2023 Volkswagen Jetta

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2023 Volkswagen Jetta Review: A Lot To Like

The USA is awash with affordable and seemingly generic sedans, and the 2023 Volkswagen Jetta seems to be just another entrant in a market that is shrinking as crossovers eclipse compact sedans. Within its own segment, the Volkswagen Jetta's main competitors are the popular Toyota Corolla and the Honda Civic. Its 1.5-liter engine makes just 158 horsepower, but it's fuel-efficient, and there are both manual and automatic transmission options. Despite a low starting price of around $20k, this little VW gets a healthy dose of safety tech, which helps to give it a well-rounded package that still appeals to buyers who want great value for their money.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 6 /10
  • Performance 7 /10
  • Fuel Economy 9 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 10 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 9 /10
  • Reliability 8 /10
  • Safety 9 /10
  • Value For Money 7 /10
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2023 Volkswagen Jetta Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2022 Jetta?

The new Volkswagen Jetta sedan doesn't change much for 2023, having received a mid-cycle refresh last year. There have been a few minor aesthetic changes, and the upper mid-tier 2023 Jetta SE now has a remote start function.

Pros and Cons

  • Affordable price tag
  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Capacious interior and cargo space
  • Comfortable ride
  • High level of standard equipment
  • No powerful engine options
  • Lackluster drive dynamics
  • Unsatisfactory touch controls
  • Low-rent cabin plastics

What's the Price of the 2023 Volkswagen Jetta?

Volkswagen cleverly presents the Jetta at an affordable starting price for the compact segment. The most affordable model, the Jetta S, carries a base price of $20,365, with the Sport asking an MSRP of $21,265. It'll cost $800 to upgrade to the eight-speed automatic transmission on either of these trims. The Jetta SE brings in a significant amount more in creature comforts at an MSRP of $24,095. The top-spec Jetta SEL bears a price tag of $28,095. All prices exclude tax, registration, and licensing fees, as well as VW's $995 destination charge.

Best Deals on 2023 Volkswagen Jetta

2023 Volkswagen Jetta Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
1.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Manual
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
1.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Manual
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
1.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
1.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
See All 2023 Volkswagen Jetta Trims and Specs

2023 Volkswagen Jetta Handling and Driving Impressions

When equipped with the base four-cylinder engine, the Jetta has a very laid-back driving character, though it can step up to the plate and take a swing at sportier rivals in its GLI configuration. But for buyers who want their money to work for them, the base model is easy to live with, especially when you consider its excellent fuel economy.

The sedan isn't in a hurry to get anywhere, and with just 158 hp, getting up to speed on the highway is a slow and steady process. You also won't have much fun in this front-wheel drive sedan around the corners due to its relaxed body control. On the other hand, it is very easy to pilot, and the ride quality is amenable, no matter which seat you're in. Large bumps can filter through into the cabin, though.

Steering is light and accurate on every trim, making for confident city driving, but if you want a slightly tighter response, then the Jetta Sport comes equipped with an XDS differential, though it won't really make the experience any more enjoyable.

Verdict: Is The 2023 Volkswagen Jetta A Good car?

When you review the Volkswagen Jetta in a vacuum, it seems to have everything you could possibly need in a compact sedan. It's highly affordable, surprisingly spacious, and very easy to live with, because it's easy to drive and has a cozy ride. However, it is impossible to ignore the many rivals in the segment that do all the same things and more - often better than the Jetta. The Mazda 3 is more spacious and the new Honda Civic has more attitude and is better to drive. These competitors have also managed to improve the quality of their interiors while not pushing up the price of ownership too much. Sadly, the VW Jetta just hasn't moved with the times like more forward-thinking compacts. It isn't a bad car by any means, but it just doesn't bring as much to the table in a segment that has to try that much harder just to be noticed alongside SUVs and crossovers.

What Volkswagen Jetta Model Should I Buy?

The top-spec SEL has a lot of nice-to-haves but is also pricey and lacks a proper performance punch. That's why we'd cash in on the Jetta's affordable nature and choose the sport trim with the Driver Assistance Package for added safety. Stick with the manual for the most fun and add the Convenience Package for a steering wheel that doesn't feel cheap in hand. That'll get you a decent chassis, manual gearbox, and nice-to-touch surfaces, plus signature spaciousness, all without breaking the bank and making you feel like you should've looked elsewhere for the same money.

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