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Average User Score
4 ⁄ 5 stars
Based on 1 review
2013 Volkswagen Jetta Overview
Overall User Score
Based on 1 review
In an effort to stave off an outright revolt from brand fans since its 2011 redesign, Volkswagen upgrades the Jetta cabin for 2013 to include features like a soft-touch dash and additional seat configurations for select trims, plus a few added features to existing option packs. VW also promises a hybrid for 2013, though very little of that beyond its 45 highway mpg will be known until its launch at an as-yet undisclosed date. Aside from that every mechanical piece and body panel is exactly as it was for 2012, along with the same 5 trim levels, indicating Volkswagen is sticking to its cost-cutting guns despite driver desires for compelling style, more power out of the base engine and a return to the previous generation's multilink suspension. Well, that's what loyal long-time drivers think, at least.
Volkswagen is on a mission to flood North American markets and get a V-dub in as many driveways as possible. To that end, VW took on Toyota's cost-cutting philosophy and started pushing out cars by the hundreds, sometimes of questionable quality. The 2011 Jetta redesign is the proof in that pudding with a less-refined suspension, base engine and cabin than previous generations—a move that ticked off brand fans, but newcomers to this German make don't seem to mind at all. The Jetta stands neck and neck with the competition in its price point for overall quality, so instead of getting a several-thousand-dollar discount off the quality brand fans are used to, loyal drivers are disappointed to find no freebies or givens in this less-expensive Americanized version. First-time drivers, on the other hand, couldn't be more elated.
Going into 2013 the 5-passenger midsize Jetta sedan continues in S, SE, SEL, TDI and GLI forms. Every trim but the sunroof-less S editions now gets an adjustable front armrest standard. SE and TDI trims get a bit more chrome on the outside, metallic trim inside and now feature power-reclining front seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter. The SEL gets that soft-touch dash even without the Premium options upgrade for 2013, and if you get the Navigation upgrade, a Fender Premium stereo comes with it. The TDI with Premium and Navigation now gets a 6-way powered driver's seat and 17-inch alloy wheels standard for 2013, an inch bigger than the last model. Last but not least, the GLI, the performance pedigree of the bunch, now gets launch control standard to ensure the automated-manual transmission doesn't make your tires spin too much, and getting the Navigation upgrade adds otherwise unavailable features like a backup camera and LED daytime running lights.
There are a few more changes, like the addition of manual lumbar support in select trims and things of that sort, and in all it seems like Volkswagen left no stone unturned in trying to appease its loyal fanbase. Well, except for that uninspiring body, suspension and base 2-liter engine. Fetching 23 mpg city/29 highway with just 115 horses on tap, it's best to just skip that inline 4-cylinder altogether and go for the 2.5-liter inline-5 good for 23/33 with the 5-speed manual or 24/31 with the 6-speed automatic while pumping out 170 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. The 2-liter is simply sub-par, with every other Jetta hitting 60 mph from a standstill in 8.6 seconds or less and fuel economy in the 30s—the turbodiesel TDI taking the economical crown for now at 30/42 mpg. This reviewer might not have said so for 2012, but the 2013 Jetta definitely merits a closer look.
by Patricia Mayo
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