2020 Toyota Corolla vs. 2019 Volkswagen Jetta

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Corolla’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 Corolla’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 Corolla 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, 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 and available blind spot warning systems.

Warranty

The Corolla comes with free roadside assistance for 2 years 25000 miles. Toyota will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump-start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Volkswagen doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Jetta.

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Corolla 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 Corolla’s warranty.

Reliability

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Corolla’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 rated the Corolla first among compact cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The Jetta isn’t in the top three.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 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 17th in initial quality. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 24th.

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

The Corolla SE/XSE’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 22 more horsepower (169 vs. 147) than the Jetta’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Corolla SE Auto gets better fuel mileage than the Jetta Auto (31 city/40 hwy vs. 30 city/40 hwy).

Transmission

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

The Corolla has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Jetta doesn’t offer a CVT.

The Toyota Corolla has a downshift rev synchronizer that automatically raises engine speed to make downshifts perfectly smooth. This keeps the car from lurching during downshifts, preventing loss of control during cornering. The Jetta doesn’t offer a downshift rev synchronizer.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Corolla SE/XSE’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Jetta (225/40R18 vs. 205/60R16).

The Corolla SE/XSE’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 Corolla SE/XSE has standard 18-inch wheels. The Jetta’s largest wheels are only 17-inches.

Suspension and Handling

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

For better maneuverability, the Corolla’s turning circle is 2.3 feet tighter than the Jetta’s (34.1 feet vs. 36.4 feet).

Passenger Space

The Corolla has 1.2 inches more front legroom and .8 inches more rear shoulder room than the Jetta.

The front step up height for the Corolla is 2.8 inches lower than the Jetta (13” vs. 15.8”). The Corolla’s rear step up height is 3 inches lower than the Jetta’s (13” vs. 16”).

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Corolla easier. The Corolla’s trunk lift-over height is 25.5 inches, while the Jetta’s liftover is 28.7 inches.

Ergonomics

If the windows are left open on the Corolla 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. (Your Toyota service department must activate this window function.) The driver of the Jetta can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

The Jetta R-Line/SEL Premium’s cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The Corolla XLE/XSE’s optional adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.

Model Availability

The Toyota Corolla comes in sedan and four-door hatchback bodystyles; the Volkswagen Jetta isn’t available as a four-door hatchback or station wagon.

Recommendations

The Toyota Corolla outsold the Volkswagen Jetta by over three to one during 2018.

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

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