2018 Detroit Auto Show: 2019 Volkswagen Jetta, 2018 Passat GT image

The German automaker has chosen to present the all-new generation of the Jetta compact sedan in front of the worldwide audience of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, along with a minor sporty update to the 2018 model year Passat.

The Jetta nameplate has been around for VW since way back in 1979, selling in excess of 16 million units around the world, and the Detroit event is home to its all-new, seventh-generation. It’s naturally underpinned by the ubiquitous MQB platform – the Jetta is all-new and comes with updated dimensions: the wheelbase has grown to 105.7 inches (268.5 centimeters), up from 104.4 inches (265.2 centimeters), with reduced overhangs but increased height and width. Of course, the styling is a drop of water from the Arteon and I.D. concepts, complete with standard LED headlights.

2018 Detroit Auto Show 2019 Volkswagen Jetta, 2018 Passat GT (24)

The interior has been completely overhauled as well, with a focus on moving upscale, and customization. On the SEL and SEL Premium trims, the Jetta already gains the Digital Cockpit display and there’s also a wide array of safety and assistance systems – forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitoring with rear traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and VW’s Car-Net infotainment system comes with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink as standard. In America, just one engine is on offer – the same 1.4-liter turbocharged and direct-inject TSI with 147 horsepower (109 kilowatts) and 184 pound-feet (249 Newton-meters) of torque, mated optionally to a new eight-speed automatic with standard stop/start technology.

2018 Detroit Auto Show 2019 Volkswagen Jetta, 2018 Passat GT (17)

The 2018 model year Passat also gains a new Passat GT version acting as a sporty take on the ubiquitous sedan, arriving in Detroit with more than 20 visual tweaks both inside and out. The mostly visual appearance package doesn’t bring any powertrain enhancements, with the GT using the 3.6-liter VR6 engine with 280 horsepower (208 kW) and 258 pound-feet (350 Nm) of torque and acting as a limited edition model on the R-Line, prices kicking off at $29,090 plus $850 destination.