Specifications of Volkswagen Jetta VII 1.4 TSI (147 HP)
General characteristics of Volkswagen Jetta VII 1.4 TSI (147 HP)
Comfort is prioritized for the Jetta, but as with any lower-cost vehicle, it isn't even nearly perfect. Cruising down the highway is a smooth and soft affair with only the engine's slight lack of power proving to be somewhat of an annoyance. Minor road abrasions and speed bumps are dealt with appropriately in town but bigger bumps will rattle the cabin and its occupants. The Civic and the Mazda 3 take the lead in this department, delivering a far more compliant and unhindered ride quality overall.
The Jetta's handling is good, but certainly not the best. It's an easy sedan to commute the daily grind with, especially around town where its mill works optimally. It feels appropriately nimble around corners, which can be taken confidently at low- to mid-speeds, while maneuvering out of tight spots is effortless, too. Some front-end understeer is exhibited at higher speeds along with some body lean, but the steering tightens up nicely for added control. The R-Line with its XDS differential is a little more precise and poised through the bends, benefitting from some added traction.
All in all, the Jetta is a viable pick for those who simply seek a straightforward cruiser they can use on a day-to-day basis. It's by no means an enthusiast's car, but as a sedan that focuses on being practical and dependable, it's more than adequate.
For the driving enthusiast, the Honda Civic is a no-brainer in comparison to the Volkswagen Jetta. It's simply the better driver's car and to some, perhaps also the better-looking sedan. Entry-spec Civics are powered by a 158-hp 2.0-liter engine which puts them on par with the Jetta, but with a 180-hp turbo-four offered in higher-spec Civics, the Jetta falls behind in both power and variety. Regardless of which powertrain is in play, however, the Honda Civic boasts quicker acceleration, deeper levels of engagement, and far better handling dynamics. With combined fuel economy returns ranging between 33 and 36 mpg throughout the Civic range, it's also impressively efficient.
Both sedans are equally as spacious and practical, but the Civic has a slightly larger trunk and more comfortable rear seats. Lower-spec Civics also outgun the Jetta for standard spec, with a slightly larger seven-inch touchscreen as standard fare. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the top-spec Civic is similarly priced to the top-spec Jetta but comes with a far better infotainment system and a few more driver assists. Whether you're a driving enthusiast or not, we feel the Civic has a lot more to offer.
First of all, the midsize Passat is just about dead in the USA. Second, it's still based on an archaic previous-gen platform. This gifts it a larger interior than many rivals and much larger than the Jetta, but also means it's not as contemporary. But with 174 hp in base form thanks to a turbocharged engine, it has more power and is much quicker. There's no manual on offer, but that's not the greatest shame here.
As the more expensive and larger sedan, the Passat does come standard with a greater selection of comforts and conveniences from the get-go. Even so, the Jetta looks and feels like more of a premium vehicle with a more modern and ergonomic cabin design and layout. With the top-spec Jetta priced at just a little less than the top-spec Passat, we feel there's a lot more value from the Jetta. That's not saying it's a great vehicle, just that the Passat is much older and it feels it.