2013 Volkswagen Jetta

Base FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4 man trans

Base FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4 man trans

2013 volkswagen jetta Reviews and News

2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid Front Left View
The Jetta Hybrid is Volkswagen's second hybrid vehicle sold in the U.S. (after the Touareg), and it represents a bit of a capitulation for the German automaker. You've got to figure that VW would prefer that fuel-economy-conscious Americans just buy diesels, which VW has lots of experience with and which are immensely popular in Europe. VW also offers diesels here, but now it offers both TDI and Hybrid models of the Jetta. So, does the Hybrid come off as a grudgingly developed compliance car?

This Hybrid Is No Killjoy

Not at all. For a hybrid, this Jetta drives a lot like a Volkswagen. The gasoline engine is a spry, 1.4-liter turbocharged four (found also under the hood of the next-generation Golf in Europe). It's paired with a 27-hp electric motor, located between the engine and the transmission, and a lithium-ion battery. Total system output is 170 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, the latter available from only 1000 rpm. Better yet, that torque is sent to the front wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox rather than a droning CVT.
The Jetta Hybrid is no snail. The instantly available torque makes it feel much quicker than the factory-estimated 0-to-60-mph time of 8.6 seconds. The dual-clutch gearbox is so much more pleasant than a CVT, and, unlike some VW dual-clutch units, this one is pretty smooth on takeoff at low speeds.
Volkswagen also gave the Hybrid the multilink rear suspension that is otherwise reserved for the GLI (other Jettas make do with a beam axle). Unsurprisingly, the Hybrid carries extra weight (229 pounds more than the 2.5-liter model and 154 pounds more than the GLI). That keeps it from being a lively corner carver like the GLI, but the chassis is more firm than flaccid, and the well-tuned electric power steering is welcome.
Dynamically, then, the Jetta Hybrid would seem to be a home run -- that is, until you hit the brake pedal. The grabby regenerative brakes are the one area where this Volkswagen is pure hybrid.

What About Fuel Economy?

Because it's a pure hybrid, the Jetta system allows the car to use battery power only. Punch the EV button next to the transmission to extend electric mode up to as high as 44 mph under ideal conditions. Even without calling up EV mode, VW claims that the Hybrid can cruise silently and emissions-free up to 37 mph, but hilly terrain, sub-freezing temperatures, and (perhaps) my driving style conspired against that, because the little turbo four burbled away pretty much the whole time.
That may explain why this test car averaged just under 30 mpg over 210 miles of mostly in-town driving. The Jetta Hybrid's EPA estimates are a lofty 42 mpg in the city and 47 mpg on the highway, but I never saw mileage in the 40s.
If you really want to know what the powertrain is up to at any given moment, the e-meter (which replaces the tachometer) gives a pretty good indication. For even more detail, the central LCD screen can present information about energy flow -- but we wonder whether anyone still finds that interesting.

Four Trim Levels

Other than the special instrumentation, there aren't many visual clues to distinguish the Hybrid from other Jettas. The exterior has a Hybrid-specific grille and wheels, and the VW logo is edged in blue. Oftentimes, a hybrid version of a specific car will be its own trim level, but the Jetta Hybrid can be had four ways. The base model starts at $25,790 (with destination) and includes Bluetooth, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Next up is the SE ($27,785), which adds a touch-screen radio and keyless start. The SEL ($30,120) includes a sunroof, navigation, a power driver's seat, and heated front seats -- the latter being particularly important given how icy the "V-Tex leatherette" upholstery can feel in cold weather. Predictably, our test car was the top-spec version, the SEL Premium ($31,975), which comes with Fender premium audio, a backup camera, and bixenon headlamps. This top-spec Hybrid is about $5000 more than a roughly equivalent 2.5 SEL with Navigation and about $3000 more than a similar TDI SEL. At the lower end of the spectrum, the base Hybrid represents only an $840 premium over the base TDI.

Hybrid vs. diesel

The Hybrid's EPA ratings of 42/47 mpg beat the TDI's 39/42 mpg, but anecdotal evidence suggests that EPA ratings are likely to understate a diesel's real-world mileage, whereas they tend to overstate what you'll probably see with a hybrid. Consider also that the Jetta Hybrid requires premium gasoline, which in many states is almost as expensive as diesel, and it becomes harder to make the case for the Hybrid, at least budget-wise. Volkswagen may have come late to gasoline-electric powertrains, but it has done an impressive job with the Jetta Hybrid. It doesn't have the lethargy of a hybrid -- but then again, it doesn't always have the great fuel economy of a hybrid, either. As it turns out, the Jetta makes a pretty good hybrid, but I'd still say that it makes a better diesel.

2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid SEL Premium

Base price: $31,975
Price as tested: $32,010
Standard Equipment:
1.4-liter turbocharged I-4 engine and electric motor
Front-wheel drive
7-speed DSG automatic transmission
Traction control, stability control
Electronic differential lock (EDL)
Power windows w/one-touch up/down for all windows
Power door locks w/remote
Keyless ignition
Power mirrors
Adjustable front center armrest w/storage box
Split-folding rear seat w/center armrest and pass-through
Fender premium touch-screen AM/FM/Sirius audio system w/CD player, iPod cable, and Bluetooth
Rearview camera
Heated seats
Power driver's seat
Tilt and telescoping steering column
Bi-Xenon headlamps w/LED daytime running lamps
LED taillamps
Cruise control
Automatic climate control
Power sunroof
17-inch wheels
V-Tex leatherette
Rear spoiler
Options on this vehicle:
First aid kit - $35
Key options not on vehicle:
1.4-liter turbocharged I-4
20kW electric motor
Power: 170 hp @ 5000 rpm
Torque: 184 lb-ft @ 1000 rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
Drive: Front-wheel
Steering: Electrically assisted rack-and-pinion
Front suspension: Strut-type with lower control arms, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Rear suspension: Multilink, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Brakes: Four-wheel disc, ABS
Tires: 205/50R-17
L x W x H: 182.8 x 70.0 x 57.2 in
Wheelbase: 104.4 in
Track F/R: 60.7/60.9 in
Weight: 3312 lb
Cargo volume: 11.3 cu ft
0-60 mph: 8.6 seconds
EPA Mileage (city/highway/combined): 42/48/45 mpg
2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid Front View
With the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid, we see that VW intends to give Toyota a lesson. After a long period of disdain, VW first had only entered the category in 2011, and it was with the imposingly expensive Touareg Hybrid, which utilizes a nickel-metal hydride battery. Now the Germans have outfitted their best-selling Jetta with a parallel-hybrid system and a lithium-ion battery, and the result is impressive.
The 2013 Jetta Hybrid receives the new turbocharged-and-intercooled, direct-injection DOHC 1.4-liter four cylinder, making 150 hp. This premium-fueled prima donna shares quarters with but can completely disconnect from a water-cooled 20-kilowatt electric motor that raises maximum combined output to 170 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque.
Together or separately, depending on driver inputs, the gas and electric power sources feed a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. By selecting sport mode, or simply by knocking the gear lever into manual mode and moving it up or down, the driver can hold ratios as long as desired. On northern New Mexico mountain roads where we tested the car, the manual shifting helped us to restrain our speed on steep downhill segments rather than riding the brakes. And even though the torque peak of 184 lb-ft is available at 1600 rpm, we downshifted and brought the revs up before attempting passing maneuvers. Admittedly, this might have been just to hear the little four's lusty wail.
An even more appealing aspect of the Jetta Hybrid's powertrain is that, unlike the Toyota Prius's flatulent, continuously variable transmission, there's never the feeling that you've just sat on a whoopee cushion. This is due to the sophisticated gearbox. The engine gains revs progressively instead of seeming to undergo sudden, intense gamma ray bombardment, and invites enthusiastic driving. To this end, paddle shifters would be nice, but they're not offered.

Creeping around in E-Mode

Another interesting aspect of the Jetta Hybrid's driving experience comes from the E-Mode button found near the shifter. Pressing this button enables the car to drive in electric mode up to 44 mph, drawing solely from the 60-cell, 1.1-kWh lithium-ion battery pack for up to 1.2 miles. Sneaking along crowded Alameda Street in downtown Santa Fe, we found that it worked great, although the car surged away from stop signs rather ambitiously when the brake was released. (And the regenerative brakes are just as grabby and irritating as those on any other maker's car that's so equipped.)
Overexuberance is otherwise uncharacteristic of the Jetta Hybrid, though. Only slightly different and more aero-efficient bodywork, along with a discreet new grille and modest labeling, indicate this is a hybrid. Available 17-inch black-and-chrome turbine-blade wheels also distinguish the model. And that's as much tarting up as this hybrid gets.

Displays tend toward redundancy, cliche

Inside the car, an e-meter replaces the tachometer. This power meter is redundant and useless, and we sorely missed the tach. Among other typical functions like audio and navigation, the central display presents the same information about energy flow, and by now even this graphic is beginning to seem cliched. Despite VW's vigorous approach to the hybrid question, there remains a faint whiff of "me, too" about the Jetta Hybrid.
The display also charts zero-emission moments from electric-only operation and provides an instantaneous readout of fuel economy numbers. VW estimates 45 mpg in combined city and highway driving, but final numbers weren't available during the press preview.
When it goes on sale before year's end, the Jetta Hybrid will be offered in four trim levels. The $24,995 base model comes with Bluetooth connectivity, dual-zone climate system, and a leather-wrapped wheel. We drove the SE ($26,990), which adds LED taillights and keyless start. The SEL ($29,325) includes a sunroof, navigation, and heated front seats. Finally, the fancy-pants SEL Premium ($31,180) has the 17-inch alloy wheels, premium audio, a backup camera, and a front-end light show that includes HID lamps, LED positioning lamps, foglamps, and intelligently active application of all this illumination.

Less really Is more

To say the Jetta Hybrid outperforms other compact hybrids is almost to damn it with faint praise. Yes, it rips from 0 to 60 mph in 8.6 seconds. But within the Jetta family, this is the overweight basset hound trying to keep up with experienced retrievers. The Hybrid is 470 pounds heavier than the 2.0L, and the battery pack reduces cargo volume by 27 percent. The 2.0L TDI already achieves 42 mpg highway.
It would seem a peculiar form of madness to shell out more than $30,000 for a well-optioned Jetta Hybrid SEL Premium and then boast of saving fuel, the environment, or one's own sanity.
Yet VW sees a niche for the Jetta Hybrid within the hybrid segment's current three percent of the automotive pie. Compacts account for two-thirds of that slice, and the Jetta Hybrid should help the Germans to what they see as their fair share.

2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

Base price: $24,995
Price as tested: $26,990
On sale: Late 2012
DOHC 1.4-liter four cylinder and 20kW electric motor
Power: 170 hp @ 5000 rpm
Torque: 184 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
Drive: Front-wheel
Electrically assisted rack-and-pinion
Suspension, Front: Strut-type with lower control arms, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Suspension, Rear: Multilink, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Brakes: Four-wheel disc, ABS
Tires: P195/65 R15, 205/55 R16, or 205/50 R17
L x W x H:
182.8 x 70.0 x 57.2 in
Wheelbase: 104.4 in
Track F/R: 60.7/60.9 in
Weight: 3312 lb
Cargo volume: 11.3 cu ft
0-60 MPH:
8.6 seconds
Top Speed: N/A
EPA Mileage: N/A
2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid Front Right Side View
Volkswagen owns the affordable diesel market in the United States. With TDI engines available in the Jetta, Passat, Golf, and Touareg, one out of every five Volkswagens sold in 2011 was powered by a diesel engine. A fifth VW diesel, the Beetle TDI, joins the lineup for 2012, but Volkswagen isn't content to rest on its compression-ignition laurels. Hybrids make up a far larger share of the United States market and the German automaker is keen on capturing some of those buyers. Since the $62,865 Touareg Hybrid struggles with that task, Volkswagen will target a more practical segment and a more reasonable price this fall with the Jetta Hybrid.
The gas-electric Jetta's hardware consists of a 27-hp electric motor sandwiched between a turbocharged, 1.4-liter four-cylinder and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and it should all be good for a combined city/highway fuel-economy rating of 45 mpg. That makes the hybrid significantly more frugal than the 34-mpg diesel Jetta and a touch less efficient than the 50-mpg Toyota Prius.
Put the Jetta Hybrid in "D," and Volkswagen says the car can reach 37 mph on electricity alone, but only masochists will tolerate such pokey acceleration. Pulling into traffic, the Jetta scoots off on electric power until a dampened shudder and muted roar butt in at 20 mph as the gasoline engine fires and spins up to speed. The initial interruption is louder and more abrupt than we'd like, but it isn't any more intrusive than the standard set by the Toyota Prius. For a silent and smooth experience, tap the E-mode button just ahead of the shifter. Doing so recalibrates the accelerator so that the gas engine rarely comes on below a raised electric-only threshold of 44 mph. It works, but you'll be lucky to cover a mile in E-mode before the car reverts to its typical behavior to refresh the battery.
Wafting along in traffic in the standard mode, the gas engine stops and starts frequently and fluidly as you coast and accelerate. In this less aggressive driving, restarts are so smooth that they'd be imperceptible to any driver who wasn't looking for them. When you push the accelerator pedal through the detent at the bottom of its travel, boost mode delivers maximum power -- up to 170 hp -- from both the turbocharged engine and the electric motor. Selecting sport mode from the gear selector makes boost mode available earlier, before the pedal passes through the kickdown switch. Volkswagen believes the Jetta will be the quickest compact hybrid you can buy when it goes on sale later this year. That's not to say it's quick. Owning that claim merely means the VW can beat loafers like the Honda Civic Hybrid and the Honda CR-Z. Acceleration on the low end is as strained as in any compact car, hybrid or otherwise, but we were impressed by the strong top-end pull from the gas engine. The driving experience also benefits from a transmission with seven distinct gears rather than the rubbery uncertainty of a continuously variable transmission.
The steering wheel is weighty and although the electric power assistance isn't as linear or convincing as Volkswagen's best efforts, it's far more direct feeling than what you get from the hybrid establishment. Braking, on the other hand, is marred by the same unpredictable behavior that's typical for gas-electric cars. On our short drive, initial response was different every time we touched the pedal and braking force showed absolutely no correlation with how far or how firmly you pushed the pedal. The only redeeming qualities are the long travel of the pedal and that the binders never bite too sharply. With an active foot, you can massage the pedal for a smooth stop, but it takes far more focus than it should.
Data geeks can feast on powertrain information from three different displays. The tachometer has been replaced by a power meter reading from 0 to 100 percent, with cushions on either end for "charging" and "boost" zones. Just next to that dial, the digital instrument cluster display shows power flow between the engine, motor and wheels. The navigation system also has three hybrid screens including redundant power flow information and long-term fuel economy. The rest of the Jetta Hybrid will be familiar to anyone who has driven the gas or diesel variants. Volkswagen says the subtle exterior tweaks lead to a meaningful reduction in aerodynamic drag, but they weren't noticeable enough to catch our eye as we hurried to the car to escape the winter cold.
The Jetta Hybrid doesn't quite inject sportiness into the hybrid field, but neither is it a fuel-sipping, soul-sucking penalty box. It won't knock its diesel-powered sibling off the pedestal when it comes to efficient driving fun, it won't top the Toyota Prius in fuel economy, and it won't be as cheap as a Honda Insight. But with an expected price around $25,000, the Jetta Hybrid is a worthwhile alternative to less inspired gas-electric cars like the Prius, the Civic Hybrid, and the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid.

2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

On sale: Fall 2012
Base price: $25,000 (est.)
Engine: 1.4L turbo I-4, 150 hp, 184 lb-ft
Motor: 27 hp
Total output: 170 hp
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
Drive: Front-wheel
Fuel economy: 45 mpg (combined)
2013 Volkswagen Jetta
2013 Volkswagen Jetta

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.


We gave the redesigned Jetta a cool reception when it arrived in 2011, but there’s no denying that the car has been a success for Volkswagen. Increased sales have been made possible through significantly lower prices, which are the result of fewer standard features and less-sophisticated technologies. Not only does the Jetta revert to a twist-beam rear suspension as in the car from two generations prior, but the old 2.0-liter four-cylinder from that car reappears, too. Most buyers will opt for the 2.5-liter five-cylinder, which is a better match for the rather sizable Jetta. VW has dialed back materials quality, too, but the interior is still competitive with the best cars in the class. The back seat is enormous, and visibility is great. The de-contenting doesn’t apply to the Jetta Sportwagen or the performance-minded GLI sedan. Those models retain the multilink rear suspension, sharper steering, and higher-quality interior that the Jetta’s reputation was built on. Both the sedan and the wagon are available with a frugal, spirited, and quiet diesel engine that can be mated to a six-speed manual or a six-speed dual-clutch automatic. Alternatively, there’s a Jetta Hybrid that’s equally rewarding and even more efficient. In all, the Jetta doesn’t drive as well as the previous model or the Golf, but it is still a comfortable cruiser that’s a safe buy.


Standard features include ABS; front, side, and side curtain air bags; tire-pressure monitoring; and traction and stability control.

You'll like:

  • Smooth ride
  • Roomy rear seat
  • GLI is fun and spirited

You won't like:

  • Anemic base engine
  • Cost-cut interior
  • Imprecise steering

Key Competitors For The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta

  • Chevrolet Cruze
  • Ford Focus
  • Honda Civic
  • Subaru Impreza
2013 Volkswagen Jetta SE Front Three Quarter
The 2014 Volkswagen Jetta added a new 1.8-liter turbo-four engine this year, and we now know how much buyers will pay for the engine, and how much it improves efficiency. As Volkswagen predicted, Jettas equipped with the 1.8T engine will return 26/36 mpg (city/highway) with a five-speed manual transmission or 25/36 mpg with a six-speed automatic.
2013 Volkswagen Jetta SE Front Three Quarter
The 2014 Volkswagen Jetta receives several updates to help keep it competitive in the compact sedan segment. The most important of those are a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine and independent rear suspension.
2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid Front Left View 1
Jetta shoppers seeking improved fuel economy suddenly have two very strong choices: hybrid or diesel. Most enthusiasts will probably default to the TDI diesel model, but the Hybrid is worth a serious look.

2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid SEL Premium

VW Screencap 5
The Volkswagen Jetta TDI and Beetle Convertible star in new ads that once again prove the automaker executes humorous spots better than most. Now a few years after the Volkswagen Passat and a mini-Darth Vader were featured in a Super Bowl ad, it's the diesel-powered Jetta and drop-top Beetle that are the focuses of this Feature Flick.
Volkswagen Cross Up Front
The Up!-sized Volkswagen Cross Up! -- a lifted version of the Up! city car first shown at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show -- is debuting at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show.

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2013 Volkswagen Jetta
2013 Volkswagen Jetta
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24 MPG City | 34 MPG Hwy
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2013 Volkswagen Jetta Specifications

Quick Glance:
2.0L I4Engine
Fuel economy City:
24 MPG
Fuel economy Highway:
34 MPG
115 hp @ 5200rpm
125 ft lb of torque @ 4000rpm
  • Air Conditioning (optional)
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks
  • Power Seats (optional)
  • Steering Wheel Tilt
  • Cruise Control (optional)
  • Sunroof (optional)
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer Rear (optional)
  • Electronic Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential (optional)
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear (optional)
  • CD Player (optional)
  • CD Changer (optional)
  • DVD (optional)
  • Navigation (optional)
36,000 miles / 36 months
60,000 miles / 60 months
Unlimited miles / 144 months
36,000 miles / 36 months
36,000 miles / 36 months
Recall Date
The Gates Corporation (Gates) is recalling certain aftermarket Tru-Flow Water Pumps, part number TFW 41127, sold at certain NAPA Auto Parts and/or installed by automotive service technicians after November 1, 2013 (and manufactured August 2013 through October 2013) that have a black-colored pulley/sprocket or do not have 'US9377' stamped on the water pump housing. These service replacement parts were sold for use in model year 1999-2005 Audi A4, 2000-2006 Audi TT, 1998-2005 Volkswagen Beetle, 1999-2006 Golf, 1999-2008 and 2011-2013 Volkswagen Jetta, and 2000-2005 Volkswagen Passat. In the affected water pumps, the pulley or sprocket that turns the timing belt may develop microfractures causing the timing belt to fail.
A failure of the timing belt may cause the engine to shut down, potentially increasing the risk of a vehicle crash.
Gates will notify owners, and dealers will replace the water pump, free of charge. The recall began during May 2014. Owners may contact The Gates Corporation at 1-303-744-1911.
Potential Units Affected
The Gates Corporation

Recall Date
Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (Volkswagen) is recalling certain model year 2010-2014 Volkswagen CC, and Passat, 2010-2013 Eos, 2011-2014 Golf, GTI, Jetta, and Tiguan, and 2012-2014 Jetta Sportwagen vehicles. In the affected vehicles, debris may contaminate the air bag clock spring, a spiral wound, flat cable that keeps the air bag powered while the steering wheel is being turned. This contamination may tear the cable and result in a loss of electrical connection to the driver's frontal air bag.
A loss of electrical connection to the driver's frontal air bag will prevent the air bag from deploying in the event of a vehicle crash, increasing the risk of injury.
Volkswagen will notify owners, and dealers will install a protective cover over the steering wheel clock spring if the air bag light is off. If the airbag light is on and the steering wheel clock spring requires replacement, dealers will install a new steering wheel clock spring. These repairs will be performed free of charge. Interim notices were mailed to owners on September 25, 2015. Owners will receive a second notice on January 15, 2016. Owners may contact Volkswagen customer service at 1-800-822-8987.
Potential Units Affected
Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.

Recall Date
Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (Volkswagen) is recalling certain model year 2011-2013 Jetta vehicles manufactured March 1, 2010, to November 30, 2012, and 2012-2013 Beetle vehicles manufactured March 1, 2011, to July 31, 2013. The durability of the rear trailing arms may be reduced in vehicles whose rear trailing arms have been previously deformed, such as a result of a rear or side-rear impact crash.
The reduced durability of the trailing arm may result in its sudden fracture, possibly causing loss of vehicle control and increasing the risk of a crash.
Volkswagen will notify owners, and dealers will install a sheet metal inlay on the rear axle trailing arms designed to prevent a sudden loss of control in the event of trailing arm sudden fracture, free of charge. The recall began April 7, 2015. Owners may contact Volkswagen customer service at 1-800-893-5298.
Potential Units Affected
Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.

IIHS Front Small Overlap
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
NHTSA Rating Front Side
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
NHTSA Rating Overall
NHTSA Rating Rollover
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
IIHS Overall Side Crash
IIHS Best Pick
IIHS Rear Crash
IIHS Roof Strength

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