2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI vs. 2019 Acura ILX

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Jetta GLI has a standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The ILX doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Jetta GLI has a standard backup collision prevention system that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The ILX doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

Both the Jetta GLI and the ILX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

Warranty

The Jetta GLI comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The ILX’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 22000 miles sooner.

The Jetta GLI’s corrosion warranty is 5 years longer than the ILX’s (10 vs. 5 years).

There are over 2 times as many Volkswagen dealers as there are Acura dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Jetta GLI’s warranty.

Reliability

The Volkswagen Jetta GLI’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the ILX’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 40 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 26th.

Engine

The Jetta GLI’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 27 more horsepower (228 vs. 201) and 78 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 180) than the ILX’s 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Volkswagen Jetta GLI is faster than the Acura ILX (automatics tested):

Jetta GLI

ILX

Zero to 60 MPH

5.6 sec

6.6 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

13.8 sec

17.2 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.1 sec

7 sec

Quarter Mile

14.2 sec

15.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

101 MPH

94 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Jetta GLI Auto’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The ILX doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Volkswagen Jetta GLI higher (7 out of 10) than the Acura ILX (3). This means the Jetta GLI produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the ILX every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Jetta GLI’s brake rotors are larger than those on the ILX:

Jetta GLI

ILX

Front Rotors

13.4 inches

12.3 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

11.1 inches

The Jetta GLI’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the ILX are solid, not vented.

The Jetta GLI stops much shorter than the ILX:

Jetta GLI

ILX

70 to 0 MPH

160 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Jetta GLI has larger tires than the ILX (225/40R18 vs. 215/45R17).

The Jetta GLI’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the ILX’s standard 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Jetta GLI has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the ILX.

The Jetta GLI has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the ILX; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

The Jetta GLI offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The ILX’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Jetta GLI is 1.3 inches wider in the front and .2 inches wider in the rear than on the ILX.

The Jetta GLI 35th Anniversary Edition handles at .95 G’s, while the ILX A-SPEC pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Passenger Space

The Jetta GLI has 5.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the ILX (94.7 vs. 89.3).

The Jetta GLI has .5 inches more front headroom, .3 inches more front shoulder room, 1.3 inches more rear headroom, 3.4 inches more rear legroom and .4 inches more rear shoulder room than the ILX.

Cargo Capacity

The Jetta GLI has a much larger trunk than the ILX (14.1 vs. 12.4 cubic feet).

The Jetta GLI’s standard folding rear seats are split to accommodate bulky cargo. The ILX’s standard single piece folding rear seat is not as flexible; long cargo and a passenger can’t share the rear seat.

Ergonomics

The power windows standard on both the Jetta GLI and the ILX have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Jetta GLI is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The ILX prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Jetta GLI’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The ILX’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The Jetta GLI’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The ILX’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Jetta GLI Autobahn keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The ILX doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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