2021 Volkswagen Jetta

MSRP $18,895

Ranked #15 in Compact Sedan

2021 Volkswagen Jetta Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: August 18, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


The Volkswagen Jetta is the German car manufacturer’s most-selling model that has gathered a lot of fanbase in the past few years due to the best driving dynamics that the car offers in the segment. The powertrain on the Jetta is a turbocharged 1.4L inline-4 that has a lot of punch and can also be teamed up with a manual gearbox to make the drive interesting and engaging. 

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Pros

Efficient powertrain

Relatively good value for money offering

Spacious rear seat

Sleek and timeless design

Cons

Pokey base powertrain

Not a lot of standard driver aids

Grabby brakes

What's New?

Two-tone wheel design on the S trim

Additional chrome exterior details

Power-adjustable driver's seat SE and SEL trims

Updated MIB3 infotainment system for SEL and SEL Premium 


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$18895

bodystyle

4dr Sedan

passenger capacity

5

top speed

127 mph

drivetrain

front wheel drive

engine type

displacement

121 cu.in.

horsepower

147 hp @ 5000 rpm

torque

295 lb-ft. @ 3000 rpm

transmission

6 speed Manual

chassis

brake rotors (f/r)

13.4/11.8 in.

dimensions

wheelbase

105.7 in.

length

185.1 in.

width

70.8 in.

height

57.4 in.

curb weight

2959 lbs.

ground clearance

5.6 in.

capacity

passenger volume

94.7 cu ft.

cargo volume

14.1 cu ft.

towing capacity

5000 lbs.

payload capacity

970 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

7.7 sec.

standing 1/4-mile

16 sec.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

24/34/39 mpg

highway range

528 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

4 yr./ 50000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

4 yr./ 50000 mi.

corrosion warranty

7 yr./ 100000 mi.

roadside assistance

Yes


Pictures & Videos


Trims

S$18,895 onwards

Colors and Styles

2021 Volkswagen Jetta in Agate Black color
Agate Black

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Pricing and Features

7.0

Engine and Performance

6.4

Fuel Economy

7.0

Interior

8.1

Exterior

5.0

Safety

9.0

Competition

7.0

6.9

OVERALL RATING

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

6.9

Overall Rating


The Jetta poses a very interesting balance between simple design and punchy performance, while also providing the peace of mind of German engineering right at one’s foot. It goes against the Honda Civic, the Kia Forte, and the Hyundai Elantra - all of the cars enjoying massive popularity and also being the more economical offerings in the American car market. 

2021 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan front view
2021 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan rear view

6.4/10
Engine and Performance

7.0/10
Fuel Economy

8.1/10
Interior

5.0/10
Exterior

9.0/10
Safety

7.0/10
Competition


2021 Volkswagen Jetta Features

For 2021, the Jetta comes with a total of five trims which are S, R-Line, SE, SEL, and SEL Premium. The base S trim comes at $18,995 for the manual version and comes with features like LED Headlights, 16” black alloy wheels, App-Connect, rear traffic alert, and a few more goodies. Spending a few more bucks can get you the R-Line trim which in our opinion looks amazing in those sporty sneakers. The higher trims are very well-equipped and do have a lot of latest tech on offer, with the amenities increasing as one climbs the trim hierarchy. 

Trim

S

R-Line

SE

SEL

SEL Premium

MSRP

$18,995

$22,795

$22,895

$25,745

$28,045

Key Features

Driving Mode Selection

Adaptive Cruise Control

Automatic headlights

Intelligent Crash Response System

Hydraulic Brake Assist

 

Electromechanical power steering with variable assistance

Volkswagen Digital Cockpit

Start-stop system

Tire Pressure Monitoring System

Electronic Differential Lock

 

Rear Traffic Alert

High Beam Control

Power-operated side mirrors

Engine Brake Assist

Side Window Deflectors

 

Heated Windshield Washer Nozzles

Electric Parking Brake

Lane-Keeping System

Anti-Slip Regulation

Base Carrier Bars

 

Rain-sensing Windshield wipers

Panoramic Sunroof

Electronic Stability Control

V tex Leatherette Seating Surfaces

Universal Tablet Holder

 

Anti-Lock Braking System

Blind Spot Monitor

Electronic Brake Pressure Distribution

Side Curtain Protection

17” Multi-Spoke Wheels

Which trim should you buy?

We'd recommend the mid-level R-Line model because of the enhanced exterior styling that makes it more attractive while also equipping the car with a blind-spot monitor, passive entry, and two-tone faux-leather upholstery that breaks up the otherwise bland-looking interior. The Cold Weather kit is the only option and one we'd recommend for anyone who lives in colder climes thanks to the heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, remote start, and more.

2021 Volkswagen Jetta Engine and Performance

6.4/10

The 2021 Volkswagen Jetta comes in two engine options with the base engine being a 1.4L turbocharged inline-4 which is pretty much on par with the competition in terms of figures. It produces 147 horsepower while the torque is rated at 184 lb-ft which is quite a lot for a small engine.

2021 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan driving view

The engine comes fitted with an 8-speed automatic transmission while there is a manual available on the base S and Sport trims.

Models

2021 Volkswagen Jetta

2021 Honda Civic

2021 Kia Forte

2021 Hyundai Elantra

MSRP

$19,795

$21,250

$19,755

$19,650

Engine

Turbocharged 1.4L Inline-4

2.0L Inline-4

2.0L Inline-4

2.0L Inline-4

Drivetrain

FWD

FWD

FWD

FWD

Transmission

8-speed automatic

CVT

CVT

CVT

Power

147 hp @ 5,000 RPM

158 hp @ 6,500 RPM

147 hp @ 6,200 RPM

147 hp @ 6,200 RPM

Torque

184 lb-ft @ 1,400 RPM

138 lb-ft @ 4,200 RPM

132 lb-ft @ 4,500 RPM

132 lb-ft @ 4,500 RPM

0-60 MPH 

7.7 seconds

8.2 seconds

9.5 seconds

8.3 seconds

Quarter-Mile 

16.0 seconds

16.3 seconds

16.2 seconds

16.2 seconds

Top Speed 

127 MPH

119 MPH

119 MPH

116 MPH

The Jetta is the only turbocharged car in the comparison and hence has a good torque advantage that kicks in at a mere 1,400 RPM and also aids in the acceleration - which remains the quickest in the class. It is also the only car with an 8-speed automatic transmission that further aids in keeping a significant advantage in the driving experience as well. 

How well does the 2021 Volkswagen Jetta handle?

The 2021 Volkswagen Jetta is surprisingly easy to drive in the city with good visibility at both the front and the rear. The steering is light and helps in maneuverability in the city, while also going lock-to-lock in 2 turns, aiding at U-turns. The suspension is comparatively soft and also soaks up the discrepancies on the road well while also maintaining a pretty quiet cabin. The automatic gearbox gives out no drama while changing the gears and also whenever one needs to overtake. 

2021 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan ride and handling

On a twisty road, the Jetta does a decent job of handling the bends and maintaining its composure despite not being made for such driving. The car feels sure-footed despite being a bit bouncy on the curves and the steering feedback is one of the best in the segment - a typical VW trait. The highway drives remain similarly quiet with the engine doing its job well while the occupants seat themselves in super-soft seats.

Braking Performance

The 2021 Volkswagen Jetta comes with ventilated disc brakes both at the front and rear. At the front, the duties are handled by 11.5-inch rotors while at the rear, the setup is of 10.8-inch rotors. These are complemented by ABS and EBD to make sure the car stops in the shortest time and distance under challenging circumstances as well. The result? This braking system stops the nearly 3,000 lbs car in just 109 feet - which is an impressive figure for a car like this.

Models

2021 Volkswagen Jetta

2021 Honda Civic

2021 Kia Forte

2021 Hyundai Elantra

Brake Rotors: Front (inches)

11.5

11.1

11

11

Brake Rotors: Rear (inches)

10.8

10.2

10.3

10

Curb Weight (lbs)

2,965

2,771

2,908

2,868

60-0 MPH (feet)

109

107

118

116

The Jetta is a pretty heavy car but stops pretty quickly thanks to the exceptional braking hardware. Not just that, the car now comes standard with autonomous emergency braking for those unseen circumstances to keep the drive safe. Comparatively, the Civic stops better due to the lower curb weight it has. The Kia and the Hyundai are pretty much similar in terms of braking, both stopping much later than the Jetta.

2021 Volkswagen Jetta Fuel Economy

7.0/10

The 2021 Volkswagen Jetta is the only one of the bunch that equips an 8-speed automatic transmission instead of a CVT but that doesn’t hinder the MPG rating of the German sedan. The EPA rates the Jetta at 30 MPG in the city and 40 MPG on the highway; for a combined 34 MPG from its 13.2-gallon fuel tank. Opting for the manual gearbox does help in increasing these numbers slightly on the highway and combined, but the difference is negligible. 

Models

2021 Volkswagen Jetta

2021 Honda Civic

2021 Kia Forte

2021 Hyundai Elantra

MPG (City)

29 

30

29

33

MPG (Highway)

39 

38

40

43

MPG (Combined)

33 

33

33

37

Fuel Tank Capacity 

13.2 gallons

12.4 gallons

14.0 gallons

14.0 gallons

Range (City/Highway/Combined; miles)

383/515/436

372/471/409

406/560/462

462/602/518

The Elantra has class-leading fuel economy figures and combined with a big fuel tank, it also dominates the range by a massive margin when compared to the Jetta. The Jetta, on the other hand, might be a very economy-friendly car but it is one-upped by the rivals due to the CVT gearbox the rivals come with and also due to the engine tuning.

2021 Volkswagen Jetta Interior

8.1/10

Volkswagen is famous for designing a cabin that looks sophisticated and has a very simple layout. The seats themselves are very comfortable and even for longer journeys, they hold you quite well. The rear seat space is also quite generous and three medium-size adults can be quite comfortable here. The only thing is due to the sloping roofline, the side occupants may hit their head on the side pillars if they are tall. Also in the models with no sunroof, the glass area might feel a bit less making this somewhat claustrophobic at times when all seats are occupied.

2021 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan cockpit area

The 2021 Volkswagen Jetta comes with a cargo capacity of 14.1 cubic feet which is more than enough for all of one’s daily needs. Even for some weekend trips, this can easily store luggage for four or five occupants. Given that the opening is quite wide and the lip is also quite low, it is considerably easy to utilize all the space inside. There is also a false flooring under which is the spare tire.

Models

2021 Volkswagen Jetta

2021 Honda Civic

2021 Kia Forte

2021 Hyundai Elantra

Seating Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Legroom; inches)

38.5/55.9/41.1

39.3/57.0/42.3

38.8/56.1/42.2

40.6/56.5/42.3

Rear Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Legroom; inches)

37.2/54.0/37.4

37.1/55.0/37.4

37.5/55.3/35.7

37.3/55.6/38.0

Cargo Capacity (cubic feet)

14.1

15.1

15.3

14.2

The Elantra has the most space in both the front row and the second row, but is a bit less wide than the Civic, losing out on the shoulder room. The Jetta’s cabin can be termed as cramped in no way due to the massive legroom and a very decent overall roomy feel that the big windshield provides. The cabin quality is surely one of the better ones and the seats offer a lot of comfort on drives. That said, some of the highlighting interior features include:

  • Eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat with lumbar support
  • Leather upholstery
  • Ambient lighting with 10 colors
  • Wireless smartphone charging station
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Panoramic power-tilting and -sliding sunroof
  • Push-button start
  • Heated front seats
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control

What’s there to keep you entertained?

Just like all other Volkswagen group cars these days, the Jetta is also brimming with technology inside the cabin. To start with, there is a big 8-inch touchscreen in the middle which supports the infotainment system and comes with Volkswagen’s own preloaded software. The screen is super responsive with punchy colors and big icons making it quite easy to use and navigate. It is also super bright making the readability under direct sunlight no issue at all. It comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity along with all other basic connectivity features. 

2021 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan infotainment screen

This display is supplemented by a 10.65-inch digital driver’s display and while it is pretty much similar to the ones we see in VW Group’s other premium offerings, this has got to be one of the best displays in the competition. Some of the highlights of the infotainment system are:

  • 10.65” Digital Cockpit
  • 8” Touchscreen System
  • Navigation
  • Voice Assist 
  • MP3/WMA Compatible Audio Player
  • Audio Streaming via Bluetooth 
  • AM/FM/HD/SiriusXM Radio
  • 400W Beats Audio System 
  • Qi Wireless Charging 
  • Wi-Fi hotspot
  • VW App connect with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto 

2021 Volkswagen Jetta Exterior

5.0/10

The 2021 Volkswagen Jetta is one very beautifully designed car that looks quite fresh and pleasing to the eyes. It has that unmistakable German hint to the designing with smooth defined lines flowing throughout the car that flaunts the dimensions of the car quite well. The big front grill running across the length and joining the two headlamps in the front has now become quite a trademark thing in all the Volkswagen cars and above that, the thick chrome strip is just the right amount of chrome we like to see on any car. 

2021 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan

On the sides, the base trim gets 16-inch wheels while the upper trim levels get up to 18-inch wheels and they do compromise the riding comfort a bit. The sharp waistline going through the door handles and merging into the taillights at the back shows how long the car is.

Models

2021 Volkswagen Jetta

2021 Honda Civic

2021 Kia Forte

2021 Hyundai Elantra

Curb Weight (lbs)

2,895

2,762

2,707

2,844

Length (inches)

185.1

182.7

182.7

184.1

Width (inches)

70.8

70.9

70.9

71.9

Height (inches)

57.4

55.7

56.5

55.7

Ground Clearance (inches)

5.6

6.3

5.3

5.3

Wheelbase (inches)

105.7

106.3

106.3

107.1

Talking about the dimensions, the Jetta is pretty much the longest car here but surprisingly the one with the smallest wheelbase. It is also the tallest one of the bunch while the width is the least, which is pretty evident in the lower shoulder room inside the cabin. The Jetta is definitely the bigger car here and also carries the most weight which aids in its sure-footedness. That said, some of the standout exterior features are: 

  • LED headlights
  • LED tail lights
  • Powered side mirrors with memory function
  • Heated side mirrors
  • Fog lights with low-speed corner illuminating feature
  • 17” alloy wheels
  • Powered sunroof 

2021 Volkswagen Jetta Safety

9.0/10

The 2021 Volkswagen Jetta has been fitted with Automatic Emergency Braking as standard and that, along with the already impressive safety prowess, has helped the car in scoring some good points in the crash tests. The NHTSA has awarded the car with a total of 5 stars in overall safety rating while the IIHS gave it top marks on all its crash tests parameters.

The car is brimming with safety tech but the standard safety aid list is rather scarce and needs going up the trim hierarchy. Needless to say, the Jetta is a supremely safe car and is pretty much enough to keep your family safe in it. Some of the highlighting safety features are:

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Rear traffic alert system
  • Lane-keeping assist system
  • High beam control (Light Assist)
  • Forward collision warning 
  • Autonomous emergency braking
  • Blind-spot monitoring system
  • Tire pressure monitoring system 

2021 Volkswagen Jetta Competition

7.0/10

2021 Volkswagen Jetta vs 2021 Honda Civic

The Honda Civic is one of the hottest sellers in the compact sedan class and that is for a reason. It looks good, has a punchy drivetrain, is spacious and practical as well. The prime reason of the popularity is the Civic's all-rounder character, offering unmatched reliability, cavernous interiors, and cargo space. The Jetta, on the other hand, provides a very tough build quality, a well-engineered driving experience, good cargo space and a road presence which is much better than the Civic’s.

2021 Honda Civic

2021 Volkswagen Jetta vs 2021 Kia Forte

The Kia Forte is a lot cheaper and better value-packed than the Jetta. It does offer a lot in terms of performance and MPG, while the cabin is decent and up to the segment’s standards. It is also a bit conservative in terms of design and here is where the Jetta one-ups the Kia Forte with its handsome styling, well-appointed interior, powerful engine, and a roomy cabin that is way better than the Forte's. 

2021 Kia Forte

2021 Volkswagen Jetta vs 2021 Hyundai Elantra

The Hyundai Elantra and the Volkswagen Jetta are probably standing at two completely opposite ends of the spectrum. While the Jetta is a rather conventional-looking design, the Elantra is as crazy as designing can get. While the Elantra scores quite well when it comes to fuel efficiency and is also reasonably spacious inside, the Jetta wins when it comes to the overall value for money. 

2021 Hyundai Elantra

 

2021 Volkswagen Jetta Final Verdict

The 2021 Volkswagen Jetta offers tremendous comfort and a very well-appointed interior that, in no way, looks less premium than a German car should be. Although not as over-engineered as a typical German, the Jetta’s powertrain is one of the quickest in the segment but that does affect MPGs a bit. If you want an understated car that is comfortable for city ups and downs and is also fuel-efficient, it is the perfect car for you.

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