2020 Toyota Camry vs. 2019 Volkswagen Jetta

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 2019/10/21

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Toyota Camry 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 Camry has standard Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats (WIL), which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the WIL system allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Jetta doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Camry TRD/XLE/XSE offers an optional Rear Cross Traffic Braking that use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Jetta doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Camry’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 Camry XLE/XSE offers an optional Bird’s Eye View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Jetta only offers a rear monitor.

Both the Camry 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, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

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

Camry

Jetta

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

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

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 front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Camry its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 54 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Jetta was last qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

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Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Camry for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Volkswagen doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Jetta.

There are over 89 percent more Toyota dealers than there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Camry’s warranty.

Reliability

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A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Camry’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.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Camry has a 600-amp battery. The Jetta only offers a standard 480-amp battery.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Camry’s reliability 13 points higher than the Jetta.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 23 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 Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 23 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 12th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Volkswagen is ranked 16th.

Engine

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The Camry’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 56 more horsepower (203 vs. 147) than the Jetta’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. The Camry XSE’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 59 more horsepower (206 vs. 147) and 2 lbs.-ft. more torque (186 vs. 184) than the Jetta’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. The Camry’s optional 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 154 more horsepower (301 vs. 147) and 83 lbs.-ft. more torque (267 vs. 184) than the Jetta’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Toyota Camry 4 cyl. is faster than the Volkswagen Jetta (automatics tested):

Camry

Jetta

Zero to 30 MPH

3.2 sec

3.6 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

8 sec

9 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

5.2 sec

5.5 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

17 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91 MPH

87 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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The Camry L’s standard fuel tank has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Jetta (14.5 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Camry LE/SE/XLE/XSE’s standard fuel tank has 2.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Jetta (15.8 vs. 13.2 gallons).

Transmission

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The Toyota Camry 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 Camry’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Jetta:

Camry

Camry TRD

Jetta

Front Rotors

12 inches

12.9 inches

11.5 inches

Rear Rotors

11.06 inches

11.06 inches

10.8 inches

The Camry stops much shorter than the Jetta:

Camry

Jetta

70 to 0 MPH

175 feet

191 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

126 feet

135 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

133 feet

138 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Camry SE/XLE’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Jetta (235/45R18 vs. 205/60R16).

The Camry XSE/TRD’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 Camry XSE/TRD has standard 19-inch wheels. The Jetta’s largest wheels are only 17-inches.

Suspension and Handling

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For superior ride and handling, the Toyota Camry 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 Camry 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 Camry has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Camry flat and controlled during cornering. The Jetta’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Camry’s wheelbase is 5.5 inches longer than on the Jetta (111.2 inches vs. 105.7 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Camry is 1.9 inches wider in the front and 2.5 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Jetta.

The Camry SE handles at .88 G’s, while the Jetta R-Line pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Camry XSE executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Jetta SEL (26.7 seconds @ .66 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

Passenger Space

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

The Camry has 5.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Jetta (100.4 vs. 94.7).

The Camry has 1 inch more front legroom, 1.8 inches more front shoulder room, .8 inches more rear headroom, .6 inches more rear legroom and 1.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Jetta.

The front step up height for the Camry is .8 inches lower than the Jetta (15” vs. 15.8”). The Camry’s rear step up height is 1.5 inches lower than the Jetta’s (14.5” vs. 16”).

Cargo Capacity

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The Camry has a larger trunk than the Jetta (15.1 vs. 14.1 cubic feet).

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Camry easier. The Camry’s trunk lift-over height is 26.8 inches, while the Jetta’s liftover is 28.7 inches.

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

Servicing Ease

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The Camry 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 Camry XLE/XSE offers an optional 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.

If the windows are left open on the Camry 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. (This window function must be activated by your Toyota service department.) The driver of the Jetta can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

The Camry’s speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of 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 Camry’s headlights were rated “Good” to “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Jetta’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

Both the Camry and the Jetta offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Camry 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.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Toyota Camry (except L/TRD) offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) for the front seat. The Jetta doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Economic Advantages

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The Camry will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Camry will retain 46.06% to 50.35% of its original price after five years, while the Jetta only retains 42.99% to 45.75%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Camry is less expensive to operate than the Jetta because it costs $54 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Camry than the Jetta, including $230 less for a water pump, $345 less for a muffler, $131 less for a starter, $71 less for a fuel pump and $87 less for front struts.

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 2019/10/21

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

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Camry first among midsize cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Jetta was rated second in its category.

The Toyota Camry outsold the Volkswagen Jetta by over three to one during the 2019 model year.

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

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