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10 Things You Need To Know About The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

Benjamin Hunting
by Benjamin Hunting
June 24, 2013
4 min. Reading Time

Some were surprised when Volkswagen moved into the hybrid sedan space with the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid.  After all, the German brand had spent decades refining its turbodiesel technology, which offers excellent fuel mileage with far fewer emissions concerns than when it initially debuted.  The fact is a car company needs to cover every single conceivable niche in its lineup in order to attract as many customers as possible, which has fueled Volkswagen's expansion into hybrid vehicles and lead to the Jetta joining the Touareg Hybrid SUV.  Of course, VW added a unique twist of their own to the battery-assisted concept, making the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid one of the most appealing vehicles to drive in its class.

Let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

01 - The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid Is All-New - To A Point

As mentioned above, the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid is the very first gasoline / electric sedan to be marketed by the automaker in the United States.  The drivetrain inside the vehicle is completely new, with no real analogy to be found even in the performance-oriented Touareg Hybrid SUV.  In terms of styling, however, the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid looks very much like its gas-only counterpart with a few aerodynamic tweaks to be found here and there.  This conservative, yet attractive design on the outside is coupled with the spacious interior that the compact sedan has been offering buyers for several years now.


02 - The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid Features A Turbocharged Engine

Perhaps the most unusual aspect of the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid is the fact that the gasoline component of its hybrid drivetrain makes use of a turbocharger.  The 1.4-liter engine combines with a single electric motor and is boosted to produce a total of 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque - very close to the numbers posted by the Jetta's entry-level gas engine.  The vehicle is also capable of operating on battery power alone at speeds of up to 44 miles per hour thanks to the vehicle's E-Mode feature, although it doesn't have quite the same range as a plug-in hybrid's larger battery pack has to offer.


03 - The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid Comes With A Seven-Speed Transmission

The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid features a seven-speed, dual-clutch automated manual transmission, which is another unusual aspect of its gasoline/electric offering.  Dubbed 'DSG' by Volkswagen's marketing department, the unit offers one more forward cog than any other transmission in the Jetta lineup, and it provides quicker shifting than a traditional automatic or even what a human could accomplish with a clutch pedal.  The DSG unit also avoids the buzzing associated with continuously-variable automatic transmissions, which are a favorite amongst hybrid designers, and helps the car feel more like a gas-powered sedan in most driving situations.


04 - The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid Is Fuel Efficient

There's really only two reason that car companies build hybrids: to dazzle customers with lofty fuel mileage figures, and to improve their overall corporate fuel economy rating in the eyes of federal regulators.  The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid certainly doesn’t disappoint in either department, as it boasts stop and go performance of 42-mpg along with 48-mpg during highway cruising.  This might not be tops in the hybrid world (witness the Prius and its 51-mpg city rating), but it does mark a significant improvement over the 24-mpg city / 34-mpg highway rating and looks good alongside other compact sedans like the Honda Civic Hybrid.


05 - The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid Offers Real-World Performance

The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid is not a sport sedan but it does borrow some of its suspension from the VW GLI, with which it shares its platform.  By grafting on the GLI's independent rear suspension (a must for accommodating the car's battery pack), the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid handles far better than one might expect from an entry-level automobile.  This nimbleness combines with the generous horsepower and torque generated by the Jetta Hybrid's turbocharged engine and DSG transmission to deliver the kind of acceleration, passing power, and steering that one rarely encounters in the compact hybrid segment.


06 - The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid Is Available In Four Trim Levels

The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid starts out in base trim, which is offered by VW by way of special order only.  The base Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid comes with 15-inch rims, power windows and door locks, vinyl seats, a folding rear row, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, a rear spoiler, and dual automatic climate control.  Stepping up to the Jetta Hybrid SE introduces keyless entry and ignition, partial power seats, a touchscreen audio system, LED tail lights, and satellite radio.  The SEL adds 16-inch rims, heated seats, a navigation system, and a sunroof, while the SEL Premium provides HID headlights, LED running lights, an upgraded sound system, a rearview camera, and 17-inch rims.


07 - The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid Delivers Modern Safety

The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid comes with all of the same safety features that can be found in the gas-only editions of the Jetta sedan.  This means that the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid features side curtain airbags that deploy front and rear, side impact airbags for forward occupants, as well as multi-stage front airbags.  Electronic stability control, traction control, and anti-lock brakes are also standard with the car.  Notably absent from the list of safety features found with the Jetta Hybrid are active systems such as a blind spot monitoring system, which are increasingly becoming optional on entry-level cars.


08 - The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid Beats Its TDI Rival In Efficiency

For many years the mileage leader in the Volkswagen sedan lineup has been the Jetta TDI.  Not anymore.  The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid trumps the 30-mpg city and 42-mpg highway rating posted by the 2.0-liter turbodiesel version of the compact car, although it can't catch up to the strong torque produced by the four-cylinder TDI engine.  Both fuel efficient drivetrains have their merits, and it's largely up to individual drivers to decide if they prefer the linear acceleration and long highway legs of the Jetta TDI or the all-around efficiency promised by the Jetta Hybrid.


09 - The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid Loses Some Trunk Space

Every electric car has to keep its battery pack somewhere, and for hybrid sedans the positioning of the engine at the front of the vehicle necessitates a rear placement for its energy source.  We've already mentioned that the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid gains an independent rear suspension system to make room for its battery, but despite the space freed up by this design it was still necessary to cut close to four cubic feet from the compact car's trunk to accommodate the unit.  This means that the vehicle offers a total of 11.3 cubic feet of total trunk space, which is a few steps behind its rivals.


10 - The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid Is The Most Expensive Jetta

Hybrid cars tend to be pricier than any other model in their respective lineups, and the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid is no exception.  The base Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid starts at an MSRP of $24,995, which is just over $8,000 more expensive than the entry-level Jetta S and close to $2,000 more than the efficient Volkswagen Jetta TDI.  In its top-spec Hybrid SEL Premium trim level, the vehicle's MSRP stands at $31,180, which is pricier than a comparably-equipped GLI model.  It would take several years of regular driving to make up the price difference between even the TDI and the Hybrid, despite the efficiency boost of the latter, which is something to keep in mind when shopping this automobile.



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