2022 Kia Forte vs. 2022 Volkswagen Jetta: Which New Compact Sedan Is the Better Pick?

Car buyers searching for a compact sedan have many options to choose from in 2022. Two of the best compact sedan options include the 2022 Kia Forte and the 2022 Volkswagen Jetta. However, choosing the right one often depends on performance, fuel economy, interior features, and price.

Where the 2022 Kia Forte compact sedan excels

The 2022 Kia Forte compact sedan in gray driving past a concrete bridge in an urban city
2022 Kia Forte | Kia America

The 2022 Kia Forte comes equipped with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 147 horsepower. It also comes standard with sought-after interior features like wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, even on base trim versions. 

Furthermore, this year’s model has a larger 14-gallon fuel tank and a slightly larger trunk capacity. All-new Kia Forte models also come standard with the automaker’s 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. The compact sedan starts at under $20,000, too.

The 2022 Volkswagen Jetta compact sedan has its advantages too

The 2022 Volkswagen Jetta also has plenty to offer. It employs a conventional automatic transmission and, in the Jetta GLI, churns out up to 228 horsepower. Additionally, according to the EPA, the 2022 Volkswagen Jetta achieves an estimated 31 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway. 

Meanwhile, Kelley Blue Book reports that it achieved 43 mpg when taking this year’s VW Jetta out on the highway. Compared to the Forte’s EPA-estimated 41 mpg highway rating, the Jetta is slightly more fuel-efficient than its competitor. Lastly, the 2022 model year Jetta comes standard with a two-year or 20,000-mile regular maintenance plan.

Where the new Kia Forte falls short

While the new Kia Forte does many things surprisingly well, the lack of rear-seat legroom is a significant concern for anyone taking more than two occupants any distance. The base trim Kia Forte FE’s dated interior shows its age from its last redesign in 2018 too. Finally, some of the best driver-assist safety features are unavailable, regardless of which Kia Forte trim level you choose.

What the new Volkswagen Jetta could do better

With the Volkswagen Jetta offering more horsepower and better-reported fuel economy ratings, it is hard to find areas to disparage. However, the 4-year/50,000-mile warranty is one thing Volkswagen needs to improve, particularly when compared with the Kia Forte’s extensive 10-year/100,000-mile warranty program. Additionally, the VW Jetta compact sedan’s appearance could detract from its desirability, as a recent Kelley Blue Book comparison found the 2022 Jetta “too conservatively styled.”

The 2022 Kia Forte best fits buyers seeking a great value

Priced under $20,000 with a class-leading powertrain warranty, the attractively styled 2022 Kia Forte is a better value than the 2022 Volkswagen Jetta. Its spunky 147-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine may not beat the Jetta in a drag race or go farther on a gallon of gasoline, but it will get you where you need to go in style.

The 2022 Volkswagen Jetta best fits shoppers willing to spend more 

With an MSRP of just over $20,000, the 2022 Volkswagen Jetta compact sedan requires a slightly more significant investment than the Kia Forte. However, the rewards make the higher price worth considering. 

When comparing base trim models, the VW Jetta is more powerful with its standard turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 158 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, and, according to Kelley Blue Book, it gets 43 MPG on the highway. Add in the standard driver-assist safety features, and the only real disadvantage the Jetta faces, other than subjective observations concerning its conservative styling, is its sub-par drivetrain warranty. 

How are the compact sedan models similar?

The Kia Forte and the Volkswagen Jetta seat up to five people, utilize front-wheel-drive systems, provide ample trunk storage, and get excellent fuel economy ratings. Both new compact sedans come from manufacturing facilities located in North America, and both offer exceptional value as new cars starting at about $20,000. They would also look great in your parking spot and provide reliable transportation.

RELATED: 5 Best Sedans to Save Money on Gas in 2022