By Steve Wheeler
Advocate WHEELS editor
June 01, 2013
Hybrid vehicle owners love to talk about the mileage they get in their cars, but our guess is that some secretly long for more a little more power to go along with the mpgs. Enter the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid, Volkswagen’s way of allowing people with cake to eat it, too.
“You can have economy and you can have power,” said Scott Viazin, Volkswagen’s vice president for brand communications.
The new Jetta Hybrid, expected to achieve a combined fuel economy rating of 45 mpg with a turbocharged engine, will go on sale at the end of this year, he said.
It was bound to happen.
Hybrids get better mileage and turbochargers provide an extra boost to the engine’s performance. It may seem incongruent, but it’s hard to argue with the results.
Volkswagen, known for its fuel-efficient and torque-heavy diesel engines, put a 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder in the Jetta Hybrid. While it’s giving you 45 mpg, the Jetta Hybrid will take you from a standstill to 60 mph in 8.6 seconds. That folks, is fuel efficiency and power in a Jetta package.
Available in four trim levels – Hybrid, Hybrid SE, Hybrid SEL and Hybrid Premium – the Jetta Hybrid also has a remarkably fast dual-clutch 7-speed automatic transmission that helps it achieve the best acceleration in the compact sedan hybrid class. With the Jetta Hybrid, you don’t have to sacrifice performance for mpgs.
The Jetta Hybrid is a full hybrid in that it can run on electric power alone up to 44 miles per hour for about a mile, assuming of course that you are feather-footed enough to keep the gasoline engine from kicking in. When you mat the pedal, the gas engine and electric motor combine to produce 170 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque.
The battery for the electric motor is recharged during coasting and braking. Bringing the Jetta Hybrid to a stop requires some getting used to; the brakes can feel, for lack of a better word, weird. That’s typical of lots of hybrids. The Jetta Hybrid actually steps out of gear when coasting and braking, so the brakes are the only thing that stops the car.
Inside, the Jetta Hybrid is Jetta-ish, only with different displays to keep track of hybrid activities. Instead of a tachometer, there is a “Power Meter” that registers how the driver is doing from an energy use standpoint. Green means the driver is actually adding energy by coasting and braking. Blue means efficient driving, and above means you’re in a hurry.
Materials used in the cabin are of good quality and nice, but the surprise inside is how much room there is in the rear seat. The Jetta Hybrid has the most rear-seat legroom and the largest trunk in the compact hybrid sedan class.
The base Jetta Hybrid starts at $24,995, the SE model starts at $26,990, the SEL begins at $29,325 and the top-of-the-line SEL Premium is $31,180. With an 11.9-gallon fuel tank, the Jetta Hybrid has an impressive range of at least 535 miles on a tank of premium unleaded gasoline.
Not yet rated for safety, the Jetta Hybrid has a full complement of airbags, including side curtains front and rear.
This newest Jetta could wind up being the most popular yet in six Jetta generations.
With the Jetta Hybrid’s impressive fuel economy and turbo acceleration, drivers can have their cake and eat it too.