VW Jetta vs Toyota Corolla

VW Jetta vs Toyota Corolla: Which is Better?

Chandler Stark

Meet Trey

Trey is an automotive enthusiast and has a huge passion for Volkswagen and Audi vehicles of all kinds. His enthusiasm started with the MK5 GTI, and he has massively expanded his knowledge over the years. When Trey is not delivering high-quality and in-depth content, we can usually find him working in his garage on his modified Genesis coupe. Trey created VW Tuning several years ago, and he is the primary visionary behind the content.

We’ve written many Jetta comparisons, such as the VW Jetta vs Honda Civic, but have yet to compare Toyota’s best-selling sedan, until now. In this article, we’ll be covering the many similarities and differences between the VW Jetta vs Toyota Corolla. We’ll be touching on size, price, performance, reliability and more differences. The Toyota Corolla was originally classified as a subcompact car, until 1991 when it was then classified as a compact car just like the VW Jetta.

VW Jetta vs Toyota Corolla – The Basics

The Volkswagen Jetta was first introduced in 1979 and is still being produced today. If you aren’t aware of the Jetta, it is possible you’ve seen one of these: Atlantic, Bora, Vento, City Jetta, GLI, Clasico, and Sagitar. Those are other names the Jetta goes by in other markets. The Jetta is VW’s top-selling model. Since its inception, there have been 7 different generations since its inception. There have been 3 different body styles offered since the beginning: two-door, four-door, and a five-door wagon. The current 2022 Jetta offers four trims: S, Sport, SE, and SEL.

The Toyota Corolla was first introduced in 1966 and is still being produced today. Not only is the Corolla the best-selling nameplate in the world, but also last year, 2021 as of this writing, it surpassed 50 million units sold. In other words, the Toyota Corolla was, and still is, a very popular vehicle. There have been 12 different generations since its inception. There have been many different body styles since the beginning: 3-door liftback, 4-door sedan, 5-door hatchback, and a 5-door station wagon. The current 2022 Corolla offers many trims: L, LE, Hybrid LE, SE, SE Nightshade edition, SE Apex Edition, XLE, XSE, and XSE Apex Edition.

VW Jetta Generations

Toyota Corolla Generations

  • First Generation (E10) Toyota Corolla (1966-1970)
  • Second Generation (E20) Toyota Corolla (1970-1974)
  • Third Generation (E30/E40/E50/E60) Toyota Corolla (1974-1979)
  • Fourth Generation (E70) Toyota Corolla (1979-1983)
  • Fifth Generation (E80) Toyota Corolla (1983-1987)
  • Sixth Generation (E90) Toyota Corolla (1987-1991)
  • Seventh Generation (E100) Toyota Corolla (1991-1995)
  • Eighth Generation (E110) Toyota Corolla (1995-2000)
  • Ninth Generation (E120/E130) Toyota Corolla (2000-2006)
  • Tenth Generation (E140/E150) Toyota Corolla (2006-2012)
  • Eleventh Generation (E160/E170/E180) Toyota Corolla (2012-2018)
  • Twelfth Generation (E210) Toyota Corolla (2018-Present)

VW Jetta vs Toyota Corolla 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 Toyota Corolla.

New Volkswagen Jetta Price

In this section, we will be covering the 2022 Jetta model year prices. The Jetta S, or the base Jetta, starts at $20,365, the Jetta Sport starts at $21,265, the Jetta SE starts at $24,095, and the Jetta SEL starts at $28,095. All 4 trims come with one engine option and it is a 1.5T engine. However, the Jetta S and Sport have an automatic and manual transmission options to choose from. While the SE and SEL only come with an automatic transmission.

Now if you are looking for a sportier and more powerful Jetta, then the GLI may be the way to go. The GLI starts at $31,295 and comes standard with a bigger, more powerful 2.0T engine.

New Toyota Corolla Price

In this section, we will be covering the new Honda Civic 2022 prices. We will be leaving out the special edition trims and just focusing on the core trims. The Corolla L, or the base Corolla, starts at $20,425, the Corolla LE $20,875, the Hybrid LE starts at $24,050, the Corolla SE starts at $22,875, the Corolla XLE starts at $24,825, and, lastly, the Corolla XSE starts at $26,325. The Corolla L, LE, and XLE feature a 1.8L engine. While the SE and the XSE feature a 2.0L engine.

If you are looking for a different body style, a hatchback is also an option. It starts at $21,165 and has two different trims: SE and XSE.

Used VW Jetta & Toyota Corolla Prices

When it comes to used VW Jettas vs Toyota Corollas, since the Toyota has been around a decade and a half longer than the Jetta, 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 $2,300 – $36,000* with an average price overall of $19,150, depending on model year and mileage. A used Corollas price ranges from $3,500 – $37,050* with an average price overall of $20,275, depending on model year and mileage. Based on this data, prices are extremely close on the new sales side and 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 & Toyota Corolla Topics

VW Jetta vs Toyota Corolla Size

Below are some basic details about the size and weight differences seen between the 2022 Volkswagen Jetta and the 2022 Toyota Corolla.

Volkswagen Jetta vs Toyota Corolla

Since both vehicles are compact cars, we can suspect that these are rather similar when it comes to size. The specs that stick out to us are length, height, weight, and cargo space. Although it may be slight, the Jetta is longer, taller, weighs less, and gets more cargo space.

VW Jetta vs Toyota Corolla Performance

For consistencies sake, we will be using the 2022 VW Jetta and 2022 Toyota Corolla factory performance specs.

Engines, Drivetrain, & Fuel Economy

VW Jetta Performance

The Jetta only has one engine option: a 1.5T TSI. This 1.5T TSI puts out 158hp (118 kW) and 184 lb-ft (249 Nm) of torque. As said above, the Jetta S and Sport comes standard with a 6-speed manual transmission with the option of upgrading to an 8-speed automatic Tiptronic transmission. This engine gets 29mpg in the city and 40mpg on the highway for a 33mpg combined with a 13.2gal fuel tank. Now, for those wanting more power, the Jetta GLI offers a bigger 2.0T TSI engine that puts down 228hp (170 kW) and 258 lb-ft (350 Nm) of torque. This GLI engine gets 26mpg in the city and 37mpg on the highway for a 30mpg combined with a 13.2gal fuel tank.

Toyota Corolla Performance

The Toyota Corolla offers two engines: a 1.8L NA engine (L, LE, XLE) and a 2.0L NA engine (SE, XSE). The 1.8L is a naturally aspirated engine that puts out 139hp (103 kW) and 126 lb-ft (170 Nm) of torque that comes standard with Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). The 1.8L gets 30mpg in the city and 38mpg on the highway for a combined 33mpg with a 13.2gal fuel tank. The 2.0L engine is also naturally aspirated, but puts out 169hp (126 kW) and 151 lb-ft (205 Nm) of torque. The 2.0L gets 31mpg in the city and 38mpg on the highway for a combined 34mpg with a 13.2gal fuel tank.

VW Jetta & Toyota Corolla Reliability and Common Problems

Volkswagen Jetta

Is the Volkswagen Jetta reliable? Surprisingly, the VW Jetta has scored above average with a 4 out of 5 reliability rating on RepairPal. This put the Jetta 21st out of 36 compact cars when it comes to reliability. If you are in the market for a used Jetta, the model years that we advise avoiding are 2006, 2009, 2010, 2013, & 2019. However, the most reliable model years are 2011 and 2017. The average annual maintenance cost for a Volkswagen Jetta is $609, which is slightly above the average compact car.

We’ve written about many Jetta generations and these are the most common problems seen across most generations: engine misfires due to premature ignition coil failure, timing belt failure,  water pump failure, excessive oil consumption, power window regulator failure, and faulty throttle body and torque converter. Although this may seem like a long list, we have seen many Jettas surpass the 250,000-mile mark without any major engine failures. It all comes down to vehicle maintenance, especially over the 100,000-mile mark.

The 6 Most Common Volkswagen MK4 Jetta Problems

The Most Common Volkswagen MK5 Jetta Problems

The 7 Most Common Volkswagen MK6 Jetta Problems

The 7 Most Common Volkswagen MK7 Jetta Problems

Toyota Corolla

Is the Toyota Corolla reliable? Unsurprisingly, the Toyota Corollas overall reliability is excellent. RepairPal rated it 4.5 out of 5 in reliability, which is above the average 4.0 compact car rating. This puts the Corolla 1st out of 36 other compact cars. Yes, you read that right, the Corolla is the most reliable compact car. If you are in the market for a used Jetta, the model years that we advise avoiding are 2000-2003, 2009, 2014 model years, as these are viewed as the least reliable Corollas. The average annual ownership cost for Toyota Corolla is $362, which is well below the average compact car cost of $526.

Common problems seen in Toyota Corollas over the years are transmission issues, EVAP system failure, premature starter failure, faulty DRL lights, faulty MAF (Mass Air Flow) sensor, ignition coil failure, and premature engine mount failure. There have been many Toyota Corollas that have surpassed the 300,000-mile mark, there are even some still being driven at 621,000 miles.

VW Jetta vs Toyota Corolla – Which is Better?

The question everyone came here for: which model is better, the VW Jetta or the Toyota Corolla? This is a rather subjective question in our eyes. Many drivers have different vehicle needs and lifestyles. Therefore, it is hard for us to say which is the best model for every driver on the road. However, what we will do is provide facts to allow any reader to make their own informed decision. The Volkswagen Jetta has a more powerful engine, has more overall space, and looks more modern. The Toyota Corolla provides more customization, is more reliable, and gets better gas mileage. They both have 5-star safety ratings and have similar tech and safety features.

Something we always advise to drivers on the look out for a new car, make sure to get behind the wheel of the vehicles in question. First-hand experience is going to be the best research anyone can do. So, book a test drive at your local Toyota and VW dealerships to assist in your decision.

VW Jetta vs Toyota Corolla Conclusion

To wrap this article up, we hope all of the information provided above assists anyone in choosing between these two vehicles. We know that purchasing any vehicle can be a daunting task, so we hope this article has made your research process easier. In short, both vehicles are priced similarly and have the same safety ratings. The Corolla is more reliable and gets better gas mileage. The Jetta has a more powerful engine and more space. If you are or were a Jetta or Corolla consumer, please let us know your experience in the comments below. This will assist us with our research and also other readers with theirs.

If you are looking to compare the VW Jetta to other vehicles on the market, we wrote an article comparing the VW Jetta vs Honda Civic.

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