2020 Ford Fusion vs. 2019 Volkswagen Jetta

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Ford Fusion have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Volkswagen Jetta doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

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

The Fusion’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 doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Fusion’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Jetta doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Fusion and the Jetta have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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 and available rear parking sensors.

The Ford Fusion weighs 513 to 933 pounds more than the Volkswagen Jetta. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Ford Fusion is safer than the Volkswagen Jetta:

Fusion

Jetta

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

There are almost 5 times as many Ford dealers as there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Fusion’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Fusion has a 500-amp battery. The Jetta only offers a standard 480-amp battery.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Fusion first among midsize cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Jetta isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford fourth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 30 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

Engine

The Fusion S’ standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 28 more horsepower (175 vs. 147) than the Jetta’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. The Fusion SE/SEL’s standard 1.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 34 more horsepower (181 vs. 147) and 1 lbs.-ft. more torque (185 vs. 184) than the Jetta’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. The Fusion Titanium’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 98 more horsepower (245 vs. 147) and 91 lbs.-ft. more torque (275 vs. 184) than the Jetta’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Fusion Titanium 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. is faster than the Volkswagen Jetta (automatics tested):

Fusion

Jetta

Zero to 30 MPH

3 sec

3.6 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7.4 sec

9 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.5 sec

5.5 sec

Quarter Mile

15.8 sec

17 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

92 MPH

87 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

The Fusion FWD’s standard fuel tank has 3.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Jetta (16.5 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Fusion AWD’s standard fuel tank has 4.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the Jetta (18 vs. 13.2 gallons).

The Fusion 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 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

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

Brakes and Stopping

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

Fusion

Jetta

Front Rotors

11.8 inches

11.5 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

10.8 inches

The Fusion stops much shorter than the Jetta:

Fusion

Jetta

60 to 0 MPH

125 feet

135 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

137 feet

138 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Fusion has larger standard tires than the Jetta (215/60R16 vs. 205/60R16). The Fusion SE’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Jetta (235/50R17 vs. 205/60R16).

The Fusion Titanium’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 R-Line/SEL Premium’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Fusion Titanium has standard 19-inch wheels. The Jetta’s largest wheels are only 17-inches.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Ford Fusion has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Volkswagen Jetta has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Fusion has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Jetta’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The Fusion has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Fusion flat and controlled during cornering. The Jetta’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The Fusion’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Jetta doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Fusion’s wheelbase is 6.5 inches longer than on the Jetta (112.2 inches vs. 105.7 inches).

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

The Fusion Titanium executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Jetta SEL (27.2 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Fusion a Mid-size car, while the Jetta is rated a Compact.

The Fusion has 8.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Jetta (102.8 vs. 94.7).

The Fusion has .7 inches more front headroom, 3.2 inches more front legroom, 1.9 inches more front shoulder room, .6 inches more rear headroom, .9 inches more rear legroom and 2.9 inches more rear shoulder room than the Jetta.

Cargo Capacity

The Fusion has a much larger trunk than the Jetta (16 vs. 14.1 cubic feet).

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Fusion easier. The Fusion’s trunk lift-over height is 24.4 inches, while the Jetta’s liftover is 28.7 inches.

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

A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the Fusion. The Jetta doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Ergonomics

If the windows are left open on the Fusion the driver can close them all from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the Jetta can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Fusion SE/SEL/Titanium’s exterior PIN entry system. The Jetta doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its Car-Net can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Fusion SE/SEL/Titanium’s exterior PIN entry system. The Jetta doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its Car-Net can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

The Fusion’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 Jetta’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Consumer Reports rated the Fusion’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the Jetta’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

The Fusion SEL/Titanium has standard 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 offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

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

The Fusion (except S) offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Jetta doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Fusion owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Fusion with a number “1” insurance rate while the Jetta is rated higher at a number “3” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Fusion is less expensive to operate than the Jetta because it costs $236 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Fusion than the Jetta, including $512 less for a water pump, $160 less for a muffler, $437 less for a starter, $124 less for fuel injection, $297 less for a fuel pump and $297 less for front struts.

Recommendations

The Ford Fusion outsold the Volkswagen Jetta by almost two to one during 2018.

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

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