Does The 2020 Volkswagen Jetta SEL Premium offer up German luxury for thousands less?
If you take the 2020 Volkswagen Jetta SEL and compare it to more expensive front-drive German vehicles in our market, you’ll notice the VW is thousands less. Compare the SEL to a 2021 BMW 2 Series Grand Coupe, which comes with front-wheel drive (FWD) on base models, you’ll see about a $10,000 difference. Sure, the BMW is much nicer to behold, both internally and externally, but it a pricy car. A base model 2 Series Grand Coupe starts at $35,700. The 2020 VW Jetta SEL starts at $24,495. Yes, the BMW is much more powerful, but it doesn’t ride that much better – which is where the Jetta shines.
It’s comfortable, compliant and a nice place to be with tons of tech, but it’s not perfect. We admit, the assembled-in-Mexico Jetta SEL is a little rough around the edges. It’s not very fun to drive aggressively. The MQB platform underpins a lot of VW vehicles that have a more playful suspension setup. Unfortunately, they stuck to the less expensive twist-beam setup rear suspension, over a proper independent setup.
The 2020 Volkswagen Jetta SEL feels unhappy to adhere if you are flamboyant around tight corners.
The turbocharged 1.4-liter engine makes 147 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. It’s not a lot for a vehicle that weighs about 3,000 pounds, but it gets the job done. Thanks to the addition of a smooth and efficient eight-speed automatic, the Jetta can get up to 30 mpg city and 40 mpg highway. Those numbers are mighty impressive, and we’ve seen much higher highway mpg driving previous models.
If you’re looking for a Jetta with serious driving chops – have a look at the 2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI. The GLI is basically a Volkswagen GTI with a trunk. It’s a spacious 14.1 cu-foot trunk to be precise. More importantly, it is much more powerful, handles amazingly and it looks better too. The GLI has a base price of $26,245.
In this video, we are not suggesting that the 2020 Volkswagen Jetta SEL is a direct competitor to high end FWD, small luxury sedans exactly. We are saying that you get a lot of kit for the dough. For folks who want a German nameplate, it could be a compromise worth looking at.