Despite the rise of the crossover, automakers have remained particularly loyal to compact sedans. Every mainstream Japanese brand has an entry. Ditto Hyundai and Kia. And while the Ford Focus, Chevrolet Cruze, and Dodge Dart have taken their place in the big scrapheap in the sky, even Germany’s Volkswagen continues to play in this popular segment.
But the Volkswagen Jetta, particularly in its current form guise, has always represented a somewhat different approach to affordable four-doors. Where other products rely on youthful verve and excessive design, the Jetta has always felt more grown up and (for the most part) more premium because of it. The latest model strikes the right balance again with its attractive, low-key demeanor and relaxed driving character, but while that was good enough over the years, it may not be in 2021.
With an EPA-estimated efficiency rating of 30 mpg city, 40 highway, and 34 combined, the Jetta is one of the most efficient gas-only compact sedans around. And while our fuel economy just barely scratched the city rating, the mixed conditions and frosty weather during our test left us convinced that the combined rating should be achievable in regular commuting. By comparison, the Honda