VW Jetta 2.5 vs. Volvo S40

hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
Would be interested in comments from anyone who has cross shopped the new Jetta 5 and the S40.


  • schell1schell1 Member Posts: 8
    I recently purchased a 2005 Volvo S40 2.4i. During my "shopping", I also looked and researched the new Jetta, as I had two (2) Jettas in the past and my experience with them was satisfactory. However, the new Jetta seemed to me to be an expensive copy of a Toyota Corolla, particularly when you looked to it from the rear. Further, the fully equipped Jetta was just a couple thousand dollars cheaper than the fully equipped Volvo S40. The price, the fact that the Jetta looks like a Corolla and the fact that a Volvo is more realiable than the VWs manufactured in Mexico (as is the case of the Jetta), where the ultimate factors in my decision to go with the Volvo. I don't regret it.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    The Jetta seems to be somewhat unique, in that it's relatively heavy for its size (similar to the larger Camry and Accord; it's been compared with the Corolla, in terms of size and outside appearance, yet is priced similarly or slightly higher than the Camry/Accord; the interior compares with near-luxury cars; the driving experience (from what I've read; I haven't driven one) is true to its European heritage, and, therefore, differentiated from its Asian competitors. Given these characteristics, what models (other than the S40) have those of you who have purchased a new Jetta 2.5, or are seriously considering one, cross shopped/shopping it against?
  • gruxxgruxx Member Posts: 4
    I looked at the 2.5. Decided the S40/V50 would be a better fit. We priced the s40 we liked versus a package 2 jetta 2.5. and for a couple thousand more, we thought the s40/v50 had better lines, safety, and reliability than the mexican made jetta. We're worried from our friends bad experiences with the earlier mexican jettas ( I'm not saying Belgium is any better). I also felt cramped in the 2.5, but the v50 felt cozy (and where is that jetta wagon, 2007?).

    The new dual shifting gearbox on the 2L TDI engine is a pretty neat trick (45mpg!), and that plus the MP3 in dash on the jetta makes me crave it (vs.) where is that diesel engine and where is the ipod or AUX on the s40? Although I'm still holding out that the euro will rebound, and the new passat will be a little more my style and price range. The german site vw.de has some nice stuff on the new passat and it borrows a lot of the jettas new features, lines and engines.

    I like the simplified packages on the jetta, and wish the slimmed MY06 s40 packages had a similar desire for the making the moonroof more standard... but I digress...

    I wish both had more use of LEDs in the rear brake lights and that both had more room... But the T-Tec seats are so much nicer than the leatherette, which I felt both were better than the leather seats.

    I have a DVD of the jetta with Joe Patiliano (Matrix/Sopranos) but that also didn't make me want a 2.5. I'd go with the swedes.
  • bonsbons Member Posts: 45
    The first thing VW has to do is build better and more reliable cars before they hike the price. Secondly, make sure your design doesn't resemble any cheaper car (Corolla) in the market. I don't think VW Jetta is on the shopping list of many Volvo S40 buyers. Jetta is more likely to be on Camry/Accord/Civic buyers shopping list. Not all cars in the same price range are comparable.
  • greggorgreggor Member Posts: 11
    I'd have to agree with bons on this one, I don't think you can compare these 2 cars. From class to quality of parts...you just can't compare them.
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Member Posts: 1,711
    So you believe that the S40 is built to a much higher quality standard than the Jetta 2.5? (I do too)
  • greggorgreggor Member Posts: 11
    Yes. In no way am I knocking the Jetta, as I think it is a decent car for the money. But in terms of quality and performance, I don't think one could compare the S40 and the Jetta fairly.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    Isn't it premature to judge the quality of the recently introduced Jetta 2.5, since it's a new generation Jetta?
  • venus537venus537 Member Posts: 1,443
    the jetta wins hands down against the s40.

    judging from the latest crash tests and the standard safety features of the jetta i don't see safety being an advantage for the s40. frankly, volvo's trump car of safety is no longer an advantage against its competition.

    workmanship and quality of materials used inside and out is astonishingly better with the jetta. again, the s40 is really lacking in this department against it's other near luxury competition.

    ride and handling is where the jetta may not be a hands down winner against the s40 and the jetta's 2.5 engine is not as refined as volvo's 2.4 engine.

    but wait for the jetta 2.0t to be available and you have a car that's on par with the s40 T5 in performance at the price of a regular s40.

    unfortunately for the s40, these two cars are indeed very compatible. if only the jetta could have the s40's distinctive styling.

    it's not that the jetta is such a standout but probably more to do with the base s40 being such a lame european near luxury car.

    why would anybody get a s40 over a low end audi a4?
  • divewreckdivewreck Member Posts: 50
    I love my S-40, think the workmanship is better, and am happy it's built in Sweden and not Mexico. The Jetta is now trying to copy others and has lost its distinctive styling. Besides, VW has never stood up and acknowledged it had problems with its 2.0 L engine and oil usage. I realize the problem is fixed in later years but I did not even consider another Jetta. Audi A-4? It's still $6000 more
  • jessenolajessenola Member Posts: 9
    I drove the new Jetta and A4 before replacing my destroyed TSX with an S40 T5. The Jetta's interior is absolutely beautifully crafted, as is the A4's. But the body styling of both cars has taken a turn for the worse. I was almost won over by the A4, despite the front styling that I find hideous and totally incongruous with the fluid styling elsewhere on the car. But it was not possible to find one with few to no options, and $36,000 was more than I wanted to spend. The Jetta's 5-cylinder engine is totally inadequate. It sounded rough and felt slow. Maybe the 2.0T engine in the Jetta will be a winning combination, but I couldn't wait for that to come out.
  • venus537venus537 Member Posts: 1,443
    The Audi A4 being $6K more is simply not so.

    It's true the S40 price starts out lower but non T5 cars are not comparable to the A4 line. And the T5s are hardly comparable to V6 A4s either.

    I've priced out a T5 the way I wanted it and found it to be WAY overpriced especially compared to a similarly equipped A4.

    I agree both car lines get expensive pretty darn quickly once you add options.

    I'm glad you're happy with your car being assembled by the swedes. just remember the mexicans do their job just as well.

    the jetta's past (hopefully) quality problems stem from defective parts. the jetta has always received high marks for its assembly quality.

    i do like the styling of the S40 but the more closely i looked at the car the more i was disappointed. hence, my harsh assetment of the car for letting me down.
  • venus537venus537 Member Posts: 1,443
    hey wait a minute - S40s are built in Belgium! I'm sure you're still happy though.
  • venus537venus537 Member Posts: 1,443
    i'm not in love with the front styling but i don't find it hideous either.

    now it's not impossible to find a A4 with few option, just very darn difficult! there was only one car equipped the way i wanted it allocated for the midwest of the remaining 2005.5 A4s. i was fortunate that my local dealer was able to get the car from the dealer it was destined for. you could always order the car to your specifications but it sounds like you were not in a situation to wait the 60-90 days it would take.

    i agree to some extent about VW's new 5 cylinder engine. it's probably adequate for the base model but not near the standards for a $27k plus car.
  • jessenolajessenola Member Posts: 9
    I don't see how the S40 could be called overpriced. In its base form the car is a great value. At $25k or so, it is not fair to compare with an A4. I'm guessing the real competition comes from the Jetta, Mazda6, Altima, etc.

    The turbo with a few options gets a bit expensive. Mine was about $31k with the select package, which sadly will not be available for 2006. That means one will have to purchase the premium package to get a sunroof. I like the T-tec much better than leather.

    I think my favorite aspect of the car also happens to be what turns off most people: the minimalist interior design. It seems American consumers what lots of switches, chrome, and wood trim in their $30k sedans. And in that respect, Audi delivers full force. VW stepped up the switches and chrome quotient on the Jetta too. This is in no way a criticism of Audi or VW; the A4 has the most beautiful interior of any comparable sedan. I just prefer the less-adorned design of the S40.
  • myobmyob Member Posts: 53
    I looked hard at Jettas and the new Audi A3 as well. I liked the interior of the Jetta a lot with leatherette, since the price was so low. But the power just wasn't there, even with a manual transmission. It was adequate, but wait for the 2.0T engine and dsg transmission if you want one, they're a blast in the A3. Much faster than the specs would indicate.

    Unfortunately, the buying experience was really poor at VW, and Audi, their other brand, wasn't much better. It just did not inspire confidence. The more research I did on dealers and the cars' reliability, the worse it got. Bad attitudes are something I can work with on reliable cars, but not on a car that will probably be in the shop a lot. Numerous reports of VW's just not getting fixed properly, requiring multiple visits. Actually put down a deposit on an A3, but the salesman was playing games and could not actually provide a car equipped like we wanted. Long story, but crook city.
  • myobmyob Member Posts: 53
    You need to remember to compare real world prices on these cars. An A4 will drive out at nearly $30K. You can drive out an S40 T5 in the $26,000 range with the rebates/discounts offered now. It depends on your particular options. I would also test the auto transmissions in the two to make sure you like the feel of them.
  • tjones1tjones1 Member Posts: 3
    We just bought a new Jetta 2.5 Monday. It's got about 125 mi. on it, so I don't have any idea about how the thing's gonna hold up, but from the first impressions, it's fantastic. We looked at an S40, and to be quite frank, we were quite disappointed in it. The ride, handling, and so forth was not even in the same class as the Jetta. We were die-hard Volvo people, (still are) and still have the '94 850 that we bought in '95. It's got 153,000 mi on it, and we just had the front end rebuilt, (struts, bushings, etc), so hopefully it's ready for another 150,000 :)!!
    As far as the Jetta's engine not being as refined as the S40's, I'm not sure about that. The Jetta gets as good or better fuel economy, seems to be as quiet, etc. as the S40's was that we drove. I don't know, maybe the S40 we drove happened to be a "fluke". As far as the styling, I must say that Volvo S40 does have a good deal of influx from Ford. I'm not opposed the the styling of either of the cars, because as the old saying goes: beauty is in the eye of the beholder".
  • tjones1tjones1 Member Posts: 3
    We test drove the S40 and the new Jetta 2.5. No comparison, the Jetta felt to be much more solidly-built than the Volvo. Now, hold on, my wife and I are both long time Volvo owners, and we still have the '94 850 w/153,000 mi. on it. And it was tough for us to think that Volvo had slipped that much. It might be possible that the S40 that we drove maybe had something wrong with it, but it sure didn't impress either one of us. We bought the Jetta. Hope that we did the right thing. I guess time will tell....
  • benjaminsbenjamins Member Posts: 56
    The s40's styling is by Peter Horbury, the same designer that designed the s80, v70, xc90, and s60--and its relation to the s80 is very obvious. Some of the interior design is based on Volvo's concept wagon from a few years ago. This idea that Ford has anything to do with Volvo's styling is a falicious one.
  • katherine8512katherine8512 Member Posts: 2
    I'm looking to purchase a new car but on a budget of about $10k-13k since I'm still a poor college student. I'm looking for a foreign car as I am sick of my current American made car. I've been looking at 02-05 VW Jetta/Passat, 00-04 Volvo S40/S60/S80, 02-04Honda Civic/Accord. I'm leaning more towards a Jetta or any of the Volvos, but I've seen lots of complaints with maintenance problems which is something I don't have time to deal with. Which one do you think would be a better buy for me? Any other suggestions of cars to look at? Thanks.
  • blumsteinblumstein Member Posts: 38
    Take a look at a new Toyota Yaris. My daughter's BF got one and absolutely loves it. I think it is a little over your budget, but not much. Other option is a Ford Focus, used. Yes, it is American made but we got 140k trouble-free miles until the tranny started acting funny & we traded it in on the S40.
  • walkaboutwalkabout Member Posts: 4
    I've loved my 2001 Jetta 1.8T. It's been a great car (even with the few (and anticipated based on reading online) minor mechanical/electrical issues I've had) and I think I would do it all over again if I had the choice. What was NOT fun has been my dealership experience (here in the Saint Louis area). I've been to 3 different dealerships and experienced incompetence, poor workmanship and more recently just downright rudeness/abuse. It's been horribly disappointing.

    I felt often times like I bought a $12K car instead of a $24K car. I can't imagine buying a $100K Phaeton and getting that kind of treatment.

    That said I will NOT be buying another VW. I can't handle the visits to the dealership no matter how much I enjoy the vehicle. The customer service is that bad

    And for the price being paid the reliability/build quality needs to be improved. This coupled with yawn-filled external stying on the new VW Corolla err... Jetta means I'm looking at options... and the S40 is on the list of considerations.

    I don't think the S40 is perfect despite it's hot styling, I think the Jetta with it's 2.0T/good-handling and a nice interior finish might outdo it in these categories but then I'm back having to face the VW dealerships. Not an option.

    Also, it's hard to configure an Audi A4 or a BMW 3 series with the features I can pile on the Volvo or VW and avoid reaching $40K. But what other options are out there really for someone looking in this segment of small luxury sport sedans who are looking in the low $30K and not the $40K?
  • tgkoenigseggtgkoenigsegg Member Posts: 52
    In my personal opinion I would choose the S40. This is due to the fact that I live in Colorado and there is an S40 AWD and it is a better looking car. VW customer satisfaction is at the bottom while Volvo is around the Top 10. I prefer the Belgian built S40 than the Jetta bui;t in Mexico.
  • amic10amic10 Member Posts: 1
    My dad is buying me my first car. I have the options of a 2002 Volvo S60 2.4M 4-door Sedan and a 2005 Volkswagen GL 2.0L PZEV 4-door Sedan. They are both priced at $6,995. The Volvo has 106,087 miles on it and the Jetta has 96,778 miles on it. I am having trouble which one to decide on. I want to pick a car that is good on gas and doesn't cost a lot to maintain since I am a college student. HELPPP!!!!
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