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2018 Volkswagen Jetta Review

The 2018 Volkswagen Jetta ranks near the bottom of our highly competitive compact car rankings. It’s not a bad car, but it struggles to match the all-around appeal of its rivals.

Pros & Cons

  • Spacious trunk
  • Roomy cabin
  • Brisk acceleration, especially with larger engines
  • Low-rent plastics in cabin
  • Some rivals have gentler rides




Critics' Rating: 7.0
Performance: 7.3
Interior: 7.6
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.8
Safety: 9.3
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2018 Volkswagen Jetta Overview

Is the 2018 Volkswagen Jetta a Good Used Car?

Despite its ranking, the 2018 Volkswagen Jetta is an OK choice in the compact car segment. There’s a lot to like about it, but the Jetta has a hard time standing out in such a competitive class. The 2018 Jetta is also the last model of a generation, as VW redesigned the Jetta for the 2019 model year.

The 2018 Jetta has several strengths:

  • Large trunk
  • Spacious second-row seats
  • Great fuel economy estimates

But the sedan also has a few flaws:

  • Some cheap plastics in the cabin
  • Above-average select ownership costs
  • Not as sporty or comfortable as some rivals
Why You Can Trust Us

Our goal is to provide you with the information you need to make car shopping a breeze. You'll find everything you need to know about this vehicle in our comprehensive Volkswagen Jetta review. It combines concrete data like predicted reliability ratings, crash test results, and cargo space dimensions with professional evaluations from 69 automotive sources.

We’ve been reviewing cars since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive experience. We also award the Best Cars for the Money, Best Cars for Families, and Best Vehicle Brands on an annual basis. To ensure our impartiality, a third party handles our advertising, and we don't accept expensive gifts from automakers.

How Much Is the 2018 Volkswagen Jetta?

Based on listings for the 2018 Volkswagen Jetta on our site, the average price is $15,100, which is below average for the class. Prices range from $12,200 to $20,500 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2018 Volkswagen Jetta Cost to Own?

The 2018 Jetta’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be around $22,230, or $4,446 per year. That’s a bit above average among compact cars.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Jetta?

Volkswagen redesigned the Jetta for the 2019 model year. The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta has a slightly smaller trunk and marginally less rear-seat legroom. But it also has more available features, such as leather seats, lane keep assist, and lane departure warning, as well as a standard touch screen larger than anything you’ll find in a used Jetta. If the additional features aren’t important to you, stick with a used model, which likely costs less.

Read about the new Jetta »

The 2018 Jetta belongs to a generation that launched for the 2011 model year. For 2018, Volkswagen introduced a new Wolfsburg Edition trim. Otherwise, updates were minimal. You can likely save money by purchasing an older model with similar features.

Volkswagen refreshed the Jetta for 2015, adding new interior and exterior styling as well as more available safety features. More driver aids, such as adaptive cruise control, appeared for 2016. Other updates that year included the addition of a turbocharged engine option and more standard features, such as a USB port and touch screen. For 2017, Volkswagen made a rearview camera standard in all Jettas, and the hybrid Jetta was discontinued.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Jetta »

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

How Reliable Is the 2018 Jetta?

J.D. Power gives the 2018 VW Jetta a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Read more about Jetta reliability »

2018 Volkswagen Jetta Recalls

At the time of writing, there are no recalls for the 2018 Volkswagen Jetta.

See more information on Volkswagen Jetta safety recalls »

Which Used Volkswagen Jetta Trim Is Right for Me?

The 2018 Volkswagen Jetta is available in six trims: S, Wolfsburg Edition, SE, SE Sport, SEL, and GLI. All are four-door sedans with front-wheel drive. For a hatchback body type, look to the 2018 Volkswagen Golf or 2018 GTI.

  • Volkswagen Jetta S: The entry-level Volkswagen Jetta S has a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 150 horsepower, a five-speed manual transmission, a 5-inch touch screen, a four-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, a USB port, cloth seats, a pre-collision braking system, and a rearview camera. A six-speed automatic transmission is available.
  • Volkswagen Jetta Wolfsburg: The Volkswagen Wolfsburg Edition adds heated front seats, a rear-seat pass-through, and V-Tex synthetic leather seats.
  • Volkswagen Jetta SE: Jetta SE models include a 6.3-inch touch screen, VW Car-Net App-Connect with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satellite radio, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, and a sunroof.
  • Volkswagen Jetta SE Sport: The SE Sport has the same features as the SE, but it gains a 1.8-liter turbocharged engine rated at 170 horsepower, and the six-speed automatic transmission comes standard.
  • Volkswagen Jetta SEL: The Volkswagen Jetta SEL features a navigation system, an 8-speaker Fender stereo, dual-zone automatic climate control, a six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, a cooled glovebox, rain-sensing windshield wipers, adaptive cruise control, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking.
  • Volkswagen Jetta GLI: The top-of-the-line Jetta GLI uses a 2.0-liter turbo-four engine to produce 210 horsepower. It also has a sport-tuned suspension as well as front and rear parking sensors but loses forward collision warning, brake assist, and adaptive cruise control.

See 2018 Volkswagen Jetta trims and specs »

What Does Volkswagen's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Volkswagen offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles seven years old or less and with fewer than 75,000 miles. You receive the balance of the new-car warranty when you purchase a CPO model, and depending on your car’s model year, you get a limited comprehensive warranty that takes effect once the new-car warranty has expired. For 2018 and newer VWs, the limited comprehensive warranty is good for one year or 12,000 miles. The length of the warranty increases to two years or 24,000 miles for 2017-and-older gas, hybrid, and electric vehicles. Finally, 2016 and older TDI vehicles get a two-year/unlimited miles warranty.

VW CPO vehicles must pass a 100-plus-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing, a Carfax vehicle history report, a three-month SiriusXM All-Access satellite radio trial subscription, and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Volkswagen warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, Volkswagen’s CPO program is the least robust of all auto manufacturers.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Jetta?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2018 Volkswagen Jetta the highest rating of Good in five crash tests, the second-highest rating of Acceptable in the passenger-side small overlap front test, and the second-lowest rating of Marginal for how well the headlights illuminate the road. The IIHS also gave models equipped with the pre-collision warning system the second-highest rating of Advanced for front crash prevention.

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

Standard advanced safety features:

  • rearview camera

Available advanced safety features:

  • blind spot monitoring
  • rear cross traffic alert
  • forward collision warning
  • automatic emergency braking
  • adaptive cruise control
  • front and rear parking sensors

See Jetta safety scores »

2018 Volkswagen Jetta Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2018 Volkswagen Jetta or 2018 Honda Civic?

The 2018 Honda Civic has a lot in common with the Jetta, but the Honda is a superior choice in the compact car class. Both vehicles provide peppy acceleration and responsive handling. They also offer performance-oriented variants: the Civic Si and Type R for the Honda, and the Jetta GLI for the Volkswagen. However, the Civic has nicer cabin materials, a perfect safety score, and better gas mileage than the Jetta. The Civic hatchback has much more cargo room than the Jetta, but the Jetta's hatchback stablemate, the VW Golf, is a better comparison for the Civic hatch. Buying the Jetta rather than the Civic will save you an average of around $5,300, but if it’s in your budget, the Honda is the better option.

Which Is Better: 2018 Volkswagen Jetta or 2018 Volkswagen Passat?

The 2018 Volkswagen Passat is a midsize sedan with more passenger room than the smaller VW, but the two have comparably sized trunks. The Passat also has a V6 engine option and nicer cabin materials, as well as more standard safety features. However, the Jetta has better mpg estimates, and it’s more affordable to buy, saving you around $4,300 on average. Both VWs are decent sedans, and choosing one is a matter of preference.

Compare the Jetta, Civic, and Passat »

2018 Jetta Performance

How Does the 2018 Jetta Drive?

The base engine is perfectly capable in most situations, but the larger engine options feel quicker and more energetic. While it’s not the sportiest sedan in the class, the Jetta is generally engaging to drive. Its responsive steering helps it takes turns confidently. The ride can feel a bit firm but not to the point of causing discomfort.

  • Base engine: 150-horsepower, 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
  • Available engines:
    • 170-horsepower, 1.8-liter turbo-four (SE Sport and SEL)
    • 210-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbo-four (GLI)
  • Drivetrain: front-wheel drive
  • Transmission: standard five-speed manual; available six-speed automatic
Does the 2018 Jetta Get Good Gas Mileage?

Whether it has the manual or automatic transmission, the base Jetta gets above-average fuel economy estimates for the class.

  • 1.4-liter, manual: 28/40 mpg city/highway
  • 1.4-liter, automatic: 28/38 mpg
  • 1.8-liter turbo-four: 24/33 mpg (SE Sport and SEL)
  • 2.0-liter turbo-four: 24/33 mpg (GLI)

Read more about Jetta performance »

2018 Jetta Interior

How Many People Does the 2018 Jetta Seat?

This Volkswagen seats five people in two rows. The front and rear seats stand out for being roomy enough to comfortably accommodate most adults, though a few rivals have more rear-seat legroom. The cabin design is clean and simple, but the cabin quality pales in comparison to rivals.

Standard seating features:

  • cloth seats

Available seating features:

  • V-Tex synthetic leather upholstery
  • sport-bolstered front seats
  • heated front seats
  • six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat
  • leather-wrapped steering wheel
How Many Child Car Seats Fit in the 2018 Volkswagen Jetta?

This compact sedan has two complete sets of LATCH connectors for securing child car seats, as well as a third tether anchor for the rear middle seat. The whole setup received the second-lowest rating of Marginal from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The lower anchors are set deeply in the seats and can be hard to maneuver around.

2018 Volkswagen Jetta Features

Regardless of which touch screen the Jetta has, both are easy to use, and the larger one has crisp graphics.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 5-inch touch screen, a four-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, and a USB port
  • Available infotainment features: a 6.3-inch touch screen, an 8-speaker premium sound system, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Mirror Link, navigation, satellite radio, and HD Radio
  • Other available features: dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, proximity keyless entry, a cooled glovebox, and a sunroof

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

See Volkswagen Jetta specs »

Read more about Jetta interior »

2018 Volkswagen Jetta Dimensions

Volkswagen Jetta Cargo Space

This Volkswagen has a 15.7-cubic-foot trunk, which stands out as one of the largest in the compact car class. The split-folding rear seats add even more room when folded down.

These cargo dimensions are for comparative purposes. There is no substitute for visually examining the storage area in any car you’re considering.

2018 Volkswagen Jetta Length and Weight
  • Length: 15 feet, 3 inches
  • Curb weight: 2,930 to 3,208 pounds
  • Gross vehicle weight rating: 4,101 to 4,387 pounds

Where Was the 2018 Volkswagen Jetta Built?

Volkswagen built the Jetta in Mexico.


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