VW Jetta R under consideration in America

feedback@motor1.com (Adrian Padeanu)
2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Live

VoA also confirms new compact crossover for 2021.

Here in Europe, Volkswagen is about to expand its “R” portfolio to include the recently teased T-Roc R, which will serve as a crossover alternative to the Golf R. While the T-Roc is not available in the United States, Volkswagen of America could still diversify its R lineup by adding an entirely different R model. Speaking with Motor Trend at the ongoing 2019 Chicago Auto Show, VoA’s vice president of sales and marketing, Derrick Hatami, did not exclude the possibility of a Jetta R.

When asked by our colleagues at MT whether there’s going to be an R version of the latest Jetta, Hatami answer was: “Never say never.” He went on to mention VW has plans to make the Jetta a serious sports car offering in the same vein as the Golf GTI and R hot hatches even though that could cannibalise some of the sales. Looking at the bigger picture, Hatami argues performance Jetta versions could lure in more buyers compared to Golf GTI/R fans, so in the end, it would be a wise move for VoA to spice up its compact saloon.

It’s obviously too early to talk about any technical specifications, especially since the Jetta R hasn’t been green-lighted so far, but we can easily imagine the amped-up saloon with standard all-wheel drive and around 300 horsepower. It would be a significant step up from the recently launched 228-bhp, front-wheel-drive Jetta GLI pictured here, which represents a mélange of the Golf GTI and R by getting the former’s engine and the latter’s brakes.

In related news, Hatami announced a new model is set to hit the U.S. market in the years to come. Arriving in 2021, the yet-unnamed compact crossover will slot underneath the Tiguan, although that’s all we know for the time being. The reveal confirms a report published late October 2018 about VoA’s intentions of introducing a new high-riding model to take on the Toyota C-HR, Jeep Renegade, and Honda HR-V, among others. The model in question won’t be an American equivalent of the T-Roc since the stylish crossover sold in Europe is too small for the U.S., according to VW.

The new compact crossover – which Hatami said won’t be based on the Tiguan – is expected to be built at the company’s plant in Mexico or in the U.S.

Get to know the Jetta saloon: