VOLKSWAGEN JETTA R-LINE 2020 QUICK TAKES
VOLKSWAGEN JETTA R-LINE 2020 QUICK TAKES
The story of VW R begins, as many things do at Volkswagen, with the VW Beetle.
In the early 1970s, European fans of the Beetle prevailed on the company to create a limited-edition version for rallying, with upgraded suspensions and brakes. Volkswagen painted the cars in a special yellow-and-black livery and called them the Beetle GSR, or “Gelb Schwarz Renner” – German for “yellow-black racer.”
Today, the spirit of that GSR and other Volkswagen motorsports efforts lives on in the Volkswagen R division, through the Golf R and sporty R-Line trims of many Volkswagen models including this Jetta R-Line and the new 2020 Atlas Cross Sport.
“Volkswagen R is all about excitement and thrill,” says Jost Capito, Managing Director of Volkswagen R.“ In the future, we will continue to focus our efforts on integrating these emotions into the Volkswagen brand.”
The modern incarnation of Volkswagen R began in 2002 with the reveal of the first Golf R32. The development of the car’s narrow-angle VR6 made it possible to squeeze six cylinders pumping 238 hp under the hood of the Mk4 Golf. To handle the power, the R32 used all-wheel-drive; it was also the world’s first production car with a race-inspired dual-clutch automated manual gearbox, an innovation in shifting that quickly spread to performance cars around the world.
The fifth-generation Golf brought an upgraded Golf R32, which due to economic conditions was only sold in the United States for the 2008 model year. Power rose to 250 hp, and production was limited to just 5,000 vehicles. This version set the template for R vehicles to come: Ample power and impressive handling in a small car that was still as functional and enjoyable for everyday driving as a conventional Golf.
Two more generations of Golf R would reach America, with the latest 2019 edition rated at 288 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque, paired to either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DSG transmission.
Meanwhile, the performance of the R group’s vehicles has inspired the look of the R-Line appearance packages. From here forward, the R unit will be identified by a new logo, developed at the Volkswagen Design Center.
“The R marks the athletic apex of our model program and the R logo serves as an expression of both aesthetics and sportsmanship,” says Klaus Bischoff, Head of Volkswagen Design.
The 2020 Volkswagen Jetta is available in five trim levels: S, SE, R-Line, SEL, and SEL Premium. Jetta models receive more technology features for 2020. All models are equipped with the next-generation Car-Net® telematics system and have in-car Wi-Fi capability when you subscribe to a data plan. Jetta SEL and SEL Premium models also offer standard wireless charging.
SE and SE R-Line models offer the Cold Weather Package, which includes a suite of premium content including a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, heated wiper park, heated washer nozzles, and remote start. This content is newly standard on SEL models and both SEL and SEL Premium models now sport standard 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels.
The 2020 Jetta is based on Volkswagen’s Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) platform architecture. Working with the flexible MQB platform allowed the designers to reshape the body, creating a longer wheelbase, wider track, and a shorter front overhang. The fast-sloping rear roofline translates into a coupe-like profile. Dynamic lines and taut surfaces combine with the new silhouette to give Jetta a look that’s at once elegant, yet athletic.
The Jetta marks an evolution in Volkswagen’s clean and timeless design DNA, with modern lines and a refined appearance. The combination of a large front grille and sharper lines exudes a bold character, while the addition of more chrome and LED lighting lend a premium feel.
The front end design, with its emphasis on horizontal lines, at once identifies the Jetta as a Volkswagen. Specific to the model is the distinctive unit formed by the radiator grille and the standard LED headlights. The hexagonal grille is composed of four chrome bars, two of which flow into the headlight housings where the LEDs pick up the lines and connect them for a wrap-around effect.
The car’s silhouette is marked by its taut surfaces and a long, extended side window. The coupe-like impression of the Jetta is reinforced by an offset roofline known as a ‘phase’—a narrow strip that runs parallel to the actual roofline and into the C-pillar—which visually reduces the car’s height. Beneath the shoulder, on the level of the door handles, there is a precisely carved character line that runs as an undercut. Its shadow surface tapers toward the rear, slightly arrow-shaped. The muscular wheelarches and side sills also form a powerful unit. The side sills here are marked by an integrated light line, which continues into the rear body.
The style of the rear section is defined by the arch-shaped trailing edge that extends into the shoulder section and forms the aerodynamic termination of the trunk lid. The spoiler, which is integrated into the body design, emphasizes the sedan’s impressive width. This width is also highlighted by the sharp lines of the LED taillight clusters.
Despite the dramatic design, the Jetta features a remarkably low drag coefficient of just 0.27. To attain this figure, the Jetta features an active radiator shutter and Air Curtain intakes on each side, which allow air to flow smoothly past the front wheelarches. To further optimize airflow, the Jetta utilizes aerodynamic wheel designs and underbody panels.
The Jetta R-Line takes the dramatic styling a step further, with sporty 17-inch wheels, a more aggressive rear bumper with stylized dual exhaust outlets, a gloss-black grille, black side mirror caps, and R-Line® badging.
The Jetta interior architecture is engineered for increased comfort while supporting a sophisticated, upscale design. The 2020 Jetta is 185.1 inches long, 70.8 inches wide and 57.4 inches tall, with a wheelbase of 105.7 inches. It boasts generous passenger space, 14.1 cubic feet of trunk space and standard 60/40 split-folding rear seats.
The cockpit is a driver-focused environment, with form following function. Both the instruments and the infotainment system are arranged in an easy-to-read horizontal orientation. Both the infotainment system and the climate-control interface are located on the center console, which is angled towards the driver.
Meanwhile, design elements from the exterior are repeated in the cabin for a touch of sportiness, and premium soft-touch materials are used. The lower instrument panel has a similar horizontal design, with a fine decorative trim strip that runs beneath the cockpit, across the entire instrument panel, and into the doors.
The front seats feature an ergonomically-optimized backrest release that makes adjustments for front-seat occupants especially easy.
For an extra luxurious touch, the power-adjustable seats of the SEL Premium offer standard perforated-leather seating surfaces with heating and front-seat ventilation.
Every 2020 Jetta comes with a multi-function steering wheel that is leatherette-wrapped on SE, SEL, and SEL Premium models. R-Line models receive a unique leather-wrapped, R-Line badged steering wheel. The Cold Weather Package on SE models, which is standard for SEL and SEL Premium trims, brings a heated steering wheel.
Between the large speedometer and tachometer is a multi-function trip computer that helps monitor everything from fuel consumption to trip distance, Bluetooth® connection status and navigation directions (when equipped). Dual-zone Climatronic® automatic climate control is standard on SE trims and above, as is KESSY® keyless access with push-button start, and an aerodynamically- and acoustically-optimized panoramic glass tilt/slide sunroof. Wireless charging is standard on SEL and SEL Premium trims.
SEL and SEL Premium models offer the Drive Mode Selection feature as standard equipment. This system includes four modes to choose from: “Normal,” “Sport,” “Eco,” and “Custom.” Normal mode gives a balanced drive experience, while Sport is tuned for a more dynamic throttle response, tighter steering and more spirited ACC settings. Eco mode optimizes shift points, throttle response and climate control settings for improved fuel economy compared to other drive modes. Individual allows a driver to tailor the steering and throttle, ACC, and climate control settings.
Jetta SEL and SEL Premium models feature a standard 10-color LED ambient lighting system. Coordinated with the Drive Mode Selection feature, the system provides soothing indirect white light in the Normal profile, red light in the Sport profile and blue light in the Eco profile. The driver can set any of the ten colors using Manual or Custom mode.
SEL and SEL Premium trims also feature Volkswagen Digital Cockpit technology, which offers drivers a reconfigurable instrument-panel screen instead of conventional instrumentation. The high-tech, 10.25-inch display can show key vehicle data in five driver-selectable modes, including one that positions navigation data (on SEL Premium models with factory-installed navigation) front and center for easy viewing.
To appeal to music lovers, these trims also offer the BeatsAudio® system. This setup showcases a 12-channel, 400-watt amplifier, digital signal processing and nine speakers, including a subwoofer.
Every Jetta model offers standard Driver Personalization with up to four driver settings. Dependent on trim, customizable features include: driver seat memory, drive mode selection, driver assistance system preferences, climate control, Volkswagen Digital Cockpit arrangement, ambient lighting color, radio presets, navigation view, and more.
MIB II Infotainment. All 2020 Jetta models feature Volkswagen’s innovative MIB II touchscreen infotainment system. The display utilizes a capacitive-touch sensor (as in smartphone and tablet technology) rather than the more common resistive touchscreens that require pressure, enabling gesture controls like swiping and even pinch-zooming.
The Composition Color unit is standard on S, SE, and R-Line models, and features a 6.5-inch capacitive touchscreen display. The infotainment system also offers SD card and USB-C (two ports) multimedia interfaces, as well as a rearview camera and standard Bluetooth technology for compatible devices. App-Connect smartphone integration for compatible devices is standard, and offers users the ability to run select smartphone apps directly on the vehicle’s display through services such as Apple CarPlay®, Android AutoTM and MirrorLink®.
SEL models feature the Composition Media unit with a glass-covered 8.0-inch touchscreen display, and SEL Premium models use that display to feature the Discover Media unit. Both units offer two USB-A ports, a JPEG viewer, SiriusXM® radio for a three month trial period, and HD Radio. Both units also have the ability to send and receive SMS text messages via Bluetooth with compatible phones and can pair two phones simultaneously. The Discover Media unit offers 2.5D navigation, featuring one-shot voice destination entry, typed destination entry with search and auto-complete, and can predict possible destinations based on frequently used routes.
Since its debut for the 2014 model year, Volkswagen Car-Net has allowed Volkswagen owners to get connected to their vehicles. For model year 2020, Car-Net moves into the next generation of integration, with an updated mobile app, a long list of no-charge services for five years, and new subscription options. Car-Net Services will be offered in four areas: Remote Access, Safe & Secure, Hotspot, and Guide & Inform.
Car-Net Remote Access gives owners the ability to interact with their vehicle from miles away via the mobile app. It is offered at no additional charge for five years from the date of vehicle purchase. Features include remote start and stop (if equipped), remote door lock and unlock, remote honk and flash of lights, last parked location, and remote vehicle status display, which provides information on fuel level, mileage, and door and window status.
Available in 2020, VW Car-Net app for smartwatch (supports select Apple Watch® and AndroidTM Wear operating systems) allows VW customers to control a host of functions, available through the iPhone® and AndroidTM apps, directly from their wrist. Smartwatch wearers can keep tabs on their vehicle from afar, remotely locking and unlocking doors, remotely starting their vehicle, and viewing the status of doors, windows and sunroof (open or closed). These consumers can also find a parked vehicle more quickly and receive alerts with a compatible smartwatch.
Volkswagen owners with factory-installed navigation can send destinations or points of interest directly to their car from the app, helping to save time. Coming in 2020, owners will also be able to connect their VW Car-Net account to compatible smart home devices to send voice commands to their vehicle to check the fuel level or remote start the engine.
Powered by Parkopedia, the Parking Information feature can help make owners’ lives easier by locating off-street parking information. Through the Navigate tab on the app, users can click the “P” icon to show available parking locations, either in the immediate vicinity or near a Point of Interest. Clicking on a specific location will display the address, hours of operation and pricing. Users can also send the location to their car’s navigation system, if so equipped, by clicking the “Send to My VW” button.
Vehicle Health Reports can provide owners easy access to diagnostic information. Reports generate automatically each month after enrollment and are sent directly to the email address in the owner’s profile; owners can also request updated reports anytime through the mobile app. When it’s time for scheduled service, Car-Net can not only notify the customer, but also provides a simple way to schedule a dealer visit.
Family Guardian services and Roadside Call Assist can provide added peace-of-mind no matter who is driving. Speed alert notifies the owner when the pre-determined maximum speed limit is exceeded. Boundary alert lets the owner know when the vehicle has traveled outside of a pre-set virtual boundary. Curfew alert notifies the owner if the vehicle is driven while curfew alert is on. Valet alert alerts if the vehicle is driven more than 0.2 miles from the valet drop-off location. The Car-Net app allows users to control who receives notifications by designating primary and secondary users, with varying levels of control and functionality for each. Notifications can come in the form of text messages, emails, or push notifications from the mobile app itself. If the vehicle is disabled, Roadside Call Assist is available at the touch of the wrench button.
The DriveView™ program is new for 2020. By enrolling in this program, Car-Net users may be eligible for discounted rates from some of the top automotive insurance companies in the country. This program can also help Car-Net users monitor their driving by tracking activities like night driving, hard braking, idle time, and excess speed. These factors all contribute to an overall driving score, which is visible within the mobile app.
Car-Net Safe & Secure is a paid subscription service that includes Information Assistance, Emergency Assistance, Automatic Crash Notification, Anti-Theft Alert, and Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance. The subscription is $99 per year before taxes and fees, and automatically renews annually at the end of the subscription term, unless cancelled. Information Assistance—accessed through the i-call button within the vehicle—allows the driver to speak to a Car-Net agent for support needs, such as points of interest and account services. Emergency Assistance can be accessed through the SOS button in the vehicle, and, if a cellular connection can be established, puts the driver in contact with the Car-Net service center, who can direct emergency responders to the vehicle’s location and notify the user’s Emergency Contact. Provided a cellular connection can be established, Automatic Crash Notification can help automatically notify an operator who can quickly contact first responders in the event of a collision. Anti-Theft Alert sends a push notification to the user if the vehicle’s anti-theft alarm is triggered, and Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance uses Car-Net to assist law enforcement with locating the vehicle in the event that it is stolen.
Car-Net Hotspot allows passengers to access the internet with up to four connected devices simultaneously, including tablets, smartphones, laptops, gaming devices, and more— at 4G LTE-enabled speed. Existing Verizon Wireless customers with an unlimited mobile data plan can simply add their Volkswagen vehicle as a new line item to their existing plan, non-Verizon customers can set up a prepaid plan for $20/month before taxes and fees.
Car-Net Guide & Inform offers an enhanced navigation and infotainment experience for VW owners with a factory-installed navigation system. Drivers can access traffic reports, fuel prices, sports scores, movie times, and weather data as part of the three-month SiriusXM Travel Link trial. Car-Net enrollment and subscription is not required.
The 2020 Jetta is powered by Volkswagen’s 1.4-liter turbocharged and direct-injection TSI® engine, making 147 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The 16-valve engine is able to generate peak torque at just 1,400 rpm, while at the same time returning EPA-estimated fuel economy of 30/40/34 mpg (city/highway/combined) regardless of transmission choice.
The engine, internally coded EA211, features an air-to-water heat exchanger built directly into the intake module in place of an intercooler. The exhaust manifold is integrated into the head, reducing the distance that exhaust gases must travel to reach the turbocharger, thus allowing for faster response and catalytic converter light off. Valves work to regulate coolant flow into the head, which helps allow for rapid engine (and thus cabin) heating, as well as efficient cooling when the engine reaches normal operating temperature. Both the intake and the exhaust valves feature variable valve timing, which results in improved low-rpm performance, as well as increased torque throughout the rev range. A relatively high 10:1 compression ratio further helps the engine’s efficiency, yet it still takes regular (87 octane) gasoline.
While the 2020 Jetta is more technologically advanced than ever, retaining its fun-to-drive character was of critical importance. Thus, a six-speed manual transmission is standard, with an eight-speed automatic available.
A Start/Stop System is standard on automatic-transmission models. This technology stops the engine during idle when the brake pedal is held (such as when waiting at a red light). When the brake pedal is released, the engine restarts.
The Jetta is built on Volkswagen’s award-winning MQB modular chassis. The platform features unitary construction with two solid-mounted subframes and bolt-on front fenders. Both body and chassis boast a large percentage of ultra-high-strength, hot-formed steel, which allows much of the chassis and body to be constructed from thinner and lighter parts without loss in strength.
Mounted in a lightweight, two-piece steel subframe, the strut-type front suspension on the Jetta has lower control arms and long-travel coil springs. At the back, a torsion beam rear setup with telescopic dampers offers an optimal balance of ride comfort, handling, and weight (the rear suspension alone saves 44 pounds in unsprung weight over a more complex multi-link system).
The Jetta S and SE come standard with 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and 205/55 R16 all-season tires. On Jetta SEL and SEL Premium models, 17-inch wheels have 205/55 R17 all-season tires.
The Jetta R-Line is equipped with a 17-inch wheels paired with 205/55 R17 low-profile all-season tires and the XDS® Cross Differential System. The XDS system acts as an electronic substitute for a traditional mechanical limited-slip differential, actively monitoring data from each wheel sensor. If the suspension becomes unloaded, the system automatically applies braking to the driven inside wheel as needed to help reduce understeer (the tendency for the front wheels to run wide). This not only helps the R-Line’s stability, but can also help improve handling and cornering performance.
An electrically power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering assembly contributes to the fun-to-drive character of the Jetta. The system is speed sensitive, with a ratio of 15:1 and 2.76 turns lock-to-lock. At highway speeds, the steering becomes firm and direct, while at parking speeds, assistance is increased. The turning circle is 36.4 feet.
Finally, an impressive braking system rounds out the athletic performance of the Jetta. At the front, there are 11.5-inch vented discs, with 10.8-inch discs at the rear. The system features a brake disc drying feature to help remove water from the rotors to help optimize wet-weather braking, as well as Electronic Brake-pressure Distribution (EBD), and Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA). All Jetta models also feature an electronic parking brake.
To help protect occupants, the Jetta provides a combination of both passive and active safety systems. It features six airbags as standard (front and side airbags for front passengers and side curtain airbags for outboard seating positions), along with a number of electronic safety systems, such as an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Stability Control (ESC).
A standard feature on the 2020 Jetta is Volkswagen’s Automatic Post-Collision Braking System. This builds on the premise that a collision is rarely a single, instantaneous action, but rather a series of events that follow the initial impact—the most significant of which can cause additional collisions. The Automatic Post-Collision Braking System helps address this, in certain crash scenarios, by applying the brakes when a primary collision is detected by the airbag sensors, thus potentially reducing residual kinetic energy and, in turn, the chance of additional damage.
The Jetta also includes Volkswagen’s Intelligent Crash Response System that shuts off the fuel pump, unlocks the doors, and switches on the hazard lights if the car is involved in certain types of collisions.
All Jetta models feature a standard rearview camera.
To meet the demands of American drivers, the 2020 Jetta offers a comprehensive suite of driver-assistance technology. Available features include: Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking (Front Assist); Blind Spot Monitor; Rear Traffic Alert; Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC); Lane Keeping System (Lane Assist); and High Beam Control (Light Assist).
Front Assist, available on S models in the Driver Assistance Package and standard on the SE model and above, is intended to warn drivers of potential frontal collisions (Forward Collision Warning) with vehicles, and in some cases provide automatic braking assistance (Autonomous Emergency Braking).
Within physical system limits, Forward Collision Warning warns the driver of potential critical front-end collision situations, both acoustically and visually by a warning symbol in the instrument cluster if the car is traveling above 18 mph. Furthermore, an automatic jolt of the brakes can warn the driver of the danger. If the driver fails to brake, or if the car is traveling below 18 mph, Autonomous Emergency Braking is activated to help slow the vehicle. If the brake pedal is applied but the driver brakes too lightly, the brake pressure is increased by the system (Braking Support).
Blind Spot Monitor is available on S models in the Driver Assistance Package and standard starting on the SE model. Blind Spot Monitor uses two radar sensors at the rear of the vehicle to scan the approaching traffic and is intended to warn drivers of the presence of other vehicles in adjacent lanes. If the driver uses the turn signal to indicate a lane change while a vehicle is detected in a blind spot, the system utilizes a flashing LED symbol in the outer area of the side mirrors. Even if the driver does not use a turn signal, the LED symbol in the mirror will illuminate if a vehicle is detected in the blind spot. The system is designed to help alert drivers in specific situations; stationary objects or oncoming vehicles do not trigger warnings, nor do vehicles more than one lane across away from the vehicle.
If combined with Lane Assist (SEL models and above, see below) the system not only warns the driver with the flashing LED symbol if a vehicle is detected in the blind spot, but within system limits, it can also countersteer to help keep the car in the lane even if the turn signal is on. If the driver still tries to steer out of the lane, the system will warn with an additional vibration of the steering wheel.
The Rear Traffic Alert system, available on S models in the Driver Assistance Package and standard on the SE model and above, is intended to detect vehicles approaching from the side that may be difficult for the driver to see while reversing. The system offers a 180-degree view of the back of the car with a range of 65 feet, and will present a visual and an acoustic warning, if a potential collision with a crossing vehicle is detected. If the driver does not react, the system can apply the brakes to help mitigate and, in the best case, can prevent a collision. The system is activated by putting the car in reverse.
Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), standard on Jetta SEL models and above, uses a forward facing radar to maintain a set speed while helping maintain a set distance to the vehicle in front. The driver sets the speed and the desired spacing via buttons on the multifunction steering wheel and can further use those buttons to adjust and cancel the ACC function while the accelerator can be used to override the ACC function. Pressing the brakes always cancels the ACC function. All ACC-related system messages appear in the central multifunction display.
When the roadway ahead of the vehicle is clear, the system maintains the set speed. Jetta models fitted with ACC can match a vehicle in front and come to a stop if the vehicle in front does. If the car in front moves within three seconds, ACC will resume automatically to the set speed. If the car stands longer than three seconds, the driver can resume ACC control by pressing the accelerator pedal or the “resume” button on the steering wheel.
Lane Keeping System (Lane Assist) is standard on SEL models and above. When driving above 40 mph, if the system’s camera recognizes visible lane markings and, using a special algorithm, calculates that the vehicle is unintentionally straying from its lane without using a turn signal, Lane Assist actively countersteers to help keep the vehicle in the lane If the driver takes his or her hands off the wheel for a defined period of time, the system provides an audible warning and a visual signal in the instrument cluster, asking the driver to take over.
The system will not engage if it cannot properly detect lane markings. If the turn signal has been set before crossing a lane marking, the Lane Assist system will not engage or give a warning. The driver can override the system at any time by applying minimal force to the steering wheel.
High Beam Control (Light Assist), standard on Jetta SEL and above, helps provide drivers with better visibility. The system automatically switches on the headlamp high beams above 37 mph on dark or poorly lit roads, if there is no oncoming traffic detected. Below 18 mph, the high beams automatically switch off.
Warranty & Maintenance
Every 2020 Jetta comes with a Bumper-to-Bumper Limited Warranty and Carefree Maintenance Program. The warranty provides coverage for four years or 50,000-miles (whichever occurs first), and can be transferred to a subsequent owner throughout the remainder of its duration. The Carefree Maintenance Program provides scheduled maintenance services for 2 years or 20,000 miles (whichever occurs first) at no additional charge, and can be transferred to a subsequent owner throughout the remainder of its duration.
2020 VOLKSWAGEN JETTA 1.4T R-LINE MSRP $23,495
AS SHOWN WITH ALL STANDARD FEATURES, PACKAGES & OPTIONS PLUS DESTINATION CHARGE $24,415.
VOLKSWAGEN JETTA R-LINE 2020 QUICK TAKES | TESTDRIVENOW 2021(c)