New VW Jetta lands at the Detroit motor show

Published: 15 January 2018

► New 2019 VW Jetta teased
► Baby saloon bound for Detroit
► Will it make it to the UK?

The new VW Jetta has made its world debut at the 2018 Detroit motor show and these first pictures prove it’s a safety-first, very conservative design. This has never been a sector ripe with innovation and it looks like they’ve played the big-selling four-door saloon very cautiously. After all, why muck around with a winning formula?

And the Jetta is one of Wolfsburg’s biggest sellers: it has built 17.5 million globally since launch in 1979, and it’s persistently one of Volkswagen’s most popular cars.

This is the seventh generation of Jetta. With numbers like that, it’s plain to see the model has become so much more than just a Golf with a boot…

The new 2018 VW Jetta: freshly unveiled at the Detroit motor show

The new car conforms to the group’s strict playlist. It’s based on the latest MQB modular architecture, much like Golf, Tiguan, Arteon and Atlas. It’s bristling with familiar technology and features, from safety equipment to the latest inhouse infotainment and full digital dials. And it does, naturally, follow the latest family design rules – it’s a familar VW look, with hints of Arteon about the front end. Be sure to tell us what you think of it in the comments below.

Our preview guide to the 2018 Detroit motor show

VW Jetta: no longer on sale in the UK – but will it return?

UK dealers stopped deliveries of the Jetta saloon earlier in 2017 – and the company has confirmed ‘there are no plans for a European version,’ ruling out any sales of this four-door notchback here. 

The car has flip-flopped between being on sale here, and not. It even changed its name by deed poll once, briefly becoming the Bora for one generation (named after a European wind).

The outgoing UK-spec VW Jetta

The new Jetta was unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January 2018. Why? Because the Jetta remains one of the North American continent’s biggest sellers – it’s sold more than any other German car, notching up more than 3.2 million sales in the United States. 

It will go on sale in the US in the second quarter of 2018, after sales begin in Mexico in the first quarter. A version will be sold in China, too, wearing the Sagitar badge.

The tech specs of the new 2018 VW Jetta range

Expect the usual list of VW Group engines and drivetrains, with downsized engines, eight-speed transmisisons and familiar engines from the Wolfsburg fold, including the use of the new 1.5-litre TSI EVO engine first seen in the Golf Mk7.5. Six-speed manuals are available, too.

The new Jetta is based on the latest MQB architecture familiar from the Golf, Passat and other group products, so it’s a transverse application. The packaging means it’s a very aerodynamic package, VW citing a drag coefficient of just 0.27 for slippery aerodynamics.

This is quite a big car: at 4.7m long (43mm longer than the outgoing Jetta), the newcomer is nearly as big as the European Passat. Boot capacity stands at 510 litres.

VW Scirocco GTS side pan

The Jetta isn’t the only Volkswagen that’s recently kicked the bucket in Europe. Production of the Scirocco coupe (above) ended recently at the AutoEuropa factory in Palmela, Portugal, as Volkswagen decided to swap out the Scirocco’s production line for that of the new T-Roc crossover.

Check out our VW reviews

By Jake Groves

CAR's deputy news editor, office Geordie, gamer, lover of hot hatches