2012 Volkswagen Jetta vs. 2012 Subaru Forester: Which One Should I Buy? | YourMechanic Advice

2012 Volkswagen Jetta vs. 2012 Subaru Forester: Which One Should I Buy?

Mid-size sedans are the realm of small families or commuters who want a slightly larger vehicle than a subcompact or compact car, yet don’t want to fully give up their good gas mileage. The sedan offers more comfort and space for those road warriors who want to keep things comfy and safe while on the highways and byways.

The Volkswagen Jetta and the Subaru Forester are built on a totally different chassis style and base, making it a little difficult to truly compare the two vehicles. The Forester is quite a bit more expensive - nearly $5,000 – and much of that may be from the SUV-priced range of options that come standard on the base model.

Subaru Forester 2012
2012 Subaru Forester

Interior Features

While the Forester of course will have more room in it, the dizzying arrays of options that are available make this SUV a fair option even for commuters. With everything from standard cruise control to 3 12v DC power outlets available on the Forester, the SUV aims to please. The Jetta does also offer some nice perks, including: front and rear 1-touch up and down windows, standard exterior temperature delay and power remote trunk release.

Both vehicles have bucket seats and allow 5 passengers, but the Forester adds a front armrest that is missing from the Jetta. The Jetta does fall woefully short on the entertainment options, with no CD player, MP3 capability, no speed sensitive volume, and only optional Bluetooth compatibility.

Safety and Security Comparison

Both the Forester and the Jetta are clearly feeling the importance of airbags, as they have a full complement; however, the Forester offers additional standard features such as auto off exterior lights, door curb lights, illuminated entry, parking assist and remote keyless entry. These small additions can make a big difference, especially if you are a regular commuter.

Fuel Economy

You’re also going to see a larger difference in the fuel economy arena than expected. The Jetta packs a punch with 24 mpg city and 34 mpg highway; considerably higher than the Forester’s 21 mpg city and 27 mpg highway. The size of the Jetta’s 14.5 gallon fuel tank also pales in comparison to the 16.9 gallon tank for the Forester. Considering both the Jetta and the Forester, the Jetta will fall as a second-best option due to the size and interior space as well as the relatively-reasonable price point of the Forester.


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