The Jetta is one of the best-selling models of Volkswagen in the United States. Since its introduction at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 1979, the car has been a favorite among people who need a compact car with a touch of class. It was originally introduced as a Golf hatchback with a conventional truck extension in the rear, but over the years it has become a well-designed car with a strong powertrain and great features. The sixth generation of the car was recently introduced in June 2010. Volkswagen brought some significant changes to the model by making It cheaper and more in line with the competition.
New For 2013
Although the Jetta is already available in diesel-sipping TDI trim, there’s a new, even more efficient Hybrid model for 2013 that is expected to achieve 45 mpg for its combined city/highway rating. The gas-electric Jetta is one of the better-driving hybrids you can buy, thanks to the fact that it retains Volkswagen’s signature dual-clutch automatic transmission instead of adopting a continuously variable transmission like most other hybrids.
While the older generations of the Jetta shared some exterior components with the Golf, the current generation has no connections with Volkswagen’s popular hatchback. Its styling is not as distinctive as before either; it shares the some conservative shape and design of its competitors. Nevertheless, the car is still quite a looker. The rounded design elements from older generations are sacrificed for a more angular shape with creased sheet metal. The thin, rectangular headlights flank the slim grille with the oversized Volkswagen badge. The shape continues smoothly from front to rear with no flaring or lines; clean and simple. The rear itself resembles that of an Audi, especially the taillights. Nothing about the car’s design really stays in mind, but thankfully it is not an eyesore either. 15-inch wheels are fitted as standard, and so are power-operated heated side mirrors. Optional features include fog lights, moonroof, body colored side mirrors, turn signal indicators integrated with the mirrors and 16-inch or 17-inch wheels.
Interior & Cargo
The base model of the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta comes with height-adjustable front seats, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, power windows, four-speaker stereo system, auxiliary jack, CD player, 60/40 split rear seats, and cloth upholstery. The higher-end Jetta S model is fitted with power door locks, keyless entry, air conditioning, and optional sunroof, cruise control, and front center console. The next model in line is the Jetta SE, which gets two-way power front seats with manual lumbar adjustments, leather-wrapped brake handle, shift knob, and steering wheel, trunk pass-through, vinyl upholstery, and a rear center armrest. Optional features include heated front seats, an iPod interface, six-speaker audio system, and Bluetooth connectivity. The top-end SEL comes with all the above along with a six-way power driver seat, trip computer, and an optional touchscreen navigation system with an eight-speaker Fender stereo system.
The features list is pretty average, and so is the cabin in general. Like the exterior, there is nothing that stands out inside the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta either. Build quality is good as usual, but there are some signs of poor design and hard plastic surfaces. The finer details are missing everywhere in the cabin, leading to a lackluster interior. Nevertheless, the cabin is still large and functionally focused like always. The front and rear seats get lots of legroom and headroom. In fact, the rear of the Jetta is probably one of the most spacious in its class. The trunk is another plus point; 15.5 cubic feet of space with the seats up is better than the space offered by most other competitors. The touchscreen stereo interface that comes in high-end models is another great addition. It allows easy control over the stereo system, but the navigation system that comes along with the package lacks functionality because of the small screen.
Front side airbags, traction and stability control, active front head restraints, anti-lock brakes, and side curtain airbags are standard safety features in the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta. The base mode has rear drum brakes; all other models get disc brakes at the front and rear. Braking power is a little better than average with a braking distance that ranges from 117 feet for the SEL model.
The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta is available with a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that delivers 115 horsepower and 125 lb-ft of torque. The engine is combined with a five-speed, manual transmission as standard or a six-speed automatic as an option. The SE and SEL models get a better 2.5-liter, five-cylinder engine that delivers 170 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque. The same transmission options are available, and the fuel economy with either engine is almost the same at 24/29 mpg city/highway. The SEL can go from standstill to 60 miles per hour in around 8.4 seconds, which is very respectable number.
Both engines are built with the same level of quality one can expect from a German automaker. However, the base 2.0-liter engine is underpowered for most purposes. It does not offer much of an advantage in terms of fuel economy either, so the bigger 2.5-liter engine is clearly the better choice. It does lack the smoothness and refinement present in the smaller engines and other engines used in competing cars, but it still stands as a better choice. Both automatic and manual transmissions work very well, but the automatic transmission may be associated with a delayed throttle response.
Key Competitors For The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta
- Chevrolet Cruze
- Ford Focus
- Honda Civic
- Subaru Impreza