2020 Volkswagen Jetta vs. 2020 Subaru Impreza

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The Jetta has a standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Impreza doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Both the Jetta and the Impreza have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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The Jetta comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Impreza’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The Jetta’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Impreza’s (7 vs. 5 years).

Volkswagen pays for scheduled maintenance on the Jetta for 2 years and 20,000 miles. Volkswagen will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Subaru doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Impreza.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 5 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 14th.

Engine

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The Jetta’s 1.4 turbo 4-cylinder produces 39 lbs.-ft. more torque (184 vs. 145) than the Impreza’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder.

As tested in Motor Trend the Volkswagen Jetta is faster than the Subaru Impreza (manual transmissions tested):

Jetta

Impreza

Zero to 60 MPH

7.7 sec

9.7 sec

Quarter Mile

16.1 sec

17.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

87.3 MPH

81.4 MPH

As tested in Motor Trend the Volkswagen Jetta is faster than the Subaru Impreza (automatics tested):

Jetta

Impreza

Zero to 60 MPH

7.8 sec

9.3 sec

Quarter Mile

16 sec

17.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

86.5 MPH

83 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 2020/05/30

On the EPA test cycle the Jetta gets better mileage than the Impreza Sedan:

MPG

Jetta

Manual

1.4 turbo 4-cyl.

30 city/40 hwy

Auto

1.4 turbo 4-cyl.

30 city/40 hwy

Impreza Sedan

Manual

2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

23 city/31 hwy

Auto

2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

28 city/36 hwy

Sport 2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

27 city/36 hwy

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Jetta Auto’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Impreza doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Volkswagen Jetta higher (7 out of 10) than the Subaru Impreza (6 to 7). This means the Jetta produces up to 1.1 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Impreza every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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A six-speed manual is standard on the Volkswagen Jetta, with closer gear ratios for better performance and a lower final drive ratio for quieter highway operation, less engine wear and better fuel mileage. Only a five-speed manual is available for the Impreza.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Jetta

Impreza

Front Rotors

11.5 inches

10.9 inches

The Jetta stops shorter than the Impreza:

Jetta

Impreza

60 to 0 MPH

121 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

138 feet

140 feet

Consumer Reports

Suspension and Handling

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The Jetta has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Impreza doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

The Jetta S handles at .83 G’s, while the Impreza 2.0i Premium Sedan pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Jetta S executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Impreza 2.0i Premium Sedan (27.3 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 27.7 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

Chassis

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The design of the Volkswagen Jetta amounts to more than styling. The Jetta has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .27 Cd. That is lower than the Impreza (.29) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Jetta get better fuel mileage.

Cargo Capacity

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The Jetta has a much larger trunk than the Impreza Sedan (14.1 vs. 12.3 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

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When different drivers share the Jetta SEL Premium, the memory seats and mirrors make it convenient. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Impreza doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Jetta’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Impreza has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

The power windows standard on both the Jetta and the Impreza have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Jetta is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Impreza prevents the driver from operating the rear windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Jetta’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Impreza’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

If the windows are left open on the Jetta SE/R-Line/SEL/SEL Premium the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows with the driver’s door power window switch. The driver of the Impreza can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Jetta’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The Impreza’s power window switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

The Jetta SEL/SEL Premium’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Impreza’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the Jetta (except S) to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Impreza doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

The Jetta has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Impreza has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Premium/Sport/Limited.

Both the Jetta and the Impreza offer available heated front seats. The Jetta also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Impreza.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Jetta SEL Premium keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The Impreza doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the Jetta’s optional (except S) heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Impreza doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Jetta SE/R-Line/SEL/SEL Premium’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Impreza doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Volkswagen Jetta SEL/SEL Premium has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Impreza doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Jetta is less expensive to operate than the Impreza because it costs $91 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Jetta than the Impreza, including $5 less for front brake pads.

Recommendations

© 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 2020/05/30

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Jetta second among compact cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Impreza isn’t in the top three.

The Volkswagen Jetta outsold the Subaru Impreza by 51% during 2019.

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

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