Consumer Reports Says Pick the 2021 Toyota Corolla Over the Volkswagen Jetta

Consumer Reports recommends the 2021 Toyota Corolla as a higher-rated alternative. The Corolla may not be as popular, but it outperforms the Jetta in several key categories. Sedan shoppers should consider this under-the-radar pick to avoid potential pitfalls and cash in the savings on frequent repairs.

A white 2021 Toyota Camry
2021 Toyota Camry | Toyota

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Consumer Reports prefers the 2021 Toyota Corolla

The 2021 Toyota Corolla received an overall score of 77 with the review organization. Great predicted reliability and owner satisfaction scores contribute to the Toyota Corolla’s high marks. Year after year, the Corolla impresses with great fuel economy and dependability. The hybrid Toyota Corolla gets a combined EPA fuel rating of 44 mpg.

Despite its dismal scores, the Volkswagen Jetta remains a popular choice. Consumer Reports recommends drivers consider the similarly priced but higher-rated Corolla. The difference in total savings on repairs over the lifetime of the car could be significant.

The Corolla may not be the more comfortable option

Black leather and stripe interior of the 2011 Toyota Camry
2021 Toyota Corolla interior | Toyota

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Reviewers did note that the 2021 Toyota Corolla didn’t feel as roomy as in previous years. This isn’t surprising considering the new lower and more curvy body design adopted by Toyota. The 2020 model was one of the roomiest in its class, so this space reduction feels like a step backward.

The rear seat in this Corolla feels cramped with a lower ceiling. The entire chassis sits lower. This makes getting into or out of this Corolla a bit harder. The hybrid option only comes in the base trim package. This could turn off some buyers looking for a richer feel. These minor drawbacks do little to take from the Toyota Corolla’s overall favorable reputation.

Why Consumer Reports recommends the 2021 Toyota Corolla but not the Jetta

Consumer Reports found plenty to love about the 2021 Volkswagen Jetta but couldn’t issue it a coveted recommendation. The Jetta scored too low overall in reliability and safety to cut. Despite its low predicted reliability, it remains a popular model.

Several safety features are conspicuously missing from this sedan’s base trim package. For example, blind spot warning, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking systems aren’t standard in the base Jetta. Low predicted owner satisfaction also lowered the Volkswagen Jetta’s overall score.

Safety recalls raise major concerns over the 2021 Volkswagen Jetta

A red 2021 Volkswagen Jetta on display
2021 Volkswagen Jetta | Joel Lerner/Xinhua via Getty Images

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There are currently 2 active Volkswagen Jetta safety recalls issued. Both address potentially dangerous issues that increase the risk of a crash. Consumer Reports score considered these recalls.

Some 57 Volkswagen Jetta units may have missing front seat track bolts. The seats being improperly attached exponentially raises the risk of serious injury in a crash. Owners with affected Jettas should call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 and reference recall number 21V038000. The NHTSA website has more information.

Moreover, a second much larger recall affects the 2021 Jetta. More than 30,000 units have back over prevention system issues. Frozen or blacked-out infotainment systems leave drivers with limited rear visibility. This recall can be addressed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236.