Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2010 Toyota Prius VS 2010 Volkswagen Jetta Near Phoenix, AZ

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2010 Toyota Prius

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2010 Volkswagen Jetta

Safety Comparison

The Prius offers optional crash mitigation brakes, which use forward mounted sensors to detect an immediately impending crash and automatically apply the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Jetta doesn't offer crash mitigation brakes.

The Prius offers an optional backup monitor to help drivers see any and all obstacles behind their vehicle. The Jetta doesn’t offer any parking assist system.

The Prius offers optional Safety Connect, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get driving directions, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Jetta doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies.

Both the Prius and the Jetta have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.

Warranty Comparison

There are almost 2 times as many Toyota dealers as there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it much easier to get service under the Prius’ warranty.

Reliability Comparison

The Jetta’s redline is at 5800 RPM, which causes more engine wear, and a greater chance of a catastrophic engine failure. The Prius has a 4500 RPM redline.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Prius second among compact cars in their 2009 Initial Quality Study. The Jetta isn’t in the top three.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2009 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 6th in initial quality. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 15th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ surveys of the owners of three-year-old cars provide the long-term dependability statistics which show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota fourth in reliability. With 131 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 34th.

Engine Comparison

For more instantaneous acceleration and better engine flexibility in any gear, the Prius’ engine produces its peak torque at lower RPM’s than the Jetta:


Prius 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid


Jetta 2.0 4 cyl. Turbo Diesel

1750 RPM

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the Prius gets better fuel mileage than the Jetta TDI SMG (51 city/48 hwy vs. 30 city/42 hwy).

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The Prius stops shorter than the Jetta:



70 to 0 MPH

182 feet

185 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

120 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Prius’ wheelbase is 4.8 inches longer than on the Jetta (106.3 inches vs. 101.5 inches).

The Prius handles at .81 G’s, while the Jetta Sedan pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Prius’ turning circle is 1.6 feet tighter than the Jetta’s (34.2 feet vs. 35.8 feet).

Chassis Comparison

The Prius is 3.7 inches shorter than the Jetta, making the Prius easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The design of the Toyota Prius amounts to more than styling. The Prius has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .25 Cd. That is significantly lower than the Jetta (.31 to .33) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Prius get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space Comparison

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

The Prius has 2.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Jetta Sedan (93.7 vs. 91).

The Prius has .1 inches more front headroom, 1.3 inches more front legroom, .1 inches more front shoulder room, .4 inches more rear headroom and .6 inches more rear legroom than the Jetta Sedan.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Prius has a much larger trunk than the Jetta Sedan (21.6 vs. 16 cubic feet).

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Prius easier. The Prius’ trunk lift-over height is 26.5 inches, while the Jetta’s liftover is 28.5 inches.

Ergonomics Comparison

The Prius’ front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Jetta’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The Prius offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Jetta doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The Prius’ optional rear view mirror has an automatic dimming feature. This mirror can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on it, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Jetta doesn’t offer the luxury of an automatic dimming rear view mirror.

The Prius has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Jetta S doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

The Prius’ standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Jetta doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Prius offers an optional adaptive cruise control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Jetta doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

With optional voice command, the Prius offers the driver hands free control of the radio, climate controls, cell phone and the navigation computer by simply speaking. The Jetta doesn’t offer a voice control system.

Wireless connectivity is optional on the Prius, connecting the driver and passenger’s cell phones to the vehicle systems. This allows them to use the vehicle’s stereo and hand controls to place calls safely and easily. Volkswagen doesn’t offer wireless connectivity on the Jetta.

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