2011 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan vs. Its Competition

2011 Volkswagen Jetta
Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director

The 2011 VW Jetta has a foot in two worlds: it wants to be tight and inexpensive like some compact cars, but roomy and a great value like some mid-size sedans.

VW says the Honda Civic is a prime target, and the current Civic has a few Achilles heels, from the relative lack of interior space designed in with its steep windshield, to its overly busy instruments and cockpit.

The new Kia Forte nearly hits the Jetta’s space specs, and outdoes its features list with thousands of dollars to spare, but it’s nowhere near as sweet-handling even with a full independent suspension.

Three other cars we’d suggest you drive along with the Jetta are the Kizashi, a compact with great handling and refinement but a marked lack of marketing personality; the Hyundai Sonata, which has a huge front seat and loads of features for a base price under $20,000; and finally the Subaru Legacy, which occupies some of the Jetta’s demographics and handles almost as well—while it also adds much more interior space and flatter, more responsive handling.

2011 Volkswagen Jetta2011 Volkswagen Jetta SedanBrowse Used Listings2011 Hyundai Sonata 4-door Sedan I4 Auto Limited Angular Front Exterior View2011 Hyundai SonataBrowse Used Listings2011 Kia Forte Hatchback2011 Kia ForteBrowse Used Listings2011 Subaru Legacy 4-door Sedan H4 Auto 2.5i Prem Angular Front Exterior View2011 Subaru LegacyBrowse Used Listings2011 Suzuki Kizashi 4-door Sedan Man FWD SLS Sport Angular Front Exterior View2011 Suzuki KizashiBrowse Used Listings2010 Honda Civic Sedan2010 Honda CivicBrowse Used Listings
Quick Specs
The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta steps back in tech time and lowers its German street cred—but still delivers a better driving feel and more back-seat room than many other compact sedans.
The 2011 Hyundai Sonata takes some smart styling and performance risks to raise its profile.
The 2011 Kia Forte exemplifies the new direction of Kia, with a simple, elegant style, unexpected levels of refinement, and lots of value for the money.
The 2011 Subaru Legacy is one of the best-handling mid-size sedans, and the only mainstream one to offer standard all-wheel drive.
The 2011 Kizashi is the best Suzuki car to date—a sophisticated and well-designed small sedan that's a lot more fun to drive than most other compact sedans.
The 2010 Honda Civic has a level of sophistication and refinement not possessed by most other small car models, with good safety and overall frugality. But if you like to carry cargo or backseat passengers, you can do better.
MSRP From     
Gas Mileage     
23 MPG City / 42 MPG Hwy22 MPG City / 39 MPG Hwy22 MPG City / 36 MPG Hwy18 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy20 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy21 MPG City / 36 MPG Hwy
Gas I4Gas I4Gas I4Gas Flat 4Gas I4Gas I4
EPA Class     
CompactLarge CarsCompact CarsCompactCompactCompact
Style Name     
4-Door Manual4-Door Sedan 2.4L Manual GLS *Ltd Avail*4-Door Sedan Manual LX4-Door Sedan H4 Manual 2.5i4-Door Sedan Manual FWD S4-Door Manual DX
Front Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveAll Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity     
Passenger Doors     
Body Style     
4 Door Sedan4 Door Sedan4 Door Sedan4 Door Sedan4 Door Sedan4 Door Sedan
ManualManual w/ODManualManual w/ODManualManual
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2011 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan vs. 2011 Hyundai Sonata2011 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan vs. 2011 Kia Forte2011 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan vs. 2011 Subaru Legacy2011 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan vs. 2011 Suzuki Kizashi2011 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan vs. 2010 Honda Civic