Volkswagen fans have a lot to get excited about this year. The German automaker has made significant upgrades to most of the vehicles in its lineup. The Next-generation Car-Net and Wi-Fi are now standard on most VWs, for example. Select models will also feature wireless charging capabilities.
For 2020, Volkswagen simplified the various trim levels, and made many of the driver assistance features, like front assist and blind-spot monitoring, standard equipment. Despite all these enhancements, there is one model that disappointed in the Consumer Reports ratings. In fact, it ranks as the worst new Volkswagen you can buy right now. So which VW should you avoid?
Some Volkswagen models deserve a look
When Consumer Reports assigns ratings, it does so by analyzing data collected from actual consumers and vehicle owners. The experts at CR also perform road tests and leverage their technical knowledge to rate each based on performance, reliability, and safety.
We found Volkswagen has strong scores across many in its fleet portfolio. The VW Arteon, for example, scores an 82 out of a possible 100. The Passat is in testing now for 2020 but also boasts an 82 for the 2019 model performance.
In the SUV segment, both the VW Atlas and the Tiguan performed well in road testing with scores of 84 for both when Consumer Reports put them to the test on pavement. So, which model tanked?
The worst Volkswagen ratings in this year’s lineup
With a dismal overall score of 57, the 2020 Volkswagen Jetta comes up short with Consumer Reports. But the experts praise it for fuel economy (34 mpg overall and 54 mpg on the highway), excellent visibility, and smart interior space. So how does a sedan with bragging rights in some areas, score such a low overall rating? It certainly wasn’t the car’s performance on the test track.
How the 2020 Jetta handled in the road test
Settling in behind the wheel of the 2020 Volkswagen Jetta, the Consumer Reports surveys show most drivers enjoy a comfortable seating position. The ride itself is also comfortable, and the suspension absorbs most road blemishes with ease.
The interior is quiet, and the only real ergonomic frustration is the large center console hitting some at the knee and the vent positioning airflow at the elbows. The general consensus is that the Jetta is pretty tame and almost a bit dull to drive.
Reliability predictions bring this sedan’s overall score down
For the 2020 Volkswagen Jetta, the overall low score is significantly impacted by the predicted reliability ratings. When Consumer Reports assesses a vehicle’s potential, long-term reliability, it reviews past ownership concerns and costs from 2000 through 2019.
They look at 17 trouble areas, from the engine, transmission, to brakes and electrical systems. It was in this data the Jetta took a hit in reliability. Because owners of Jetta models experience issues over the years, Consumer Reports rates the sedan with two out of a possible five stars.
Safety and crash test ratings
Another contributing factor to the low Consumer Reports overall rating for the 2020 VW Jetta, is the two out of five-star safety score. Both the IIHS and NHTSA show top safety and crash-test performances, though.
The only aspect keeping the Jetta from being a top safety pick, and causing a decline in this Consumer Reports safety score, is the sedan’s subpar headlight position and function.
As with any review, don’t let one oversell you on a car nor dissuade you from buying another. Volkswagen is always a top-producer of fan-favorite cars, and enthusiasts have plenty to love in the lineup of rides. The 2020 Jetta just happens to fall to the bottom of the pack this year in Consumer Reports’ scores.