2020 Hyundai Sonata vs. 2020 Volkswagen Jetta

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/07/12

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Sonata are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Jetta doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Sonata Limited has standard Reverse Collision-Avoidance Assist that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Jetta doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Sonata Limited has a standard Around View Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Jetta only offers a rear monitor.

The Sonata’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 Sonata and the Jetta 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, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Sonata the rating of “Top Pick” for 2020, a rating granted to only 30 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Jetta last would have qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/07/12

The Sonata comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Jetta’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 10,000 miles sooner.

Hyundai’s powertrain warranty covers the Sonata 6 years and 50,000 miles longer than Volkswagen covers the Jetta. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Jetta ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

The Sonata’s 7 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Jetta runs out after 100,000 miles.

Hyundai pays for scheduled maintenance on the Sonata for 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Volkswagen pays for maintenance for the Jetta (3/30,000 vs. 2/20,000).

There are over 29 percent more Hyundai dealers than there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Sonata’s warranty.

Reliability

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/07/12

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Sonata’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the Jetta’s camshafts. If the Jetta’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Hyundai vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai third in initial quality, above the industry average. With 42 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 12th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Hyundai 21 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.

Engine

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The Sonata SEL Plus/Limited’s standard 1.6 turbo 4-cylinder produces 33 more horsepower (180 vs. 147) and 11 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 184) than the Jetta’s 1.4 turbo 4-cylinder. The Sonata’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 44 more horsepower (191 vs. 147) than the Jetta’s 1.4 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Car and Driver the Sonata SEL Plus/Limited 1.6 turbo 4-cylinder is faster than the Volkswagen Jetta (automatics tested):

Sonata

Jetta

Zero to 60 MPH

7.3 sec

7.7 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

20 sec

22.5 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

7.8 sec

8.6 sec

Quarter Mile

15.6 sec

16.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

90 MPH

87 MPH

Top Speed

135 MPH

127 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/07/12

The Sonata has 2.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the Jetta (15.9 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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

Brakes and Stopping

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

Sonata SE

Sonata SEL

Jetta

Front Rotors

12 inches

12.8 inches

11.5 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

11.8 inches

10.8 inches

The Sonata stops much shorter than the Jetta:

Sonata

Jetta

70 to 0 MPH

167 feet

191 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/07/12

For better traction, the Sonata SEL Plus/Limited’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Jetta (235/45R18 vs. 205/60R16).

The Sonata SEL Plus/Limited’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 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 Sonata SEL Plus/Limited has standard 18-inch wheels. The Jetta’s largest wheels are only 17-inches.

Suspension and Handling

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For superior ride and handling, the Hyundai Sonata 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.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Sonata’s wheelbase is 6.1 inches longer than on the Jetta (111.8 inches vs. 105.7 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Sonata is 3.3 inches wider in the front and 3.9 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Jetta.

The Sonata Limited handles at .89 G’s, while the Jetta R-Line pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Passenger Space

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Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Sonata a Large car, while the Jetta is rated a Compact.

The Sonata has 9.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Jetta (104.4 vs. 94.7).

The Sonata has 1.5 inches more front headroom, 5 inches more front legroom, 2 inches more front shoulder room, .6 inches more rear headroom and 2.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the Jetta.

Cargo Capacity

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/07/12

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

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Sonata SEL/SEL Plus/Limited’s trunk can be opened just by waiting momentarily behind the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Jetta doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

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The Sonata uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Jetta 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.

Ergonomics

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The Sonata Limited has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Jetta doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Sonata’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.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Sonata’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Jetta’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

When the Sonata Limited 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’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

Both the Sonata and the Jetta offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Sonata offers optional rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter.

The Sonata Limited’s Remote Smart Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. Remote Smart Parking Assist will park and retrieve your car remotely: press a button and watch it park itself. This is ideal for tight locations. The Jetta doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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