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2013 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen

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2013 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen 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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

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 SportWagen
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 SportWagen 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 324 Ratings for the 2012 - 2014 models.

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

I love this car. Exciting and fun to drive.

By on Thursday, April 21, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Lots of pros."

Cons: "None so far."

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

"Sporty. Quiet. Great gas mileage driving conservatively, 30 - 40 mpg. Handles extremely well. Great get up and go when you need it or want to drive aggressively. Solid and well built. Bought new 1 year, 1 month ago with about 12K miles on it. No problems so far."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

very good (but not great)

By on Friday, March 25, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 92,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great mileage, reliability, interior wearproof"

Cons: "maintenance costs, dumb transmission"

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

"2011 Jetta TDI is my third VW, and the best so far. Outstanding mileage is the reason I bought it, since I took a job with a 30 mile each way commute. Have had only one repair not covered by VW or warranty since I bought it with 18000 miles in 2012. Had one catastrophic fuel system failure (state mandated biodiesel blend here in Illinois chewed up the high pressure fuel pump, covered by VW, would have been about $5000.00 . YIKES!) but no other major repairs. One "check engine" light was a dead glow plug. That's it. Many people talk about the reliability of Toyota and Lexus, but having the transmissions go bad on a Camry and an RX300 both between 90 and 95 K miles, I think this VW is doing very, very well in comparison. The body is rock solid after 92000 miles other than the driver's door which has always closed with a hollow sound, where the other three doors close with a solid sounding "thunk". MPG consistently exceeds EPA standards. When/if the EPA mandated fix for emissions come through, the mileage will likely drop. I'll miss the 52 mpg on the highway, but I shouldn't complain if it still meets or exceeds what was advertised on the window sticker. Maintenance costs are HIDEOUS for this car/engine. Transmission fluid change every 40K miles runs about $400. Speaking of transmission, the DSG can't go at low (think bumper to bumper crawl on the commute) speed without jerking. Yes, it's an automatic that drives like a manual - a manual driven by someone who doesn't know how. However, it has been trouble free. If I had a do-over, I'd get the manual. Summary: Great mileage, good reliability, meh transmission, comfort and performance for the long commute."

5 people out of 6 found this review helpful

First vehicle purchase on my own, NO REGRETS!

By on Friday, February 19, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Quiet, fun, sleek, great gas mileage, fast"

Cons: "expensive to repair"

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

"I traded my 2002 PT Cruiser for this vehicle. I purchased it used, previously owned by a rental company. I got an AMAZING deal on it and could not resist. It's sleek and sexy, drives smoothly and quietly, and I feel I can rely on it for years and years to come. Since gas prices are so cheap these days, I can anticipate paying less than $50 a month for gas. The turbo charged engine is really convenient for someone living in a busy, traffic-filled city that needs to take the interstate to get to work. This vehicle has the luxury look and feel without the luxury price. Plus, not many people have these (as far as I have seen) so you won't feel like a clone."

4 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Great Car, Better Value

By on Friday, February 12, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 400

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"For those looking for a car under $30,000, look no further than the 2016 Volkswagen Jetta GLI. The Jetta GLI is a testament to automotive engineering and value. For less than $30,000 you can have a brand new car with a 2.0 liter, four cylinder engine that pumps out 210 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. That engine rivals its V6 counterparts in terms of power, speed, smoothness and efficiency. The optional automatic 6-speed dual clutch transmission changes gears faster than any human can, and with little to no shift shock. Pair that with the 2.0 liter engine and you are in for a drive that will keep you asking for more. If that alone is not enough for you, drop the gear selector into Sport mode, and hold on tight. Sport mode opens the throttle, stiffens the suspension and holds shifts to higher revolutions per minute; all leading to an exhilarating drive. Moving on to the interior, the Jetta GLI comes standard with leatherette that feels just like real leather. The material and build quality of the entire interior is second to none compared with the rest of the class. The common areas you would touch are all soft and cushioned, with the tough plastic reserved for only the most hidden or untouched areas of the interior. Every movement you make in the car, whether it be changing gears, turning your lights on, or even just using your turning signal stalk, is soft, smooth and luxurious. The luxurious and sporty feeling does not end there. Volkswagen really outdid themselves with the power driver’s seat they installed. It is firm, yet supportive, with side bolsters that hold the driver in place. It is a wonderful seat to sit in when driving such a fantastic car. Volkswagen’s standard infotainment system comes with a seven inch touch screen and very easy to navigate buttons. The combination of touch screen and buttons allows for any user of any age to navigate the infotainment system. Your first six months of owning or leasing your car, you get free Sirius XM satellite radio. However, with Bluetooth connectivity allowing you to play music from your smartphone, you won’t even need it. Additionally, you can connect your smartphone through Bluetooth and make phone calls through the infotainment system. The Fender sound system that comes standard in the Jetta GLI is incredible. With crisp highs and booming lows, you can’t ask for much more from an entry-level sedan. Aesthetically, the Jetta GLI is classically conservative, yet aggressive at the same time. New in 2016, Volkswagen incorporated a honeycomb lower grill and changed the fog lights to make the front bumper more aggressive. They also added aggressive side skirts and reconfigured the rear bumper to accommodate the standard chrome-tipped exhaust pipes. When looking at the car, it is impossible to miss the stunning standard eighteen inch twin spoke wheels. Include the standard LED taillights, and optional LED headlights and you have an incredible looking car. All around, the 2016 Volkswagen Jetta GLI has many incredible features for an entry level car. From a roaring engine, to an artfully crafted interior, to a stellar infotainment and sound system, all encompassed in an aggressive and beautiful exterior, the Jetta GLI is a fantastic automobile. Anyone looking in this price range should look no further than “Das Auto.”"

11 people out of 16 found this review helpful

Best in class by far

By on Wednesday, January 27, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Everything"

Cons: "Few and mentioned in my review."

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

"I own a 2014 Jetta SE 1.8 w/convenience now with almost 19K miles. So many positives: Awesome seats/comfort Responsive transmissions (6spd auto) Good power-never feels slow....feels quick and great on the hwy Handles great with good ride quality Roomy Heated seats Leather steering wheel Good MPGs Great A/C Love the monster mats. Paid around $21K for it OTD including taxes. Unreal to get a car this fun and polished for that. Love this car. Negatives: Dashboard isn't flashy but it's functional, styling is somewhat conservative for some."

7 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Excellent car! Fun to drive and easy to maintain.

By on Sunday, December 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 66,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive and reliable."

Cons: "Small car road noise."

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

"I bought the car used from a dealership with 34,800 miles on it. I had it for 2 years and pot 30,000 miles on it. It always has run great and handles fantastic in the snow or other inclement weather. Upgrading to a CC and hoping the reliability on that is just as high!"

10 people out of 19 found this review helpful

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