2020 VW Jetta S review

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7,123
Location
FL, USA
Now that we have owned our 2020 Jetta for 2 months I figured I would share our ownership experience thus far and post a short review. What put us in the market was our previous 2014 Jetta needing some costly repairs. The a/c was having trouble and the timing chain was exhibiting signs of premature stretch which is relatively common on the early 2014 model year Jetta equipped with the 1.8 TSI. We decided it was better to get out of it before dropping another couple thousand. Only months before we had a $1000 repair to replace the heater core.

My wife and I both love VW for various reasons, but due to the ownership experience we had with the 2014 Jetta (which we loved) I had decided to avoid VW as a replacement vehicle. I had been searching on and off for months for a used sedan or small SUV as new just wasn't in the budget. Used Accords were at the top of the list but after months of searching I found very few on the market. I brought one home to test drive but upon further inspection it wasn't in good shape. I expanded my search and eventually ended up 2 hours from home looking at a very low mile Fusion. Of course the pictures online hid many blemishes, when we got there we noticed curbed wheels and horrible etching on the paint. So that was over before it began. While we were 2 hours away from home we decided we may as well search other car dealers in the area since the ones back at home seemed pretty tapped out.

We ended up driving to the nearest VW dealer to check out the 2020 model year Jetta for kicks and giggles. We had already decided if we were to go the VW route again we would get an S trim as the SE comes with the panoramic sunroof which is a sore spot for VW/Audi products. Upon arrival we saw that had 2 "S" trim models. One in Silk Blue Metallic and one in Pure White. My wife and I both preferred the look of the Silk Blue so we took it on a test drive and both loved it right away. We got the dealer to take $3000 off of MRSP and purchased.

The good:

- Gas mileage. This car is rated at 30 MPG city and 40 MPG highway and it returns those figures easily.
- Torque. While this engine is efficient, it is no slouch. While 184 lb. feet of torque may not impress some, it moves this car around briskly when needed. VW knows how to properly tune their engines. I find it impressive that a 1.4 liter in a mainstream vehicle can put out such figures.
- Styling. Yes, styling is subjective. VW has a way of designing modern yet timeless design, and we personally love it.
- Tech. Our S trim Jetta is equipped with the optional driver assistance package that includes blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking, and rear cross traffic alert. All systems seem to work very well. Apple Car Play / Android Auto are also included.
- Ride and Handling. The Germans have a way of tuning suspensions to deliver pleasant driving characteristics. While softer than our previous Jetta, the ride on our 2020 is well controlled and steering input is quick and precise. This car behaves a class above.
- New platform. The Jetta now rides on VW's MQB platform.

The bad:

- VW went back to a torsion beam for the rear suspension set up. While not the direction I would prefer I understand why they did it, to put more dollars toward items the market prioritizes. However, they did a wonderful job tuning it and if you drove the car without knowing the suspension set up, you would have no idea it was torsion beam. Very well executed.

Honestly I am having a hard time listing inherently bad things about this vehicle.

The ugly:

Problems we have had with the vehicle so far have been a factory paint defect, and leaky rear doors. I read about the rear door leaks when the 2019 model was first introduced. I assumed VW would have resolved it by MY 2020 but clearly that isn't the case. It doesn't appear to be a severe problem, I hope it doesn't result in any sort of long term issue.

So far we are happy with our vehicle choice. Time will tell how reliable it will be.
 

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Messages
7,483
Location
The Midwest
I know VW used hydrolastic rear-suspension bushings on the old Jettas that have a torsion beam rear suspension. I don't know if VW still uses them on the current Jetta.
When Bob Lutz was the vice president of GM, he wanted to know how VW made the Jetta ride so well, so he had engineers that found out
VW was using hydrolastic rear-suspension bushings. The bean counters at GM said no, the bushings will add $30 to every Cobalt made.
Bob Lutz overrode them.
 
Messages
11,032
Location
Phoenix
I know VW used hydrolastic rear-suspension bushings on the old Jettas that have a torsion beam rear suspension. I don't know if VW still uses them on the current Jetta.
When Bob Lutz was the vice president of GM, he wanted to know how VW made the Jetta ride so well, so he had engineers that found out
VW was using hydrolastic rear-suspension bushings. The bean counters at GM said no, the bushings will add $30 to every Cobalt made.
Bob Lutz overrode them.

He did the same thing on a few cars during his time there. I read he got them to spend $130 more on the interior of the 2008 Malibu and it turned out to be the nicest Malibu in modern times at a time when competitors had really cheapened their interiors.
 
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2,684
Location
Kentucky
That is a handsome car for sure! Can you elaborate on the paint defect and rear door sealing? I assume the latter just leaks a bit into the interior?
 

gregk24

Thread starter
Messages
7,123
Location
FL, USA
That is a handsome car for sure! Can you elaborate on the paint defect and rear door sealing? I assume the latter just leaks a bit into the interior?

There is some substance about an inch in length under the clear coat on the roof. Waiting on a response from VW corporate on what they will do. I don't want it repainted. The leak is present on both rear doors. It is as if the water runs down the glass and into the door panel as it should, but then gets stuck between the door seal on the car body and the door seal on the door itself. It doesn't run completely out the bottom of the door as it should. I believe the water gets trapped in between the seals and backs up into the cabin in extreme cases. I saw a quarter size drop of water on the interior plastic door trim once. That is the leak I am referring to. When you open the door after such an event the trapped water will then fall onto the ground.

After I wash the car I always open both rear doors to release any trapped water between the seals. I have applied spray wax to the crevices on both rear doors in an attempt to keep as much water off the seams / paint as possible. Trying to avoid the long term concern of rust since water seems to get trapped and dwell in these areas.
 
Messages
11,032
Location
Phoenix
There is some substance about an inch in length under the clear coat on the roof. Waiting on a response from VW corporate on what they will do. I don't want it repainted. The leak is present on both rear doors. It is as if the water runs down the glass and into the door panel as it should, but then gets stuck between the door seal on the car body and the door seal on the door itself. It doesn't run completely out the bottom of the door as it should. I believe the water gets trapped in between the seals and backs up into the cabin in extreme cases. I saw a quarter size drop of water on the interior plastic door trim once. That is the leak I am referring to. When you open the door after such an event the trapped water will then fall onto the ground.

After I wash the car I always open both rear doors to release any trapped water between the seals. I have applied spray wax to the crevices on both rear doors in an attempt to keep as much water off the seams / paint as possible. Trying to avoid the long term concern of rust since water seems to get trapped and dwell in these areas.

I think what you're describing with this water leak is normal. If all you have seen is a quarter sized drop of water on the plastic trim you're fine. I get a ton of water flowing out of the back doors of my Tiguan after a car wash, more so than any other car I've owned.
 

gregk24

Thread starter
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7,123
Location
FL, USA
I think what you're describing with this water leak is normal. If all you have seen is a quarter sized drop of water on the plastic trim you're fine. I get a ton of water flowing out of the back doors of my Tiguan after a car wash, more so than any other car I've owned.

I wouldn’t say it’s normal for doors to hold onto such a large volume of water. It should flow out the bottom onto the ground.
 
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216
Location
Atlanta, GA
Thanks for the review - I have wanted to get some seat time in one of the new Jettas. Have yet to this day drive one of the 1.4T's.

Styling - VW has never done the over the top space ship styling (looking at you Civic and newest Elantra) but that is what helps them age a lot more gracefully. Even the 20+ year old Jetta's (1999.5+) still look timeless to this day and every generation after that are still handsome and don't age themeselves.

Torsion beam - given VW history they will throw independent rear suspension back on come mid-cycle refresh. MKIV - Torsion beam, MKV - Independent, MKVI - Torsion beam then independent at refresh. MKVII - Torsion beam then ????. :ROFLMAO:
 
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7,727
Location
Mahzurrah!
Styling - VW has never done the over the top space ship styling (looking at you Civic and newest Elantra) but that is what helps them age a lot more gracefully. Even the 20+ year old Jetta's (1999.5+) still look timeless to this day and every generation after that are still handsome and don't age themeselves.

Agreed German cars in general tend to do that. Conservative styling that ages well, I like it.

I do not like that other makes will do such a radical revamp it hoses previous customers. For example if you had bought an early 12 Lincoln MKZ, that very fall the 13 MKZ made your still nearly new car look old. (n)
 
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6,446
Location
New England
I wouldn’t say it’s normal for doors to hold onto such a large volume of water. It should flow out the bottom onto the ground.

OMG water and Jetta. The Mark II Jetta's depended on a plastic vapor barrier that would unglue itself over time water inflow. The door sills actually flowed water into the car. What a moldy disgusting mess under carpet paddings in my 1988 Jetta GLI 16V that had a love/hate relationship with.
 
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15,533
Location
N.H, U.S.A.
The trunk water management is poor also. Especially if you get tree seeds and pine needles
at the gap above the base of the rear window

The interior materials plastic quality and weight is VERY poor/low.
I didnt break anything over two years of my lease. In my Honda fit my elbow broke the armrest right through the molded composite door panel. Honda budget Garbage. They would not cover in warranty.
If your break a Honda - YOU are at fault :)

My car's handling seemed acceptable at first, then faded way after a years wear in /out. Also seem to be worse after rear spring replacement ( recall).
Tons of roll in the rear, tire wear is horrendous on the Falkens. Front strut suspension is fragile and goes out of alignment easily. Struts are way underdamped but provide a "near luxury" boat ride which can be coddling.

The infotainment system/software is stunningly well designed and implemented.
Visibility is absolutely POOR to the rear. Side mirrors are too small in area
Power windows are weak, and my DS window was failing when I turned the car in with but 12k Miles in 2 years.

I did appreciate the power down AND up for both front side glass.

That styling is derivative of most all the compact cars out there.
VW copies Ford Fusion, so follow Hyundai, and Chrysler.
There is way too much sculpting with no eye to flow around there front fascia.

Chrysler 200 had the best styling on this segment.
chr20015.jpg

jetta.jpg

fordf.jpg

Greg, I do wish you good luck with the car. Its a comfortable and a nice place to spend time.

hint: You can program the door unlock to unlock both doors on the DS with one push.
This helped me put groceries in the rear seat and floor. - Ken
 
Messages
15,533
Location
N.H, U.S.A.
I just turned in my lease early. But I bought a used Subaru with a MT. Didn't like many NEW options out there.
The GLI with a MT was calling me but 24K out the door was too much. And the Base S was PLENTY fast enough around town.
 
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12,148
Location
OH
Good job cutting bait and getting rid of the old Jetta. I’m sure the new one will serve you well with the great upkeep you will surely give it.
 

gregk24

Thread starter
Messages
7,123
Location
FL, USA
Good job cutting bait and getting rid of the old Jetta. I’m sure the new one will serve you well with the great upkeep you will surely give it.
That is our hope. This is our families 6th VW, none of them had the issues our 2014 did. Then again it had the highest mileage. Hoping for a good run with our current one. We have loved all of them so far.
 

gregk24

Thread starter
Messages
7,123
Location
FL, USA
I just turned in my lease early. But I bought a used Subaru with a MT. Didn't like many NEW options out there.
The GLI with a MT was calling me but 24K out the door was too much. And the Base S was PLENTY fast enough around town.

Congrats. Hope it serves you well.
 

gregk24

Thread starter
Messages
7,123
Location
FL, USA
The trunk water management is poor also. Especially if you get tree seeds and pine needles
at the gap above the base of the rear window

The interior materials plastic quality and weight is VERY poor/low.
I didnt break anything over two years of my lease. In my Honda fit my elbow broke the armrest right through the molded composite door panel. Honda budget Garbage. They would not cover in warranty.
If your break a Honda - YOU are at fault :)

My car's handling seemed acceptable at first, then faded way after a years wear in /out. Also seem to be worse after rear spring replacement ( recall).
Tons of roll in the rear, tire wear is horrendous on the Falkens. Front strut suspension is fragile and goes out of alignment easily. Struts are way underdamped but provide a "near luxury" boat ride which can be coddling.

The infotainment system/software is stunningly well designed and implemented.
Visibility is absolutely POOR to the rear. Side mirrors are too small in area
Power windows are weak, and my DS window was failing when I turned the car in with but 12k Miles in 2 years.

I did appreciate the power down AND up for both front side glass.

That styling is derivative of most all the compact cars out there.
VW copies Ford Fusion, so follow Hyundai, and Chrysler.
There is way too much sculpting with no eye to flow around there front fascia.

Chrysler 200 had the best styling on this segment.
View attachment 34445
View attachment 34446
View attachment 34447
Greg, I do wish you good luck with the car. Its a comfortable and a nice place to spend time.

hint: You can program the door unlock to unlock both doors on the DS with one push.
This helped me put groceries in the rear seat and floor. - Ken
Styling is subjective. Both my wife and I love VW's minimalist and mature styling language.
 
Messages
15,533
Location
N.H, U.S.A.
I would argue that the styling WAS mature and minimalist - but in the previous generation.
But you got the best possible colour; that particular blue really makes the car look good.

I was limited to black, fire engine red or white as I was looking for a MT and buying that day. I went with white; Charcoal is not a bad second choice.

My only advice would be to get a spare wheel and tire - since they (had) only come with a compressor and a can of fix a flat in the boot.

17jetta.jpg
19jetta.jpg
 
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1,890
Location
Americus, GA
Overall, not too bad of a review. We have owned our 2019 Tiguan SE for 1.5 years. I haven’t found anything in ours that I consider a flaw.The location of the USB ports could have been better thought out. It’s a little lower in power than what I’m used to but, it’s adequate. It’s better since the ECU/TCM update. The fit and finish is top notch.
 
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