Volkswagen Jetta vs. Hyundai Elantra

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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

Volkswagen rolled out an all-new Jetta for 2019. The automaker's compact sedan has a new look, the brand's MQB platform, and a more affordable price tag. There's more to like with the new Jetta than ever before, as the sedan has been positioned to compete with more economical options better than before. Sure, the Hyundai Elantra doesn't have the same upscale design or touches as the Jetta, but the vehicle makes up for it with its fun-to-drive chassis and lengthy list of standard features. The Elantra is also available in a hatchback body style, which makes it appealing to buyers that want something that's a little more versatile. Which one of these compact vehicles deserves a spot in your driveway?

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

Why We Like the Jetta

If you're looking for a vehicle with high-end technology features, the Jetta is worth a look. Going with one of the model's higher trim levels brings the ability to add a 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster, an eight-inch touchscreen, a BeatsAudio sound system, and 10-color ambient lighting. It's a similar situation when you look at interior features, as the Jetta can be fitted with ventilated front seats, which aren't available on the Elantra.

While Hyundai still offers one of the better warranties on the market, Volkswagen recently came out with “The People First Warranty,” which is unmatched by any other brand at the moment. The Jetta is backed by a six-year/72,000-mile limited warranty. The Elantra comes with a five-year/60,000-mile limited warranty, which isn't bad, but can't match VW.

Why We Like the Elantra

The Elantra continues to be one of the better options in the compact segment, as it's a value-packed machine. The 2018 Elantra starts at $17,835, while the 2019 Jetta is $1,605 more with a starting price tag of $19,440 (both prices include destination).

In addition to saving you money with its lower price tag, Hyundai's compact sedan is also the option if you're looking to save money at the pump. The Elantra Eco trim is rated to get up to 32 miles per gallon city, 40 mpg highway, and 35 combined, according to the EPA. The best the Jetta can muster is 30/40/34 mpg (city/highway/combined).

While compact sedans may not be as spacious as mid-size options, the Elantra's cabin is slightly more spacious than the Jetta's. The Elantra has more front and rear head room, front leg room, and front and rear shoulder room than the Jetta. Overall, the Elantra has a passenger volume rating of 95.8 cubic feet, which is 1.1 cubic feet more than the Jetta. The Elantra also has more trunk space than the Jetta with a rating of 14.4 cubic feet.

While the Elantra hits all of the right notes for daily use, the vehicle also appeals to enthusiasts. The model is available in a Sport trim that features a 201-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The trim comes with a six-speed manual transmission, a sport-tuned suspension, larger front brakes, and 18-inch alloy wheels as standard. The Elantra GT Sport is another sporty variant in the Elantra family, but has a hatchback body style.

Which One Stands Out?

The Jetta offers upscale features and a solid feel that Volkswagen is known for. But up against the Elantra, the vehicle comes off as stale and devoid of any personality. It does, however, offer more high-tech technology features than the majority of compact sedans.

The Elantra is one of the more standout options in the segment, as its affordable price tag, fun-to-drive character, and more options to choose from make it a well-rounded vehicle.

Our Verdict: Hyundai Elantra

The Hyundai Elantra and VW Jetta are evenly matched, especially with the Jetta's recent redesign, but the Elantra's ability to thrive at being a fun, economical, and value-packed compact make it shine.

Take a closer look at the Volkswagen Jetta »

Take a closer look at the Hyundai Elantra »

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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