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2013 Volkswagen Jetta

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2013 Volkswagen Jetta Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.2

The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta continues to hit on all the proverbial cylinders in both sales and the sheer variety of forms in which it is offered. After a major redesign of the sedan in 2011 and the return of the sporty GLI version in 2012, the Jetta's stable grows again in 2013 with a hybrid version that is estimated to deliver up to 45 mpg. With its range of engine choices and available creature comforts, the Jetta can be a rival to budget compact sedans, such as the Toyota Corolla, or nearly keep pace with entry-level luxury cars such as its Audi A4 cousin. For those who need the extra room, there is the SportWagen, a 5-door wagon based on the previous-generation Jetta.

You'll Like This Car If...

Despite prices that compete head-on with rivals from the U.S., Japan and Korea, the 2013 Jetta exudes the build quality and dynamic handling associated with a European car. Those seeking to save money on fuel will be drawn to diesel or hybrid versions.

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The Jetta's historic mix of practicality and personality became a thing of the past with this latest generation, which maximized the former and minimized the latter. Base models have an appealing price but lack the character and content of their predecessors, while well-equipped models quickly lose their pricing competitiveness.

What's New for 2013

This year marks the debut of the Jetta Hybrid, Volkswagen's second hybrid (after the Touareg) and its first in the compact sedan segment. Other changes to the Jetta lineup include new leather trim in SE and higher versions, and launch control in the GLI models with automatic transmission.

Driving the Jetta

Driving Impressions The 2013 Jetta's plethora of powertrains translates to a correspondingly wide range of driving experiences, from underwhelming for base models equipped with the entry-level 115-horsepower 4-cylinder engine to invigorating for...

GLI versions with VW's turbocharged 4-cylinder powerhouse. Splitting the difference are Jettas equipped with a 170-horsepower 5-cylinder engine, which has a good balance of power and fuel economy. Diesel models, meanwhile, will please drivers not only with their 40-plus mpg but the torque from their powerful yet quiet engines. Though not swift, even base Jettas are comfortable and reasonably composed, while 2.5-liter and diesel models offer more competence and driving pleasure. In addition to better acceleration, the GLI has upgraded suspension, brakes and tires that transform this sedan into something truly sporty. Hybrid models have a claimed zero-to-60-mph time of less than nine seconds, swift for such a car. The Jetta Hybrid can operate in pure electric mode at speeds up to 44 mph or travel up to 1.2 miles on battery power alone.

DIESEL ENGINE
Volkswagen is among the German automakers continuing to prove that today's diesel engines are nothing like the sooty, sputtering versions of the past. The 2.0-liter turbodiesel available in the Jetta sedan and SportWagen - mated to an automatic or manual transmission - has power to spare and fuel economy of up to 42 mpg.

GLI VERSION
Think of the GLI as the GTI of Jettas. If that alphabet soup is confusing, here's what you need to know: The GLI is one invigorating sedan. With its turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and sport-tuned suspension, this is the Jetta you'll want for twisty roads.

2013 Volkswagen Jetta Details
Interior

The 2013 Jetta may be classified as a compact car, but these sedans feature a roomy, 5-passenger interior. In real-world situations, four adults will be plenty comfortable. Rear-seat legroom is commendable, as is headroom. Trunk space is a generous 15.5 cubic feet and SportWagen variants gain more than twice that room. With the 60/40-split rear seats folded, the Jetta SportWagen boasts an SUV-like 66.9 cubic feet of space, but less rear legroom than the sedan. Up front, the Jetta's cabin ranges from drab to posh, depending on trim level. Even base models have a tilt/telescoping steering wheel and height-adjustable driver's seat for a comfortable fit.

Exterior

Compared with the previous generation, some might think the latest Jetta sedan to be decidedly bland. While it might not incite passion, there also isn't much to dislike. The 4-door sedan's profile is clean and well-proportioned, except for the 15-inch wheels on base models that appear small in relation to the rest of the vehicle. Premium, eye-catching alloy wheels help give higher-end models some visual pop. The sporty Jetta GLI model has a fancier honeycomb grille with chrome accents, darkened tail lights and red brake calipers. The 2013 Jetta SportWagen carries on with its larger, rounded look from the previous generation.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2013 Jetta is available in a wide range of trim levels, which also means a lengthy list of standard features. At the lowest end, a Jetta S has keyless entry, power windows, AM/FM/CD player with auxiliary input, cloth seats, manual air conditioning system with pollen filter and folding rear seats. SE versions add a more powerful 5-cylinder engine, leatherette seats and cruise control. SEL trims add a sunroof, 17-inch wheels and push-button start. GLI models have a turbo engine, premium sound system and sport suspension. Base SportWagens are better equipped than their sedan counterparts, with a larger engine, cruise control, 8-speaker sound system, heated front seats and Bluetooth. The 2013 Jetta also comes with a 3-year/36,000-mile no-charge scheduled maintenance program.

Optional Equipment

Aside from a 6-speed automatic transmission with sport mode, the majority of extra features in the Jetta come as trim levels rise. Among them are sunroof, navigation system, heated front seats, Fender premium audio system with touch-screen controls, push-button start, rear-view camera and bi-xenon headlights. SportWagen versions can be had with a panoramic sunroof.

Under the Hood

Three gasoline engines, a turbodiesel and a hybrid electric powertrain are your options in the 2013 Jetta. Transmissions vary, too, from 5- and 6-speed manuals to a 6-speed automatic with a sport mode for quicker response. The Jetta Hybrid uses a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, which VW says is a first among hybrid vehicles. All 2013 VW Jetta models are front-wheel-drive. Fuel economy is a strong point in VW Jettas, with the diesel and hybrid versions both attaining over 40 mpg on the highway.

2.0-liter inline-4
115 horsepower @ 5,000 rpm
125 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/34 mpg (manual), 23/29 mpg (automatic)

2.5-liter inline-5
170 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
177 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/33 mpg (manual, sedan and wagon), 24/31 mpg (automatic, sedan and wagon)

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4, (GLI only)
200 horsepower @ 5,100 rpm
207 lb-ft of torque @ 1,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/33 mpg (manual), 24/32 mpg (automatic)

2.0-liter turbodiesel inline-4
140 horsepower @ 4,000 rpm
236 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 30/42 mpg (manual, sedan and wagon), 30/42 mpg (automatic, sedan), 29/39 (auto, wagon)

1.4-liter turbocharged inline-4 plus electric motor
170 horsepower (combined)
184 lb-ft of torque (gas engine)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: up to 45 mpg, estimated

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2013 Volkswagen Jetta Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.4
Out of 10

Based on 304 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.6/10
    Quality
    8.5/10
  • Reliability
    8.8/10
    Performance
    8.7/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.4/10

Worst car I have ever owned!

By on Wednesday, August 26, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 120,665

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Price."

Cons: "Most unreliable car I have ever owned."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"I had previously owned a 2007 Jetta Wolfsburg edition which I bought used. I loved that car. It saved my life when I had an accident where I was rear ended on the highway and slammed into the car in front of me. Thats why I decided to buy another one. I bought the 2012 new and it has been a headache from day one. The check engine light has been on more often than its been off. Its always something with the emission system too that's never covered by the warranty. Last year I needed an alternator and the part to replace it came in to the dealership broken. When I inquired how a brand new part could be broken the woman in service told me it happened all the time. I believe the parts used by VW are inferior and cheap. I think that's how they were able to get the price point down when they redesigned the Jetta in 2011. I will never buy a VW again. I'm going back to a Japanese make."

A "Midsize" Car For the Price of a Compact

By on Friday, August 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,800

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Audi acceleration and handling for the poor man."

Cons: "Long term reliability is yet to be determined."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"After driving a larger car with a V6 for a while, I decided to give VW a spin again (I had a 1985 Golf just out of college). The 1.8 TSI engine does not disappoint. The handling is best appreciated at higher speeds. At lower speeds, it is pretty standard handling for a compact. I am hoping that the reliability holds up. So far no problems whatsoever. The 2015 Passat with the same 1.8 TSI engine is rated as the most reliable mid-sized car available right now, so things should be decent. Here's hoping. I love driving this car on the Arizona highways. It does what I tell it to do, and I can easily blow by other compact cars, and a good number of six cylinder models. Merging into traffic is never a problem. The engine is fast AND quiet, and is content with 87 (recommended) octane gas. By the way, I owned the 2.0 8 valve engine (known as the 2.slow) for six months. I HATED it. The exhaust system was LOUD, and it basically required me to turn off the A/C every time I was getting onto the freeway because it had no kick. I'm getting around 30 mpg all around with the A/C going all the time. I suspect the mileage may jump up a bit once winter rolls around."

Best handling SUV and trailers well

By on Saturday, August 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Definitely more fun than any suv I have driven"

Cons: "It could use a little more clearance"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

Fla camping

"I have had many cars and 3 Toyota 4-runners (great trucks but 16-18 mpg.) The Vw TDI wagen has as much cargo area, carries 2 17 foot kayaks and if set up properly (rear air bags and electric brakes) is an incredible tow vehicle for my 1500 lb pop up. (I get 30 to 33 mpg trailering.) When not trailering I get 42 to 44 consistently on hwy and 37 around town. The car has plenty of power (including trailering) and in the mountains (Ga and N.C). I always had stick shift cars/trucks. The DSG is very close to the control of a stick (without clutch pedal) when you need it (trailering and in the MTS.) The only problem was an A/C compressor (fixed quickly by VW.) I never have trouble finding diesel fuel and I travel all the time. Gas buddy is my friend. I considered and drove the new Outback but the CVT and the lack of power in the MTS was a deal breaker for me. A fun vehicle that I enjoy driving every time I get in the driver's seat."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Fla camping

Love the car, but I miss shifts with the manual

By on Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Great mileage, handles well, atteactive"

Cons: "Manual transmission leads to stalling"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Really good car. Handles well, great mileage, feels solidly built, attractive for a wagon. The only downside, and the reason I am selling it is that I bought the manual transmission. It is fun, but despite growing up with stick shifts, I am still missing shifts from time to time, and this can be frightening, like when it happens in an intersection. Switching to a Golf with the automatic."

16 people out of 32 found this review helpful

GLI with triptronic transmission.

By on Monday, July 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Neat car."

Cons: "High test gasoline"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Having driven many cars & trucks with manual transmissions,I was hesitant about going for an automatic transmission. To my surprise I find the triptronic when in manual mode is a manual without the clutch! Same speed limitations in gears as a manual, really liking this transmission."

5 people out of 11 found this review helpful

4th Volkswagen I have owned. 2nd GLI I have owned

By on Sunday, July 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "everything"

Cons: "sub-woofer rattles in trunk"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Love every Volkswagen I have ever owned, always fun yet efficient and has lots of room for whatever I need to take with me. Highly recommend any Volkswagen to everyone, especially the Jetta GLI."

9 people out of 17 found this review helpful

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