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2013 Volkswagen Jetta Review

A used 2013 Volkswagen Jetta has blasé acceleration and a low reliability rating that position it near the bottom of our rankings. However, it has one of the most spacious cabins in the class.

Pros & Cons

  • Lots of trunk and passenger space
  • Comfortable cabin
  • Bland interior styling in lower trims
  • Underpowered base engine




Critics' Rating: 7.5
Performance: 7.5
Interior: 8.1
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.2
Safety: 8.7
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2013 Volkswagen Jetta Overview

Is the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta a Good Used Car?

If you’re looking for a compact car that has a good amount of passenger space and a smooth ride, a used 2013 Volkswagen Jetta might be a good choice. However, there are better alternatives in this competitive class. The base model has an underpowered engine and a humdrum cabin design. Higher trim levels offer better performance and improvements to interior quality.

Used 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Performance and Interior

The base model's 115-horsepower four-cylinder engine fails to impress. Instead, you'll want to skip the underpowered base engine and find a model with one of the available engines. Jetta SE and SEL models come with a 170-horsepower five-cylinder, and Jetta GLI models have a 200-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder. Jetta TDI models are powered by a 140-horsepower, turbodiesel four-cylinder. The Jetta TDI was affected by the Volkswagen emissions scandal. Before purchasing a TDI model, make sure Volkswagen has retrofitted it with the proper equipment. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, but the Jetta also offers a six-speed manual, a six-speed automatic, and a six-speed dual-clutch automatic.

This Volkswagen has composed handling, but compact cars like the Mazda3 are more engaging. If you're looking to get the best performance out of the Jetta, a GLI model is your best bet. All Jetta models have strong brakes and responsive steering. The Jetta delivers an EPA-rated 24 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway, which is an average rating in the class. All models come with front-wheel drive. The Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid is reviewed separately.

Read more about Jetta performance »

The five-seat Jetta has two rows of roomy, comfortable seats and good visibility all round. When it comes to interior quality, the base model Jetta is lacking. Although it has a nicely arranged cabin with easy-to-use audio and climate controls, its plain interior has loads of hard plastics. To avoid this, opt for one of the higher trims. There is a complete set of LATCH car-seat connectors in each of the rear outboard seats, with the middle seat having an upper tether. The Jetta has one of the largest trunks in the class and several small-item storage compartments.

Standard features include cloth upholstery, a four-speaker audio system, and heated side mirrors. You might find a model with a Fender premium audio system, a 5-inch touch screen with navigation, HD Radio, Bluetooth, V-Tex leatherette upholstery, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and push-button start.

Read more about Jetta interior »

Used 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Prices

The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta ranges from about $7,400 in the base trim to $11,000 and up for the higher trims. Prices vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, and demand.

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We Did the Research for You: 49 Reviews Analyzed

To give you a complete overview of the 2013 Jetta – and make your car-shopping experience easier – we analyzed 49 Volkswagen Jetta reviews alongside reliability ratings, safety scores, and more.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles for a decade, and our crew has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we do not accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an external company manages the ads on our site.

How Reliable Is the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta?

The Jetta has a 2.5 out of five reliability rating from J.D. Power, which is below average compared to all cars on the road. By comparison, the Honda Civic has a much better rating of 4.5 out of five.

See Jetta reliability scores »

How Safe Is the Jetta?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Jetta a 2013 Top Safety Pick as well as the highest rating of Good in four crash tests and a Marginal rating in small overlap front test.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Jetta four stars in frontal and rollover tests and five stars in side crash tests for a four-star overall rating. Some models come with a rearview camera.

See Jetta safety scores »

Is the 2013 Jetta the Best Model Year to Buy?

The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta is a part of a generation that started in 2011. The 2013 Jetta added the availability of power-reclining front seats. Models from more recent years like 2017 have an upgraded infotainment system, but they are more expensive. By choosing the 2012 model, you’ll likely save money. The 2011 Jetta is similar to 2012 and 2013 models, but it’s even cheaper.

Compare the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Jetta »

Which Used Volkswagen Jetta Is Right for Me?

The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta comes in five trim levels: S, SE, SEL, TDI, and GLI. The base model comes with a scarce amount of features and an underpowered engine, so choosing an upper trim level will give you more features and better acceleration.

The SEL trim offers the most value. It has all the base trim features plus heated front seats, push-button start, a sunroof, satellite radio, a power-adjustable driver's seat, and Bluetooth. You might find a model with navigation and the Fender premium audio system. For even better performance, take a look at the GLI trim, which features a sport suspension and a turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

The Jetta has a below-average reliability rating, so it may benefit you to choose a certified pre-owned vehicle. Volkswagen provides a two-year/24,000-mile limited warranty on all of its certified pre-owned vehicles. Each CPO Volkswagen must pass a 160-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Volkswagen warranty page carefully.

Read more about certified pre-owned vehicles »
Read more about the Volkswagen certified pre-owned program »

2013 Volkswagen Jetta and Other Cars to Consider

Which Is Better: 2013 Volkswagen Jetta or 2013 Volkswagen Passat?

The 2013 Volkswagen Passat is a midsize car that has higher safety scores and comes standard with Bluetooth and a rearview camera. Nonetheless, there are a lot of similarities between these two models. They both have great passenger and trunk space, but low reliability ratings. The Passat is the slightly better vehicle, but choosing the base Jetta could save you more than $2,500.

Which Is Better: 2013 Volkswagen Jetta or 2013 Hyundai Elantra?

The 2013 Hyundai Elantra is a higher-ranked compact car. It has slightly better safety scores and lower ownership costs. There's also a hatchback model with up to 51 cubic feet of cargo space. The Elantra comes with satellite radio and a USB port (not found in the base Jetta), and some models have leather seats. Additionally, the Hyundai delivers higher fuel economy estimates. Go with the Elantra.

Compare the Jetta, Passat, and Elantra »

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