MPG

Elantra Sedan

Auto

Eco 1.4 turbo 4-cyl.

33 city/41 hwy

SE 2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

31 city/41 hwy

Jetta

Manual

1.4 turbo 4-cyl.

30 city/40 hwy

Auto

1.4 turbo 4-cyl.

30 city/40 hwy

Environmental Friendliness

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the Hyundai Elantra Sedan as a “Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle” (PZEV). The Volkswagen Jetta is only certified to “Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (SULEV) standards.

Transmission

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The Hyundai Elantra Sedan comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Jetta.

The Elantra Sedan has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Jetta doesn’t offer a CVT.

The Elantra Sedan offers an available sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Jetta doesn’t offer an SMG.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Elantra Sedan Sport’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Jetta:

Elantra Sport

Jetta

Front Rotors

12 inches

11.5 inches

The Elantra Sedan stops much shorter than the Jetta:

Elantra

Jetta

70 to 0 MPH

166 feet

191 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

116 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Elantra Sedan Limited’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Jetta (225/45R17 vs. 205/60R16).

The Elantra Sedan Sport’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Jetta R-Line/SEL Premium’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Elantra Sedan Sport has standard 18-inch wheels. The Jetta’s largest wheels are only 17-inches.

Suspension and Handling

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For superior ride and handling, the Elantra Sedan Sport has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Volkswagen Jetta has a solid rear axle, with a non-independent rear suspension.

The Elantra Sedan has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Jetta’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The Elantra Sedan Sport has front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Elantra Sedan Sport flat and controlled during cornering. The Jetta’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Elantra Sedan is .4 inches wider in the front and 1.2 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Jetta.

The Elantra Sedan Limited handles at .84 G’s, while the Jetta SEL pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Elantra Sedan Limited executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Jetta SEL (27.2 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Elantra Sedan’s turning circle is 1.6 feet tighter than the Jetta’s (34.8 feet vs. 36.4 feet).

Chassis

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The Elantra Sedan is 3.2 inches shorter than the Jetta, making the Elantra Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the Elantra Sedan has liquid-filled engine mounts. The liquid helps further dampen engine harshness. The Jetta uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

Passenger Space

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Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Elantra Sedan a Mid-size car, while the Jetta is rated a Compact.

The Elantra Sedan has 1.8 inches more front headroom, 1.1 inches more front legroom, .3 inches more front shoulder room, .1 inches more rear headroom and 1.3 inches more rear shoulder room than the Jetta.

The front step up height for the Elantra Sedan is 2 inches lower than the Jetta (13.8” vs. 15.8”). The Elantra Sedan’s rear step up height is 2 inches lower than the Jetta’s (14” vs. 16”).

Cargo Capacity

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The Elantra Sedan has a larger trunk than the Jetta (14.4 vs. 14.1 cubic feet).

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Elantra Sedan easier. The Elantra Sedan’s trunk lift-over height is 27.4 inches, while the Jetta’s liftover is 28.7 inches.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Elantra Sedan Value Edition/Eco/Sport/Limited’s trunk can be opened just by waiting momentarily behind the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Jetta doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Elantra Sedan’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Jetta’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

The Jetta R-Line/SEL Premium’s cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The Elantra Sedan Limited’s standard adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.

When the Elantra Sedan Limited with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Jetta’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Elantra Sedan has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Jetta SE/R-Line/SEL/SEL Premium.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Hyundai Elantra Limited has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Jetta doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Model Availability

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The Hyundai Elantra comes in sedan and station wagon bodystyles; the Volkswagen Jetta isn’t available as a station wagon.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the Elantra Sedan owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Elantra Sedan with a number “1” insurance rate while the Jetta is rated higher at a number “3” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Elantra Sedan is less expensive to operate than the Jetta because typical repairs cost much less on the Elantra Sedan than the Jetta, including $448 less for a water pump, $367 less for a muffler, $41 less for front brake pads, $352 less for a starter, $212 less for fuel injection, $253 less for a fuel pump, $220 less for front struts and $109 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

? 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/10

Consumer Reports? recommends both the Hyundai Elantra Sedan and the Volkswagen Jetta, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Hyundai Elantra outsold the Volkswagen Jetta by over two to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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