2012 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan vs. Its Competition

2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI
Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director

The latest VW Jetta has a dual mission: to win over compact buyers with its super size and newly trim base price, and to keep Volkswagen fans in the fold with the alterna-flavored GLI and TDI models.

The problem: inexpensive compacts like the Kia Forte and Hyundai Elantra that offer much more in the way of bargain pricing and features, and even reputations for durability, with admittedly much less driving excitement factored in the sticker price.

The Jetta's a lot like the Suzuki Kizashi, an almost invisible entry in the segment with available all-wheel drive and a suave interior, but not much outright performance and a perception that it's smaller inside than it really is.

The next size class above the Jetta pits the VW against cars like the 35-mpg Hyundai Sonata, the wildly styled, psychographic opposite to the calm, collected German, and the Subaru Legacy, a big sedan that bests the Jetta for interior room and equals its sure-footed feel.

2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI2012 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan
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2012 Hyundai Elantra 4-door Sedan Auto GLS (Alabama Plant) Angular Front Exterior View2012 Hyundai Elantra
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2012 Hyundai Sonata 4-door Sedan 2.4L Auto Limited Side Exterior View2012 Hyundai Sonata
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2012 Kia Forte 5-Door 5dr HB EX Angular Front Exterior View2012 Kia Forte
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2011 Suzuki Kizashi 4-door Sedan Man FWD SLS Sport Angular Front Exterior View2012 Suzuki Kizashi
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Quick Specs
The 2012 VW Jetta delivers a better driving feel and more back-seat room than many other compact sedans; skip the cost-cutter base versions in favor of the TDI or the GLI for a distinctive choice in the compact class.
The 2012 Hyundai Elantra has officially left the Civic and Corolla in the dust, thanks to a 38-mpg gas mileage rating, a sleek look, and tremendous value for the money.
After more than a decade on the market, the latest Hyundai Sonata's an overnight success--thanks to great gas mileage, grabby styling, and exceptional value for the dollar.
The 2012 Kia Forte family of vehicles manages to feel more eager, comfortable, and sophisticated than its sticker price might suggest.
If you're looking for a sophisticated, well-equipped sporty sedan that's a lot of car for the money, you should definitely check out the 2012 Suzuki Kizashi.
MSRP From    
Gas Mileage    
23 MPG City / 42 MPG Hwy28 MPG City / 38 MPG Hwy22 MPG City / 39 MPG Hwy22 MPG City / 36 MPG Hwy20 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy
Gas I4Gas I4Gas I4Gas I4Gas I4
EPA Class    
Compact CarsMidsize carsLarge CarsCompact CarsCompact
Style Name    
4-Door Manual Base4-Door Sedan Manual GLS (Ulsan Plant)4-Door Sedan 2.4L Manual GLS4-Door Sedan Manual LX4-Door Sedan Manual FWD S
Front Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity    
Passenger Doors    
Body Style    
4 Door Sedan4 Door Sedan4 Door Sedan4 Door Sedan4 Door Sedan
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2012 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan vs. 2012 Hyundai Elantra2012 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan vs. 2012 Hyundai Sonata2012 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan vs. 2012 Kia Forte2012 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan vs. 2012 Suzuki Kizashi