2011 Volkswagen Jetta vs. Its Competition

2011 Volkswagen Jetta image
Martin Padgett Martin 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 Jetta image2011 Volkswagen Jetta
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2011 Hyundai Sonata image2011 Hyundai Sonata
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2011 Kia Forte image2011 Kia Forte
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2011 Subaru Legacy image2011 Subaru Legacy
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2010 Honda Civic image2010 Honda Civic
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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 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid is a very livable way to save fuel without shouting your green credentials to the world.
MSRP From    
Gas Mileage    
23 MPG City / 42 MPG Hwy22 MPG City / 39 MPG Hwy22 MPG City / 36 MPG Hwy18 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy21 MPG City / 45 MPG Hwy
Gas I4Gas I4Gas I4Gas Flat 4Gas I4
EPA Class    
CompactLarge CarsCompact CarsCompactCompact
Style Name    
4-Door Manual4-Door Sedan 2.4L Manual GLS4-Door Sedan Manual LX4-Door Sedan H4 Manual 2.5i2-Door Manual DX
Front Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveAll Wheel DriveFront Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity    
Passenger Doors    
Body Style    
4 Door Sedan4 Door Sedan4 Door Sedan4 Door Sedan2 Door Coupe
ManualManual w/ODManualManual w/ODManual
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2011 Volkswagen Jetta vs. 2011 Hyundai Sonata2011 Volkswagen Jetta vs. 2011 Kia Forte2011 Volkswagen Jetta vs. 2011 Subaru Legacy2011 Volkswagen Jetta vs. 2010 Honda Civic