2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI vs. 2019 Buick Regal Sportback

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 Regal Sportback 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 Regal Sportback doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

Both the Jetta GLI and the Regal Sportback 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, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, 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 Regal Sportback’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 22000 miles sooner.

The Jetta GLI’s corrosion warranty is 4 years longer than the Regal Sportback’s (10 vs. 6 years).

Reliability

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

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Buick vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Volkswagen 3 places higher in reliability than Buick.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Jetta GLI gets better fuel mileage than the Regal Sportback:

MPG

Jetta GLI

FWD

Manual

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

25 city/32 hwy

Auto

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

25 city/32 hwy

Regal Sportback

FWD

Auto

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/32 hwy

AWD

Auto

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

21 city/29 hwy

3.6 DOHC V6

19 city/27 hwy

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 Buick Regal Sportback (5). This means the Jetta GLI produces up to 8 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Regal Sportback every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

The Jetta GLI offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The Regal Sportback doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

The Jetta GLI offers an optional sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Regal Sportback doesn’t offer an SMG.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Jetta GLI

Regal Sportback

Front Rotors

13.4 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

11.3 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 Regal Sportback are solid, not vented.

The Jetta GLI stops shorter than the Regal Sportback:

Jetta GLI

Regal Sportback

70 to 0 MPH

160 feet

164 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

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 Regal Sportback’s standard 55 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 Regal Sportback.

Suspension and Handling

The Jetta GLI 35th Anniversary Edition handles at .95 G’s, while the Regal Sportback GS pulls only .87 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Jetta GLI’s turning circle is 2.6 feet tighter than the Regal Sportback’s (36.4 feet vs. 39 feet). The Jetta GLI’s turning circle is 4.6 feet tighter than the Regal Sportback’s (36.4 feet vs. 41 feet).

Chassis

The Volkswagen Jetta GLI may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 550 to 1000 pounds less than the Buick Regal Sportback.

The Jetta GLI is 7.7 inches shorter than the Regal Sportback, making the Jetta GLI easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Ergonomics

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

If the windows are left open on the Jetta GLI the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows with the driver’s door power window switch. The driver of the Regal Sportback can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

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 Regal Sportback’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

To shield the driver’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side window, the Jetta GLI has a standard extendable sun visor. The Regal Sportback doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Jetta GLI has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Regal Sportback.

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

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