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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 GLI 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 GLI doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
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 GLI 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 GLI only offers a rear monitor.
Both the Camry and the Jetta GLI 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, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, 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 standard headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Camry its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2020, a rating granted to only 30 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Jetta GLI has not been tested, yet.
Toyota’s powertrain warranty covers the Camry 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Volkswagen covers the Jetta GLI. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the Jetta GLI ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.
The Camry’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Jetta GLI’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).
There are almost 2 times as many Toyota dealers as there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Camry’s warranty.
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 2019 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota third in reliability. Volkswagen is ranked 27th.
The Camry’s optional 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 73 more horsepower (301 vs. 228) and 9 lbs.-ft. more torque (267 vs. 258) than the Jetta GLI’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.
To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Toyota Camry uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Jetta GLI requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.
The Camry L’s standard fuel tank has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Jetta GLI (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 GLI (15.8 vs. 13.2 gallons).
The Toyota Camry comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Jetta GLI.
An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Toyota Camry, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the Jetta GLI.
The Camry stops shorter than the Jetta GLI:
70 to 0 MPH
Car and Driver
For better traction, the Camry SE/XLE’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Jetta GLI (235/45R18 vs. 225/45R18).
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 GLI’s 45 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Camry XSE/TRD has standard 19-inch wheels. The Jetta GLI’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.
The Camry has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Jetta GLI’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Camry’s wheelbase is 5.6 inches longer than on the Jetta GLI (111.2 inches vs. 105.6 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 GLI.
Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Camry a Mid-size car, while the Jetta GLI is rated a Compact.
The Camry has 5.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Jetta GLI (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 GLI.
The front step up height for the Camry is .8 inches lower than the Jetta GLI (15” vs. 15.8”). The Camry’s rear step up height is 1.5 inches lower than the Jetta GLI’s (14.5” vs. 16”).
The Camry has a larger trunk than the Jetta GLI (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 GLI’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 GLI doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.
The Camry 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.
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 GLI 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 GLI can’t use the remote to operate the windows.
While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Camry detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
Both the Camry and the Jetta GLI 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.
To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Camry has a standard Dynamic Radar 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 Camry’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.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Toyota Camry, 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 GLI isn’t in the top three.
The Toyota Camry outsold the Volkswagen Jetta by over three to one during 2019.
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