Q: Who were you thinking of as the typical person who would buy this new Jetta?
Shapiro: Our buyer base is very diverse. You have your entry owner, those who are getting their first job, or are buying their first new car. There’s the young professional who aspires for something great, who wants no compromises. You also have older buyers who may be downsizing from a larger sedan or SUV who want all the features but are looking for a vehicle with better fuel economy and great driving dynamics in a smaller package.
That’s the real strength of the Jetta. It’s a versatile platform that serves the gamut from drivers who want a comfortable commuter all the way to people that want to push the driving limits. It exudes a much higher quality feel and a more premium driving experience than our competitors.
Q: What was the goal in redesigning the Jetta?
Shapiro: The Jetta name has established itself as the affordable European sedan which offers great design, quality and driving dynamics. Our goal was to build a Jetta that delivers on that heritage while writing the next chapter in the story. We saw the all-new Jetta as an opportunity to reinvent the compact sedan. First, we focused on building a great vehicle with respect to value, fuel economy, and reliability, using the proven 1.4-liter TSI engine and new eight-speed automatic transmission. And second, we brought Jetta further into a rapidly developing digital world with key available features like the Digital Cockpit, driver personalization, and full LED lighting.
Q: How would you describe the styling changes?
Shapiro: Overall, the all-new Jetta embodies the fusion of a sleek and sporty design with everyday usability. The combination of large front grille, sharper lines and LED lighting creates a sportier, coupe-like profile and that exudes a bold character with premium style. A fast sloping roof line gives a dynamic appearance. Meanwhile, the Jetta’s entire interior has been rethought and refreshed. A driver-oriented cockpit with the infotainment screen placed high in the dashboard gives the interior of the all-new Jetta a modern look and makes vehicle information easily accessible to the driver. And all the materials you touch and feel exhibit a high quality of workmanship, a VW strength.
Q: What’s the most important technology upgrade on the Jetta?
Shapiro: The expansion of available driver assistance technologies will take the Jetta into the next decade. In designing the Jetta, we thought in advance of what technologies people will want, from lane departure warning (lane assist) to adaptive cruise control that works in stop-and-go traffic, where the car can slow itself down, then resume your chosen speed.
We’ve seen the usage pattern of such technologies evolve very quickly, where they go from being new and amazing to being practically essential. Rear-view cameras were once like that, and blind-spot warnings are becoming like that now; people are gradually being exposed to it, and once they see the advantages they embrace it. It’s not technology for technology’s sake, it’s how to help improve the driving experience.
Q: What’s the first thing people will notice when they sit in the new Jetta, compared to the current model?
Shapiro: The cockpit is now driver oriented — the dash curves around, and the center console is angled toward the driver. The instrument cluster and the radio are high on the dash; and with the clear VW instrumentation you have a wall of information at eye level and fingertip reach to make it easy to use. With the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit option, your vehicle is filled with cutting-edge technology. Nobody in the Jetta’s segment comes close to that offering of fully configurable instrument cluster tech.
Beyond that the new Jetta has wrap-around ambient lighting in 10 user-configurable colors, a first for VW, which instantly changes the interior ambience. Those colors are coordinated across the instrument panel and with the driving modes; if you switch into sport mode, the colors shift into red. The seats are all-new, and the interior integrates fewer hard plastics and many more soft textures. There’s more color choices available, plus leather seating surfaces with ventilation and heating are available.
Q: If someone asks how the Jetta stacks up to the competition, what would you say?
Shapiro: I’d say it’s not just fun to drive — that’s always been a VW strength – but that the new Jetta is also fun to be in. One of our key new features is personalization, available even on the entry model Jetta. Every new Jetta can have different settings for up to four drivers, from simple things like radio presets to the memory for power driver’s seats. That radio, by the way, comes with AppConnect standard, but can also be configured with the new 400-watt BeatsAudio system that makes it easy to plug in, turn on Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and rock out.
Music Source: NCM Epic Music Ender Guney