By Design: 2019 Volkswagen Jetta

Volkswagen styling has been inspired by American practice for as long as there has been a Volkswagenwerk. You may well think the original Porsche-designed KdF proudly presented to the world by one A. Hitler in 1938 was patterned on a ladybug, but in fact most of its styling lines are copied from the 1934 DeSoto Airflow coupe, minus the radiator grille on its down-sloping front end and with the headlights moved onto the fenders. The lovely Karmann Ghia coupe in the 1950s was a design done pretty much as an aside by American designer Virgil Exner during the time he was working on Chrysler concept cars in Turin. And that early connection with Turin flowered for VW with the brilliant Giorgetto Giugiaro design for the Golf in the early ’70s. Over multiple generations that Italian masterwork and its derivatives led to what must be Wolfsburg’s second-most prolific product over its eight-decade history.

The new 2019 Jetta’s styling is neither American nor Italian, coming as it does from the company’s German studios, though it seems very definitely created to an American-market product plan. (It will be manufactured in Mexico.) It’s a decent package with ample interior volume, but it does not have an abundance of personality. The big VW badge on the grille and a smaller one on the decklid are its only marks of identity. This Jetta has a nice, if bland and generic, profile, a straightforward frontal facade, and a rear fascia that seems to be an endless stack of dead-straight horizontal lines, broken only by a slight curve to the rear spoiler lip and a tiny bit of crown at the base of the backlite. It is all executed very professionally, especially the handsome interior, but there is not so much as a gram of fantasy or fun in the design. Read more about the By Design: 2019 Volkswagen...

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10 May 2018

By Robert Cumberford