• Sign in to follow this  
    Followers 0

    2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid


    William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    August 28, 2013

    "Why is Volkswagen doing a hybrid version of the Jetta?!"

    That was my response when the news first came that Volkswagen would be introducing the Jetta Hybrid. On one hand this doesn't make sense. Volkswagen is known as the diesel automaker with five vehicles that offer amazing fuel economy and performance. Plus, diesel vehicles in the U.S. are making huge inroads. According to R.L. Polk, registration of diesel vehicles have increased 24.3 percent from 2010 to 2012.

    However there are still a fair number of the public who believe that diesel is EVIL! Instead they are turning to hybrids which also offers amazing fuel economy numbers. Volkswagen not wanting to miss out on this has created the Jetta Hybrid. But this being Volkswagen, they did it their way. In this case, you'll find a turbocharged engine, dual-clutch gearbox, and promises of fun to driveness. Does it fully work?

    The Jetta Hybrid's design is very much a Jetta. That's to say the current incarnation is very conservative. You'll find crisp lines and a tailored rear end as its distinctive design cues. Some believe the design will age well in the coming years. I agree with that, but is that something you should be proud of in a design?

    gallery_10485_682_1336059.jpg

    There are little giveaways that help differentiate the Jetta Hybrid from a normal Jetta, but you're going to have to get close to notice them. There is a new grille and small spoiler in a effort to improve aerodynamics. Other changes include LED taillights, new wheels, and a number of 'hybrid' badges on the vehicle.

    Moving inside, it's hard to tell the difference between a normal Jetta and Jetta Hybrid. The only real giveaway that you're in the Hybrid is a new gauge cluster that replaces the tachometer with an Eco/Power/Charge gauge that makes no sense. Sure it will tell you how aggressive you are on the throttle, but it's not tied to something quantifiable. Stick with the trip computer in the gauge cluster that provides a screen that shows which powertrain is working if you want to maximize your MPGs.

    Much like the exterior, the Jetta Hybrid's interior design is plain. Material quality is pretty poor as the door panels and lower trim pieces are hard plastics that look like they came from milk crates. This is a huge no-no on a vehicle with a $30k+ pricetag. The only real bright spots inside were a soft touch dash and aluminum-like trim pieces.

    gallery_10485_682_1137410.jpg

    Another downside to the Jetta Hybrid is the infotainment system. Volkswagen uses a small five-inch touch screen that provides radio, navigation, and information about the hybrid system. While I liked the simple navigation interface and the screens showing the important hybrid information, the rest of the system is not great. The touch points on the screen are too small and I found myself repeatedly hitting them to get something to happen. You also can't pan from one part of the map to another which I found somewhat annoying. Finally, I don't like that Volkswagen uses this small screen in a number of their high-end compact vehicles (Jetta Hybrid, GLI, GTI, and Beetle Turbo). I would be willing to shell out a few more dollars just so I can have a larger screen.

    Not all is bad with the Jetta Hybrid's interior. To start, the Jetta Hybrid has one of the largest interiors in the compact class. That means you and your passengers will be able to find a comfortable position in the vehicle. There is also the excellent Fender audio system which pumped out some great sound. I originally thought this would be just a stick-on name to a mediocre sound system, but I was wrong.

    The heart of the Jetta Hybrid is 1.4L turbocharged four-cylinder, paired with a 20kW electric motor. Total output stands at 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. A 220-volt, 60-cell lithium-ion battery pack helps power the electric motor. Volkswagen uses their seven-speed DSG transmission to send the power to front wheels.

    gallery_10485_682_119658.jpg

    The hybrid powertrain provides a surprising punch of power. The 1.4L turbo engine shows little lag and paired with the electric motor, provides smooth acceleration no matter the occasion. The smooth shifting DSG is lightning quick with its gear changes. At low speeds or if you are gentle on the throttle, the Jetta Hybrid will run on the electric motor alone for a time up to 37 MPH. You can also engage E-Mode which turns the engine off and lets you use the electric motor only. I found myself turning on E-Mode when entering my neighborhood to save more gas.

    The one complaint I'll level at the powertrain is when I'm leaving a stop. The powertrain goes through a shuddering stage as the computer works out which mode it should go into. Volkswagen still has some bugs to work out.

    Fuel economy is rated at 42 City/48 Highway/45 Combined. During my week, I got an average 40.1 MPG in mixed driving. This is a vehicle where you have to learn how to drive it correctly if you want to attain high MPG numbers.

    Fun to drive isn't something you would expect of a hybrid, but the Jetta Hybrid is that. Borrowing the suspension from the Jetta GLI, the Hybrid is engaging on a nice curvy road. It's a shame I can't say the same about the Hybrid's steering which is light and not very good at communicating the road to the driver. On the flip side, the suspension is very competent on providing a comfortable and smooth ride. The steering makes it a breeze of navigating tight parking spots and the city.

    gallery_10485_682_464509.jpg

    The big question when talking about hybrids is 'how are the brakes?' The Jetta Hybrid is much like any other hybrid; the brakes are very grabby. Weirdly, I found the pedal would offer some brake feel sometimes and there would be none other times. This is something I believe Volkswagen should go back to the drawing board on.

    The Jetta Hybrid leaves me in a bit of a quandary. On one hand the Jetta Hybrid is packs a nice punch of power from the hybrid powertrain and is very competent when you want to have some fun. But the fuel economy, interior material quality, and as-tested pricetag give me hesitation. Factor in the similar fuel economy and lower pricetag of the Jetta TDI and the Jetta Hybrid becomes a bit tougher to argue.

    In summary: If you want the best hybrid, go with the Prius. If you want the most fuel economy in the Volkswagen family and something fun, go with the Jetta TDI. The Jetta Hybrid just cannot make a very compelling argument.

    gallery_10485_682_1236180.jpg

    Disclaimer: Volkswagen provided the Jetta Hybrid, insurance, and one tank of gas.

    Year: 2013

    Make: Volkswagen

    Model: Jetta Hybrid

    Trim: SEL Premium

    Engine: 1.4L Turbocharged and Intercooled Inline Four-Cylinder, Electric Motor

    Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Seven-Speed DSG Transmission

    Horsepower @ RPM: (Gas) 150 @ 5,000; (Electric) 27 @ 0; (Combined) 170 @ 5,000

    Torque @ RPM: (Gas) 184 @ 1,600; (Electric) 114 @ 0; (Combined) 184 @ 1,000

    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 42/48/45

    Curb Weight: 3,312 lbs

    Location of Manufacture: Puebla, Mexico

    Base Price: $31,180.00

    As Tested Price: $32,010.00* (Includes $795.00 destination charge)

    Options:

    First Aid Kit - $35.00

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

    0


    Sign in to follow this  
    Followers 0


    User Feedback


    William, good job. You are improving as a reporter.

    Now time for you to go and get some seat time in a race setting to start pushing these vehicles to the limit as you test them.. :)

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I would have expected vw to throw a twist on this and bring out a diesel hybrid. That seems to be a development that would produce killer fuel economy.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    William, good job. You are improving as a reporter.

    Now time for you to go and get some seat time in a race setting to start pushing these vehicles to the limit as you test them.. :)

    Thanks Z, means a lot to me.

    As for the other thing.. I need to do a few things before I attempt that.

    I would have expected vw to throw a twist on this and bring out a diesel hybrid. That seems to be a development that would produce killer fuel economy.

    The big problem with Diesel-Hybrid vehicles at the moment is how expensive they are to build. The tech is there, the costs just need to fall down.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Nice write up William. I agree with Z that you really are improving on your reviews.

    Comment/observation is that people complain about the Impala steering wheel and this one is freaking plain Ugly and talk about a BORING INTERIOR! Amazing the comments on the Impala thread and yet no one here even mentions just how blah /Ugly this interior is.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Ever met an exciting interior in ANY German car? I don't think so. Also, at least the Jetta steering wheel does not look misshaped like the '14 Impala steering wheel.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Nice review!

    Did you get a photo of the trunk? I like to see how the battery compromised it in sedan hybrid conversions.

    I didn't unfortunately. I can say the battery pack does take up about quarter to a third of the trunk space.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Wow. I'm not much of a Volkswagen fan, but I have to say that this Jetta is looking pretty decent. However, I have to agree that the interior does seems rather lacking in quality, especially for something of that value.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Very good review. That Volkswagen is calling my name, though! It looks very good for someone like me who isn't all that into Volkswagens to be honest. I am impressed. The interior is decent, but it appears comfortable. Plus, the rims are nice. Not shabby.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites


    Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

    Guest
    You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
    Add a comment...

    ×   You have pasted content with formatting.   Remove formatting

      Only 75 emoticons maximum are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor




  • Popular Stories

  • Today's Birthdays

    1. Deuce
      Deuce
      (38 years old)
  • Similar Content

    • By William Maley
      One question that we have found ourselves wondering is who blew the whistle on the software cheat Volkswagen was using on their TDI models. A new book says it was someone at Volkswagen of America.
      Automotive News got their hands on Faster, Higher, Farther: The Volkswagen Scandal by New York Times reporter Jack Ewing. In the book, Ewing reveals that the head of VW’s Engineering and Environmental Office in the U.S., Stuart Johnson revealed the existence of the cheat to federal authorities. Johnson was the primary contact for the various regulation agencies in the U.S. and would be one of the people on the front lines when the scandal unfolded.
      In the book, CARB deputy executive director Alberto Ayala named Johnson as the person who revealed the existence of Volkswagen's illegal software. This revelation took place prior to a key meeting between CARB and Volkswagen on August 19, 2015. By revealing this information, Johnson was violating orders given by VW's higher ups. This meeting is mentioned in the federal indictment of Oliver Schmidt, a former VW executive who is facing 11 federal charges dealing with the scandal. Johnson is mentioned in the indictment as “Cooperating Witness 1.”
      The indictment also states the witness “has agreed to cooperate with the government’s investigation in exchange for an agreement that the government will not prosecute CW1 in the United States.”
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      One question that we have found ourselves wondering is who blew the whistle on the software cheat Volkswagen was using on their TDI models. A new book says it was someone at Volkswagen of America.
      Automotive News got their hands on Faster, Higher, Farther: The Volkswagen Scandal by New York Times reporter Jack Ewing. In the book, Ewing reveals that the head of VW’s Engineering and Environmental Office in the U.S., Stuart Johnson revealed the existence of the cheat to federal authorities. Johnson was the primary contact for the various regulation agencies in the U.S. and would be one of the people on the front lines when the scandal unfolded.
      In the book, CARB deputy executive director Alberto Ayala named Johnson as the person who revealed the existence of Volkswagen's illegal software. This revelation took place prior to a key meeting between CARB and Volkswagen on August 19, 2015. By revealing this information, Johnson was violating orders given by VW's higher ups. This meeting is mentioned in the federal indictment of Oliver Schmidt, a former VW executive who is facing 11 federal charges dealing with the scandal. Johnson is mentioned in the indictment as “Cooperating Witness 1.”
      The indictment also states the witness “has agreed to cooperate with the government’s investigation in exchange for an agreement that the government will not prosecute CW1 in the United States.”
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
    • By William Maley
      At the Shanghai auto show, Honda introduced a hybrid version of the CR-V crossover. Not many details were released about it aside from it featuring the company's Sport Hybrid i-MMD two-motor hybrid system and would go on sale in China in the second half of this year. This got a few outlets wondering if Honda might bring the CR-V hybrid to the U.S. as the automaker has said they plan on electrify core models.
      Green Car Reports reached out Honda's U.S. office to ask about this and here is Honda responded,
      "We have already announced our intent to electrify core volume models, including light trucks.  CR-V will logically be a part of that, and we'll announce timing for the U.S. at a later date."
      In other words, we're are planning to sell CR-V hybrid in the U.S. When it does arrive, it will face off between the Nissan Rogue Hybrid and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.
      Source: Green Car Reports

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      At the Shanghai auto show, Honda introduced a hybrid version of the CR-V crossover. Not many details were released about it aside from it featuring the company's Sport Hybrid i-MMD two-motor hybrid system and would go on sale in China in the second half of this year. This got a few outlets wondering if Honda might bring the CR-V hybrid to the U.S. as the automaker has said they plan on electrify core models.
      Green Car Reports reached out Honda's U.S. office to ask about this and here is Honda responded,
      "We have already announced our intent to electrify core volume models, including light trucks.  CR-V will logically be a part of that, and we'll announce timing for the U.S. at a later date."
      In other words, we're are planning to sell CR-V hybrid in the U.S. When it does arrive, it will face off between the Nissan Rogue Hybrid and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.
      Source: Green Car Reports
    • By dfelt
      G. David Felt - Staff Writer Alternative Energy - www.cheersandgears.com
      China’s Influence on GM, EVs, and Others!
      We saw just at the end of 2016 Toyota saying they would build a team to focus on EVs. This being a complete reversal of their pledge in 2013 to focus on Hydrogen as the practical alternative to traditional ICE autos. Toyota will have a long range EV auto out on the market for the 2020 auto year. Being that 2019 is when you're 2020 autos will start selling, this puts Toyota 4 years behind GM's Chevrolet BOLT EV.
      What would cause this change to happen? China is what has happened. China started to push the global auto industry by stating that 8 percent of auto sales in 2018 be each vendor has to be EV or plug-in hybrid. 10 percent is the number for 2019 and 12 percent in 2020.
      Toyota one would think should be fine with their Prius line of Hybrids until you realize that China has stated all hybrids such as the Prius, Volt and others built outside of China are considered ICE autos. Currently the only Hybrid being built in China that is a legal hybrid is the Cadillac CT6 plugin hybrid. Toyota is planning to start selling a plugin hybrid in China in 2018 as a 2019 model.
      So we are seeing that Toyota is being forced to get over their EV allergy and come up with a real plan to have a global EV on the market in 2019 as a 2020 model year. Daimler has a large EV roll out planned for the global market by 2021. VW has stated they will have multiple EVs rolled out around 2019 through 2021. So has BMW, Audi, etc.
      So where does that leave GM? What is GMs strategy now that China is flexing their muscle and setting some big standards for an auto company to play in their backyard?
      We have the Cadillac CT6 plugin hybrid. Chevrolet BOLT EV able to be exported to China. GM announced that they will start building a China market Chevrolet Volt as they start to push the Chevrolet brand in China next year. GM has also announced a Buick Velite 5 Hybrid for the Chinese market starting at 265,800 yuan or about $38,600 US. This will have a 72 mile pure electric mode before the generator kicks in giving it a 480 mile range. EVs in China are exempt from sales tax and license plate quotas.
      According to Fox Business news, Buick sold 1 million autos in China for calendar year 2016 rising to the number two auto brand sold behind Volkswagen. They also go onto say that Chevrolet has been selling legacy models only up till now and GM has announced 20 new models for China by 2020 the first being a China version of the Chevrolet Equinox. GM says China is demanding the same models they have in the US and as such, China and the US will be more aligned to have identical models. GMs China business is stated to have produced $2 billion in income last year. China clearly helping GM to sell 10 million cars in 2016 globally.
      How important is the China Market to GM? In the Month of January Cadillac sold 10,298 autos in the US. Cadillac sold 18,000 in China for the month of January. Clearly China will continue to take on a bigger and bigger role in GM’s ongoing growth.
      So where does that leave GM in regards to EVs, auto production, etc.? Reuters points to a story they did back in January 2016 where CEO Mary Barra stated that they could build the dies used to stamp the auto parts in china for 20 to 40 percent less than in Europe or the US. Dies will start to be built and shipped out worldwide from China. Clearly this would tend to show that GM will be affected by the China market more and more.
      So this brings me back to my original question of what is GMs plan for their EV strategy. We have seen and heard so much about the competition and yet with GM this seems to be a black hole. Knowing that GM sold about 1.5 million auto’s last year in China and now for next year 10 percent will have to be EV / Plugin Hybrids, that means 150,000 of these auto’s. For Volkswagen, this is an even bigger number since they are number 1 in the market and have no EV or hybrid that I am aware of.
      All Auto companies who do not have a specific plugin hybrid built in china or EV to import into China is going to find selling auto’s to be very difficult.
      References
      Reuters story
      AP story
      Fox Business Story
      CNN Money Story
      Motley Fool Story
      Reuters 2016 story
  • Recent Status Updates

  • Who's Online (See full list)