The Volkswagen Jetta was revamped for the 2019 model year in which it grew a little bigger and wider and its styling cues got a little sharper. Among its fellow compact-car competitors, the Volkswagen Jetta has always been the more “sophisticated” of the bunch, thanks to its German roots and engineering. However, in its latest iteration, it’s gotten mixed reviews and even scored the lowest among its stablemates in a recent Consumer Reports review. Let’s take a closer look and see why.
While the Volkswagen Jetta can hold a candle to its compact car counterparts, there has been some pretty stiff competition in recent years. After all, even Kia and Hyundai are releasing sportier versions of their compact cars that offer loads of value for the money, especially from a performance standpoint.
While there is a performance version of the Jetta, the Volkswagen Jetta GLI, that doesn’t account for the regular consumer version with the 1.4-liter turbocharged engine. According to Car and Driver, the Jetta “would benefit from more punch for passing on the highway.”
Also, Consumer Reports gave the Volkswagen Jetta and overall rating of 57 out of 100, which is the lowest among the other Volkswagen models and very low among competitors like the Hyundai Elantra, Kia Soul, Toyota Corolla, and of course, the Honda Civic.
What’s bad about it?
The Volkswagen Jetta is great when it comes to the interior fit and finish and the features that it’s available with. After all, the driver-assist features like forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and blind-spot detection are standard, except on the base trim level, so there is a lot of value there.
Additionally, the interior is available with a leatherette interior that can be upgraded to real leather with the highest trim level, and the Digital Cockpit does give the car and Audi-like feel. However, it comes down to driving dynamics.
According to Consumer Reports, “the 147-horsepower, 1.4-liter engine that’s coupled to the eight-speed transmission feels a bit sleepy at times. Handling is competent but a bit dull.” And according to Car and Driver, the Jetta’s “light steering is effortless but lack a feeling of precision. Compared with rivals such as the Mazda3 and Honda Civic, it’s rarely fun to zip around roundabouts.”
So it’s not just about what the Volkswagen Jetta has, but also what it does. And what it does, is a 9-second 0-60 mph time, which is a tad slower than its aforementioned Mazda and Honda competitors.
What would we recommend?
If you’re in the market for a new compact sedan, we would still recommend checking out the Volkswagen as it does have it’s strong points. However, we do think that the Volkswagen Golf might be more appealing as it does have the same powertrain, but a more practical cargo layout with its hatchback shape. Consumer Reports also gave the Golf a much higher rating of 79.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a car of this size, we could recommend the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, and Mazda3 a little more highly, as all of those return great fuel economy numbers and have great features as well. Or, if you’re looking for something a little different, then the new Kia Forte could be of interest, especially the GT trim level.