Every Extra Feature You Get With The Sharp And Affordable 2023 Volkswagen Jetta Sport

The Volkswagen Jetta has always been a hit among those looking for an affordable ride. The most affordable model in the automaker's U.S. line-up, pricing kicks off from just $20,665 (plus destination) in 2023. That's less than half what the average new car sold for in America last year.

At a time when budgets are tight — and dealer markups still common — the thought of a brand new car for just over $20k certainly seems appealing. Especially one with confirmed practicality, like a healthy 14.1 cubic feet of trunk space, the reassurance of a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty, and two years/20,000 miles of complimentary maintenance.

At the same time, though, there are some good reasons why opening your wallet a little wider and stepping up from the base Jetta S to the 2023 Jetta Sport might be worth considering. VW's Sport trim adds $890 to the sticker price, taking the total to $21,555 (plus destination). However, you get some notable improvements inside and out for your money.

The Jetta S has a surprising amount of equipment

The standard Jetta S comes with a surprising amount of standard technology, for the price. A 1.5-liter four-cylinder turbo gas engine offers 158 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque paired with a six-speed manual transmission. An eight-speed automatic is a roughly $800 option.

LED headlights and taillights are standard, along with 16-inch wheels, blind-spot warnings, forward collision warnings, and autonomous emergency braking assistance. Volkswagen even throws in heated side mirrors. Inside, there's Volkswagen's Digital Cockpit, replacing traditional gauges with an 8-inch display, while the infotainment system — albeit with a fairly small 6.5-inch touchscreen — supports wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Finally, you get air conditioning, cruise control, and sturdy cloth seating surfaces, together with an alarm, engine immobilizer, and tire pressure monitoring system. That's not bad at all for the price, but the Jetta Sport trim does make some changes worth considering.

The Jetta Sport looks the part

On the outside, the Jetta Sport looks far more modern with its bigger 17-inch wheels and blacked-out trim. The front grille and side mirror caps both get the black treatment, and Volkswagen also adds sports bumpers with integrated lights. The front grille also gets a light bar.

Inside there are improvements, too. The standard front seats are switched for sports comfort seats with extra bolstering, while in the rear the standard 60/40 split-folding bench adds a center armrest and pass-through door useful if you're carrying longer items like lumber or skis. VW also adds a black headliner and stainless steel pedal caps.

While the Jetta Sport doesn't add more power, it does get VW's XDS Cross Differential System. That uses the brakes to mimic the effect of a limited-slip differential, improving cornering performance. Is it going to match what a mechanical LSD can do in a Jetta GLI? No, but with the 2023 Jetta Sport more than $10k cheaper than its GLI sibling, drivers on a strict budget may not mind.