It’s probably pretty fair to say that most people would like to have a reliable vehicle. When buying a new car, what’s the best way to get one that’s going to be reliable in the future? Consumer Reports helps buyers by predicting a car’s reliability. The 2021 Volkswagen Jetta received the lowest possible predicted reliability score, but what does that mean?
The poor predicted reliability of the 2021 Volkswagen Jetta
Consumer Reports gave the 2021 Volkswagen Jetta a one out of five score for predicted reliability, which is the lowest available. While the 2020 model year wasn’t given a score, the 2019 model year has a one out of five score for reliability. The Jetta was redesigned for 2019, so earlier scores are for the previous generation of Jetta models.
However, those aren’t much better for reliability. Between 2011 and 2018, the Jetta was given reliability scores for six of the eight years. It earned three scores of one plus it got two threes and a four. On the whole, the Jetta hasn’t seemed reliable in recent years.
How Consumer Reports’ predicted reliability is calculated
To decide on the predicted reliability and reliability ratings, Consumer Reports sends a survey to its members annually asking about 17 categories of vehicle problems they may have experienced in the previous 12 months. The 2020 survey was sent online to members of the magazine as well as CR.org members. It collected information on 329,000 vehicles from model years 2000 to 2020. Serious issues count more in determining the rating. If a vehicle hasn’t been redesigned, the predicted reliability score is created by averaging the overall reliability scores earned by the previous three model years.
For the Volkswagen Jetta, only 2019’s reliability score is available for this generation, so Consumer Reports may have factored in info about Volkswagen’s track record for reliability or Jetta’s reliability scores in the previous generation. Consumer Reports does make it clear that these scores are a prediction and not a guarantee of reliability (on unreliability).
The 2021 Volkswagen Jetta
Overall, Consumer Reports ranked the 2021 Volkswagen Jetta tenth out of 14 compact cars. It gave it an overall score of just 50 but a road test score of 78. The 2021 VW Jetta does offer excellent fuel efficiency along with “straightforward controls” and what Consumer Reports calls “effortless acceleration” from the responsive 1.4-liter turbo engine. In the road tests, the car got 34 MPG overall and 54 MPG on the highway.
The 2021 Jetta doesn’t have the sporty handling from previous model years. Its steering isn’t as sharp and there is some body lean. The eight-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly but makes the car feel a bit sluggish since it likes to shift to higher gears to save fuel. A six-speed manual transmission is also available. The car is quiet and provides a comfortable, smooth ride. Since it’s longer than other compact cars, there’s lots of room in the rear seats and the trunk.
The car comes with a 6.5-inch touchscreen, but the top two trims trade that for an eight-inch touchscreen. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are both standard on all trim levels. All trims except the base one come standard with forward collision warning, low-speed automatic emergency braking, blind-spot warning, and rear cross-traffic warning. These advanced safety features are available options on the base S trim.
The 2021 Volkswagen Jetta received a one out of five for its predicted reliability from Consumer Reports. The car also has a history of low reliability scores, which should be concerning to potential buyers. However, the car has a number of positive features, and a new model year hasn’t had the time to prove whether or not it is truly reliable.