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2020 Volkswagen Jetta Review

The 2020 Volkswagen Jetta offers user-friendly technology and a comfortable ride, but it places near the bottom of our compact car rankings because most rivals have nicer interiors and are more athletic.

Pros & Cons

  • Smooth ride
  • Easy-to-use infotainment system
  • Not as athletic as many rivals
  • Some low-quality cabin materials

New for 2020

  • Standard Wi-Fi hot spot
  • Cold Weather package standard in SEL trim
  • Wireless device charging standard in SEL and SEL Premium trims
  • Shorter warranty

Rankings & Research

The 2020 Volkswagen Jetta's #9 ranking is based on its score within the Compact Cars category. Currently the Volkswagen Jetta has a score of 7.7 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 28 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 7.8
Performance: 7.5
Interior: 7.3
Safety: 8.9
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Is the Volkswagen Jetta a Good Car?

The Jetta is an OK compact car. Its seats are supportive, and though it hasn’t been rated yet, we expect the 2020 Jetta to earn good fuel economy estimates from the EPA. The available GLI trim features a performance-enhanced engine and adaptive chassis control.

However, its base engine is subpar compared to rivals, and several competitors provide a more engaging driving experience, as well as a more luxurious interior.

Should I Buy the Volkswagen Jetta?

The Jetta has some appealing attributes, but it's hard to recommend it over many more well-rounded class rivals. Both the Mazda3 and Honda Civic fare more favorably in our rankings because of their high-end cabins and responsive handling.

Compare the Jetta, Mazda3, and Civic »

Should I Buy a New or Used Volkswagen Jetta?

The Jetta was redesigned for the 2019 model year, and there are only minor changes for 2020.

We recommend shopping for a 2019 Jetta, which is nearly identical to the new Jetta but is likely less expensive. You can shop for a previous-generation Jetta, but it won’t have the benefits of the redesign.

The redesigned Jetta added 18 more horsepower to the GLI model, and a 6.5-inch touch screen (up from 5 inches) became standard. Volkswagen also made more features available, like lane departure warning, lane keep assist, leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and heated rear seats.

Newly standard features in the 2020 Jetta include a Wi-Fi hot spot in the base trim, a Cold Weather package in the SEL trim, and wireless device charging in the SEL and SEL Premium trims.

If you’re considering an older model, be sure to read our 2017 Jetta, 2018 Jetta, and 2019 Jetta reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts you can find on used vehicles.

Compare the 2018, 2019, and 2020 Jetta »

We Did the Research for You: 14 Reviews Analyzed

To give you a complete overview of the 2020 Jetta – and make your car-shopping experience easier – we analyzed 14 Volkswagen Jetta reviews alongside performance specs, interior dimensions, and more.

This 2020 Jetta review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2019.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our crew has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we do not accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an external company manages the ads on our site.

How Much Does the Volkswagen Jetta Cost?

The 2020 Jetta comes in several trims. The base Jetta S has a starting price of $18,895, which is below average for the compact car class. Prices rise as you climb the trim ladder, with the range-topping SEL Premium starting at $27,945.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Volkswagen dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Volkswagen deals page.

Volkswagen Jetta Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Volkswagen Jetta or Mazda3?

The Mazda3 has a worse predicted reliability rating, a smaller interior, and a higher starting price than the Jetta, but it's still the better option. The Mazda3 features a more powerful base engine, and its balanced ride is both athletic and smooth. In addition, the Mazda3 has more premium cabin materials, and it’s available as either a sedan or a hatchback (the Jetta only comes as a sedan).

Which Is Better: Volkswagen Jetta or Honda Civic?

The Honda Civic is one of the best compact cars you can buy. It features lithe handling, some of the best fuel economy figures in the class, and a lineup of solid engine choices. It also comes standard with the Honda Sensing suite of active safety features, which includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking. Go with the Civic.

Compare the Jetta, Mazda3, and Civic »

Jetta Interior

How Many People Does the Jetta Seat?

The Jetta has seating for up to five people in two rows. The seats are comfortable and supportive, even during long commutes. There's plenty of space for adults in both rows.

Jetta and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the Jetta’s rear outboard seats, as well as an upper tether for the rear middle seat. The upper tethers are easy to find, but it's difficult to maneuver around the lower anchors.

Jetta Interior Quality

There are soft-touch materials throughout the Jetta's cabin, but Volkswagen's use of hard plastics makes its interior feel less refined than that of the competition. Cloth upholstery and a manually adjustable driver's seat are standard. Available features include synthetic or genuine leather upholstery, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, front sport seats, heated rear seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a heated steering wheel, and a sport steering wheel.

Jetta Cargo Space

The Jetta has 14.1 cubic feet of cargo space. That's a good amount of room for a compact car. Its standard 60/40-split-folding rear seats come in handy when you're trying to stow larger items.

Jetta Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

An easy-to-use infotainment system that features Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration technology comes standard in the Jetta. The 6.5-inch touch screen is responsive, and the integrated physical controls are nicely arranged on the center console.

Other standard features include Bluetooth, two USB ports, and a four-speaker stereo. An eight-speaker BeatsAudio sound system, an 8-inch touch screen, HD Radio, satellite radio, and navigation are available.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

Jetta Performance

Jetta Engine: You'll Prefer the GLI

The Jetta's standard 147-horsepower 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine isn’t the most exciting in the class, but it has solid power. For more oomph, consider the GLI trims, which come with a 228-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-four engine. A six-speed manual transmission is standard in the base Jetta S, the midlevel Jetta R-Line, and the GLI trims. An eight-speed automatic transmission is available in these trims and standard in all other models.

Jetta Gas Mileage: Expected to Be Good

According to the EPA, the 2020 Jetta GLI with the stronger turbo-four engine gets 25 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. At the time of writing, official fuel economy information for the base 2020 Jetta is unavailable. The similar 2019 Jetta gets 30 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway, which are very good.

Jetta Ride and Handling: Pretty Relaxed Cruiser

Previous-generation Jettas were known for providing a sporty ride, but the focus now is more on comfort. The Jetta has poised handling and a generally smooth ride, though it can get bumpy over rough pavement.

Read more about performance »

Jetta Reliability

Is the Volkswagen Jetta Reliable?

The 2020 Volkswagen Jetta has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Volkswagen Jetta Warranty

Volkswagen covers the Jetta with a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty.

Read more about reliability »

How Much Does It Cost to Insure a Volkswagen Jetta?

The cost of insuring a Volkswagen Jetta will depend on a variety of factors, including your deductible, the level of coverage that you want, and the type of insurance that you choose. Your age, gender, location, credit score, and driving record can also have an impact on your insurance rates. Check out our car insurance guide to find the best policy for you.

Jetta Safety

Jetta Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2020 Jetta an overall safety rating of five out of five stars. It received five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the frontal crash and rollover evaluations.

At the time of writing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not crash tested the 2020 Jetta.

Jetta Safety Features

The Jetta comes standard with a rearview camera. Available advanced safety features include lane departure warning, lane keep assist, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and automatic high-beam headlights.

Read more about safety »

Jetta Dimensions and Weight

The Jetta is about 15.4 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 2,888 to 3,274 pounds.

Where Is the 2020 Volkswagen Jetta Built?                           

Volkswagen builds the 2020 Jetta in Mexico.

Which Volkswagen Jetta Model Is Right for Me?

The 2020 Jetta has five main trim levels: S, SE, R-Line, SEL, and SEL Premium. The SE is the best option for many shoppers. It comes with a generous list of technology, safety, and comfort features.

The performance-oriented GLI model, which is available in S and Autobahn trims, boasts a stronger engine and more athletic handling.

Volkswagen Jetta S

The S trim has a starting MSRP of $18,895. It comes with a 147-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and a six-speed manual transmission. Other standard features include cloth upholstery, a manually adjustable driver's seat, 60/40-split-folding rear seats, a 6.5-inch touch screen, a four-speaker stereo, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, a Wi-Fi hot spot, two USB ports, and a rearview camera.

An eight-speed automatic transmission ($800) and a Driver Assistance package ($450) that includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert are available.

Volkswagen Jetta SE

Standard features in the SE trim, which starts at $22,645, include an eight-speed automatic transmission, a panoramic sunroof, heated front seats, synthetic leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, and push-button start. Standard safety features include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

A Cold Weather package ($500) is available and adds a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, and remote start.

Volkswagen Jetta R-Line

The R-Line trim starts at $22,695. It includes the SE's interior features and adds fog lights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an electronic differential lock, and unique styling enhancements. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and the eight-speed automatic is available. The Cold Weather package is also available for $500.

Volkswagen Jetta SEL

Starting at $25,495, the SEL trim comes standard with heated rear seats, an 8-inch touch screen, HD Radio, an eight-speaker BeatsAudio sound system, a 10.25-inch digital cockpit, satellite radio, wireless device charging, and the contents of the Cold Weather package. Standard safety features include rain-sensing windshield wipers, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and automatic high-beam headlights.

Volkswagen Jetta SEL Premium

The SEL Premium trim has a starting price of $27,945. It gains an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, front sport seats, leather upholstery, navigation, and most of the SEL trim’s features.

Volkswagen Jetta GLI

The GLI comes in two distinct trims: S (MSRP: $26,245) and Autobahn (MSRP: $29,945). A 228-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual transmission are standard in all GLI models.

The GLI S trim comes with a Wi-Fi hot spot, a six-speaker stereo, a sport steering wheel, front sport seats, heated front seats, cloth upholstery, a manually adjustable driver's seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, and push-button start. Standard safety features include rain-sensing windshield wipers, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

The GLI Autobahn trim adds a panoramic sunroof, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, leather upholstery, ventilated seats, a panoramic sunroof, an eight-speaker BeatsAudio sound system, a 10.25-inch virtual cockpit, satellite radio, and wireless device charging.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Volkswagen dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Volkswagen deals page.

See 2020 Volkswagen Jetta specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2020 Volkswagen Jetta fails to stand out in the compact car class. It has a smooth ride and up-to-date technology, but its interior lacks the upscale feel of many of its competitors.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "As a package, the Jetta feels only a little bit above average. It's finally shed its relentlessly boring trappings to become attractive, and it offers good fuel economy and a nice set of features. What hurts the Jetta is its middling ride and handling and uninspiring powertrain. If you don't care about having a particularly engaging car, the latest Jetta will serve you just fine. But if you want a bit more soul in your commute, you'd be much better off with a Civic, a Mazda3 or even the Jetta's own cousin, the Golf." -- Autoblog (2019)
  • "In an era when Toyota is making an effort to make its cars more engaging to drive, Volkswagen, at least in its mainstream models, seem to be walking away from its once-defining trait. Clearly, the new Jetta is no longer a budget sports sedan. Instead, it's an easy-going car that piles on the room, comfort, ease of use, modern connectivity, and upscale features." -- Consumer Reports (2019)
  • "I like the engine, it's easy to drive, looks pretty good. I'm not sure I can work up that much excitement about the new Jetta, if I'm honest, but it seems to be a good car for its intended job." -- Jalopnik (2019)


Expert Advice

Last Updated: May 13, 2020

Weak Demand: Sales of the Jetta rose rapidly following a full redesign for the 2019 model year. This year though, demand has taken a turn in the opposite direction; dealerships have moved 7.3 percent fewer Jetta models compared to the same period in 2019. The Jetta is currently selling in the middle of the compact car segment, with class titans like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla outperforming it on the sales lots by about 3 to 1.

Research more buying advice »
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2020 Volkswagen Jetta

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