It looks great for a midsize sedan. It growls and whistles while it works, putting an aural exclamation point on the exit points on curves, bringing silly grins every time you tap into the boost, doling out slightly notchy shifts and long pedal strokes with the standard six-speed manual, or pinball-quick gear changes via the available dual-clutch box's paddle controls. There's also still a SportWagen model that's based on the old Jetta--the smaller, arguably more sophisticated one with better handling and a higher pricetag. The texture isn't quite as high-grade as before, but it's much better than in the base Jetta. Standard features includes 17-inch wheels; red-painted calipers for the disc brakes; red-stitched sport bucket seats; aluminum pedals and interior trim; fog lamps; and a steering wheel with a flat bottom and red detailing. Overall I would rate this car as excellent but have not owned long enough to comment on longevity. It's not progress on all fronts, but with its new take on value, the Jetta sedan pitches itself squarely into a class of cars where its soft-pedaled style and its emphasis on core engineering actually make it stand out more.
So it has added a new and well-sorted hybrid model that it expects to make up about 5 percent of overall Jetta sales--and attract new buyers who wouldn't previously have consider a Jetta because no hybrid was offered. Two different 18-inch alloy wheels can be ordered as options, along with dual-zone automatic climate control, heated seats, the Fender audio system, and the sunroof. The Jetta sedan is a strong performer in the federal crash-test regimen. The Fender stereo system sounds good, and the navigation system, although rarely used, is intuitive and never led me astray. I am an avid sportsman.
One advantage to the Jetta's upright sedan profile is good outward visibility. All Jetta sedans have a fold-down rear seat, which exposes a rather narrow pass-through to the cabin. Its standard audio is a 400-Watt Fender system that includes Panasonic speakers and a sub-woofer that can rattle its rear package shelf. The comfortable cruising speed that seems like you are not going fast at all is about 80 mph. Its research indicates that hybrid buyers and diesel buyers are two different animals, and one simply won't consider the other powertrain despite its proven efficiency. After hundreds of miles spent in the mainstream Jetta with its 2.
As you can see in the chart below, the performance upgrades were noteworthy. It looks great for a midsize sedan. The seats are comfortable and decently bolstered. Volkswagen now offers no fewer than five engines across six Jetta models that fall into two basic groups. The Jetta's base four-cylinder is an old design with 115 horsepower, and it's not on the radar for performance and falls flat in fuel economy, too.
I rented them several times in Europe and had to have one for daily use. The Jetta is way more fun to drive. The rear roof pillars are tall, the rear-seat headrests are low, and the glass area is large--all of it adding out to better rear and three-quarter visibility than in, say, the more elongated and swoopy Hyundai Elantra compact sedan. The swap-out turns the torsion-beam axle on other models to a true independent suspension. The rear doors open wide, making it easier for adults to climb in and to get comfortable.
The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta lineup expands with the addition of a new hybrid model, and includes trim upgrades for selected models as well. The interior seating space is big enough to fit 4 average adults. Add the Sunroof package, and you get not only the retractable glass roof but also touchscreen controls for the audio system as well. With conservative driving habits it will deliver nearly 40 mpg combined and has plenty of power. The sportwagon meets all my requirements in a small economical package with the right amount of interior quality, storage and electronics for my taste. The 170-hp five-cylinder on the mainstream models is a better offering: acceleration is competitive, though gas mileage is still well below par for the class. Around town the Jetta can be zippy when needed but beware of the turbo lag when pulling out in front of oncoming cross traffic.
In my last update, I looked at the similarities between the Jetta and the much larger. The diesel delivers power in a way that is most useful and economical. It's in back where you'll notice how much this Jetta sedan has changed from the previous editions. I did use the Bluetooth connectivity constantly, mostly to play Pandora through the audio system after my satellite radio subscription lapsed. The economy is great and its performance makes it fun to drive. And I think it gives just as good or better driving comfort than the beemer.
That makes it the sole volume car this year to offer three different types of drivetrains: diesel, gasoline, or gas-electric. We wish this were the base Jetta powertrain, since it delivers 7-second 0-60 mph times just like some bigger, more basic Asian sedans, but with a lot more engaging manners. Although the Jetta is capable of 400-plus-mile journeys on a tank, most fill-ups happened around the 300-mile mark. The chrome highlights through the front and on the dash are also in keeping with the sporty look of the exterior. It also adds the dual-clutch transmission as an option, as well as the touchscreen navigation system. If you're like us, you miss the old Jetta's bustle-backed rear that telegraphed what it was--a Golf with a trunk.