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2021 Volkswagen Jetta Pros vs Cons

Why Buy a 2021 Volkswagen Jetta?
Reviewed & fact checked by
James MurdochNorman Ruckpaul

Are You Considering a 2021 Volkswagen Jetta? Here Are Some Reasons For and Against

When discussing the best compact cars on the market, the Volkswagen Jetta often gets lost in the shuffle. Nevertheless, it has many great qualities. A lot of drivers will especially appreciate the Jetta’s comfortable ride and roomy seats. For folks who desire an extra dose of performance, Volkswagen offers the sportier GLI model. Let’s take a look at why car shoppers should consider getting a new 2021 Volkswagen Jetta.

Ten Reasons You May Like the 2021 Volkswagen Jetta – The Pros

1. Ideal Powertrain for Daily Commuting

For drivers looking for a fuel-efficient daily commuter, the 2021 Volkswagen Jetta offers an ideal powertrain. Rated by EPA to return up to 30/40 mpg in town and freeway respectively, this model features a 1.4L turbo four cylinder engine as standard with 147 horsepower offering good acceleration thanks to 184lb ft torque capabilities - both six speed manual or eight speed automatic gearboxes performing impressively well.

2. Excellent Ride Comfort

The 2021 Volkswagen Jetta comes standard with a torsion-beam rear suspension. Although this is a simple suspension setup, it proves to be extremely effective. When behind the wheel of the Jetta, it feels as if you’re driving a premium European sedan. Few cars in the segment have such a silky smooth ride. Drivers who desire a bit more athleticism should go for the GLI model. They’ll be able to experience sharper handling while still enjoying a bump-free ride.

3, More Fun GLI Model

Some drivers will not get excited by the standard Jetta. Luckily, Volkswagen offers a more fun GLI model. It comes equipped with a stronger turbocharged engine, which pushes out 228 horsepower and nearly 260 lb-ft of torque. When leaving traffic stops, drivers will immediately notice the GLI model’s livelier performance. Testers show the sedan clocks a 0-60 mph time of around 5.9 seconds. This means it's actually quicker than some key competitors, including the Honda Civic Si.

4. Value-Packed Base Model

The base Jetta S is highly recommended daily-driver. It’s priced below $19,000, which is a major plus for car shoppers who are on a limited budget. Volkswagen equips the base Jetta with some desirable features. Drivers will especially enjoy the standard Wi-Fi hotspot, which enables them to easily access the internet from any location. Meanwhile, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto allow you to steam smartphone apps. Buyers also don’t have to pay extra for LED headlights.

5. Sportier Trim Levels Have More Swagger

Don’t expect the standard Jetta to attract a lot of attention on the road. People seeking more swagger should upgrade to one of the sportier trim levels. A blacked-out grille and upgraded 17-inch alloy wheels come equipped on the R-Line model. However, the more powerful GLI model looks even better. A black honeycomb grille with red accents and dual exhaust pipes help set it apart. Larger 18-inch alloy wheels also promote a sportier stance.

6. New MIB3 Infotainment System Arrives

VW’s new MIB3 infotainment system is found on the higher trim levels. It’s an improvement over the previous interface. Users can look forward to the new system's quicker performance. Because the system features wireless smartphone integration, drivers can toss their USB cables to the side. Improved voice recognition makes the MIB3 system more rewarding. Another highlight is the unit’s larger 8.0-inch touchscreen, which is a step above the standard 6.5-inch touch display.

7. A Good Family Car

The 2021 Volkswagen Jetta is an excellent car for families. Although the Jetta is a compact model, it outclasses many of its competitors in rear legroom. When running errands during the winter, owners will appreciate the available heated front seats. A deep trunk also enables the Jetta to swallow up groceries and home improvement supplies. Excellent crash scores make the Jetta an even more impressive family hauler. This car is great for daily commuting and holiday traveling.

8. Thoughtful Safety Features

A few class-exclusive safety features are found on the 2021 Volkswagen Jetta. Not only does VW’s Intelligent Crash Response System automatically activate the car’s emergency flashers after an accident, but it also shuts off the fuel pump to prevent a potential fire. Meanwhile, the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System helps prevent secondary impacts. For an extra $500, the base model can be equipped with a Driver Assistance package. It adds a few popular safety technologies, including blind-spot warning and automatic emergency braking.

9. Volkswagen Digital Cockpit

Traditional analog gauges come standard on the new Jetta. However, buyers can step up to fully digital gauge cluster. It replaces the standard instrument cluster with a high-resolution screen. Drivers will love being able to customize what’s displayed. From safety information to estimated travel time, a lot of information will be easily accessible. When taking a road trip, the HD digital maps will come in handy.

10. Premium Upgrades Available

Some premium options are available for the new Jetta. Unlike the Nissan Sentra and the Toyota Corolla, the Jetta can be equipped with ventilated front seats. Passengers will enjoy the cool breeze when traveling on a hot day. Music fans who are bored with the standard four-speaker stereo can upgrade to a premium BeatsAudio system. This eight-speaker system packs a lot of bass. Wireless smartphone charging and genuine leather upholstery are available as well.

Reasons You May Not Like the 2021 Volkswagen Jetta – The Cons

1. Only Offered With Front-Wheel Drive

The 2021 Volkswagen Jetta is only offered with a standard front-wheel-drive system. While the Jetta will maintain good traction in rainy weather, snowy road conditions may cause trouble. Some people will need an AWD system’s extra grip. A good alternative to the Jetta is the Subaru Impreza. This compact car comes standard with a full-time AWD system.

2. Lower Trim Levels Look Too Conservative for Some People

Drivers shouldn’t expect the lower Jetta trim levels to stop traffic. There are no distinctive styling cues that stand out on the base model. It has a rather plain look. To turn more heads, buyers will have to step up to a more expensive trim.

3. So-So Road Handling

The Jetta GLI models are sporty enough to deliver a fun driving experience. However, most models in the lineup deliver mediocre handling. Some testers have noted that there’s little steering feel. This means true driving enthusiasts will likely become a bit bored.

4. Base Front Seats Could Be Better

While the Jetta provides a rewarding amount of legroom, it’s standard front seats aren’t the best in the class. According to some automotive reviewers, these seats feel a bit flat. They could also offer more support. On the bright side, Volkswagen does offer upgraded seating. Available adjustable lumbar support greatly improves comfort on long drives.

5. Standard Headlights Aren’t the Best

Unfortunately, the 2021 Volkswagen Jetta doesn’t have the best standard headlights. In fact, the standard headlights received a poor rating from the IIHS. This could prove to be a concern for commuters who do a great deal of night driving. While the sedan’s available adaptive headlights perform much better, they are only offered on the upper trim levels.

How It Stacks Up Against the Competition

2021 Volkswagen Jetta vs 2021 Honda Civic

Most automotive journalists rank the 2021 Honda Civic among the best compact cars. Many people praise the Civic for its high-quality interior materials and lively performance. It also provides a lot of passenger room for a small vehicle. However, the Jetta’s new infotainment system is more modern. A lower MSRP gives the Jetta yet another advantage over the Civic. While the Civic may offer a LaneWatch camera system, it’s not as effective as the Jetta’s blind-spot monitor.

2021 Volkswagen Jetta vs 2021 Kia Forte

The 2021 Kia Forte is a good option. It has one of the top warranties in the segment. Driving enthusiasts especially recommended the sporty Forte GT, which is quick and athletic. However, certain features are only offered on the Jetta. For instance, Kia doesn’t offer the Forte with a fully digital gauge cluster. A higher overall safety rating gives the Jetta another key advantage.

2021 Volkswagen Jetta vs 2021 Toyota Corolla

The new 2021 Toyota Corolla has improved in several areas, including interior quality and performance. It also remains one of the most reliable cars you can buy. However, Toyota does not offer the Corolla with a powerful turbocharged engine. A more advanced infotainment system and a digital gauge cluster are also on the Jetta’s list of optional equipment.

Final Thoughts

With its standout performance, the 2021 Volkswagen Jetta is a true hidden gem in today's car market. From fun-filled drives behind the wheel of the GLI model to its excellent crash protection and roomy backseat--it’s perfect for families. Although prospective buyers should be aware that there isn't an available AWD system nor particularly intriguing styling options with base models, these minor setbacks don't take away from what makes this sedan so remarkable.

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