Guess who turns 40 in 2019? The Jetta has been a critical part of Volkswagen's success around the world. Everyone has a memory or at least an opinion of the compact sedan, so we decided to try one out. Our test subject is a 2018  Jetta TSI. It offers 150 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. 

The top-level GLI models are offered with a six-speed manual, but our car was only blessed with 5 gears. An automatic would be boring, and this 5-speed box is great on gas. After a week with this car, we had mixed feelings around the office. The trunk space and interior layout make the best use of the compact size. You will have room for 4 adults and their belongings.

With a full load, you won't be able to reach 60 mph in under 8 seconds, which makes highway on-ramps a little disconcerting. But the other side of the power equation is the window sticker. You can have a decent daily driver for under $20,000. That includes power windows and A/C, the latter also cuts into acceleration times. 

The Jetta does without fancy suspension or noise insulation offered on the Audi A3, even though they share the same platform. Assembled in Puebla, Mexico, the Jetta does offer great build quality. Panel gaps are better than Korean or Japanese economy cars, and the doors feel much more solid than you would expect. 

Driving is fun if you enjoy shifting, but the clutch is numb thanks to its long travel. The wide-ratio gears force you to shift at just the right time. If not, you will fall out of boost. This situation requires a downshift that is annoying after a long day. These quirks are easily overlooked once you feel how solid the car is, and notice the airbags surrounding you. Undoubtedly the safest car in this price range, it makes a great lease option for college students and young families. 

Could it have more power? Sure, all cars do. But power isn't the point here. The Jetta is a no-frills commuter that won't break the bank. Click the link below to find our dealer near you and stay with us for all your new car reviews. 

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