. Check out our First Look Review for more details.