2013 Volkswagen Jetta Review


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Average user score
4.7 5 stars
Based on 9 reviews

2013 Volkswagen Jetta Overview

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.


Your prototypical "Tom Girl" Patricia got her start digging into Ford engines before she aged into double digits. Gifted with a mechanical mind, her favorite pass-time in the summer is picking up a fixer-up'r at the local public auction and massaging its every ailment until it's primed for a new lover. From dirt bikes to land yachts, every partner offers something truly special in her love affair with the road - just don't tell her husband.

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2013 Volkswagen Jetta Top Comparisons

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    Volkswagen Jetta Questions


    How Do I Know If I Screwed Up My Transmission?

    Hi, Today, my car randomly stalled right as I was crossing a main road with cars coming. Luckily I was able to get into the correct lane before it happened, but I went into a panic, and put my car i...

    15 views with 1 answer (last answer about a week ago)

    Volkswagen Jetta 2013

    First problem started were my doors would lock and unlock while I'm driving. Then my passenger side window rolls down by itself, had to place something in button area to keep it from rolling down ...

    5 views with 1 answer (last answer about a month ago)

    Car Sounds Like The Cockpit Of A Small Engine Airplane At Around 30 Mph And...

    26 views with 4 answers (last answer 2 months ago)

    Which Fuse Is For The Lighter Socket In A 2013 Jetta

    The Owner's Manual for my 2013 Jetta does not have a diagram of the fuse box. I need to find the lighter socket fuse. Thanks

    2,403 views with 3 answers (last answer 3 months ago)

    2013 Vw Jetta

    The 12v power outlet stopped working due to a penny falling into the socket & burning out the fuse. The fuse has been replaced, but now none of my car chargers will work in either of the sockets i...

    94 views with 2 answers (last answer 3 months ago)