By Peter Perrotta
This week’s On The Road will take a look at two vehicles that are both very strong sellers for their respective manufacturers: the 2022 VW Jetta 1.5T SEL and the 2022 Lexus RX 350 AWD F Sport.
The Jetta is a compact economy sedan that offers up a nice total package for its reasonable price.
And, the RX 350 is a compact two-row, five seat SUV that is Lexus’ best-selling model.
Let’s take a look at the Jetta first.
I recently road tested the 2022 VW Jetta 1.5T SEL for one week and the first thing I noticed, (I hadn’t driven a Jetta for a while), was how solidly built the car felt and how well it handled.
Truth be told, I was quite surprised.
The 2022 Jetta has the good quality build and ride of a BMW. It’s tight and grips the road through the tight turns without giving much body lean to it.
The folks at Car and Driver said this: “impressive ride quality for an economy car.”
I’d have to agree.
There are four trim levels for the Jetta starting with the base model S ($21,460) and moving up to the top-of-the-line SEL ($29,090).
My tester model SEL carried a base sticker price of $28,095. When you add in the $995 destination and delivery charge it had a bottom line sticker price of $29,090.
The front wheel drive Jetta I drove was powered by a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder, turbo-charged engine that puts out 158 horsepower and 184-pound feet of torque.
The SEL does the zero-to-sixty test run in 7.1 seconds.
So, the Jetta SEL is no speed merchant, but neither is it a lagged. It offers enough zip to get you through all the necessary everyday driving situations and cruise on the highway as well.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel consumption rating for the 2022 Jetta comes in as an impressive 33 miles per gallon (mpg) overall, 40 mpg on the highway and 29 mpg in city driving.
The EPA estimates that it will cost you on average about $1,050 a year in fuel for this car as it uses three gallons of gas per every 100 miles you drive it.
As far as roominess goes, you don’t get the feel that you are scrunched into this compact sedan. In fact, quite the opposite. I found the Jetta to be reasonably comfortable and spacious for a vehicle in this category.
The interior ergonomics are a bit understated and non-descript, but all the knobs and switches are easy to figure out.
If you are looking for a compact sedan for a reasonable price you would be remiss to not seriously consider the Jetta.
2022 Lexus RX 350 AWD F Sport
The RX 350 compact, crossover SUV has been Lexus’ leading seller for quite some time. I recently jumped behind the wheel of the sportier version of this model, the F Sport AWD.
The F Sport version of the popular RX 350 spices it up considerably. The package includes: 20-inch sport wheels; F Sport shift knob, badges, bumpers, grille, seats; an adaptive variable suspension; sport steering; heated and ventilated front seats; and a power tilt/slide moonroof.
I must say, I like the sportiness and styling of the F Sport package. A few years back, I leased an F Sport IS 350 AWD and I always enjoyed driving that car.
My RX 350 F Sport was powered by a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter, V-6 engine that puts out 295 horsepower and 267 pounds of torque. It is paired with a very smooth shifting eight speed automatic transmission.
I found this all wheel drive compact SUV a joy to drive. It is comfortable yet sporty and fast enough to keep you entertained if you like being a bit of an aggressive driver.
It is also roomy enough to carry a decent amount of cargo as well.
The AWD F Sport RX 350 has a base sticker price of $52,600. However, my tester had additional options that brought the bottom line sticker price up to $62,885.
Some of the more pricier options added to my tester was a $3,365 navigation system and upgraded Mark Levinson 15 speaker, premium sound system. The navigation system featured a 12.3-inch tough screen with a dynamic voice command system.
Another pricey option they added was $1,365 for a panoramic view monitor with intuitive parking assist and rear cross traffic braking.
The EPA fuel consumption ratings for this Lexus are 22 mpg overall – 26 mpg on the highway and 19 mpg in city driving.
The EPA estimates that it will cost the average driver about $1,600 a year in fuel to drive this version of the RX 350 as it uses about 4.5 gallons of gas per every 100 miles you drive it.
On the government’s five-star crash test safety ratings, this Lexus had an overall score of four stars.
Overall, I personally like the RX 350 F Sport for its stylishness and sportiness. It’s also quite practical as well. If you are in the market for a compact SUV with a sporty feel and look to it, then this F Sport version is worth checking out.
Peter Perrotta’s On The Road column appears every other week. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
On the Road is sponsored by Capital Motor Cars of Springfield, N.J. one of the leading leasing specialists in the tri-state area.