2019 Volkswagen Jetta vs Honda Civic

SAFETY 

The Jetta has standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Civic doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

To help make backing safer, the Jetta’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Civic doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the Jetta and the Civic have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes and blind spot warning systems.

WARRANTY 

The Jetta comes with a full 6-year/72,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The Civic’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 3 years and 36,000 miles sooner.

The Jetta’s corrosion warranty is 5 years longer than the Civic’s (10 vs. 5 years).

ENGINE 

The Jetta’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. produces 46 lbs.-ft. more torque (184 vs. 138) than the Civic’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. The Jetta’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. produces 22 lbs.-ft. more torque (184 vs. 162) than the Civic’s optional 1.5 turbo 4 cyl. The Jetta’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. produces 17 lbs.-ft. more torque (184 vs. 167) than the Civic’s optional 1.5 turbo 4 cyl. The Jetta’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. produces 7 lbs.-ft. more torque (184 vs. 177) than the Civic Hatchback Sport’s standard 1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Volkswagen Jetta is faster than the Honda Civic 4 cyl. (automatics tested):

Jetta

Civic

Zero to 60 MPH

7.7 sec

8.3 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

22.5 sec

22.6 sec

Quarter Mile

16.1 sec

16.5 sec

Top Speed

127 MPH

125 MPH

FUEL ECONOMY AND RANGE 

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Jetta Auto’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Civic doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Volkswagen Jetta uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Civic Hatchback Sport requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

ENVIRONMENTAL FRIENDLINESS 

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Volkswagen Jetta higher (7 out of 10) than the Honda Civic (3 to 7). This means the Jetta produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Civic every 15,000 miles.

BRAKES AND STOPPING 

For better stopping power the Jetta’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Civic:

Jetta

Civic

Front Rotors

11.5 inches

11.1 inches

Rear Rotors

10.8 inches

10.2 inches

SUSPENSION AND HANDLING 

The Jetta R-Line handles at .83 G’s, while the Civic Touring Sedan pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

CHASSIS 

The front grille of the Jetta uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Civic doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

CARGO CAPACITY 

The Jetta’s standard folding rear seats are split to accommodate bulky cargo. The Civic LX Sedan’s standard single piece folding rear seat is not as flexible; long cargo and a passenger can’t share the rear seat.

ERGONOMICS 

When different drivers share the Jetta SEL Premium, the memory seats and mirrors make it convenient. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Civic doesn’t offer a memory system.

The power windows standard on both the Jetta and the Civic have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Jetta is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Civic prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Jetta’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Civic’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The Jetta’s standard variable intermittent wipers have an adjustable delay to allow the driver to choose a setting that best clears the windshield during light rain or mist. The Civic LX/Sport’s standard fixed intermittent wipers only have one fixed delay setting, so the driver will have to manually switch them between slow and intermittent.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the Jetta (except S) to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Civic doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Jetta R-Line/SEL Premium has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Civic doesn’t offer cornering lights.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Jetta SEL Premium keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Civic doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the Jetta’s optional (except S) heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Civic doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.