Volkswagen Jetta vs. Honda Civic

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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 11, 2018

Tried-and-true compact sedans like the Honda Civic and Volkswagen Jetta are so much more than affordable and reliable ways to get around. Both vehicles are efficient, relatively spacious, and can be fitted with all of the features you could ever need in a car. Both sedans are coming off of recent overhauls – the Jetta's coming for the 2019 model, while the Civic's was back in the 2016 model year – and are better than ever. How does the newer, more upscale Jetta stack up against the Civic?

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

What the Jetta Gets Right

While German vehicles are usually more expensive than similarly-sized counterparts from Japan, it's the Jetta that's the more affordable option. The 2019 Jetta starts at $19,440, while the 2018 Civic has a price tag of $19,835 (both prices include destination). In the grand scheme of things, $395 might not be a large difference when it comes to choosing between two vehicles, but the funds could be put away for a rainy day or toward an optional feature.

When it comes to available technology features, the Jetta is the sedan that gets the nod. If you're willing to go higher up the Jetta's ladder, the sedan can be fitted with a 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster, 10-color ambient lighting, an eight-inch touchscreen, and a BeatsAudio sound system. Those are high-tech features that aren't usually offered on a compact vehicle.

Volkswagen practically bested every automaker selling vehicles in the US with the introduction of its “People First Warranty.” The Jetta comes with a six-year/72,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty. When it comes to the Civic, Honda offers a new limited warranty coverage plan that's exactly half of the Jetta's at three years/36,000 miles.

What the Civic Gets Right

If you're looking for performance, the Civic is the better option. The Honda comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine as standard that makes 158 horsepower and 138 pound-feet of torque. Honda also offers the Civic with a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder that makes 174 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque. The Jetta is only available with one engine: a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 147 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque.

Despite having more horsepower than the Jetta, the Civic is capable of getting better fuel economy. The sedan is rated by the EPA to get up to 32 miles per gallon city, 42 mpg highway, and 36 combined. On the other hand, the Jetta can get up to 30/40/34 mpg (city/highway/combined).

Another place where the Civic has the edge over the Jetta is when it comes to versatility. The Civic is available in three body styles, including a hatchback, coupe, and sedan. The Jetta is only available as a sedan.

Who is the Jetta a Good Option For?

The Jetta is a great option for consumers looking to get into a compact vehicle with some luxury at an affordable price. Its high-end features, upscale materials, and handsome styling make the Jetta standout in a competitive segment. Buyers willing to spend some extra money can get high-tech features that are saved for much more expensive machines.

Our Verdict: Honda Civic

The Civic continues to be one of the best all-around vehicles in the segment. Its youthful character, impressive fuel economy, and fantastic engine lineup make it hard to beat. Besides the Civic's styling, there's a lot to like with Honda's compact sedan.

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

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

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