Volkswagen Jetta vs. Honda Civic

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Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009, and has seen himself published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also works as editor in chief for a large performance car online publication. His specialty lays in the high-performance realm, but has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Prior to being an automotive writer, he was an automotive technician and manager for six years, but spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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, Automotive Editor - February 2, 2016

The long running Volkswagen Jetta aims to compete directly with other economical compacts, which means a focus on lower price and simplified equipment choices, and greater emphasis on fuel efficiency. Despite its roomy interior and grown-up looks, the Jetta sedan carries the lowest sticker price in the VW lineup.

See a side-by-side comparison of the Jetta & Civic »

The Honda Civic received a substantial redesign for the 2016 model year that gave it an all-new look, new engines, and new body styles. It's an impressive package of enhancements for a model that's still so new to the market.

How does the value-oriented Jetta stack up against the reinvigorated Civic?

Where the Jetta Delivers

The Jetta optimizes the notion of a lot of car for the money. Interior and trunk space come close to midsize levels, and features like heated outside mirrors, a 5-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity, and express up/down windows are included in the modest base price. The Jetta offers clean and sensible styling inside and out, which makes it unique in a field that thrives on trends and cuteness.

The standard 1.4-liter turbo engine makes 150 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, but buyers can upgrade to a 1.8-liter with 170 horsepower, or a 2-liter turbo with 210 horses. There is also a hybrid model that cranks out 170 horsepower and gets up to 48 mpg combined.

Where the Civic Delivers

The redesigned Civic's new look puts it in a class of its own, and buyers will eventually have three body styles to choose from: sedan, coupe, or hatchback. The Civic manages to pass the well-equipped Jetta in terms of features, as it comes standard with more desirable features like a rearview camera, auto climate control, and more.

The Civic's base 2-liter engine is slightly more powerful than the Jetta at 158 horsepower, but it does fall short in torque. With its optional 1.5-liter turbo engine, the Civic pushes out 174 horses and 162 pound-feet of torque. Both of these gasoline engines easily beat the VW's 1.4- and 1.8-liter engines in fuel economy. Soon, the Civic will have an Si model to compete with the 2-liter-equipped Jetta GLI.

Which Stands Out?

The Civic's new look and new engines make it a standout in its class, leading it to a pretty easy victory over the Jetta. While the Jetta's cabin may be a little roomier than the Civic's, the differences are so small that they are not enough to overcome all the good things the Civic does.

Our Verdict: Honda Civic

A new look and new engines make the Civic our choice.

Take a closer look at the Volkswagen Jetta »

Take a closer look at the Honda Civic »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009, and has seen himself published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also works as editor in chief for a large performance car online publication. His specialty lays in the high-performance realm, but has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Prior to being an automotive writer, he was an automotive technician and manager for six years, but spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

Follow On: Google+ | Website