We’ve written about Volkswagen vs Jetta before, such as the VW Atlas vs Honda Pilot or VW Tiguan vs Honda CRV, but have yet to compare sedans for these brands, until now. In this article, we’ll be going over the many similarities and differences between the VW Jetta vs Honda Civic. Topics we will be touching on are price, size, performance, reliability, and more. The Honda Civic was previously classified as a subcompact car, however, as of today, both the Civic and Jetta are classified as compact cars.
VW Jetta vs Honda Civic – The Basics
The Volkswagen Jetta was first introduced in 1979 and is still in production today. The Jetta is Volkswagen’s top-selling model. The Jetta is marketed as many other names in other markets: Atlantic, Bora, Vento, City Jetta, GLI, Clasico, and Sagitar. Since Jetta’s introduction, there have been 7 different generations. The first 3 generations share the Volkswagen Group’s A platform, the next three share the PQ34 & PQ35 platform, while the newest generation is built on the MQB platform. Since 1979, many body styles have been offered: two-door, four-door, and a five-door wagon. Trims offered today are S, Sport, SE, and SEL.
The Honda Civic was introduced slightly earlier than the Jetta, in 1972, and is still in production today. The Honda Civic is not only one of Honda’s top-selling vehicles, it is one of the best-selling vehicles in the world. In fact, it has sold over 27 million units since its introduction. Since its introduction, Honda has been busy by constantly upgrading design and performance by building 11 different generations. The Civic was one of the first automobiles that Honda produced and it quickly became popular in Japan. Shortly after being produced, it also became a wildly popular global vehicle. Trims offered today are LX, Sport, EX, and Touring.
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)
Honda Civic Generations
- First Generation Honda Civic (1972-1979)
- Second Generation Honda Civic (1980-1983)
- Third Generation Honda Civic (1984-1987)
- Fourth Generation Honda Civic (1987-1991)
- Fifth Generation Honda Civic (1992-1995)
- Sixth Generation Honda Civic (1996-2000)
- Seventh Generation Honda Civic (2001-2005)
- Eighth Generation Honda Civic (2006-2010)
- Ninth Generation Honda Civic (2011-2015)
- Tenth Generation Honda Civic (2016-2020)
- Eleventh Generation Honda Civic (2021-Present)
VW Jetta vs Honda Civic Price
In this portion, we will be going over brand new 2022, as of this writing, model prices and used prices for the VW Jetta vs Honda Civic.
New Volkswagen Jetta Price
In this section, we will cover the new 2022 Jetta model year prices as of this writing. There is only one engine offered for the Jetta: 1.5L TSI. As mentioned above, The Volkswagen Jetta has 4 different trims: S, Sport, SE, and SEL. The Jetta S, or the base Jetta, with a 6-speed manual transmission, is $20,365 and offers an 8-speed automatic transmission upgrade that starts at $22,260. A Jetta Sport 6-speed manual is $21,265 and also offers an 8-speed automatic transmission upgrade that starts at $23,160. The Jetta SE and SEL only offer an 8-speed automatic transmission. Therefore, A Jetta SE is $24,095 and a Jetta SEL is $28,095.
Volkswagen offers a sport variant of the Jetta that goes by the nameplate, GLI. A 6-speed manual Jetta GLI starts at $31,295 with the option of a 7-speed DSG automatic transmission that goes for $33,190.
New Honda Civic Price
In this section, we will be covering the new Honda Civic 2022 prices. There are two different engines for the Honda Civic: a 2.0L NA & a 1.5L Turbo. As mentioned above, the trims we will be going over are LX, Sport, EX, and Touring. The base Civic, or Civic LX, has the 2.0L engine and starts at $22,550. The Civic Sport also comes with the 2.0L engine and starts at $23,950. Both the EX and Touring trims come equipped with the 1.5L turbo engine. So, the Civic EX starts at $25,550, and the Civic Touring starts at $29,150.
There are quite a few different variations that Honda offers for the Civic: Civic Si, Civic Hatchback, and Civic Type R TC. The Civic Si is a high-performance Civic that starts at $27,500. The Civic hatchback is pretty much the same, except has more cargo space, and starts at $23,550. Lastly, Honda created a Civic race car, the Type R TC, that is produced for customers that hit the track and it starts at $89,900.
Used VW Jetta & Honda Civic Prices
When it comes to used VW Jettas vs Honda Civics, since the Civic has been around a little longer than the Civic, we will use similar model years for a better comparison. Since these are very competitive vehicles, new and used prices will be pretty similar. A used Jetta price ranges from $2,500 – $36,000* with an average price overall of $19,250, depending on model year and mileage. A used Civics price ranges from $2,800 – $44,000* with an average price overall of $23,400, depending on model year and mileage. Based on this data, prices are extremely close on the new sales side, while the Jetta leads on the used side.
*At the time of writing this article, we believe we are in a market where used vehicles are inflated, so consider that when seeing the used prices above.
VW Jetta & Honda Civic Topics
VW Jetta vs Honda Civic Size
Below are some basic details about the size and weight differences seen between the 2022 Volkswagen Jetta and the 2022 Honda Civic.
Volkswagen Jetta vs Honda Civic
Since these are both compact cars, there aren’t very big differences when it comes to size, as can be seen by the table above. The only notable topic is cargo space and the Honda civic gets slightly more than the Jetta.
VW Jetta vs Honda Civic Performance
For consistencies sake, we will be using the 2022 VW Jetta and 2022 Honda Civic factory performance specs.
Engines, Drivetrain, & Fuel Economy
VW Jetta Performance
The Jetta only has one engine option: a 1.5T TSI. This engine puts out 158hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. It features an FWD drivetrain and comes standard with a 6-speed manual transmission with the option of upgrading to an 8-speed automatic Tiptronic transmission. The 1.5T TSI engine gets 29mpg in the city and 40mpg on the highway for a combined 33mpg with a 13.2gal fuel tank. The Jetta GLI offers a bigger 2.0T TSI engine that puts down 228hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. This popular 2.0T engine gets 26mpg in the city and 37mpg on the highway for a combined 30mpg with a 13.2gal fuel tank.
Honda Civic Performance
The Honda Civic offers two engines: a 2.0L NA engine and a 1.5L Turbo engine. The 2.0L is a naturally aspirated engine that puts out 158hp and 138 lb-ft of torque that comes standard with Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). Depending on trim, the fuel economy for the 2.0L engine is different. The Honda Civic LX gets 31mpg in the city and 40mpg on the highway for a combined 35mpg with a 12.4gal fuel tank. While the Civic Sport gets 30mpg in the city and 37mpg on the highway for a combined 33mpg with a 12.4gal fuel tank. The 1.5L Turbo engine puts out 180hp and 177 lb-ft of torque and also comes standard with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). Like the 2.0L engine, the 1.5L Turbo gets different fuel economy depending on trim.
Therefore, the Honda Civic EX gets 33mpg in the city and 42mpg on the highway for a combined 36mpg with a 12.4gal fuel tank. Lastly, the Civic Touring gets 31mpg in the city and 38mpg on the highway for a combined 34mpg with a 12.4gal fuel tank. Since we mentioned the GLI, we figure we should also bring up the Honda Civic Si’s performance. The Civic Si features the same 1.5L Turbo engine, but is tuned for more power. So, the Si’s engine puts out 200hp and 192 lb-ft of torque.
VW Jetta & Honda Civic Reliability and Common Problems
How reliable is the Volkswagen Jetta? Surprisingly, Jettas scored above average with a 4 out of 5 on RepairPal, which ranked the Jetta 21st out of 36 compact cars when it comes to reliability. Jetta model years that we advise avoiding are 2006, 2009, 2010, 2013, & 2019. These are the model years that are viewed as the least reliable. However, the most reliable model years are 2011 and 2017, so these could be priced higher in the used market. Annual ownership costs on average for a Volkswagen Jetta is $609.
We’ve written about many Jetta generations and these are the most common problems seen in many Jettas: engine misfires due to premature ignition coil failure, excessive oil consumption, faulty throttle body and torque converter, timing belt failure, power window regulator failure, and water pump failure. Although this may seem like a rather long list, we have seen many Jettas last over 250,000 miles without any major engine failures. It all comes down to vehicle maintenance, especially over the 100,000-mile mark.
Is a Honda Civic reliable? Unsurprisingly, the Honda Civic’s overall reliability is above average. RepairPal rated it 4.5 out of 5 in reliability, which is above the average 4.0 compact car rating. This puts the Civic 3rd out of 36 other midsize SUVs. We would advise avoiding 2001, 2003-2005, 2006-2011, and 2016 model years, as these are viewed as the least reliable Honda Civics. The average annual ownership cost for a Honda civic is $368, which is well below the average compact car cost of $526.
Common problems seen in Honda Civics over the years are fuel pump failure, Honda Sensing issues, oil dilution, faulty airbag sensors, defective motor mounts, premature power window switch failure, faulty hood release cable, and cracked catalytic converter or exhaust manifold. There have been many Honda Civics that have lasted over 300,000 miles if maintained properly.
VW Jetta vs Honda Civic – Which is Better?
The question everyone came here for, which is better: the VW Jetta or Honda Civic? We feel this is rather subjective because we know that consumers have different vehicle needs and lifestyles. So, we will provide our opinion and then will provide facts for others to make their own decisions. We personally like the Jetta in this comparison. It is almost as reliable, cheaper, sleeker, and quicker. However, the Honda Civic is more reliable, has two engines to choose from, and has a little more space for passengers. Both vehicles have 5-star safety ratings and have similar safety and tech features.
If you still find it hard to come to a decision, we always advise getting first-hand experience. So, schedule a test drive with your local VW and Honda dealership to get behind the wheel. This is the best research you can possibly get when it comes to purchasing a vehicle.
VW Jetta vs Honda Civic Conclusion
In conclusion, we hope the information above helps anyone on the fence with either vehicle. We know that purchasing any vehicle can be a daunting task, so we want to ensure we can help with any reader’s research. To summarize, the Jetta gets better standard fuel economy, is cheaper on the new and used sales, and has a more powerful sport variant. The civic is more reliable, provides more customization, has a more powerful engine, and has more passenger volume. If you are reading this and happen to have first-hand experience with either vehicle, please let us know your experience in the comments below. This will help with our research and assist future readers with their decisions.
If you are looking for more Jetta content, here is an article comparing the Volkswagen Jetta vs Volkswagen Passat.