2022 Honda Civic vs. 2022 Volkswagen Jetta: What’s the Better Compact Car?

This one is a question that’s divvied the ranks of tuner kids everywhere: Euro or JDM? Now, a tuner kid is going to rehash that argument for the rest of us. Is the 2022 Honda Civic better than the 2022 Volkswagen Jetta? Or is it the other way around? Both feature similar powerplants, transmissions, and, well, just about everything else. These two are some of the most similar compact car models on the market, but their differences set them apart.

On one hand, the Honda has momentum going for it, handily outselling the Jetta. On the other, everyone loves an underdog (even if it may be more expensive).

How much will the 2022 Honda Civic cost?

A white 2022 Honda Civic shot in profile at night
The 2022 Honda Civic has looks going for it | Honda

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Given that the Civic’s biggest edge is its price, it’ll only be fair to start there. The 2022 Honda Civic will range from $21,700-$29,400 depending on your choice of body style (sedan or hatch), trim, and transmission (automatic or manual). That slots in much of the Civic lineup below the German competition.

While subjective, looks have a part to play here, and the Civic’s hatchback body style gives it some added practicality over the Jetta. However, the Jetta’s hatch equivalent, the VW Golf, is another story for another time. For now, the Civic takes the win there. On top of that, the new Honda’s interior brings it closer in line with the Jetta. So much so that it’s now down to personal preference between the two.

The 2022 Volkswagen Jetta is a Euro tuner’s dream

A red 2022 Volkswagen Jetta GLI shot from the front 3/4 in a warehouse
The 2022 Volkswagen Jetta GLI offers more performance than the Civic | Volkswagen

Volkswagen has held the interior game down for a while now, and hopefully, the updated Honda means a revision of the touch-sensitive steering wheel controls we can expect to find on the new Volkswagen Jetta. One area the Jetta has Honda beat in is ride quality. Car and Driver were huge fans of it, and we are too. It’s just that little bit nicer than the Civic’s suspension, whether you’re going slow or fast.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring up the Jetta GLI. In short, it’s the sedan version of the acclaimed Volkswagen GTI, bringing with it 242 hp and some racier dampers and interior touches. If you’re going for top-trim Jetta’s and Civic’s the GLI wins handily, helped tremendously by the absence of a Civic Si, at least for now.

The winner all depends on you

A blue 2022 Volkswagen Jetta compact car shot from the front 3/4
The new Volkswagen Jetta

Ultimately, these two compact car models are almost too close to call. The Jetta feels a little more upscale, and the GLI model is a three-legged man at a butt-kicking party. But you’d be foolish to discount the Civic’s new interior and Honda’s famous reliability. The Jetta GLI is the best deal of the bunch for now, but those looking for something more reasonable should opt for the Civic. For now, we’ll have to wait and see if the Civic Si changes things.

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