Volkswagen Jetta ›› 2013 ›› 2013 Volkswagen Jetta

2013 Volkswagen Jetta

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Overview

Overview

The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta continues a long and storied history of the German-engineered compact sedan, dating back to its inception in 1979. The Jetta is still in the sixth generation of production, known as Volkswagen's New Compact Sedan (NCS) line, which began in 2010.  This model year continues the hybrid line of the Jetta as well as maintaining the diesel option in the standard line.

One of the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta is the cost-cutting measure that needed to be taken in the North American versions. Volkswagen needed to make the model cheaper to produce in order to compete with the rival Toyota Corolla in the North American market. This led to some corner-cutting on interior materials quality and it shows in several of the reviews.

Expert Reviews

Experts are up and down across the board on the new-model Jetta. It's clear that there are things to like about it. "It has all the features Jetta enthusiasts have been clamoring for, plus most of the traditional performance. It will appeal to the mass market with its supple, sport-tuned suspension and agreeable looks." (Motor Trend) Edmunds praises its roominess and spacious trunk. The diesel option, always a favorite among experts, remains a popular choice. "Reliability of the diesel version has improved to average and is recommended" (Consumer Reports)

Unfortunately, that's about as far as the praise goes for the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta. "Handling lacks agility and interior fit and finish is unimpressive in most versions. The coarse-sounding 2.5-liter five-cylinder gets a mediocre 25 mpg overall. The four-cylinder diesel gets an impressive 34 mpg overall, but the automated manual transmission is not smooth at very low speeds." (Consumer Reports) "Base models have an appealing price but lack the character and content of their predecessors, while well-equipped models quickly lose their pricing competitiveness." (Kelley Blue Book)

As far as performance goes, most experts agree that mediocre is the key word. No one area stands out above any other. "Brake feel is just so-so." (Car and Driver) "The GLI shines ... and comes off as a true sports sedan, with responsive moves and little body lean in fast turns. Other Jettas, however, are not particularly sporty, which is disappointing for a Volkswagen." (Consumer Guide)

Owner Reviews

Despite what the experts say, owners still seem to find plenty to love about the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta. "I love my Jetta. I love diesel engines, especially when [they get] over 40mpg." (Owner review taken from Kelley Blue Book) "Bluetooth sounds very crisp and clear. The telescopic and tilt wheel makes for good comfort." (Owner review taken from Kelley Blue Book) It is the roominess and comfort that seems to win out among most owners. The 15.5-cubic-foot trunk is the largest one can find in this class.

Many owners praise the power from the 2.0L diesel and both gasoline options, the 2.0L four-cylinder and the 2.5L inline-five-cylinder. The additional power prowess provides for a nice, and at times invigorating, driving experience. The noisiness of the 2.5L is definitely noticeable though. The technological features are highlighted by the easily-operable Bluetooth system, satellite radio, and the handy push-button start. The hard plastics festooning the interior aren't much of a hit with anyone.

Perhaps the biggest surprise among owner reviews was the fact that the feature people were most pleased with had nothing to do with the car itself. The greatest aspect to the 2013 Jetta is the service that comes along with owning a Volkswagen. Not only has the German engineer developed a reputation for steadfast reliability, it also provides some of the best customer service should anything happen to your vehicle.

Lineup

The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta comes in seven different trim options, providing a bevy of choices for potential owners. It starts with the Base model, equipped with the 2.0L four-cylinder and the five-speed manual transmission. From there, potential buyers can move up the S model (which adds air conditioning, power/heated side mirrors and all the keyless entry gadgets), the SE model (which adds the 2.5L five-cylinder engine, satellite radio, power lumbar seats, and mp3 features), the SE PZEV (which adds the six-speed automatic transmission), the SEL PZEV, the standard SEL (which is basically the SEL PZEV equipped with the five-speed manual transmission), and topping it all off is the diesel-powered TDI model. MSRPs start at $15,545 for the Base model and climb up to $22,990 for the TDI.

Interior

If you're looking to boost the interior presence of the 2013 Jetta, you'll want to check out the Convenience Package. Available on the SE model and above, the Convenience package includes heated front seats, a six-speaker upgraded sound system, Bluetooth and the iPod interface. The 16-inch alloy wheels don't add much to the interior, but they flash up the exterior and also come along with Convenience Package.

Going a step further and garnering the Premium Package will add a sunroof and a Fender sound system with touchscreen interface. The touchscreen interface is easy to use and should function well with any level technology user. The buttons are large and the control knob is sturdy enough to not break off after ten uses. The door-side storage compartments are handy for paperwork or small book storage, even a bottle of water, but the cup holders are rather shallow and don't adjust to fit separate cup sizes.

The center console is nice for another small storage area but sits too far back to be any kind of use as an armrest; some drivers may find this uncomfortable. The dashboard features a double-eye display, with the speedometer housed in the right eye and a standard rpm gauge on the left. The glove compartment won't fit much more than your ownership papers and a pair of gloves, so don't expect a cavernous opening for storage.

Performance

The low end of the performance scale comes from the base-model 2.0L four-cylinder engine, which pumps out 115 horsepower and 125 ft.-lbs. of torque. The 2.5L inline-five kicks that up to 170 ponies and 177 ft.-lbs. of torque. Either one can be matched with either the five-speed manual or the six-speed automatic transmissions. In performance testing, the manual Jetta SEL was capable of hitting the 60 mph mark in just over 8 seconds (8.4 to be exact).

The Jetta TDI will rattle off 140 horses with no struggles whatsoever, but it shows its diesel strength in the 236 ft.-lbs. of torque it pumps out on the low end. All that power and it still remains the top in fuel efficiency at 30/42 mpg (city/highway). Handling remains very Volkswagenesque, which is to say it remains stable and firm through sharp turns and the suspension gives a soft feel over any bumps in the road.

One thing that is noted among owners and testers alike is a minor delay in throttle response when the six-speed automatic transmission is paired with the 2.5L engine. Braking reveals the standards that are set in Volkswagen engineering, bringing the Jetta to a halt from 60 mph in only 117 feet. This is better than many competitors in this class.

Safety & Reliability

Standard safety features on the 2013 Jetta include stability and traction control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and antilock brakes with brake assist. Despite Volkswagen's reputation for safety, the Jetta garnered only 4 out of 5 stars in overall crash testing, earning five stars in only the side-impact test. Most of that rating has to do with the Jetta's size more than its safety standards though.

The IIHS made it a Top Safety pick, giving it a top rating of Good on all safety tests, including the roof strength test. There are currently no recalls or reported safety issues, but the Jetta still doesn't earn a very high mark for reliability from J.D. Power & Associates. Under the Vehicle Dependability Study, the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta earned two out of five stars. Of course, that mark was earned for all versions of the Jetta. It is quite feasible that the diesel version would raise that number to at least three, possibly four out of five stars.

Trim Engine Drive Train MSRP
Base 4dr Sedan 5M 4 Cylinder FWD 15545
S 4dr Sedan 5M 4 Cylinder FWD 16720
S 4dr Sedan 5M w/Sunroof 4 Cylinder FWD 17845
S 4dr Sedan 5M (ends 1/13) 4 Cylinder FWD 16675
S 4dr Sedan 5M w/Sunroof (ends 1/13) 4 Cylinder FWD 17825
Base 4dr Sedan 6A 4 Cylinder FWD 16645
S 4dr Sedan 6A 4 Cylinder FWD 17820
S 4dr Sedan 6A w/Sunroof 4 Cylinder FWD 18945
S 4dr Sedan 6A (ends 1/13) 4 Cylinder FWD 17775
S 4dr Sedan 6A w/Sunroof (ends 1/13) 4 Cylinder FWD 18925
TDI 4dr Sedan 6M 4 Cylinder FWD 23055
TDI 4dr Sedan 6M w/Premium 4 Cylinder FWD 24495
TDI 4dr Sedan 6M w/Premium and Navigation 4 Cylinder FWD 25955
TDI 4dr Sedan 6M (ends 1/13) 4 Cylinder FWD 22990
TDI 4dr Sedan 6M w/Premium (ends 1/13) 4 Cylinder FWD 24430
TDI 4dr Sedan 6M w/Premium and Navigation (ends 1/13) 4 Cylinder FWD 25890
GLI 4dr Sedan 6A (ends 1/13) 4 Cylinder FWD 25045
GLI Autobahn 4dr Sedan 6A (ends 1/13) 4 Cylinder FWD 27295
GLI Autobahn 4dr Sedan 6A w/Navigation (ends 1/13) 4 Cylinder FWD 29300
GLI Autobahn PZEV 4dr Sedan 6A (ends 1/13) 4 Cylinder FWD 27295
GLI Autobahn PZEV 4dr Sedan 6A w/Navigation (ends 1/13) 4 Cylinder FWD 29300
GLI PZEV 4dr Sedan 6A (ends 1/13) 4 Cylinder FWD 25045
GLI 4dr Sedan 6A 4 Cylinder FWD 25045
GLI Autobahn 4dr Sedan 6A 4 Cylinder FWD 27295
GLI Autobahn 4dr Sedan 6A w/ Navigation 4 Cylinder FWD 29300
GLI PZEV 4dr Sedan 6A 4 Cylinder FWD 25045
GLI Autobahn PZEV 4dr Sedan 6A 4 Cylinder FWD 27295
GLI Autobahn PZEV 4dr Sedan 6A w/ Navigation 4 Cylinder FWD 29300
GLI 4dr Sedan 6M (ends 1/13) 4 Cylinder FWD 23945
GLI Autobahn 4dr Sedan 6M (ends 1/13) 4 Cylinder FWD 26195
GLI Autobahn 4dr Sedan 6M w/Navigation (ends 1/13) 4 Cylinder FWD 28200
GLI Autobahn PZEV 4dr Sedan 6M (ends 1/13) 4 Cylinder FWD 26195
GLI Autobahn PZEV 4dr Sedan 6M w/Navigation (ends 1/13) 4 Cylinder FWD 28200
GLI PZEV 4dr Sedan 6M (ends 1/13) 4 Cylinder FWD 23945
GLI 4dr Sedan 6M 4 Cylinder FWD 23945
GLI Autobahn 4dr Sedan 6M 4 Cylinder FWD 26195
GLI Autobahn 4dr Sedan 6M w/ Navigation 4 Cylinder FWD 28200
GLI PZEV 4dr Sedan 6M 4 Cylinder FWD 23945
GLI Autobahn PZEV 4dr Sedan 6M 4 Cylinder FWD 26195
GLI Autobahn PZEV 4dr Sedan 6M w/ Navigation 4 Cylinder FWD 28200
Hybrid 4dr Sedan 4 Cylinder FWD 24995
Hybrid SE 4dr Sedan 4 Cylinder FWD 26990
Hybrid SEL 4dr Sedan 4 Cylinder FWD 29325
Hybrid SEL Premium 4dr Sedan 4 Cylinder FWD 31180
SE PZEV 4dr Sedan 5M 5 Cylinder FWD 19015
SE PZEV 4dr Sedan 5M w/Convenience 5 Cylinder FWD 20330
SE PZEV 4dr Sedan 5M w/Convenience and Sunroof 5 Cylinder FWD 21670
SE PZEV 4dr Sedan 5M (ends 1/13) 5 Cylinder FWD 18995
SE PZEV 4dr Sedan 5M w/Convenience (ends 1/13) 5 Cylinder FWD 20310
SE PZEV 4dr Sedan 5M w/Convenience and Sunroof (ends 1/13) 5 Cylinder FWD 21650
SE 4dr Sedan 5M 5 Cylinder FWD 19015
SE 4dr Sedan 5M w/Convenience 5 Cylinder FWD 20330
SE 4dr Sedan 5M w/Convenience and Sunroof 5 Cylinder FWD 21670
SE 4dr Sedan 5M (ends 1/13) 5 Cylinder FWD 18995
SE 4dr Sedan 5M w/Convenience (ends 1/13) 5 Cylinder FWD 20310
SE 4dr Sedan 5M w/Convenience and Sunroof (ends 1/13) 5 Cylinder FWD 21650
SE PZEV 4dr Sedan 6A 5 Cylinder FWD 20115
SE PZEV 4dr Sedan 6A w/Convenience 5 Cylinder FWD 21430
SE PZEV 4dr Sedan 6A w/Convenience and Sunroof 5 Cylinder FWD 22770
SE PZEV 4dr Sedan 6A (ends 1/13) 5 Cylinder FWD 20095
SE PZEV 4dr Sedan 6A w/Convenience (ends 1/13) 5 Cylinder FWD 21410
SE PZEV 4dr Sedan 6A w/Convenience and Sunroof (ends 1/13) 5 Cylinder FWD 22750
SE 4dr Sedan 6A 5 Cylinder FWD 20115
SE 4dr Sedan 6A w/Convenience 5 Cylinder FWD 21430
SE 4dr Sedan 6A w/Convenience and Sunroof 5 Cylinder FWD 22770
SE 4dr Sedan 6A (ends 1/13) 5 Cylinder FWD 20095
SE 4dr Sedan 6A w/Convenience (ends 1/13) 5 Cylinder FWD 21410
SE 4dr Sedan 6A w/Convenience and Sunroof (ends 1/13) 5 Cylinder FWD 22750
SEL PZEV 4dr Sedan 5M 5 Cylinder FWD 22895
SEL PZEV 4dr Sedan 5M w/ Navigation 5 Cylinder FWD 24150
SEL 4dr Sedan 5M 5 Cylinder FWD 22895
SEL 4dr Sedan 5M w/ Navigation 5 Cylinder FWD 24150
SportWagen S PZEV 4dr Wagon 5M 5 Cylinder FWD 20595
SportWagen S 4dr Wagon 5M 5 Cylinder FWD 20595
TDI 4dr Sedan 6A 4 Cylinder FWD 24155
TDI 4dr Sedan 6A w/Premium 4 Cylinder FWD 25595
TDI 4dr Sedan 6A w/Premium and Navigation 4 Cylinder FWD 27055
TDI 4dr Sedan 6A (ends 1/13) 4 Cylinder FWD 24090
TDI 4dr Sedan 6A w/Premium (ends 1/13) 4 Cylinder FWD 25530
TDI 4dr Sedan 6A w/Premium and Navigation (ends 1/13) 4 Cylinder FWD 26990
SEL PZEV 4dr Sedan 6A 5 Cylinder FWD 23995
SEL PZEV 4dr Sedan 6A w/ Navigation 5 Cylinder FWD 25250
SEL 4dr Sedan 6A 5 Cylinder FWD 23995
SEL 4dr Sedan 6A w/ Navigation 5 Cylinder FWD 25250
SportWagen TDI 4dr Wagon 6M 4 Cylinder FWD 25795
SportWagen TDI 4dr Wagon 6M w/Sunroof 4 Cylinder FWD 27595
SportWagen TDI 4dr Wagon 6M w/Sunroof and Navigation 4 Cylinder FWD 28395
SportWagen TDI 4dr Wagon 6A 4 Cylinder FWD 26895
SportWagen TDI 4dr Wagon 6A w/Sunroof 4 Cylinder FWD 28695
SportWagen TDI 4dr Wagon 6A w/Sunroof and Navigation 4 Cylinder FWD 29495
SportWagen S PZEV 4dr Wagon 6A 5 Cylinder FWD 21695
SportWagen SE PZEV 4dr Wagon 5 Cylinder FWD 24395
SportWagen SE PZEV 4dr Wagon w/Sunroof 5 Cylinder FWD 26195
SportWagen S 4dr Wagon 6A 5 Cylinder FWD 21695
SportWagen SE 4dr Wagon 5 Cylinder FWD 24395
SportWagen SE 4dr Wagon w/Sunroof 5 Cylinder FWD 26195

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