2019 Volkswagen Jetta vs. 2020 Acura TLX

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Jetta 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 TLX 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.

Both the Jetta and the TLX 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Volkswagen Jetta is safer than the TLX:

Jetta

TLX

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Restraints

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

242

250

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

.7/.1 kN

1.6/2.1 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

0%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Tibia index R/L

.56/.37

1.15/.91

Tibia forces R/L

2.5/1.9 kN

4.4/5 kN

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Jetta the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 155 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The TLX was not even a “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

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

The Jetta’s corrosion warranty is 5 years longer than the TLX’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’s warranty.

Reliability

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.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Jetta gets better fuel mileage than the TLX:

MPG

Jetta

FWD

Manual

1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

30 city/40 hwy

Auto

1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

30 city/40 hwy

TLX

FWD

Auto

2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

23 city/33 hwy

A-Spec 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

23 city/32 hwy

3.5 SOHC V6

20 city/31 hwy

A-Spec 3.5 SOHC V6

20 city/30 hwy

AWD

Auto

3.5 SOHC V6

20 city/29 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Volkswagen Jetta uses regular unleaded gasoline. The TLX requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Environmental Friendliness

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

Brakes and Stopping

The Jetta stops shorter than the TLX:

Jetta

TLX

60 to 0 MPH

121 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

The Jetta R-Line handles at .83 G’s, while the TLX V6 SH-AWD pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Jetta’s turning circle is 2.4 feet tighter than the TLX V6’s (36.4 feet vs. 38.8 feet). The Jetta’s turning circle is 3.1 feet tighter than the TLX SH-AWD’s (36.4 feet vs. 39.5 feet).

Chassis

The Volkswagen Jetta may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 600 to 900 pounds less than the Acura TLX.

The Jetta is 5.6 inches shorter than the TLX, making the Jetta easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The front grille of the Jetta uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The TLX doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The Jetta has 1.3 inches more front headroom, .5 inches more rear headroom and 2.9 inches more rear legroom than the TLX.

Ergonomics

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

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Jetta R-Line/SEL Premium has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The TLX doesn’t offer cornering lights.

Economic Advantages

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Volkswagen Jetta will be $12155 to $12212 less than for the Acura TLX.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Volkswagen Jetta, based on reliability, safety and performance.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Jetta first among compact cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The TLX isn’t in the top three.

The Volkswagen Jetta outsold the Acura TLX by almost three to one during 2018.

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

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