New sedans buck the trend of the SUV craze

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Even as more buyers move toward SUVs, automotive companies continue to release more traditional sedans. (KABC)

For decades, if you wanted a compact sedan from Volkswagen, the Jetta was your prime choice.

And there's an all-new Jetta for 2019. But it arrives just as many buyers are foregoing sedans for SUVs.

So the push is on to make sure it gets noticed.

Mega-dealer Galpin Volkswagen even invited classic VW enthusiasts to a big welcome party recently.

There are high hopes for Volkswagen's mainstay sedan.

"It's a smaller market, for sure, as more buyers choose SUVs and crossovers. But those are not the entire market," said Beau Boeckmann, president of Galpin Motors.

And the Jetta has arguably never been better. Everything from the ride to the build quality is top-notch. Under the hood, a standard turbo engine offers both power and efficiency.

Nevertheless, this car does have its work cut out for it in a softened sedan market.

So does a larger 4-door mainstay, the Toyota Avalon. It too is all new this year as a 2019 model, and it too faces a very different car market than when it first came out in the 1990s.

Like other brands, Toyota has seen sales of its SUVs grow, with sedan sales taking the subsequent hit. The Avalon offers an upgrade in both size and features from the Toyota Camry, and starts at about $35,000.

Related to the Avalon is the Lexus ES model, recently getting unveiled with a sleek new design. It goes on sale in September, and does have one advantage: Lexus buyers often have both an SUV and a sedan.

"In the luxury industry, customers tend to be multi-vehicle households. So the SUV and sedan have different purposes, and serve different roles, but they're both important," said Cooper Ericksen, vice president of marketing at Lexus USA.

When it comes to lower-priced mainstream vehicles, there is one area where sedans have an advantage over SUVs, and that's from a financial perspective.
For example, the new Jetta does very well on the EPA's fuel economy ratings, up to 40 mpg highway.

If you choose VW's compact Tiguan SUV, you'll spend a lot more on gas each year, as its highway rating is 27 mpg. And you'll spend a lot more at purchase time. While you can get a new Jetta for under $20,000, the Tiguan starts at around $25,000.

If you want a Volkswagen and you're watching your money, the Jetta is the way to go.

And if you're watching automotive trends, it might seem that sedans are on the way out, which is not necessarily true. You can still get a very nice sedan, and buck the trend.
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