If you are in the market for a Volkswagen sedan, you’ve probably debated the Passat vs Jetta. To no surprise, there is a lot in common between the two and not very many differences. We will be breaking down the similarities and differences between the two to assist you in your purchasing decision. In this post, we’ll be covering generations, price, size, performance, safety, reliability, and more.
Passat vs Jetta – The Basics
The Volkswagen Jetta, also referred to as Vento, Bora, Sagitar, and Atlantic, was first introduced in 1979 and is still being produced today. The Jetta is Volkswagen’s compact sedan and happens to be Volkswagen’s top-selling model. The first three Jetta generations (MK1-MK3) were built on the Volkswagen Group’s A platform, the next three (MK4-MK6) were built on the PQ34/PQ35 platform, while the last (MK7) was built on the MQB platform. Throughout its existence, the Jetta was offered as a two-door, four-door, and five-door wagon. Also, they have offered different trims: S, SE, R-Line, SEL, SEL Premium, and more. It does have a sportier version that is very popular called the GLI. It is similar to the Volkswagen Golf and Volkswagen GTI.
The Volkswagen Passat, also referred to as Dasher, Quantum, Magotan, and Corsar, was first introduced in 1973. Unfortunately, the Passat is being discontinued following the 2022 model year due to slowing sales. So as of this writing, you can still purchase a new 2022 Passat, but not for much longer. The Passat is Volkswagen’s midsize sedan. The first 5 generations (B1-B5) were built on the Volkswagen Group’s B platform, the next two (B6-B7) were built on the PQ46 platform, while the last (B8) was built on the MQB platform. The Passat has always been a four-door sedan, except for the four-door coupe, also referred to as a Volkswagen CC, that was released in 2008. It also has been offered with many trims: S, SE, R-Line, Limited Edition, and more.
VW Jetta Generations
- MK1 Jetta (1979-1983)
- MK2 Jetta (1984-1992)
- MK3 Jetta/VW Vento (1993-1999)
- MK4 Jetta/VW Bora (1999-2004)
- MK5 Jetta/MKV Jetta (2005-2010)
- MK6 Jetta (2010-2017)
- MK7 Jetta (2018-Present)
VW Passat Generations
- B1 Passat (1973-1980)
- B2 Passat (1981-1988)
- B3 Passat (1988-1992)
- B4 Passat (1993-1996)
- B5 Passat (1997-2001) B5.5 Passat (2001-2005)
- B6 Passat (2005-2010)
- B7 Passat (2010-2015)
- B8 Passat (2015-2022)
As you can see, these sedans have been a staple in Volkswagen’s rich history. Hopefully listing out all of the generations will assist you in understanding all the different models both of them have had. Each generation has different specs, engines, transmissions, and more that we will be going over below. However, we think price is one of the most important pieces when it comes to purchasing a vehicle, so let’s jump into that first.
Passat vs Jetta Price
As the generations have gotten newer, the prices have gradually started to go up. Since it is a little difficult to compare the generations, we’ll first look at new prices and dive a little bit more into used, especially since the Passat is being phased out. A 2022 Volkswagen Jetta Base is going for $18,995, while the sportier Jetta, also referred to as the GLI, and going for $26,345. A 2022 Volkswagen Passat is starting at $27,295.
For used Passats and Jettas, we’re going to provide prices of the most popular generations in our opinion. So for an MK6 Jetta (2010-2017), prices range from $6,000 – $19,983* depending on model year and mileage. This is very reasonable for a vehicle that was released 4 – 12 years prior. For a B7 Passat (2010-2015), prices range from $7,990 – $17,995* depending on model year and mileage. As you can see in both, new and used, the Passat tends to be more expensive, so is it worth it? We’ll dive into more detail below to assist you in that decision.
*At the time of writing this article, we believe we are in a market where used vehicles are overvalued, so consider that when seeing the used prices above.
General Passat & Jetta Topics
Passat vs Jetta Size
Below are some basic details about the size and weight differences seen between the 2022 VW Passat and the 2022 VW Jetta.
Volkswagen Jetta vs Passat
As you can see in the table above, the Passat is quite a bit bigger than the Jetta, which explains a compact sedan vs midsize sedan. The Jetta does have a seating capacity of 5, but it will be much tighter than the Passat. Therefore, going off of size, the Jetta would be better suited for someone that doesn’t carpool with their vehicle often. The Passat would be better suited for a family or someone that does happen to use their vehicle for carpooling or ride-sharing.
Volkswagen Passat vs Jetta Performance
When it comes to performance between the two, there are too many engines that have been used to list them all, so again we will be going off of the base 2022 model years.
Engines, Drivetrain, & Fuel Economy
The 2022 base Jetta, or the Jetta S, offers a 1.4L TSI engine that puts down 147hp and 184.4lb-ft of torque. Putting down a 0-60 time of 7.7 seconds and a top speed of 130mph with the rev limiter. The 1.4L TSI gets 30mpg in the city and 41mpg on the highway for a combined mpg of 36 with a 13.5gal fuel tank. According to VW, the base Jetta comes with a 6-speed manual or an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic suspension. Although these power numbers are lackluster, they do offer the GLI, which still comes under the price of a base Passat.
The 2022 Jetta GLI offers a 2.0L TSI engine that puts down 228hp and 258 lb-ft of torque and comes with upgraded sport suspension. It comes with transmission options of a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed DSG automatic transmission. Putting down a 0-60 time of 5.8 seconds and a top speed of 126mph with the rev limiter. The 2.0L TSI gets 24mpg in the city and 33mpg on the highway for a combined mpg of 28 with a 13.2gal fuel tank. So if you are looking for something more sporty engine performance-wise and looks-wise, the GLI is a great option and it comes at a lower starting price than the base Passat.
Now, the 2022 base Passat, or the Passat SE, offers an EA888 2.0L TSI engine that puts down 174hp and 206lb-ft of torque. Putting down a 0-60 time of 5.6 seconds and a top speed of 130mph with the rev limiter. The 2.0L TSI gets 24mpg in the city and 36mpg on the highway for a combined mpg of 28 with an 18.5gal fuel tank. The Passat SE comes with only one transmission option and it is a 6-speed automatic.
We understand an engine’s tunability is pretty important to some of our readers, so we want to make sure to include a little snippet on the potential of these two vehicles. For 2022’s, we don’t have exact numbers but know that both engines are easily tunable. Both models have great aftermarket support and competition to choose from. Since both engines are turbocharged, it only takes a couple hundred bucks to get real power. All it takes is a tune, downpipe, and cold air intake to up the power a little bit. If you are interested in seeing some mod guides to see what numbers are possible, check out the guides we have written below. If you would be interested in us writing a mod guide for a Passat, let us know the specific generation in the comments and we can put one together.
Passat & Jetta Reliability and Common Problems
Jettas overall reliability scored above average with a 4 out of 5 on RepairPal, which ranked the Jetta 21st out of 36 compact cars. There are a few Jetta model years that we would advise avoiding at all costs if possible: 2006, 2009, 2010, 2013, & 2019. After doing research, these are the model years that have the lowest reliability ratings. The most reliable Jetta model years are 2011 and 2017, so these may tend to be priced higher in the used market. Annual maintenance costs average around $609.
Common problems seen in Jettas include engine misfires due to premature ignition coil failure, water pump failure, timing belt failure, power window regulator failure, faulty throttle body and torque converter, and excessive oil consumption. We know this is a rather long list, but we have seen many Jettas last well over 250,000 miles without any major engine failures. It is just a matter of how well you maintain your vehicle.
Passats overall reliability scored above average with a 4 out of 5 on RepairPal, which ranked the Passat 17th out of 24 midsize sedans. The model years you should avoid for the Passat are 2002 & 2003. A good thing with the Passat is that model years 2016-2022 are said to be very reliable. Annual maintenance costs average around $639.
Common problems seen in Passats are ignition coil pack failure, carbon buildup, vacuum hose leaks, PCV valve failure, Ebrake disengaging, faulty injectors, and excessive oil consumption. Again, we know this may seem like a long list, but have seen many Passats last well over 250,000 miles as well.
Passat vs Jetta – Which is Better?
When it comes to deciding which model is better, we feel this is rather subjective. Because consumers need different things out of their vehicles. So, if you need more interior space, the Passat is the way to go. On the flip side, if you need something smaller, easier-to-park, and less expensive, then the Jetta is for you. Both have great reliability and safety ratings. Both have very similar infotainments and technology. The Passat offers a bigger more powerful engine. However, the Jetta GLI is a great alternative if you are looking for performance at a lower cost. If it were up to us, it would be the Jetta GLI, but that is because it fits our lifestyle and wants.
Passat vs Jetta Conclusion
In conclusion, we hope we have provided enough information to ease your purchasing decision. Both models have their pros and cons, which have been listed above. Both are priced well when it comes to new and used. We would like to know what your experience is between the two! Which do you prefer? Do you have a strong opinion of which is better? Let us know in the comments below and help future readers.