When it comes to sedans there is a myriad of different options out there for drivers in the Portland Metro/Southwest Washington area to choose from. Two classics that seem to go head-to-head quite a bit is the VW Jetta and the Ford Fusion. Below, the Dick Hannah Volkswagen team will provide you with an in-depth comparison to help you make your decision a little easier and get you behind the wheel of the sedan that fits your needs.
2020 Volkswagen Jetta
By now most people are familiar with Volkswagen’s flagship sedan, the VW Jetta, and is a solid choice for people who are on a budget but are still wanting that German luxury feel. One of the biggest highlights of the 2020 Jetta is fuel efficiency. It is a low cost (MSRP is $19,815), high-efficiency sedan that had the reliability that the Volkswagen brand has been known to provide for years. The lower trim-level Jettas are perfect for those people who are looking for a simple ride at a sensible price but if you are looking for something that has a more sporty feel you’ll need to go with the 2021 Jetta GLI which starts at $26,245 MSRP or the 2020 Golf which starts at $24,115 MSRP.
The 2021 VW Jetta has a 147-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine that has great get-up-and-go in the city but can feel a bit sluggish at times on the highway. For those of you who love the feel of a manual transmission, the 2021 Jetta still has a manual as an option but only on the base model.
|· Excellent Fuel Economy
· Refined Drivability
· More Cargo Space than expected
|· Best Features reserved for higher trim levels
· So-so passing power
· Lacks the driving excitement found in the sportier VW models
New For 2020
For the 2020 model year Volkswagen made a few, albeit small, improvements to the Jetta lineup. Every trim level now comes with the latest Car-Net infotainment system which has a subscription-based Wi-Fi hotspot built in. The Jetta SE and R-Line trims offer a cold weather package that adds a few pluses like a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, and remote start to the models. At the top of the line level, the Jetta SEL and SEL Premium, come with everything in the cold weather package straight out of the gate and newly standard 17-inch wheels and an increasingly common wireless smartphone feature.
A quick look at the starting price of the 2020 Jetta by trim level:
- S – $19,815
- SE – $23,565
- R-Line – $23,615
- SEL – $26,415
- SEL Premium – $28,865
The base model Jetta does lack some of the features most people have come to expect in cars nowadays so our best recommendation would be to go with the 2020 Jetta R-Line. It is only a little pricier than the base model Jetta S but it makes up for it with the improved exterior styling, blind-spot monitoring, passive entry, and two-tone faux-leather interior.
Interior & Tech
The highlight of the 2020 Jetta on the inside is the stylish design and substantial passenger space. The cabin overall is catered to the driver and is designed for enhanced visibility behind the wheel. Again, where the Jetta seems to fall short are the features that are reserved for the upper trim levels like customizable ambient interior lighting colors, a digital gauge in the dash, and ventilated front seats. Cargo wise the Jetta was able to hold more in its trunk than the Golf hatchback, a big surprise considering the drastic difference in style between the two. The 2020 Jetta also has more than a few very convenient door pockets, a deep center-console bin, and a spacious glove compartment for all those smaller items you need on hand while on the road.
Every Jetta comes with a responsive touchscreen infotainment system featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities. One major highlight is the Car-Net Infotainment system which allows for gesture controls for swiping and pinch-to-zoom. Wireless charging is available on the top two trim levels.
Every 2020 Jetta powers the front wheels with a turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 147 horsepower. The base model has a standard six-speed manual transmission, but an eight-speed automatic is optional and standard on every other model. Overall the Jetta has moderately good response pulling away from stoplights but lacks the get-up-and-go necessary to pass on the highway smoothly. The Jetta has a comfortable and quiet ride for those of you who are easily annoyed by road noise.
While the Jetta is less athletic than its hatchback counterpart, it’s more frugal with fuel. The EPA estimates the sedan will earn 30 mpg city and 40 mpg highway, while the Golf is rated at 29 mpg city and 37 highway mpg.
The Jetta earned a 5-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and while driver assists are available on every model, once again only the top two trims have adaptive cruise control, and lane-keeping assist.
Key features are:
- Available forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Available blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
- Available Lane Assist
Warranty & Maintenance Coverage
For a long time, VW boasted the industry’s best bumper-to-bumper warranty, sporting a 6-year/72,000 mile warranty, but this last year saw that shortened to 4-years/50,000 miles. To help make that reduced coverage a little easier to handle, all 2020 Volkswagens offer two years of regularly scheduled maintenance included at no charge.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for two years or 20,000 miles
2020 Ford Fusion
The 2020 Ford Fusion has tremendous versatility in a hotly contested segment. There are four available powertrain options, one of which can be had with all-wheel drive, and two that are electrified. Ford offers six trim levels, which range from basic to near-luxury. At its core, the 2020 Ford Fusion has crisp styling, a comfortable ride, and a roomy cabin making it a satisfying ride. However, as Ford continues to angle away from the car market, it is a little hard to know what will happen to the Fusion in the coming years.
|· Multiple powertrain options
· Optional all-wheel drive
· Attractive styling
|· Options add up quickly to price
· Slightly cheap interior materials
· The sport model was discontinued
What’s New In 2020
The 2020 lineup hasn’t changed much from previous years besides a couple of aesthetic tweaks depending on the trim level you go with. The convenient FordPass Connect—which can be used to remotely start the car, check vehicle status, and lock or unlock the doors—is now standard on all models. A minor update has been the addition of three new color options: Iconic Silver, Rapid Red Metallic, and Alto Blue Metallic.
A quick look at the starting price of the 2020 Jetta by trim level:
- S – $24,365
- SE – $25,695
- Hybrid SE – $28, 995
- SEL – $29,885
- Titanium – $35,645
- Energi – $35,995
The SEL model represents a well-equipped and affordable trim level in the Fusion lineup. It comes with a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine. Buyers looking for an all-wheel-drive model will have to upgrade to the 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Other notable features include the Sync 3 infotainment system, Ford’s Co-Pilot360 driver-safety package, and heated front seats.
Interior & Tech
Interior options range from cloth seats to leather, the 2020 Fusion can be sparse or tap into luxury depending on your preference. On the technology front, you have a range from decade old to state-of-the-art infotainment options. Most importantly you have Ford’s Sync 3 system available on higher trim levels which has a quick response and relatively intuitive. Designed to rely on touch inputs and voice commands, the Sync 3 system is simple to navigate. It’s a big improvement from previous Ford efforts.
Powertrain offerings in the Fusion start with a lackluster 175-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder, a competent six-speed automatic, and front-wheel drive. The six-speed carries over throughout the Fusion’s gasoline-powered models. A 181-hp turbocharged 1.5-liter or a 245-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter, both four-cylinders, are available in upper trim levels. The 2.0-liter engine can be mated to all-wheel drive, if desired. In most guises, the Fusion pairs a comfortable ride with agile handling for an engaging driving experience. It often feels more like a sports sedan than a family car when pushed hard.
On the Hybrid front, the 2020 Ford Fusions features a 2.0-liter four-cylinder and an electric motor, which together make 195 horsepower. This model makes do with a continuous variable automatic transmission. There is also a plug-in-hybrid Fusion. It boasts the same powertrain as the cordless hybrid save for a larger battery pack that allows for up to 21 miles of electric-only driving per charge. The trade-off for this larger battery is a significantly smaller trunk.
The 2020 Ford Fusion performed well in crash tests and has a new standard suite of driver-assistance features to provide an extra layer of protection. The biggest difference is the lack of a 5-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found in the 2020 Jetta.
Key safety features include:
- Available Blind Spot Monitoring
- Standard lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty & Maintenance Coverage
Ford’s warranty is about average for the class but it lacks the complimentary scheduled maintenance found in the 2020 Volkswagen Jetta as well as the
- Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
2020 Volkswagen Jetta SE
2020 Ford Fusion SE AWD
|147-hp, 1.4-liter I-4 (regular gas)||Engine||245-hp, 2.0-liter I-4 (premium)|
|8-Speed Automatic||Transmission||6-Speed Automatic|
|147 @ 5,000 rpm||Engine Horsepower (@ RPM)||245 @ 5,500 rpm|
|184lb-ft @ 1,400 rpm||Engine Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)||275lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm|
|30 City / 40 Highway / 34 Combined||EPA MPG Rating||20 City / 29 Highway / 23 Combined|
|Front-Wheel Drive||Drivetrain||All-Wheel Drive|
|13.2 gallons||Fuel Tank Capacity||18 gallons|
|Standard||Remote Keyless Entry||Standard|
|Power with 2 stage unlock||Power Door Locks||Power with 2 stage unlock|
|Dual-zone front automatic||Air Conditioning||Dual-zone front automatic|
|1||12-Volt DC Power Outlet||2|
|Not available||Adaptive Cruise Control||Available|
|AM/FM stereo, seek-scan||Radio||AM/FM/Satellite, seek-scan|
|Not available||Navigation||Available: With voice activation|
|Standard||Apple CarPlay / Android Auto||Standard|
|4 Speaker System||Audio Speakers||6 Speaker System|
|Safety & Driver Assist|
|Driver and front passenger||Front Airbags||Driver and front passenger|
|Seat-mounted, driver and passenger||Side Airbags||Seat-mounted, driver and passenger|
|Curtain 1st & 2nd row||Side-Curtain Airbags||Curtain 1st & 2nd row|
|Not Available||Lane-Departure Warning||Standard|
|Standard||In-Vehicle Assistance Service||Available|
The 2020 Volkswagen Jetta is a fantastic car for people who are looking to save a bit of money but still have the availability of options that make the Jetta a contender in the sedan category. One of the bigger highlights is the safety standards and the fuel economy that are in the 2020 Jetta compared to the 2020 Ford Fusion. Overall, the Jetta is our pick for best sedan for your money.
Shop the 2020 Volkswagen Jetta or call to schedule a test drive.