2019 Volkswagen Jetta vs. 2020 Toyota Corolla

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

To help make backing safer, the Jetta’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Corolla doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the Jetta and the Corolla 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, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes and blind spot warning systems.

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 Corolla has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

The Jetta comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The Corolla’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 3 years and 36,000 miles sooner.

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

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Jetta has a standard 480-amp battery (640 optional). The Corolla’s 295-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

Engine

The Jetta’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. produces 8 more horsepower (147 vs. 139) and 58 lbs.-ft. more torque (184 vs. 126) than the Corolla’s standard 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. The Jetta’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. produces 33 lbs.-ft. more torque (184 vs. 151) than the Corolla SE/XSE’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Jetta

Manual

1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

30 city/40 hwy

Auto

1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

30 city/40 hwy

Corolla

Manual

2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

29 city/36 hwy

Auto

1.8 DOHC 4 cyl.

30 city/38 hwy

XLE 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl.

29 city/37 hwy

XSE 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

31 city/38 hwy

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Jetta 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 Corolla doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Environmental Friendliness

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the Volkswagen Jetta as a “Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (SULEV). The Toyota Corolla is only certified to “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV) standards.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Jetta

Corolla

Front Rotors

11.5 inches

10.8 inches

Rear Rotors

10.8 inches

10.2 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Jetta has larger tires than the Corolla (205/60R16 vs. 195/65R15).

The Jetta’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Corolla L’s standard 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Jetta has standard 16-inch wheels. Smaller 15-inch wheels are standard on the Corolla L.

Chassis

The design of the Volkswagen Jetta amounts to more than styling. The Jetta has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .27 Cd. That is lower than the Corolla (.29 to .3) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Jetta get better fuel mileage.

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 Corolla doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The Jetta has 6.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Corolla (94.7 vs. 88.6).

The Jetta has .2 inches more front headroom, 1.1 inches more front shoulder room, .1 inches more rear headroom and 2.6 inches more rear legroom than the Corolla.

Cargo Capacity

The Jetta has a larger trunk than the Corolla (14.1 vs. 13.1 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

When different drivers share the Jetta SEL Premium, the memory seats and mirrors make it convenient. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Corolla doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Jetta’s standard variable intermittent wipers have an adjustable delay to allow the driver to choose a setting that best clears the windshield during light rain or mist. The Corolla L’s standard fixed intermittent wipers only have one fixed delay setting, so the driver will have to manually switch them between slow and intermittent. The Jetta SEL/SEL Premium’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Corolla LE/SE/XLE/XLS’ manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Jetta SEL/SEL Premium’s standard rear view mirror has an automatic dimming feature. This mirror can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on it, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Corolla doesn’t offer the luxury of an automatic dimming rear view mirror.

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

The Jetta SE/R-Line/SEL/SEL Premium’s 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. The Corolla doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

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 Corolla isn’t in the top three.

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

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