Back when it was first introduced to the American public, the Jetta was billed as a “Rabbit with a trunk”, designed specifically for people who required extra cargo space and preferred the styling of a sedan over that of a hatchback.
Curious to know just how far VW have come ever since they sold over 3.2 million units of the first-generation Jetta? Here’s a direct comparison between a restored 1982 model and the all-new 2019 car, which boasts highlights such as ambient lighting, driver assistance systems and a digital cockpit display.
Yet, the original Jetta had a pretty impressive list of standard features for its time. From power-assisted brakes and AM/FM cassette-player combo, to cut-pile carpet and intermittent wipers. Optional extras included the three-speed automatic transmission, air conditioning, a sunroof, tinted glass and alloy wheels.
When it comes to size, it’s obvious that the newer model is considerably bigger and more spacious. The wheelbase is larger by 11.1 inches (28.2 cm), while overall length has grown by 17.3 inches (43.9 cm). The only thing that’s identical, according to VW, is the trunk space – both cars have 14.1 cu.ft (400 liters) of volume.
The original Jetta couldn’t even dream of LEDs
Back in the 1980s, LEDs were mostly found on calculators. Today, the 2019 Jetta employs this technology for its headlights and taillights, as well as its signature Daytime Running lights and 10-color interior ambient lighting.
As for driver assistance features, the closest thing to that in 1980 was the fact that you could adjust the Jetta’s side rearview mirror without having to roll down the window. The current model not only lets you do that electronically, but it also offers a Blind Spot Warning system, alongside the standard rearview camera.
Other safety or convenience-related systems include Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking (Front Assist), High Beam Control (Light Assist) and Lane Departure Warning (Lane Assist). Then there’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, and an 8-speaker BeatsAudio system, worlds ahead of any AM/FM cassette stereo from the 80s.
The 2019 VW Jetta will arrive at U.S. dealerships in Q2 of 2018, priced from $18,545.