Best medium car under $50,000

Since last year’s win, Volkswagen has released a sixth generation Jetta, one that is bigger, cheaper and better equipped than its predecessor.

No longer sharing body panels with its technically related stable mate, the Golf, the new Jetta is taller, 190 mm longer and lighter. Extra rear legroom is liberated by its 55 mm longer wheelbase.

Standard features on the popular mid-field Comfortline version evaluated rate above average, while its safety credentials are reassuringly high.

Jetta’s fit and finish is praiseworthy, but the three year/unlimited kilometre warranty is little better than the industry average.

Combining small displacement with forced induction from a supercharger and a turbo, the 1.4-litre 118 TSI proves a surprisingly sprightly performer. The car’s seven-speed DSG gearbox offers slick, timely shifts though operation at manoeuvring speeds can be a little jerky.

Good grip, steering with a consistent accurate feel, plus responsive handling ensure driver appeal. The suspension tune has a European tautness that’s composed and generally comfortable over a mix of local road conditions, including second-class gravel roads and corrugations.

Inside, the Jetta offers comfortable, supportive seating, although like many cars, the centre rear position feels too hard and narrow. Well laid out controls and Comfortline’s standard rain-sensing wipers and front and rear park sensors contribute to sound ergonomics.

Australia's Best Cars Best Medium Car under $50,000 VW Jetta 118 TSI Comfortline

Manufacturer’s List Price: $32,490

Criteria out of 10 – VW Jetta 118 TSI


Value for Money   Rating 
Pricing  8C
Depreciation  7C
Running Costs  5M
Fuel Consumption  8C
Warranty and dealer access   5M
Insurance  6L
Standard Features  7H

Design and Function   Rating 
Safety  9C
Environment  8C
Comfort  9M
Space  8M
Practicality  8M
Ergonomics  8M
Build and Finish  8H

On the Road   Rating 
Performance  9M
Ride  9M
Handling  9H
Braking  8H
Smoothness and Quietness   9M

Note: Level of weighting importance for each score: L = Low, M = Medium, H = High, C = Critical.