Skip to main content

Article Highlights:

  • The Volkswagen Jetta is here with finalized pricing
  • VW’s new compact sedan manages to undercut the Civic
  • Faster models tell a far more interesting story

Volkswagen took notice when Honda debuted the 2022 Honda Civic. How could Wolfsburg not? The new Civic undercuts the Volkswagen Jetta in price, but the Jetta might just be the nicer car. Then, of course, there’s the faster models to consider, both the Civic Si and the Jetta GLI. Which one will be better could decide the new compact king in America’s hotly contested compact segment.

The Jetta hits back at the Honda Civic for $20k

The new Volkswagen Jetta shot from the front 3/4 on a fall road
Volkswagen’s newest Jetta | Volkswagen

Volkswagen has undercut the undercutters. The new base model Jetta is a full $1,900 cheaper than the Honda Civic. The newest VW compact sedan starts at $20,195. Frankly, that’s a steal from a staple of the compact car scene. Obviously, the new car also gets som new looks, just like the Honda Civic. That’s all well and good, but what’s underneath?

As ever, Volkswagen’s ultra-sturdy EA888 turbocharged four cylinder makes an appearance in every trim level of the Volkswagen Jetta, from the base model all the way to the hot GLI. Even in the base models, it’s clear the Jetta is gunning for the Civic, making an identical 158 hp. Spec for spec, base Jetta and Civic models are nearly identical in every way.

Base Volkswagen Jetta models are a steal

A silver 2022 Volkswagen Jetta shot from the front 3/4 on a country road
The new Jetta certainly got an upgrade in the looks department | Volkswagen

Frankly, that makes the base Jetta, given the “S” designation like the last model, one hell of a deal. $20,000 or so gets you a pretty competent little car. Like the Civic, the automatic transmission models will run you a little more. However, unlike Honda, you get the brand’s excellent Direct Shift Gearbox dual-clutch transmission. It’s far better than the torque converter unit in the Civic, and hangs around all the way up the model line to the GLI.

However, there is manual model. In all honesty, that’s best reserved for the GLI. The Volkswagen Jetta S and it’s Sport, SE, and SEL trim levels are best had with an auto. Sometimes you have to let a commuter car be a commuter car. That said, if commuter-friendly safety features like adaptive cruise and lane-keep are your deal, you’ll need an extra $995.

The Jetta GLI wants to outpace the Civic Si

The Jetta GLI in red shot from the front 3/4 in a warehouse
The new Jetta GLI sets its sights on the Civic Si | Volkswagen

The Best Hot Hatches of 2021 Include The Volkswagen GTI and These Hidden Gems

But the top trim Volkswagen Jetta GLI is where things get really interesting. Paired against the Civic Si, consumers will have a real dilemma on their hands. Both make right around 200 hp and feature a manual transmission, but the Jetta costs a good bit more, losing the edge there. But that’s a story for another time. No matter your Jetta trim level, you’re sure to get a deal.