Car Review: A few tweaks on the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta

The 2013 Volkswagen did get some changes for 2013 making it one of the best choices in its class. Photo: Volkswagen Media

DALLAS, October 7, 2013 — While the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta did not get a total redo in 2013, there were some significant changes that are worth pointing out like the higher end trims, which have new and improved features.  There is also a new four-wheel disc brake system on all but the base of the Jetta this year too.

The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta stands high among the competition.

The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta stands high among the competition.


A roomy ride the competition in this market is the Chevrolet Cruze, Honda Civic and the Ford Focus. A notable standout on the Jetta is the rear seat, which offers more room than the competition by as much as five inches. Other competition sits with the Dodge Dart, Hyundai Elantra and Nissan Sentra, but these are not as fuel efficient as the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta either.

Falling in the home of the midsize sedans, the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta comes with trims including the Base, S, SE, SEL and TDI trim levels.

On the base you get 15-inch steel wheels, power windows, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, height-adjustable front seats, cloth upholstery and a 60/40-split-folding rear seat.

The Jetta S will add air-conditioning, power/heated side mirrors, power door locks and keyless entry and you can also opt for a sunroof and cruise control.

On the SE you will get a bigger engine with 16-inch steel wheels, two-way power front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift knob and brake handle, a rear-seat center armrest and a trunk pass-through. With the Convenience package added you get 16-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, Bluetooth and a six-speaker sound system and a sunroof can be added as well and an upgraded sound system too.

If you go with the SEL trim you get all the SE’s features and 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps, keyless ignition/entry and a six-way power driver seat as well as a touchscreen navigation that also comes complete with eight-speakers Fender premium and a subwoofer.

The Jetta TDI offers a turbo-diesel engine under the hood and inside the SE Convenience package is standard. On the TDI you can have a Premium package upgrade offering a sunroof and Fender sound system with a touchscreen interface. There are also 17-inch alloy wheels and a six-way power driver seat and keyless ignition/entry.

Under the hood, the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta S has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 115 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque. On this trim the five-speed manual transmission is standard, but a six-speed automatic is optional.

The Jetta SE and SEL come equipped with the 2.5-liter inline-5 engine giving it 170 horsepower and 177 pound feet of torque. On that, it is a five-speed manual transmission, but again, you can opt for a six-speed automatic.

For the The Jetta TDI turbocharged it’s a 2.0-liter diesel inline-4 with 140 horsepower and 236 pound feet of torque. On this one it’s a six-speed manual, but the six-speed dual-clutch automated manual gearbox is optional too.

For safety there are standards on this Jetta like traction and stability control, front side and side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. All trims have the front and rear antilock disc brakes with brake assist except the Base model and that comes with rear drums.

Overall, the interior of the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta is nice inside with hard plastic surfaces and easy to use buttons and knobs. Even with the standard interior, the room inside is worth talking about since there is 15.5-cubic feet of space in the trunk and rear seats are impressive even for the tallest back seats passengers.

Driving this Volkswagen it is built tough and solid and you can feel it as you sit behind the wheel. It’s a good, firm ride and on the fuel efficient diesel TDI the entire package is a real standout.


Should You Need to Know:  The trim levels on the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta are liberal and trim levels offer a good range of features in each class.


Miles Per Gallon: On the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta SEL I drove mileage came in about 26 miles per gallon combined with 24 in the city and 31 miles per gallon on the highway.


Cost: The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta SEL with navigation that I drove had a price tag of $26.045.


Rita Cook  is a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association and can be followed on Twitter at @ritacook13. She is also a 15-year veteran journalist and author, her latest book from History Press  is about Prohibition-Era cocktails in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.





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Rita Cook

Rita Cook is a writer/editor with over 1000 articles to her credit in the past 10-plus years. She is the co-host of a radio show in Los Angeles; Insider Mag Radio at KPRO 1570 am and is on from midnight to 12:30 a.m. Monday mornings.  Cook is a member of the Texas Auto Writer’s Association and also writes an eco-friendly column for the Dallas Morning News.


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