The Honda Civic and Volkswagen Jetta are two of the oldest nameplates in the compact car category. Now in its tenth generation, the Honda Civic boasts new technological features along with the tried-and-true fuel economy and reliability we have come to know and love. The Volkswagen Jetta is in its seventh generation, having gone under the knife for the 2019 model year and coming out with a new look, new tech, and fuel economy numbers that rival its Civic counterpart. With new renditions of these two segment stalwarts, we had to wonder, which one would prove to be a better value at their given price points?
2020 Honda Civic
The Honda Civic was refreshed for the 2019 model year, complete with a new front and rear fascia and the inclusion of the Honda Sensing Safety Suite on all trim levels. For those not in the know, Honda Sensing is a group of safety technologies that include adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and forward collision avoidance. The Civic is available in a coupe, sedan, and hatchback body styles to provide a practical means of transportation for whatever type of people and cargo-carrying needs you have.
2020 Volkswagen Jetta
The Volkswagen Jetta went through a complete redesign for 2019, in which it gained more room, making it the longest car in the segment, as well as more technology. The Jetta has always been poised as the more-sophisticated entry in the compact segment, thanks to its German styling and solid build quality.
How do they stack up?
Honda Civic Features
We’ll base this comparison mainly on available features and trim levels. Chances are, if you’re comparing a Jetta and Civic, you’ll want to at least know what you can get in each and at what price point. We’ll talk pricing later, but for now, just know that the Civic comes in five different trim levels: LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, and Touring. The hatchback comes in a range-topping Sport Touring trim as well, but a lot of features are the same across the board.
If you opt for the base LX trim, you’ll get a 160-watt audio system with four speakers, Honda Sensing, and a rearview camera. Stepping up to the Sport trim will give you a digital instrument panel, a larger touchscreen with Apple Carplay/Android Auto, larger alloy wheels and tires, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter knob.
The Civic EX trim level adds a few more notable features like a moonroof, heated side mirrors, and LaneWatch, while the EX-L mainly adds leather, hence the “L.” The Touring trim level adds
other key features like a power passenger and driver seat, heated rear seats, and a premium audio system that produces 450 watts of sound.
Volkswagen Jetta Features
The Volkswagen Jetta comes in five different trim levels as well: S, SE, R-line, SEL, and SEL Premium. Notable features on the S trim level include 16-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, and a rearview camera system. Blind-spot monitors and frontal collision warning are available with the additional Driver Assistance Package.
The SE trim level adds more features like automatic climate control, heated seats, a moonroof, and a leatherette interior. The R-line trim mainly adds two-toned wheels, a two-tone interior, and fog lamps and stepping up to an SE trim adds an 8-inch touchscreen display; Beats Audio system; safety features, like adaptive cruise control and lane assist; as well as a configurable Digital Cockpit that looks like a hand-me-down from Audi. The main highlights for the SEL Premium trim include leather seating surfaces and a navigation system.
Which one is a better value?
The 2020 Honda Civic has a starting price of around $20,000 for the base trim level and up to around $27,000 for the sedan and coupe Touring trims and $28,000 for the hatchback Sport Touring trim level. The Volkswagen Jetta starts lower, at around $19,000 for the S trim and up to about $28,000 for the highest SEL Premium trim level.
So which one is a better value? Considering the trim levels of each car break up the option lists pretty evenly, it really depends on what features mean the most to you and what your budget is. But if we had to pick, the Honda Civic would be our choice given its standard driver’s assist features and having a little more technology in the lower trim levels.