Volkswagen debuts the new Jetta Hybrid
Volkswagen has always enjoyed success with its Jetta sales in the United States. In fact, the Jetta has been VW's top selling vehicle.
The brand is diverse with plenty of choices. Add one more Jetta to consider: the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid. The gas-electric hybrid model is a nice addition to the Jetta lineup, which also features a diesel engine as well as traditional gas-only powered engines.
What sets the Jetta apart from some of the popular compact hybrids is appearance. The Jetta is a more typical looking sedan that veers away from quirky-looking hybrids like the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight.
The Jetta is a more "normal" sedan, but like other compact hybrids it delivers big time in the gas-mileage department. The Jetta hybrid gets between 42-48 mpg, which can match most existing hybrids.
However, note that the Jetta has a higher sticker price, ranging from $24,995 to $31,180. When a Jetta hybrid is fully loaded it approaches the price of midsize hybrids like the 2013 Toyota Camry and Ford Fusion.
2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid
- Performance: 1.4-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder, 170 horsepower
- Mileage estimate range: 42-48 mpg
- Price: $24,995 to $31,180
- Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain 5 years/60,000 miles; roadside assistance 3 years/36,000
Do you get what you paid for with the Jetta hybrid? The new hybrid entry features a roomy cabin, spacious rear seating, quick acceleration for a hybrid, and delivers a smooth and quiet ride quality.
Volkswagen introduces a new drivetrain technology to its U.S. market. The Jetta hybrid is a turbocharged 1.4-liter, four-cylinder that's assisted by a 20-kilowatt electric motor, powered by a lithium-ion battery pack. It has 170 horsepower and produces 184 pound-feet of torque. The power drives the front wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
For a hybrid, the Jetta is fairly quick. Volkswagen says it has been clocked going 0-60 mph in 8.6 seconds. But drivers will experience some accelerator issues. Press down on the gas pedal from a start position and it takes a moment for the Jetta to get going. But once the Jetta starts accelerating it does just fine, providing solid freeway passing power and hill climbing without laboring too much.
Most Jetta models provide a smooth and refined ride, and the hybrid is no exception. The handling gives the driver a good feel for the road and there's little wind noise. There are some critics of the regenerative braking system, but overall the braking is about normal for a hybrid.
The hybrid cabin mirrors the gas-powered Jetta sedan. There is a new soft-touch dashboard, eliminating much of the previous hard plastic. The front and back seating offers comfort and the trunk size is expansive for a hybrid with 11.3 cubic feet of space.
The new Jetta hybrid could be a step toward the future. It's a more mainstream looking vehicle that just happens to deliver exceptional gas mileage. While there are still some minor issues (like braking) with the Jetta, it's a good effort by Volkswagen in making its debut in the compact hybrid class.
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