Volkswagen Golf vs. Volkswagen Jetta

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - September 12, 2018

In an attempt to have a well-rounded lineup, automakers like Volkswagen have started to offer multiple vehicles in one segment. Both the Volkswagen Golf and Jetta compete in the compact car segment, but both are radically different. The Jetta is only available as a sedan, while the Golf is only offered in a hatchback body style. There's a lot to like with both options, but which one is the better buy?

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

What the Jetta Gets Right

Both the Jetta and Golf may share a VW badge and compete in the same segment, but there's a large price gap between the two. The all-new 2019 Jetta starts at $19,440, while the 2018 Golf carries a price tag of $21,805 (both prices include the $895 destination fee). The $2,365 difference between the two could be used to add some optional features on the Jetta or be put away for savings.

The Jetta also continues to help save buyers money throughout ownership, as the sedan is more fuel efficient than the Golf. The Jetta is rated to get up to 30 miles per gallon city, 40 mpg highway, and 34 combined, while the most efficient gasoline-powered Golf can get up to 25/34/29 mpg (city/highway/combined).

While the Golf's hatchback body style is more versatile than the Jetta's, the sedan is the better option for growing families, as it has a more spacious interior. The sedan has 94.7 cubic feet of passenger volume, which bests the Golf by 1.2 cubic feet.

What The Golf Gets Right

If the Jetta charms you over with its high-tech features, the Golf is the obvious choice for consumers that enjoy driving. Even the base Golf boasts polished road manners, but it's the sheer variety of sporty variants that are offered that makes the Golf so appealing. There's the GTI, which is sporty but still enjoyable for daily use, while the range-topping Golf R is the all-star athlete of the family. Regardless of what Golf you go with, the hatchback is fun to drive.

The Golf is the more powerful option of the two. The base trim comes with a 1.8-liter inline-four engine that makes 170 horsepower, while the Jetta's sole turbocharged 1.4-liter inline-four generates 147 hp. Those seeking even more performance can opt for the GTI, which features a 220-hp, 2.0-liter inline-four, or the R trim that has a 292-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four.

Because of the Golf's hatchback body style, the vehicle can hold almost double the amount of cargo as the Jetta. The Golf has a total cargo capacity of 22.8 cubic feet, while the Jetta's cargo rating is 14.1 cubic feet.

Want More Options?

The VW Jetta is a great option for buyers looking to get into a compact sedan that has a great list of available technology features. But the Golf has an unrivaled amount of options. There's the regular Golf, Golf GTI, Golf R, Golf SportWagen, and Golf Alltrack. Whether you want something sporty or a wagon that can go off roading, there's a Golf to choose from. There's even the all-electric e-Golf for consumers that want to stop filling up at the pumps.

Verdict: Volkswagen Golf

With the VW Golf, there's just so many options to choose from that getting into something that has it all is simple. Its versatile body, great driving characteristics, and high levels of value make it the benchmark of the segment.

Take a closer look at the Volkswagen Golf »

Take a closer look at the Volkswagen Jetta »

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

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter | Website