2020 Acura TLX vs. 2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/12/09

The TLX V6’s optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The TLX offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The TLX’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The TLX V6 offers an optional Surround View Camera System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Jetta GLI only offers a rear monitor.

Both the TLX and the Jetta GLI 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, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in the IIHS moderate overlap frontal impact, side impact, rear impact, roof-crush crash tests, an “Acceptable” rating in the newer small overlap frontal crash test, and its standard front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the TLX its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2015, a rating granted to only 174 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Jetta GLI has not been tested, yet.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Acura vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Acura 24th in initial quality. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 25th.

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

Engine

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The TLX’s optional 3.5 SOHC V6 produces 62 more horsepower (290 vs. 228) and 9 lbs.-ft. more torque (267 vs. 258) than the Jetta GLI’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

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An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the TLX V6’s fuel efficiency. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

The TLX has 4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Jetta GLI (17.2 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

The TLX has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

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The Acura TLX comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Jetta GLI.

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Acura TLX, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the Jetta GLI.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the TLX A-Spec’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Jetta GLI (245/40R19 vs. 225/45R18).

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

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the TLX A-Spec has standard 19-inch wheels. The Jetta GLI’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

The TLX has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the TLX’s wheelbase is 3.7 inches longer than on the Jetta GLI (109.3 inches vs. 105.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the TLX is 2.1 inches wider in the front and 2.7 inches wider in the rear than on the Jetta GLI.

Chassis

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To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the TLX has an electronically controlled liquid-filled main engine mount. A computer-controlled electric current in the liquid changes its viscosity, allowing the mount to dampen the engine completely at all RPMs. The Jetta GLI uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

The TLX uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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The TLX has 1.5 inches more front legroom, 1.6 inches more front shoulder room and 1.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the Jetta GLI.

Cargo Capacity

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A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the TLX easier. The TLX’s trunk lift-over height is 27.5 inches, while the Jetta GLI’s liftover is 28.7 inches.

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the TLX’s trunk lid uses concealed beam hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. The Jetta GLI’s useful trunk space is reduced by its intrusive beam hinge.

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the TLX offers cargo security. The Jetta GLI’s non-lockable remote release defeats cargo security.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the TLX. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Servicing Ease

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The TLX uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Jetta GLI uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Acura service is better than Volkswagen. J.D. Power ranks Acura 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 35% lower rating, Volkswagen is ranked 18th.

Ergonomics

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If the windows are left open on the TLX the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Jetta GLI can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the TLX detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

When the TLX is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Jetta GLI’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The TLX V6 offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Jetta GLI has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the TLX and the Jetta GLI have standard heated front seats. The TLX Advance also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Jetta GLI.

On extremely cold winter days, the TLX Advance’s standard heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

Both the TLX and the Jetta GLI offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the TLX has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the TLX has a standard Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

The TLX’s available GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Jetta GLI’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/12/09

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Acura TLX, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels.

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