2013 Volkswagen Jetta Review

Type:

Pros & Cons

  • Spacious interior and trunk
  • smooth ride quality
  • fuel-efficient diesel TDI model.
  • Lackluster interior materials
  • high price of TDI
  • sluggish throttle with automatic
  • weak base engine.
List Price Range
$5,995 - $13,990

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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.

Vehicle overview

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.

2013 Volkswagen Jetta models

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.

2013 Highlights

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.

Performance & mpg

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.

Driving

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.

Interior

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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Surprisingly poor driving car
dm3,04/16/2013
The 6 speed auto transmission is one of the most unresponsive that I have ever driven. The engine is underpowered. Throttle response is not smooth. Initially the car does nothing then surges. The transmission is too reluctant to downshift making for a frustrating drive. The transmission downshifts much too slowly. Mash the throttle and I sometimes forget that I've done it as the seconds count down (2-3 seconds). That can be dangerous is you try to jump lanes. Interior feels unusually cheap for a VW. No cup holders in the rear. No cruise control. Rear view mirror can obstruct.
Love my TDI!
carcully,05/21/2014
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.
Business-like
rpauls,06/18/2014
I bought my 2013 Jetta 2.5 SE with 4,000 miles on it four months ago and it now has 15,000 miles. I work as an outside salesperson and was looking for a car that would get great gas mileage and still have some style. I did not have a Jetta in mind, but the mileage and price were both right, so I test drove it and to my surprise liked it a lot despite it being fairly vanilla on the style front. After four months, this car represents who I am very well, a business man. The looks are nice and clean. Not too boring, but not extroverted. The ride is generally compliant, quite nice on the interstate but very firm on rough pavement. Impressed with the highway mileage which has been 37 mpg.
Bought new 2-2013. Now 9-2016. No problems at all
Michael Atlanta,10/01/2016
SE 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 6A)
This has been a great car. I am 45 years old this week, only owned 4 cars prior, 1 Nissan and 3 Volvos. VW Jetta has been great, no issues at all. Very affordable(Volvo out-priced me and stopped selling 4 series). So good that husband bought a 2015 Passat. Husband owned about 1cars since we married 24 years ago. Passat not as good as Jetta, sorry to say. Never had any maintenance issues with Jetta. Only issues are it is sometimes hard to get key out of ignition and sometimes difficult to see out of rear window. Gas mileage exceeds what is printed on invoice.

Features & Specs

MPG
23 city / 29 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
115 hp @ 5000 rpm
MPG
30 city / 42 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed manual
Diesel
140 hp @ 4000 rpm
MPG
23 city / 29 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
115 hp @ 5000 rpm
MPG
23 city / 33 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
Gas
170 hp @ 5700 rpm
See all Used 2013 Volkswagen Jetta features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover12.1%

More about the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta

Used 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Overview

The Used 2013 Volkswagen Jetta is offered in the following submodels: Jetta Sedan, Jetta Diesel. Available styles include 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 6A), TDI 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 4/13 (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6M), S 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 4/13 (2.0L 4cyl 6A), SE PZEV 4dr Sedan w/Convenience, Sunroof, Prod. End 4/13 (2.5L 5cyl 6A), SE PZEV 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 4/13 (2.5L 5cyl 5M), SE PZEV 4dr Sedan w/Convenience, Prod. End 4/13 (2.5L 5cyl 6A), SE PZEV 4dr Sedan w/Convenience, Sunroof, Prod. End 4/13 (2.5L 5cyl 5M), SE PZEV 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 4/13 (2.5L 5cyl 6A), TDI 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 4/13 (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM), S 4dr Sedan w/Sunroof, Prod. End 4/13 (2.0L 4cyl 6A), SE 4dr Sedan w/Convenience, Prod. End 4/13 (2.5L 5cyl 5M), SE PZEV 4dr Sedan w/Convenience, Prod. End 4/13 (2.5L 5cyl 5M), SE 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 4/13 (2.5L 5cyl 5M), SE 4dr Sedan w/Convenience, Sunroof, Prod. End 4/13 (2.5L 5cyl 5M), TDI 4dr Sedan w/Premium, Prod. End 4/13 (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6M), S 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 4/13 (2.0L 4cyl 5M), TDI 4dr Sedan w/Premium, Prod. End 4/13 (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM), SE 4dr Sedan w/Convenience, Prod. End 4/13 (2.5L 5cyl 6A), SE 4dr Sedan w/Convenience, Sunroof, Prod. End 4/13 (2.5L 5cyl 6A), TDI 4dr Sedan w/Premium, Navigation, Prod. End 4/13 (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6M), SE 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 4/13 (2.5L 5cyl 6A), TDI 4dr Sedan w/Premium, Navigation, Prod. End 4/13 (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM), TDI 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM), SE 4dr Sedan w/Convenience, Sunroof (2.5L 5cyl 5M), SEL 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 6A), S 4dr Sedan w/Sunroof (2.0L 4cyl 6A), S 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M), S 4dr Sedan w/Sunroof (2.0L 4cyl 5M), S 4dr Sedan w/Sunroof, Prod. End 4/13 (2.0L 4cyl 5M), SE 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 6A), SE 4dr Sedan w/Convenience (2.5L 5cyl 6A), SE 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 5M), TDI 4dr Sedan w/Premium (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6M), SE PZEV 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 6A), TDI 4dr Sedan w/Premium, Navigation (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM), TDI 4dr Sedan w/Premium (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM), SE PZEV 4dr Sedan w/Convenience, Sunroof (2.5L 5cyl 5M), 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M), SEL PZEV 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 5M), SE PZEV 4dr Sedan w/Convenience (2.5L 5cyl 5M), SE PZEV 4dr Sedan w/Convenience, Sunroof (2.5L 5cyl 6A), SE 4dr Sedan w/Convenience, Sunroof (2.5L 5cyl 6A), SE 4dr Sedan w/Convenience (2.5L 5cyl 5M), TDI 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6M), SEL 4dr Sedan w/Navigation (2.5L 5cyl 5M), TDI 4dr Sedan w/Premium, Navigation (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6M), SE PZEV 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 5M), S 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 6A), SE PZEV 4dr Sedan w/Convenience (2.5L 5cyl 6A), SEL PZEV 4dr Sedan w/Navigation (2.5L 5cyl 6A), SEL PZEV 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 6A), SEL PZEV 4dr Sedan w/Navigation (2.5L 5cyl 5M), SEL 4dr Sedan w/Navigation (2.5L 5cyl 6A), and SEL 4dr Sedan (2.5L 5cyl 5M).

What's a good price on a Used 2013 Volkswagen Jetta?

Price comparisons for Used 2013 Volkswagen Jetta trim styles:

  • The Used 2013 Volkswagen Jetta TDI is priced between $9,995 and$13,990 with odometer readings between 21207 and93193 miles.
  • The Used 2013 Volkswagen Jetta SE PZEV is priced between $5,995 and$10,495 with odometer readings between 41366 and139295 miles.
  • The Used 2013 Volkswagen Jetta S is priced between $7,350 and$7,988 with odometer readings between 63640 and74907 miles.

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Which used 2013 Volkswagen Jettas are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2013 Volkswagen Jetta for sale near. There are currently 51 used and CPO 2013 Jettas listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $5,995 and mileage as low as 21207 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2013 Volkswagen Jetta.

Can't find a used 2013 Volkswagen Jettas you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Volkswagen Jetta for sale - 5 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $22,870.

Find a used Volkswagen for sale - 9 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $14,982.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen Jetta for sale - 2 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $9,427.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen for sale - 4 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $24,722.

Should I lease or buy a 2013 Volkswagen Jetta?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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