2013 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen Diesel Review | Edmunds.com

2013 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen Diesel

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.0 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 140 hp @ 4000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 30/42 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen

  • With its versatility, cargo capacity and available diesel engine, the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen is in a class of its own and makes a great alternative to SUVs and crossovers.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Cavernous cargo space; very good fuel economy with TDI; upscale cabin; comfortable seats, refined ride.

  • Cons

    TDI's premium price; sluggish throttle response with automatic.

  • What's New for 2013

    Other than a minor shuffling of features among trim levels, the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen carries over unchanged.

Full 2013 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen Review

What's New for 2013

Other than a minor shuffling of features among trim levels, the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen carries over unchanged.

Introduction

We moaned a bit when the Jetta sedan was redesigned a couple years ago. In Volkswagen's quest for increased market share, it revised the new Jetta sedan to have wider appeal. The good thing about that was a reduced price, though we weren't so thrilled about the car's lower-quality interior and less sophisticated suspension. Fortunately the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen is still closely related to the older Jetta, so it has avoided the pernicious influence of the bean counters.

The Jetta Sportwagen retains the last-generation Jetta's best qualities, including a more upscale interior with better materials and little things like height-adjustable armrests and rear-seat air vents. And with its impressively sized cargo area -- larger than those found in some small crossover SUVs like the Chevy Equinox or even Volkswagen's Tiguan -- the Jetta Sportwagen makes a legitimate alternative to high-riding, car-based crossovers.

Not that there's anything wrong with crossovers, of course. But the real difference with the Sportwagen is the driving experience. The Sportwagen handles more securely, has a refined ride quality and is reasonably quick thanks to a choice of either a 2.5-liter gasoline or turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel engine. Our choice is the TDI diesel, as its hybrid-like EPA fuel economy of up to 42 mpg on the highway makes it a great choice for drivers with long commutes or those who take frequent road trips.

Small, sporty wagons are a rarity these days. You'll pay thousands more just to get a larger premium wagon from Acura, Audi or BMW. The Subaru Outback might be worth a look; it's comparably priced, roomier, more rugged and has all-wheel drive, but its fuel economy isn't nearly as good as the TDI's. For that you'd have to look to the Toyota Prius V or Ford C-Max Hybrid to get the same kind of fuel economy as the Sportwagen TDI. Even then, the Prius isn't as enjoyable to drive and the C-Max comes up short on cargo space.

With plenty of room, the TDI's impressive fuel economy and the last vestiges of the old Jetta's charms, the Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen really is in a class by itself.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen is a five-passenger wagon offered in S, SE and TDI trim levels. The Jetta sedan and related Golf hatchback are reviewed separately.

The entry-level S model comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, roof rails, keyless entry, heated mirrors, heated windshield-washer nozzles, full power accessories, cruise control, air-conditioning, cloth upholstery, heated front seats with a power-adjustable backrest, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, an adjustable front armrest, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat with center pass-through, a trip computer, Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio streaming, and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.

The SE and TDI add 16-inch alloy wheels (optional on the S), convincing "leatherette" vinyl upholstery, upgraded gauges and a 10-speaker audio system with a touchscreen interface, satellite radio, HD radio and an iPod interface. Both the SE and TDI offer an optional panoramic sunroof and 17-inch alloy wheel package, while the TDI can also add a navigation system and keyless ignition/entry to that package.

Powertrains and Performance

The front-wheel-drive VW Jetta Sportwagen S and SE are powered by a 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine that produces 170 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the S, while a six-speed automatic is optional on the S and standard on the SE. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 24 mpg city/33 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined with the manual transmission and 24/31/26 with the automatic.

The Sportwagen TDI is powered by a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel good for 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automated manual transmission known as DSG is available as an option. The latter features a Sport mode that quickens shifts and performance. Fuel economy is an impressive 30 mpg city/42 mpg highway and 34 mpg combined with the manual transmission and 29/39/33 with the automatic. In Edmunds performance testing, a Sportwagen TDI with the DSG automated manual went from zero to 60 mph in 8.9 seconds.

Safety

The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front seat side-impact airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. In Edmunds brake testing, a Sportwagen TDI with 16-inch wheels came to a stop from 60 mph in 129 feet, about 5 feet longer than average for this class of vehicle.

In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, the Sportwagen received the top score of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

Unlike the Jetta sedan, the Sportwagen still offers top-quality interior materials, soft-touch surfaces and the little details like an adjustable center console with rear air vents that make the car feel a cut above the typical small wagon. Even the premium-vinyl "leatherette" upholstery in SE and TDI models looks and feels better than its name implies.

But aside from a more premium feel, the Sportwagen hits its stride with voluminous passenger and cargo room, especially for front seat passengers. Rear-seat passengers have a tighter squeeze, but not objectionably so. The trade-off results in nearly 33 cubic feet of space with the rear seats up and a useful 67 cubes with the rear seats folded.

The cabin also gets high marks for user-friendliness. Operating audio and climate controls is a straightforward matter, and we especially like the clean, uncluttered optional touchscreen audio interface. The optional navigation system is also pretty easy, but does lack some functionality due to its smallish screen.

Driving Impressions

You won't mistake the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen for a sport sedan. Although the steering feels precise and predictable, the Sportwagen's suspension exhibits too much body roll to allow any truly spirited corner-to-corner driving. But that's OK; you don't buy the Sportwagen to go fast. All things being equal, we'll take the wagon's lower center of gravity and improved handling over a taller crossover any day.

For everyday driving, the Jetta Sportwagen offers a comfortable ride and a relatively quiet interior. The 2.5-liter engine isn't the smoothest nor richest-sounding in its class, but it's got enough power to deal with the heavier loads a Sportwagen might typically take on. One caveat: We've noticed an annoying, delayed throttle response when this engine is paired with the six-speed automatic.

TDI diesel models offer impressive fuel economy and range -- 500 miles on a single tank isn't uncommon -- but the diesel powertrain does generate a little more noise and vibration than the 2.5-liter engine. We still think the TDI is the best choice thanks to snappier acceleration, useful torque (for passing on the highway or easily ascending a mountain pass) and outstanding fuel economy.

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What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews


1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Great wagon

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Vehicle: 2013 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI 4dr Wagon w/Sunroof, Navigation (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM)

It is as other reviewers say, the car is a pleasure to drive. Road handling and braking feel very good. The interior details have good fitment and visual appeal. Controls are simple and uncluttered. Another reviewer says he chose the top end with Nav (which is actually a step down on radio/entertainment features, be aware of that) somewhat because it is combined with keyless entry/start, and I was motivated that way as well. Diesel MPG exceeds expectations. Note: stowing rear seat cushions to get a flat cargo space has a feeling of flimsiness about it, and required removal of rear headrests for this operation is a very inconvenient procedure.



9 of 9 people found this review helpful

Simplify

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Vehicle: 2013 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI 4dr Wagon w/Sunroof (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM)

Drove from Orlando to Philadelphia on just 2 fuel stops. average 41.8 MPG. Passed many a hybrid "conserving" fuel. TDI gives plenty of pep for passing and having the "manual mode" helps when pulling hills or overtaking. Fits our 3 person family just fine with even a large 2 seat Burly bike stroller in the back. We chose this over an Outback due to fuel savings. It also beat the Focus hatchback due to cargo capacity. The Focus did not pass the stroller fit test. Dash is simple to use ..controls on the steering wheel are easy to adjust to. Blue tooth is exceptional... Have over 11 k in just 6 mo. Couldn't be happier



3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Wow! very impressive vehicle.

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Vehicle: 2013 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI 4dr Wagon w/Sunroof (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM)

I purchased my JSW TDI last October (2013 model) and now have 16,000 miles on it. First diesel and first VW owned. Build quality and reliability thus far has been impeccable. Not a single rattle. There is also a distinct solidness to everything...the sound of the doors when shut, the firmness of all switches/ buttons and so on. Everything has the feel/ quality of a much higher priced European vehicle. Room? I cross-shopped against small to medium sized SUV's and other wagons (Subaru, Acura, Prius V) and the JSW offers more useable cargo space than any of the rivals, all while offering drive-ability and road feel not too far off from a sports car.



28 of 95 people found this review helpful

Warning: tdi fuel pump

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Vehicle: 2013 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6M)

Volkswagen specifically states that putting biodiesel in your tank will void your warranty and many people have had their vehicles fail. Unfortunately B10 or B20 (10% or 20% biodiesel) is all that's available in several midwestern states. Be forewarned -- filling your VW up with diesel can kill it.



7 of 9 people found this review helpful

First impression: 1500 miles.............

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Vehicle: 2013 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6M)

2013 VW JSW TDI 6M - - - - White with Cornsilk interior. Lots of room. Sturdy VTEX (that's VW for leatherette) interior. Has a clutch, six speed manual shift transmission and the top three gears are overdrives................. Which permits some really impressive fuel numbers. (but the reader already knows this). Driving the car is easy from steering, braking and acceleration (236 lb/feet of torque 1750 - 2200 RPM) standpoints. Fold down the rear seats and there is the same cargo capacity as my 1982 VW diesel pickup!! Altho' the electronic compass was delivered with a compass that read S when heading N, the very capable dealership in California's capital provided a quick fix.



11 of 48,643 people found this review helpful

2013 vw jetta sport wagon

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Vehicle: 2013 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI 4dr Wagon w/Sunroof, Navigation (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM)

We purchased our new TDI Sport Wagon March 8th 2013. Our new Jetta is quite, smooth and powerful. This car is very satisfying to drive on the highway and around town as well. If you are looking for a safe,relaxing and economical vehicle you need not look any further.



Talk About The 2013 Jetta SportWagen

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 30
  • cty
/
  • 42
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
Reliability

Identifix Reliability Ratings

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