Kemna Automotive Group Compares 2017 Chevrolet Cruze VS 2017 Volkswagen Jetta In IA

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2017 Chevrolet Cruze

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2017 Chevrolet Cruze

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2017 Volkswagen Jetta

Safety Comparison

The Cruze Premier’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Jetta doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

Both the Cruze and the Jetta have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available collision warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty Comparison

Chevrolet pays for scheduled maintenance on the Cruze for 2 years and 24,000 miles. Chevrolet will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance (up to 2 oil changes). Volkswagen doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Jetta.

There are almost 5 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Cruze’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Cruze’s engine. The Jetta 1.4T’s camshafts are driven by a rubber belt that needs periodic replacement. If the Jetta’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

The Cruze has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The Jetta doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the car’s engine.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Cruze has a standard 550-amp battery (730 Auto). The Jetta’s 540-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

The battery on the Cruze is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the Cruze’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Jetta’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Cruze’s reliability 71 points higher than the Jetta.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 9 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 13th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in reliability, above the industry average. With 44 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 25th.

Engine Comparison

The Cruze’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. produces 3 more horsepower (153 vs. 150) than the Jetta 1.4T’s standard 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

The Cruze’s 1.6 turbo diesel produces 56 lbs.-ft. more torque (240 vs. 184) than the Jetta 1.4T’s standard 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. The Cruze’s 1.6 turbo diesel produces 56 lbs.-ft. more torque (240 vs. 184) than the Jetta 1.8T SEL’s standard 1.8 turbo 4 cyl. The Cruze’s 1.6 turbo diesel produces 33 lbs.-ft. more torque (240 vs. 207) than the Jetta GLI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Chevrolet Cruze 1.4 turbo is faster than the Jetta 1.4T (automatics tested):




Zero to 60 MPH

8.2 sec

9.4 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

16.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

85.5 MPH

82.8 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the Cruze Diesel gets better fuel mileage than the Jetta 1.4T:








30 city/52 hwy

28 city/40 hwy




31 city/47 hwy

28 city/38 hwy


On the EPA test cycle the Cruze Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the Jetta:







1.4 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

30 city/40 hwy

28 city/38 hwy

1.4 turbo 4 cyl./Auto


Premier 1.4 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

29 city/39 hwy

25 city/35 hwy

1.8 turbo 4 cyl./Auto




24 city/33 hwy

2.0 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

Regardless of its engine, the Cruze’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Volkswagen only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the Jetta Hybrid.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Chevrolet Cruze uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Jetta requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The Cruze stops much shorter than the Jetta:





70 to 0 MPH

168 feet

185 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Cruze’s wheelbase is 1.9 inches longer than on the Jetta (106.3 inches vs. 104.4 inches).

The Cruze LT Sedan handles at .82 G’s, while the Jetta 1.4T SE pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Cruze Premier Sedan executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Jetta 1.4T SE (27.1 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .61 average G’s).

Chassis Comparison

The Cruze Sedan is 6.9 inches shorter than the Jetta, making the Cruze easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Cruze LT Sedan is quieter than the Jetta:




At idle

36 dB

38 dB

70 MPH Cruising

69 dB

71 dB

Passenger Space Comparison

The Cruze Sedan has .7 inches more front headroom, .8 inches more front legroom and .2 inches more rear headroom than the Jetta.

Ergonomics Comparison

The Cruze Auto offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The Jetta doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Cruze’s speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Jetta’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Cruze has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Jetta has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the SEL/GLI.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Cruze Premier detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Jetta doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

Both the Cruze and the Jetta offer available heated front seats. The Cruze Premier also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Jetta.

On extremely cold Winter days, the Cruze Premier’s standard (except Diesel) heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Jetta doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Cruze Premier offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Jetta doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages Comparison

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Cruze is less expensive to operate than the Jetta because typical repairs cost much less on the Cruze than the Jetta, including $233 less for a water pump, $98 less for an alternator, $411 less for a starter, $183 less for fuel injection, $11 less for a fuel pump, $247 less for front struts and $168 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations Comparison

Both are recommended, but Consumer Reports® chose the Chevrolet Cruze as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance.

Motor Trend performed a comparison test in its October 2016 issue and they ranked the Chevrolet Cruze Premier Sedan three places higher than the Volkswagen Jetta 1.4T SE.

The Chevrolet Cruze outsold the Volkswagen Jetta by 13% during the 2016 model year.

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