2021 Volkswagen Jetta

2021 MODEL
$18,895 - $27,945
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6.9

Overall Rating

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2021 Volkswagen Jetta Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Updated on: July 20, 2020
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John Bedrow

Automotive Journalist

The Jetta has always been that obvious nice compact, sedan car alternative if there was anything nicer than aHonda Civic or aToyota Corolla. And it has been more than half a decade since the Jetta was featured in a Hollywood movie. In an attempt to get back to those 180,000 sales figures, Volkswagen has given the Jetta a new look.

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Pros

Driver Assistance features above class

A class apart fuel economy figures.

Cons

No optional all-wheel drive

Bland looker compared to its competition

Standard engine

What's New?

Autonomous emergency braking on every trim

Added driver-assistance features

Marginal changes in exterior style


Pictures

Exterior
Interior

Ratings

Features

7.0

Fuel Economy

7.0

Exterior

5.0

Safety

9.0

Competition

7.0

6.9

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


2021 Volkswagen Jetta S

S

power
147 hp @ 5000 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
34 combined

$18,895 - $19,695


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
S 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl Turbo 6M) Starting at $18,895 MSRP (3/34/39) 147 hp @ 5000 rpm, 1.4 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-Speed Manual front wheel drive 5
S 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 8A) Starting at $19,695 MSRP (3/34/39) 147 hp @ 5000 rpm, 1.4 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
8-Speed Automatic w/Tiptronic front wheel drive 5

2021 Volkswagen Jetta SE

SE

power
147 hp @ 5000 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
34 combined

$22,645


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
SE 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl 8A) Starting at $22,645 MSRP (3/34/39) 147 hp @ 5000 rpm, 1.4 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
8-Speed Automatic w/Tiptronic front wheel drive 5

2021 Volkswagen Jetta R-Line

R-Line

power
147 hp @ 5000 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
34 combined

$22,695 - $23,495


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
R-Line 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl 6M) Starting at $22,695 MSRP (3/34/39) 147 hp @ 5000 rpm, 1.4 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-Speed Manual front wheel drive 5
R-Line 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 8A) Starting at $23,495 MSRP (3/34/39) 147 hp @ 5000 rpm, 1.4 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
8-Speed Automatic w/Tiptronic front wheel drive 5

2021 Volkswagen Jetta SEL

SEL

power
147 hp @ 5000 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
34 combined

$25,495


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
SEL 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl 8A) Starting at $25,495 MSRP (3/34/39) 147 hp @ 5000 rpm, 1.4 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
8-Speed Automatic w/Tiptronic front wheel drive 5

2021 Volkswagen Jetta SEL Premium

SEL Premium

power
147 hp @ 5000 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
34 combined

$27,945


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
SEL Premium 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl 8A) Starting at $27,945 MSRP (3/34/39) 147 hp @ 5000 rpm, 1.4 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
8-Speed Automatic w/Tiptronic front wheel drive 5

Expert Review

6.9

Overall Rating


The Jetta was introduced as a completely new car in 2019 as a 2020 model. The 2021 model is going to be a re-tuned version of the same. It features a new design scheme, gone are the days of boxy design, the 2021 Jetta has rounded ages and a pair of intelligent edgy designed headlights. The German’ upscale feel has been rightfully enhanced, with heated steering and seats and an intuitive infotainment system. With a standard 1.4L TSI engine (147 hp, 184 lb-ft),Volkswagen brings to us the 2021 Jetta that aims to be fuel-efficient but doesn’t try at all to be exclusivist.

Starting under $20,000, the Volkswagen Jetta with its reliable MQB platform competes with the “Father of Reliable Engines” - Honda Civic; and the “Father of Reliable Vehicles” - Toyota Corolla. Can this German still hold on to its Reichstag dreams? Let’s find out.

2021 Volkswagen Jetta Front View
2021 Volkswagen Jetta Rear View

7.0/10
Features

 
 

7.0/10
Fuel Economy

 
 

5.0/10
Exterior

 

9.0/10
Safety

 

7.0/10
Competition

 
 

2021 Volkswagen Jetta Features

7.0/10

The Jetta widens its customer preference by offering 5 different trims to choose from - The base S, SE, R-Line, SEL, and the priciest SEL Premium. All trims carry forward the same engine from 2020, which is the 1.4-liter turbo I-4. Though there’s an optional manual or automatic gearboxes for certain trims. The manual is much lighter on the wallet. Clothed seats are standard offerings, while costlier trims feature leather upholstery. A 6.5-inch touchscreen is pre-equipped on the base trim, the SEL trim upgrades it to an 8-inch display.

Trim

S

SE

R-Line

SEL

SEL Premium

MSRP

$18895

$22645

$22695

$25495

$27945

Key Features

1.4-liter Turbo Inline-4

Adds these features from the S Trim

Adds these features from the SE Trim

Adds these features from the R-Line Trim

Adds these features from the SEL Trim

 

Manual/automatic configurations

Keyless entry with push-button start

17-inch alloy wheels

Volkswagen Digital cockpit

Eight-way powered driver seat with memory function

 

6.5-inch touchscreen

Automatic transmission only

Leather-wrapped steering wheel

8-speaker BeatsAudio sound system

Sporty comfort front seats

 

4-speaker sound system

V-tex leather seat trim

XDS differential

8.0-inch touchscreen

Premium leather upholstery

 

Cloth trimmed seats

Panoramic sunroof

Manual/automatic transmission

The heated steering wheel and rear seats

Navigation feature

 

16-inch alloy wheels

Heated front seats

The R-Line exclusive exterior theme

Multicolor ambient interior lights

Heated and ventilated front seats

       

Only automatic transmission

 

Expected Price and Release Date of the 2021 Volkswagen Jetta

Currently, the release date of the Volkswagen Jetta has been put on hold. But we can make an insight based on preceding years, which predicts a late 2020 release.

Inflation can play a key role in pushing the price of the Jetta by a few thousand bucks compared to 2020. Pricing will be between $19,815 to $31,665, including destination charges.

2021 Volkswagen Jetta Engine and Performance

The mechanical department of theVolkswagen Jetta remains untouched for 2021. That means the Jetta will continue with the 1.4-liter Turbo I-4 engine, clocking in around 147 hp. Its other rivals might eclipse the horsepower, but its torque is unbeatable.

2021 Volkswagen Jetta Engine Bay

The torque output of 184 lb-ft might help you push your weight in those hard to navigate city roads. But don’t be flattered, as the engine cannot be as potent over those long highways. But let’s be honest, the performance of the Jetta’s engine is quite above average in the compact sedan class.

Models

2021 Volkswagen Jetta S

2020 Toyota Corolla L

2020 Honda Civic LX

2020 Hyundai Elantra SE

MSRP

$19695

$19,600

$20,550

$18,985

Engine

1.4L Turbo Intercooled Inline-4

1.8L inline-4

2.0L inline-4

2.0 L inline-4

Drivetrain

FWD

FWD

FWD

FWD

Transmission

8-speed automatic w/OD

Continuously variable automatic

Continuously variable automatic

Continuously variable automatic

Power (hp @ rpm)

147@5000

132@6000

158@6500

147@6200

Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)

184@1400

128@4400

138@4200

132@4500

The Jetta is the only one in its class that features an 8-speed automatic transmission. Though some trims have an optional sport mode too, to make things a bit dramatic The Jetta beats its foes on the grounds of torque though, which is a class apart from others. TheHonda on the other has better acceleration. Despite the absence of turbos, by having more RPMs it ends up having a speed that is close to that of the turbo engine.

How quick is the 2021 Volkswagen Jetta?

Being the lightest cars in its competition, the Jetta is easily ahead of its competition when it comes to speed. Built with state-of-the-art German technology, the turbo inline 4-cylinder engine bolts to 60 mph from a dead stop under 8 seconds. The automatic transmission maintains the speed to clock in a quarter-mile timing of 16 seconds.

2021 Volkswagen Jetta Accelerate 0-60 MPH in just 7.7 sec

Models

2021 Volkswagen Jetta S

2021 Toyota Corolla L

2020 Honda Civic LX

2020 Hyundai Elantra SE

0-60 MPH(sec)

7.7

9.4

8.2

8.3

Quarter mile(sec)

16

17.2

16.3

16.4

Top Speed(MPH)

155

112

120

116

Engine

1.4L Turbo Intercooled Inline-4

1.8L inline-4

2.0L inline-4

2.0 L inline-4

The Jetta is one of the fastest cars in the compact sedan segment, dominating all its opponents. The turbos do help speed up things, lag is there but not at the cost of performance. The TSI engine has enjoyed Volkswagen’s reliance a lot and in this case, it earns them a top spot in the acceleration table.

How well does the 2021 Volkswagen Jetta brake?

The Jetta’s lighter weight gives it a slender advantage while braking. With a 4-wheel brake system paired with an automatic braking feature, this German outclasses its rivals in the braking department.

2021 Volkswagen Jetta Brake

Model

2021 Volkswagen Jetta S

2021 Toyota Corolla L

2020 Honda Civic LX

2020 Hyundai Elantra SE

Brake Front (in)

11.5

10.8

11.1

11

Brake Rear (in)

10.8

10.2

10.2

8

Curb Weight (lbs)

2767

2910

2771

2844

60-0 MPH (ft.)

109

119

113

125

A hundred feet is a lot for a car in general, especially in today's time. To put things in perspective,the Audi Q8 stops at 113 ft and it weighs 5000 lbs. The Jetta which is almost half that weight stops at 109 feet in a 60-0 mph scene.The Hyundai Elantraon the other hand stops the farthest at 125 ft. The Honda Civic with a weight similar to that of the Jetta’s comes close at 113 ft, while Corolla lands somewhere between the two Japanese cars.

How well does the 2021 Volkswagen Jetta handle?

Volkswagen emphasizes control over anything else, preserving a close man-to-vehicle relationship. The manual transmission option presents the driver extra control to extract the most power out of the engine on the road. The independent rear suspension minimizes shock while going over speed breakers or potholes.

2021 Volkswagen Jetta Handling

Also, the sport-tuned steering makes the handling tighter compared to its competition. The primary motive is to provide a comfortable drive. That would mean sacrificing most of its sharp turning skills. Overall these contribute to a quiet, bump-free cruise.

2021 Volkswagen Jetta Fuel Economy

7.0/10

Volkswagen continues with the same engine primarily for its fuel efficiency figures. The 1.4L TSI is almost at par with its Japanese peers when it comes to consuming less fuel. And with one of the larger tanks, the 2021 Volkswagen is supposed to give an impressive mileage of 450 miles.

Model

2021 Volkswagen Jetta S

2021 Toyota Corolla L

2020 Honda Civic LX

2020 Hyundai Elantra SE

MPG (City)

30

30

30

30

MPG (Highway)

39

38

38

40

MPG (Combined)

34

33

33

34

Fuel Capacity(gallons)

13.2

13.2

12.4

14

Range (City/Hwy/Combined)(in miles)

396/528/448

396/501.6/435.6

372/471.2/409.2

420/560/476

This head-to-head doesn’t have any clear winners, with all these sedans very high-end in their fuel efficiency. The Elantra seems to just edge out ahead, with its combined range of 476 miles.

2021 Volkswagen Jetta Interior

Interior changes will remain minimal for 2021 which will mostly for appearance purposes. The interiors look organized and soothing to the eye as the first impression. The screens are neatly laid out and unlike its competitors which have mostly moved on to touch-based controls, the Volkswagen Jetta still features knobs for its climate control purposes.

The infotainment screen is more conservative in style with the obvious touches of modernization. Volkswagen also places the buttons in an organized manner, to complement the touchscreen. We cherish that Volkswagen does away with most of the hard plastic interiors for 2021. The cloth seat trim is standard on the base S trim. It can be further spruced with exclusive and rich leather or sport cloth along with ambient lighting on the SEL and SEL Premium trims.

2021 Volkswagen Jetta Front Seats 

Volkswagen has revolutionized the cabin space with the Jetta. Though trunk space might have shrunk by a few inches from the last generation. It still remains wider and with a long 105.7 in. wheelbase, the Jetta is as spacious as it gets. This is quite defining for the compact sedan class.

Models

2021 Volkswagen Jetta S

2021 Toyota Corolla L

2020 Honda Civic LX

2020 Hyundai Elantra SE

Seating Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

38.5/55.9/41.1

38.3/54/42

39.3/57/37.1

40.3/56.2/42.2

Rear Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

37.2/54/37.4

37.1/51.7/34.8

37.1/55/37.4

37.3/55.3/35.7

Trunk Capacity (cubic feet)

14.2

13.1

15.1

14.4

The interiors of all these established sedans are top-notch in nature and space. However, the Civic and the Elantra take things to the next level with foldable rear seats, giving you more freedom.

Some of the noteworthy Interior features are:

  • Power seats
  • Automatic Climate Control
  • 8-inch touchscreen
  • Apple CarPlay, Android Auto
  • Heated and Cooled seats
  • Heated Steering

What about the infotainment system of the 2021 Volkswagen Jetta?

The infotainment system is controlled via a standard 6.5-inch touchscreen, which is upgradable to an 8-inch one in the SEL models. The touchscreen looks crisp with high-resolution graphics and a gleaming glass display, perfected to sheer brilliance. The Volkswagen Digital Cockpit available on the premium trims is the icing on the cake, exhibiting all the essential information though a bit too enthusiastic at times, all within your line of sight.

2021 Volkswagen Jetta Infotainment System

The infotainment system supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to bridge the gap between your phone and car. Wireless charging is a bonus on the premium versions, with navigation also available to aid you.

The 4-speaker sound system can be promoted to a premium 8-speaker BeatsAudio jukebox to keep the party going.

Highlights:

  • Volkswagen Digital Cockpit
  • 8-inch touchscreen
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility
  • Wireless charging
  • 8-speaker BeatsAudio sound system

How much cargo can the 2021 Volkswagen Jetta carry?

The Jetta showcases its worth with a splendid trunk. Despite reducing its space from the last generation from 15.7 to 14.2 cubic feet. It still manages to stand on par with its competitors. This is adequate to sustain 4 pieces of luggage, which is roughly equivalent to what a 4 person family would carry. The interiors are vast enough to fit in small backpacks or suitcases.

2021 Volkswagen Jetta Cargo Area

Models

2021 Volkswagen Jetta S

2021 Toyota Corolla L

2020 Honda Civic LX

2020 Hyundai Elantra SE

Standard Cargo Capacity (ft³)

14.2

13.1

15.1

14.4

Maximum Cargo Capacity (ft³)

-

13.1

46.2

14.4

TheHonda Civic sedan has a larger cargo capacity in this class. Its 15.1 cubic feet freight capacity is ideal for a family car. The Jetta comes after the Elantra, followed by the Corolla, which offers the least cargo space.,

What are the other storage spaces inside?

As for the small storage options, there are four big door-bins. They can store your water bottles and a smartphone. Likewise, the center console can store essential documents like a driving license. It also contains a tray which can hold notebooks and pens.

2021 Volkswagen Jetta Interior
2021 Volkswagen Jetta Interior
2021 Volkswagen Jetta Instrument Cluster
2021 Volkswagen Jetta Instrument Cluster
2021 Volkswagen Jetta Instrument Front Seat
2021 Volkswagen Jetta Instrument Front Seat
2021 Volkswagen Jetta Instrument Sunroof
2021 Volkswagen Jetta Instrument Sunroof
2021 Volkswagen Jetta Rear Seats
2021 Volkswagen Jetta Rear Seats

2021 Volkswagen Jetta Exterior

5.0/10

How would you describe the exterior of a car that is being marketed as having understated looks? Those new headlights are unique that stands out from earlier Golf front fascia. This Jetta marks the start of Volkswagen’s new line-up of sedans that finally culminated at the Arteon. The conservative look may appeal to some while boring to others. However, the headlights and the grille add a slice of oomph to the looks.

2021 Volkswagen Jetta Exterior

The R-Line enhances the conservative German design of the Jetta, which sports an all-black exterior grille and a bold rear bumper with R-Line styling. A unique color option might be on the cards for 2021. Though, when it comes to looks, the Jetta GLI looks far better.

Models

2021 Volkswagen Jetta S

2021 Toyota Corolla L

2020 Honda Civic LX

2020 Hyundai Elantra SE

Curb Weight(lbs)

2767

2910

2771

2844

Length(inches)

185.1

182.3

182.7

181.9

Width(inches)

70.8

70.1

70.9

70.9

Height(inches)

57.4

56.5

55.7

56.5

Ground Clearance(inches)

5.6

5.1

6.3

5.3

Wheelbase(inches)

105.7

106.3

106.3

106.3

The Jetta is longer and wider in its exterior styling than its peers. Other dimensions are identical for most of them.

Key aspects of the exteriors are:

  • Fog Lights
  • LED headlights and taillights
  • LED Daytime Running Lamps
  • Rain sensing wipers
  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Panoramic sunroof
2021 Volkswagen Jetta Front
2021 Volkswagen Jetta Front
2021 Volkswagen Jetta Rear
2021 Volkswagen Jetta Rear
2021 Volkswagen Jetta Side View
2021 Volkswagen Jetta Side View
2021 Volkswagen Jetta Side Angle View
2021 Volkswagen Jetta Side Angle View
2021 Volkswagen Jetta Wheel
2021 Volkswagen Jetta Wheel

2021 Volkswagen Jetta Safety

9.0/10

Safety is the marketing tactic of Volkswagen to keep customers interested. The Jetta has been exemplary in the 2019 NHTSA tests, surpassing its expectations. It only missed out on the Top Pick because of its headlights. 2021 Jetta is carrying this burden over its shoulders and is expected to shine this year too. Automatic emergency braking was a prerequisite in the Jetta and is now being standardized for every trim. The Jetta has a cluster of many noteworthy driver assistance features to keep the driver engaged. Notable mentions are- Adaptive cruise control, light, lane and front assist, and a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert.

Highlights:

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Light assist
  • Lane assist
  • A blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert
  • Front assist

2021 Volkswagen Jetta Competition

7.0/10

Volkswagen Jetta vs Toyota Corolla

The Corolla is sportier than the Jetta with its more potent 2.0 liter I-4 engine. But Jetta cancels most of the ride noise out while driving on interminable stretches, which is the Corolla’s detriment.

2021 Toyota Corolla

The infotainment features of the Jetta feel much crisper and beautiful than the Corolla’s which looks a bit too out of the box at times. The Jetta feels more value-for-money with its impressive fuel economy and affordable price.

Volkswagen Jetta vs Honda Civic

The Civic has an extra spacious trunk for starters. It offers 15.1 cubic feet compared to the Jetta’s 14.4, while also equipped with foldable rear seats to clear up further space.

2021 Honda Civic

However, the Jetta appears to be much more fuel-efficient than the Civic. Reliability is still a key factor, with the Jetta offering a considerably better warranty offer than the Civic, 6 years/72000 miles for bumper-to-bumper.

Volkswagen Jetta vs Hyundai Elantra

The interiors of the Elantra are roomier than the Jetta, with more headroom, legroom, and shoulder room. The Elantra also has better fuel performance, saving you more cash on the go.

2021 Hyundai Elantra

The Jetta, however, has an array of upscale high-tech features that make it quite a catch. 

2021 Volkswagen Jetta Final Verdict

The Volkswagen Jetta is a well-rounded family car with an exquisite variety of high-tech innovations. Fuel consumption is also economical, which helps further the low budget maintenance claim.

However, 147 hp might not feel potent enough to speed up on highways, because of its high safety standards. Comfort is also a feel-good factor with spacious and intimate interiors. You can still opt for added luxurious marvels by shopping the high-end trims.

The Volkswagen Jetta was always a car that people knew about. Whether it was performance or fuel economy, its name was always there up as a competitor. The Diesel Gate scandal did rock Volkswagen, yet it somehow managed to sail through. The newly designed Jetta marks the entry into Volkswagen's new line-up of sedan cars that culminate at the new Arteon. Should you wait for the 2021 Jetta if you were buying one? It wouldn’t make much of a difference, for if you buy one now, you’ll be a part of the new generation of exciting models from the marquee.