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.
This is a big car for its class but needs the 2.5 litre to make it work. The 5 speed manual transmission seems too tall in an attempt to gain fuel mileage. An extra gear in the manual gear box is needed to bring some life to it. The space is off the charts compared to any competitor which is a big asset when you have a family to fit in the back seat and luggage in the trunk. The Civic and Elantra might win the "fun" category but the space, quiet ride and solid road performance in weather trump the fun factor for me. It is not a TDI (my previous car was a '05 Jetta TDI before the moose destroyed it) and if you can afford it, go with the TDI. The TDI is a Santa bag of fun with crazy torque!
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.
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.
SE 4dr Sedan w/Convenience, Prod. End 4/13 (2.5L 5cyl 5M)
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. UPDATE--Sept 2017 Still enjoy the car and now had a small problem. The horn system went out so no horn at any time. Was fixed within 2 hours by Fowler VW and only cost $100.00 since we had the extended warranty. Still want to keep the car. I HAVE driven the new Jetta's but don't like the 4-cylinder, no matter gas mileage it gets. My next Jetta WILL be a used one that has the 5-cylinder!