Used 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Review & Ratings | Edmunds
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Used 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Review

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2013 Volkswagen Jetta
Summary

Edmunds Summary 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.

  • 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.

Review

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.

Full Edmunds Expert Review: 2013 Volkswagen Jetta

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.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Average Consumer Rating (See all 39 reviews) Write a Review


Vw = very wrong

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Volkswagen Jetta

Whatever they want to say about their customer service, safety, price....whatever....I will never own another VW ever again - I don't know what happened from 1986 (owned Jetta gli) to the current cars but holy hell these things are now FULL OF ISSUES - if it's not one thing, it's related to another thing that triggers another thing - stay away is my advice BUT I have one and I'm lucky that I purchased an EXTENDED WARRANTY when I bought it with 7k on it......I now have 79k, extended warranty ended at 75k and I'm running into continued bull(expletive) SO if you decide for whatever reason, price, look, whatever - I recommend extended warranty BUT keep looking around because once the issues start they do not stop.....




Not bad, not bad at all

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Volkswagen Jetta

Decent starter car for 21 yr old.



1 of 3 people found this review helpful

Piece of [non-permissible content removed]

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Volkswagen Jetta

In 2013 we bought the car brand new. At first we loved the car it got great gas millage, but 2 weeks after that it started jumping. I took it in and they looked at the transmission and the engine and said nothing was wrong. It keep doing it so i took it back they keep saying the same thing the techs said that nothing is wrong well eventually they replaced my crank shaft sensor "emission part" keep in mind mine is a gas car not diesel. It was still messed up so i took it back ant they had to fix my ECM "emission part" and now it is in the shop getting the engine wiring harness replaced "emission part". I think that vw screwed up on all of the emissions in all of their cars not just TDI. The car has horrible road noise, the "premium" sound system sucks and the car is just the worse thing that we have had. The only good thing that i have to say about this car is that it is amazing on gas. When we get to drive it and when it is not in the shop which is rare. I recommend getting a dodge we love our charger.



2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Save your money and buy something else!

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Volkswagen Jetta

I have been driving for 39 years and have owned 16 different cars. This will be my first, and last, VW. I bought this 2013 Jetta with 32,015 miles. At 34,200 miles the air conditioning compressor went out....thank goodness for the warranty! I now have 42,100 miles, and since the warranty expired I have had to replaced the fuel pump, fuel filter, ignition lock, ignition housing, and brakes. I have also had problems with some of the plastic interior knobs coming off. Unfortunately, many mechanics do not like working on German made cars, which limits who will fix your car. This, along with expensive parts, makes repair and maintenance a lot more expensive than your normal US, Japanese, or Korean car. I currently have a 2006 Tacoma with 196,000 miles with no issues, and drove a Civic for 210,000 miles with no problems. For a 3 year old car with less than 43,000 miles I have had way to many problems with my Jetta....and doubt it will make it to 100,000 miles. My advice is buy a, Chevy, Ford, Toyota, Honda, or anything that does not have a VW logo. Sorry to be a bummer, but stay away from this car!




Worse car i have ever owned in my life.

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Volkswagen Jetta

This car has been the worst experience ever! I have had everything from a Ford Taurus to a Camarro and in 2013 I decided to get this vw Jetta. And it has been the worse decision of my life. I have had more problems with this one car and put more money into it then all of my cars combined. The transmission is horrible. The electrical in the whole car is absolutely horrible. My doors will not lock and sometimes will not unlock once I do get them locked. The Windows and sunroof will have problems closing. The last problem that has put me over board is my key will get stuck in the ignition I have had to leave my car running over night until it just runs out of gas because I am not able to turn it off. On top of it running out of gas the battery will also die because the car will not shut off at all. When I do call or go into the dealer they say they can do nothing to help but sit there and jiggle the key until it will sometimes pop out. Multiple technicians at the dealer have told me that this happens to a lot of people and from the research I have done it happens to many people... Yet vw still doesn't make a recall on it or offer to fix this problem with no charge. If I did want to get a new ignition it would be around 1000 dollars and it's still not guranteed to fix the problem cause it can just happen again and on top of that if the key happens to break while they are trying to pull the key out its not their problem and that will have to be replaced also. I could go on and on about how horrible these cars are so my advice would to stay as far away from vw as possible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



7 of 8 people found this review helpful

No problems at all

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Volkswagen Jetta

Our beautiful blue Jetta has 31000 miles on it. The whole time we have owned it, we've had only one recall, and it was fixed promptly. We had the light switch in the trunk go out and Fowler VW fixed it within 2 hours. This car rides so smooth on the freeway with no engine noise coming into the cab. As a matter of fact, we were going up Raton pass to Denver last year and didn't even realize we were doing 125 mph. Still no engine or road noise inside. The one thing in this car that sold the car was the lumbar support. The car was for my wife so she had to be satisfied. We drove the Jetta, a Corrolla, a Sonata and a Mini. The only requirement I had was 4 doors. The only thing I would say that needs to be changed on the VW's made in Mexico is the turn signals in back. This is supposed to be a world-class car. The turn signals should be amber as they are when made in Germany. Mexican VW's have red turn signals. As of Sept., 2016, there are STILL no problems with our Jetta. I have never been more pleased with a car that I have purchased new. When I go to buy another car, I may try to find another 2013 Jetta because I like the 5-cylinder engine.



Talk About The 2013 Jetta

2013 Volkswagen Jetta Discussions See all Started By

Edmunds.com
Edmunds.com
06-12-2013
2013 Volkswagen Jetta GLI: Track Tested...


awa67894
awa67894
06-08-2015
2 nights ago I was driving around the neighborhood. I was coming down a small hill to a stop sign where I could only make a right or a left. I proceeded to turn right and a dog ran in front of the car...


scott295
scott295
10-16-2014
does the jetta se display fuel facts like mpg, miles left in gas tank, etc...



Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 24
  • cty
/
  • 34
  • highway
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