2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

What’s New for 2013

The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid is an all-new model.

Introduction

It took awhile, but Volkswagen will finally be offering a hybrid vehicle with its upcoming 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid. VW already offers a high fuel economy Jetta with the diesel-fueled TDI model, but the hybrid should appeal to shoppers desiring cleaner tailpipe emissions and a hybrid’s auto-shutoff functionality.

The Jetta Hybrid will use a new turbocharged, direct-injected 1.4-liter four-cylinder and a 20kW electric motor, a combination good for 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. A lithium-ion battery pack serves as the electric motor’s power source, and power is applied to the front wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission. VW says the Jetta Hybrid can go 1.3 miles and up to 44 mph without assistance from the gasoline engine, and combined fuel economy should be about 45 mpg — better than a Jetta TDI, but still not as good as Toyota’s Prius.

We drove a Jetta Hybrid prototype and were impressed with its torque, initial acceleration and the seamless transition between gas and electric power. Like many hybrids based on existing platforms, the Jetta Hybrid will be heavier. VW says the hybrid will weigh about 3,300 pounds — about 150 pounds heavier than a loaded Jetta diesel, and nearly 500 pounds more than the base model. Still, Volkswagen claims the hybrid will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in less than 9 seconds. That’s not an unreasonable projection; the TDI and 2.5-liter gasoline engine models both make the dash in the mid-8-second range. We did notice that the Hybrid’s brakes weren’t very natural-feeling, though presumably VW is still working out the details before the car’s launch.

We expect to see the Jetta Hybrid on the road by this fall, and VW executives suggest that it will be priced competitively with the Prius. Check back for a full review of the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid, including specs, additional driving impressions and buying advice as it becomes available.

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