2020 Volkswagen Jetta Hits Value and Goodness In One Package

The VW Jetta got a full redesign for 2019 and was well-received by both our editor Aaron Turpen and by contributor Jimmy Dinsmore. The Jetta saw a lot of improvements to its design overall. For the 2020 model year, Volkswagen added a few more things to up the ante in terms of value for this seventh-generation Jetta.

Quick Specs & Info

2020 Volkswagen Jetta Class: Compact sedan
Base Model As Tested: SEL Premium
Powertrain 2.0L 4cyl, 6spd manual Powertrain 2.0L 4cyl, automatic
Base MSRP $18,895 MSRP as tested $27,945


The 2020 Volkswagen Jetta is a good contender in the compact segment, mostly because it offers a lot of value for the buyer. It’s not the best option nor is it the worst. New this year are some additions that really boost the potential for those hoping to get into a smooth compact sedan with plenty of amenities.

The VW Car-Net telematics app, which offers SOS emergency calling and remote access to the vehicle’s status and location, is now free for five years in every Jetta sold. A six-speed manual transmission becomes standard in the R-Line trim, as it should be. The SEL and SEL Premium (as we drove the Jetta this time) trims get a wireless charging pad as standard. These upticks add to the goodness of the 2020 Jetta as a compact option.

Beyond that, the Jetta is a well-done vehicle all the way around. It had a great ride quality, is much quieter on the road than was the previous generation, and it offers plenty of storage and stash spots for gadgets and gear. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also standard and the premium audio options for the car are some of the best in the segment.

Exterior and Interior Design

The Jetta is a good-looking car. There’s a simple modernity about its appearance that really gets to the onlooker. The 2020 Jetta isn’t a standout in the parking lot, but it’s got that timelessness about it that seems to be a German hallmark in today’s automotive design. With plenty of movement lines, especially on the hood and sides, and a lovely one-piece to its grille and ligthting, the Jetta is easy to look at.

Inside the 2020 Jetta, even in the base trim, things look pretty good too. It’s not the prettiest in terms of wow factor, but the Jetta’s simplicity tends to attract a longer term feeling of hominess. This is a signature VW thing and it may not appeal to everyone. Materials quality is good, though there is a lot of plastic to behold and black-on-black seems to be the standard order of the day in the Jetta.

Driving the 2020 VW Jetta

The 2020 Jetta drives very well. It’s smooth, predictable, and has enough power (most of the time) to keep confidence. The engine can struggle in some situations, especially when in a hurry to get up to highway speeds, but not so much so that it’s hateful to drive. The eight-speed automatic comes highly recommended as a good mate for that engine, boosting its feeling of output considerably.

On the road, the Jetta is generally quieter than most rivals. Especially on the highway. Although the segment is really upscaling in terms of driver experience, the Jetta still shines as one of the more quiet of the group.

The Jetta is a great daily drive all the way aorund.


Key competitors worth considering against the VW Jetta include the very well-done Kia Forte, the smart little Mazda3, and the strong-selling Honda Civic. Of these three, the Civic is the most robust of the group while the Mazda offers the most in terms of sportiness. The Kia is probably the one to beat, though, with an excellent, roomy interior and strong presence. The Jetta stands well against these three as a well-rounded option that carries understated appeal.

Strong Points

  • More standard features and technologies, even at the base level.
  • Good engine match overall for driving and efficiency.
  • Excellent presence and composure in almost all driving situations.


  • Controls on steering wheel are odd and don’t always match the norms for placement.
  • Not as upscale inside as many rivals can be.
  • Engine can struggle in acceleration, especially uphill.


The 2020 VW Jetta is an excellent car with a lot of good qualities. It’s not the best nor is it the worst in the compact segment and there’s generally more to the Jetta than most onlookers might suspect. For good value and a great daily drive, the 2020 Jetta should not be overlooked.

Aaron Turpen
An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP), the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA), and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at AaronOnAutos.com.