2013 Volkswagen Jetta Diesel Review | Edmunds.com

2013 Volkswagen Jetta Diesel

We didn't find any results. You can try changing your zip code, or check another model year.

We found matches for you!

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 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

  • The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta is roomy and quite efficient, especially when equipped with the diesel engine. But other small sedans will likely be more enjoyable to own overall.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Spacious interior and trunk; smooth ride quality; fuel-efficient diesel TDI model.

  • Cons

    Lackluster interior materials; high price of TDI; sluggish throttle with automatic; weak base engine.

  • What's New for 2013

    For 2013, upper-level trims get a few new features and all but the base model get four-wheel disc brakes. An all-new hybrid model also joins the lineup later in the model year.

Full 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Review

What's New for 2013

For 2013, upper-level trims get a few new features and all but the base model get four-wheel disc brakes. An all-new hybrid model also joins the lineup later in the model year.

Introduction

We're over it. We've accepted it. We knew Volkswagen set its sights on massive North American sales success, and that the sixth-generation Jetta, released two years ago, would form the centerpiece of the automaker's strategy. At the time, we lamented that the new, bigger, more affordable Jetta also felt cheaper, and its cost-cutting measures were obvious inside, outside and underneath. The 2013 VW Jetta continues in this direction, and while it hasn't grown any more luxurious or premium, it does remain a solid choice in its class.

No longer simply a Golf with a traditional trunk, the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta offers a longer wheelbase and more rear-seat room than VW's compact hatchback. In fact, the Jetta's rear seat is one of the most spacious in the class, with 2 inches more legroom than the Chevrolet Cruze or Honda Civic, and 5 inches more than the Ford Focus. The Jetta's space makes it that rare compact sedan that no longer causes embarrassment when you unexpectedly need to shuttle upper-level career-makers to an important lunch.

Granted, the hard-touch plastic surfaces inside won't impress much (unless you spring for the cushier SEL trim level). In the price-point frenzy, the Jetta has lost some of the details that used to give it an edge, like adjustable armrests, rear-seat air vents and a sophisticated rear suspension. That said, most trim levels offer a pretty generous complement of standard features, while the top trims and diesel variants benefit from the premium Fender sound system with a touchscreen interface. We still like the diesel-fueled Jetta, too, and its impressive highway fuel economy.

How much all of the cost-cutting matters to you depends on your perspective. Volkswagen might have forsaken its traditional enthusiasts, yet the 2013 VW Jetta is still a solid choice as small sedans go. Its spacious interior, standard features, comfortable ride and optional fuel-efficient diesel fit well with the needs of most buyers. At the same time, though, the Ford Focus and Mazda 3 are more enjoyable to drive, the Dodge Dart is much more customizable and the Hyundai Elantra and Nissan Sentra are nearly as fuel-efficient with their base engines as the Jetta TDI, while costing thousands less.

If you're looking for something "extra" from your small sedan, the Volkswagen Jetta is a solid choice but no longer your best choice.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta is available in Base, S, SE, SEL and TDI trim levels. The Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen is reviewed separately, as are the performance-oriented GLI and the new Jetta Hybrid.

The base Jetta comes with 15-inch steel wheels, power windows, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, height-adjustable front seats, cloth upholstery, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat and a four-speaker stereo system with CD player and auxiliary jack. The Jetta S adds air-conditioning, power/heated side mirrors, power door locks and keyless entry, while opting for an S model with a sunroof also nets cruise control and a front center console.

The Jetta SE gets a more powerful engine, 16-inch steel wheels, two-way power front seats (both with manual lumbar adjustment), a leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift knob and brake handle, a rear-seat center armrest, a trunk pass-through and premium vinyl upholstery.

The SE Convenience package adds 16-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, Bluetooth and a six-speaker sound system with satellite radio and an iPod interface. A sunroof can be added to the Convenience package and with it comes an upgraded sound system with a touchscreen interface and SD memory-card reader.

The SEL includes all the SE's optional equipment, plus 17-inch alloy wheels, foglamps, keyless ignition/entry, a six-way power driver seat and a trip computer. The SEL also is available with touchscreen navigation that bundles an eight-speaker Fender premium sound system with a subwoofer.

The Jetta TDI with its turbodiesel engine is equipped similarly to an SE with the Convenience package. Adding the Premium package gets a sunroof and Fender sound system with touchscreen interface. When equipped with the optional navigation system, the TDI also gets 17-inch alloy wheels, a six-way power driver seat and keyless ignition/entry.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta S comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 115 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic is optional. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 23 mpg city/29 mpg highway and 25 combined with the automatic and 24/34/28 with the manual. These numbers increase slightly if you use premium gasoline.

The Jetta SE and SEL get a 2.5-liter inline-5 that produces 170 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic is optional. The bigger engine's EPA-estimated fuel economy is actually quite similar to the 2.0-liter, rated at 24/31/27 for the automatic and 23/33/26 for the manual. Jetta SE and SEL models sold in California-emissions states can also earn super-clean PZEV emissions certification. In Edmunds performance testing, a manual-equipped Jetta SEL went from zero to 60 mph in a reasonably quick 8.4 seconds.

The Jetta TDI features a turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel inline-4 that produces 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual is standard and a six-speed dual-clutch automated manual gearbox is optional. In Edmunds performance testing, a Jetta TDI hustled from zero to 60 mph in 8.6 seconds. With either transmission, estimated fuel economy stands at an excellent 30/42/34.

Safety

The 2013 VW Jetta comes standard with traction and stability control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. All Jettas have front and rear antilock disc brakes with brake assist except for the Base model, which has rear drums. In Edmunds brake testing of an SEL with summer tires, the Jetta came to a stop from 60 mph in a better-than-average 117 feet. The TDI with all-season tires closed the same distance in a more disappointing 135 feet.

In government crash tests, the Jetta earned an overall score of four stars (out of a possible five). Within that rating, it earned four stars for overall front crash protection and five stars for overall side-impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Jetta its best possible rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side and roof strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 2013 Jetta has one of the more ho-hum interiors in the small sedan class. Build quality is still tight, but the hard plastic surfaces and overall design do little to inspire. But what the Jetta loses in finer details, it makes up for in the expanse of its cabin and a rear-seat area large enough for full-size adults to sit comfortably. The 15.5-cubic-foot trunk also is one of the roomiest you'll find in this class.

We also like the available touchscreen stereo interface and its redundant dial knob, which is ideal for controlling a portable music player. The associated navigation system, however, is a bit of a letdown due to the small screen and limited amount of display information.

Driving Impressions

Although now built for mainstream success in America, the Volkswagen Jetta still remains decidedly German with its solid and substantial feel. The ride quality is quite good, as the suspension easily soaks up most road irregularities. The Jetta's handling is hardly memorable, though, and many other small sedans feel lighter and more maneuverable at the helm.

The base 2.0-liter engine should be avoided; it's underpowered and offers no better fuel economy than the 2.5. The bigger engine isn't the smoothest nor richest-sounding in its class, but it's still the better choice. One caveat: We've noticed an annoying, delayed throttle response when this engine is paired with the six-speed automatic.

Though notably more expensive than the 2.5-equipped SE and SEL, the TDI diesel is the commuter's choice thanks to meaty low-end torque and frugal fuel economy. We'd choose the manual transmission, as the DSG automated manual also suffers from delayed throttle response when in its normal mode.

ADVERTISEMENT
What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews


4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Love my tdi!

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Volkswagen Jetta TDI 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 4/13 (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM)

We purchased our Toffee Brown 2013 Jetta TDI last summer, and have thoroughly enjoyed it. My folks have a 2011 Jetta TDI Sportwagen, so I had the pleasure of driving their car on occasion, and was immediately hooked on its performance and power, with such incredible fuel economy. We have 2 sons, and it transports the 4 of us around very comfortably. I love that the actual MPG is even BETTER than what is advertised. We get about 38 around town, and have gotten 51 on freeway trips. Love the V-tex Leatherette interior--so easy to clean. Just a great all-around vehicle.



4 of 4 people found this review helpful

8 month, 25,000 mile review

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Volkswagen Jetta TDI 4dr Sedan w/Premium, Navigation (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM)

I traded my 2004 Infiniti for a new Jetta TDI 8 months ago and currently have 25k miles on it. I bought it because of the gas mileage since I commute/travel 3k miles a month. With that said, I average between 38-40 mpg on my commute to and from work. Volkswagen advertises that you can get 609 miles to one tank and that is an understatement. I made it home from NC to the NJ on one tank of gas: 625 miles. (avg speed 70 mph). The DSG transmission is a lot of fun to drive. It offers every-day "Drive" mode or the more exciting "S" mode or for maximum power, you can switch to manual mode. If you are looking for a daily driver/commuter car that offers much more, you should definitely consider.




Very reliable, great mileage

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Volkswagen Jetta TDI 4dr Sedan w/Premium, Navigation (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM)

After 10 months and 9500 miles, all is excellent...upper 40s on the hwy, 29-30 in horrible suburban driving conditions where I live (a lot of stop and start). Absolutely no problems. I think it's a great, fun car for the money. A bit slow on the start, but it picks up speed quickly. I'm sold on diesel. The only thing I don't like is the odometer display. My wife claims she doesn't care about cars but I can tell she loves it.




Volkswagen tdi 10,000 miles and

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Volkswagen Jetta TDI 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM)

I have put 10,000 + miles on my 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Diesel in about 9 months and the car is going strong, I have not had one single problem with this car, zero, zilch, nada . I have owned new Toyotas that were not this reliable in the first 10,000 miles. One reviewer stated that it was made in Mexico and was junk. Well the engine and transmission are made and assembled in Germany. The balance of the parts are made in Germany , Canada, and Mexico. It is assembled in Mexico. My point is that this is a car engineered in Germany and built to German standards. I have had no problems with paint, trim , or scuff marks not coming off plastic parts as some have stated.



4 of 4 people found this review helpful

The gooad and the bad

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Volkswagen Jetta TDI 4dr Sedan w/Premium (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6M)

Like other reviewers I had a bit of buyers remorse upon driving this car home from the dealer. No auto headlamps, compass, auto dimming review mirror or back up cam left me a little disappointed. The car grew on me once I got used to it. It is fun to drive and I enjoy getting 50mpg on the highway. At 8k the paint on the front bumper started to chip off very easily. After three different attempts to have VW repaint the bumper they refused to do so. This was my first VW and will be my last. I will not buy cars from a manufacturer that doesn't stand behind it's product.




I'm a believer

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Volkswagen Jetta TDI 4dr Sedan w/Premium, Prod. End 4/13 (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM)

I leased my Jetta about 8 weeks ago because of a change in my commuting status. I needed something that could haul 3-4 adults 50-60 miles a day, each way. I've had VWs, Audis and Volvos previously. This isn't my favorite car, but for what I got it for, it's the best, by far. Very comfortable inside, front AND back. great mileage. I average 35 or so around town and 42-45 on the highway. It's nice to see just under half a tank left and 450 miles on the trip odometer. I think I'm doing 600 or so miles per tank. Pretty impressive for a 14 gallon tank.



Talk About The 2013 Jetta

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

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

Identifix Reliability Ratings

Rating unavailable for this vehicle

      (No data available)
See All Ratings
Have a question? We're here to help!
Chat*
Chat online with us
Email
Email us at help@edmunds.com
*Available daily 8AM-5PM Pacific
Phone*
Call us at 855-782-4711
SMS*
Text us at ED411