The new Lavida closely resembles the Jetta, but it is smaller and cheaper.

The Volkswagen Lavida holds a special place in the automaker's history. Launched in 2008, it is often billed as the first mass-produced Volkswagen-badged product designed by Shanghai Automotive, one of the German company's Chinese partners.

Shanghai-Volkswagen has just launched an all-new version of the popular Lavida at the Beijing Motor Show.

For 2012, the Lavida trades in its soft design for a more angular face that uses styling cues taken from Volkswagen's widely-applied design language. The end result is a car that closely resembles the Jetta and the Passat, but that slots beneath both of them as a cheaper and smaller offering.

The new Lavida is longer than its predecessor, which gives it more trunk space and more interior room.

Buyers will be able to choose between three gasoline engines. For the time being Volkswagen has opted to not release any technical details about the car, but rumors circulating around the Chinese media indicate that the engine lineup will consist of a 1.4-liter, a 1.6-liter and a 1.8-liter. All three will be four-cylinders that run on gasoline.

Depending on which engine is bolted under the hood, power will be transmitted to the front wheels by either a five-speed manual, a six-speed automatic or a seven-speed DSG.

The Lavida will be offered in four different trim levels. All of them are expected to be fairly well-equipped, and even the entry-level model will come standard with ABS, ESP and airbags for the passengers riding in the front.

The new Lavida will be built in China, and Volkswagen currently has no plans to sell it anywhere outside of its home country.