2021 Volvo S60 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 2020/10/30

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Volvo S60 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 S60’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Jetta doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

Both the S60 and Jetta have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The S60 has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Jetta’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The S60 has a standard Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the WHIPS allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. At the same time the pretensioning seatbelts fire, removing slack from the belts. The Jetta doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The S60 offers optional CTA Auto Brake 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 S60 offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Jetta doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The S60 offers an optional 360° Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Jetta only offers a rear monitor.

The S60’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 S60 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, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

The Volvo S60 weighs 698 to 1543 pounds more than the Volkswagen Jetta. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

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, with its optional vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the S60 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2020, a rating granted to only 32 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Jetta last would have qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

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The S60’s corrosion warranty is 5 years and unlimited miles longer than the Jetta’s (12/unlimited vs. 7/100,000).

Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the S60 for 1 year and 16000 miles longer than Volkswagen pays for maintenance for the Jetta (3/36,000 vs. 2/20,000).

Reliability

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To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the S60 has a standard 800-amp battery. The Jetta’s standard 480-amp battery and largest (optional) 640 amp battery aren’t as powerful.

The battery on the S60 is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the S60’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Jetta’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Volvo vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Volvo 3 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.

Engine

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The S60 T5’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 103 more horsepower (250 vs. 147) and 74 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 184) than the Jetta’s 1.4 turbo 4-cylinder. The S60 T6’s standard 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder produces 169 more horsepower (316 vs. 147) and 111 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 184) than the Jetta’s 1.4 turbo 4-cylinder. The S60 Recharge’s standard 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder hybrid produces 253 more horsepower (400 vs. 147) and 288 lbs.-ft. more torque (472 vs. 184) than the Jetta’s 1.4 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Volvo S60 is faster than the Volkswagen Jetta (automatics tested):

S60 T5

S60 T6

Jetta

Zero to 30 MPH

3 sec

n/a

3.6 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7.3 sec

5.2 sec

9 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

3.4 sec

3.2 sec

5.5 sec

Quarter Mile

15.5 sec

13.8 sec

17 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

95 MPH

103 MPH

87 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 2020/10/30

On the EPA test cycle the S60 Recharge running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the Jetta (70 city/68 hwy MPGe vs. 30 city/40 hwy).

The S60 Recharge can drive on battery power alone for up to 22 miles. The Jetta must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regenerative brakes improve the S60 T8’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Jetta doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Regardless of its engine, the S60’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Volkswagen only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the Jetta Auto.

The S60 FWD’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 S60 AWD’s standard fuel tank has 2.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the Jetta (15.9 vs. 13.2 gallons).

The S60 has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Jetta doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

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The Volvo S60 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 S60’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Jetta:

S60 T5

S60 Polestar

Jetta

Front Rotors

12.7 inches

14.6 inches

11.5 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

12.6 inches

10.8 inches

The S60’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Jetta are solid, not vented.

The S60 stops much shorter than the Jetta:

S60

Jetta

70 to 0 MPH

163 feet

191 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

110 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the S60 has larger tires than the Jetta (235/45R18 vs. 205/60R16).

The S60’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Jetta’s standard 60 series tires. The S60’s optional tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Jetta R-Line/SEL Premium’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the S60 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Jetta. The S60’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels on the Jetta R-Line/SEL Premium.

Suspension and Handling

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For superior ride and handling, the Volvo S60 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 S60 has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the S60 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 S60’s wheelbase is 7.4 inches longer than on the Jetta (113.1 inches vs. 105.7 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the S60 is 2.3 inches wider in the front and 2.6 inches wider in the rear than on the Jetta.

The S60 R-Design AWD handles at .94 G’s, while the Jetta R-Line pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The S60 Polestar executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.2 seconds quicker than the Jetta SEL (25.4 seconds @ .75 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

Passenger Space

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The S60 has 1.2 inches more front legroom, .2 inches more front shoulder room and .5 inches more rear shoulder room than the Jetta.

Cargo Capacity

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A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the S60 easier. The S60’s trunk lift-over height is 26 inches, while the Jetta’s liftover is 28.7 inches.

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the S60’s trunk lid uses concealed beam hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. The Jetta’s useful trunk space is reduced by its intrusive beam hinge.

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the S60’s optional rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Jetta doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the S60 offers cargo security. The Jetta’s non-lockable remote release defeats cargo security.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the S60. The Jetta doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the S60’s power trunk can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Jetta doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Servicing Ease

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The S60 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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Unlike the driver-only memory seat and mirrors in the Jetta SEL Premium, the S60 R-Design/Inscription has a passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The S60 offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction 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 S60 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Jetta can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

The S60’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.

Consumer Reports rated the S60’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the Jetta’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

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 S60’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Jetta’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The S60 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Jetta doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The Jetta R-Line/SEL Premium’s cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The S60’s standard 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.

The S60’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Volkswagen charges extra for heated mirrors on the Jetta.

When the S60 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.

The S60’s standard rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Jetta offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The S60 Inscription offers optional massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the Jetta.

The S60 has a 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. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Jetta SE/R-Line/SEL/SEL Premium.

Both the S60 and the Jetta offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the S60 has available 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.

The S60’s optional Park Assist Pilot can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Jetta doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the S60 is less expensive to operate than the Jetta because it costs $9 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the S60 than the Jetta, including $201 less for a water pump, $55 less for a muffler, $176 less for a starter, $35 less for fuel injection, $184 less for front struts, $106 less for a timing belt/chain and $180 less for a power steering pump.

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 2020/10/30

Motor Trend performed a comparison test in its January 2019 issue and they ranked the Volvo S60 R-Design AWD higher than the Volkswagen Jetta S.

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

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