Introducing the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid, the first Jetta to go both ways.
Analysts suspected it was only a matter of time before Volkswagen got into the compact hybrid game. They analyzed correctly. 2012 will see the debut of the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid, the most fuel efficient Jetta of all time. No small claim, this being the same family of cars to which the Jetta TDI Clean Diesel belongs.
Excuse the naïveté, but what exactly is a hybrid vehicle, anyway?
A hybrid electric vehicle is one that combines a conventional internal combustion engine propulsion system with an electric propulsion system. Reliance on the electric motor varies among hybrid models, from “mild” hybrids to “full” hybrids.
So what type of hybrid is the 2013 Jetta Hybrid?
The new Jetta Hybrid is a “full” hybrid, meaning it is capable of running exclusively on its electric propulsion system without the assistance of its conventional gasoline engine. In fact, in “E-Mode”, it will accelerate all the way to 70 km/h without so much as a peep from its gas engine. Perfect for sneaking up on really fast joggers.
Tell me about its engines.
As previously mentioned, the Jetta Hybrid employs both a gas and an electric engine. The gas engine is a 1.4L turbocharged four cylinder producing 150hp and 184ft-lbs of torque (from only 1400rpm!), while the electric motor is powered by 60 lightweight, lithium-ion batteries, good for an additional 27hp. The batteries are the product of the current state of battery technology (i.e., the best there is), and tip the scales at less than 80lbs. As you can imagine, low weight = better fuel economy.
Does it have any cool gadgets with which to impress my nerd friends?
What’s a hybrid vehicle for if not displaying a bunch of nerdy data on the dashboard? The Jetta Hybrid will have three ways to do so, including two instrument cluster-mounted displays (an analog boost gauge replacing the tachometer and a more conventional digital display), and a touchscreen unit mounted centrally in the dash so that all in the cabin may be privy to the status of the electric motor, gasoline engine, regenerative braking system, etc… Nerds-away!
The hybrid driving experience is notoriously dry. Dry as toast, even. Can the same be said for the Jetta Hybrid?
No! According the reviews generated by the automotive press after first-drives, that’s what separates the Jetta Hybrid from the other hybrid vehicles currently in production—the fuel economy is similar, the price is similar, the size is similar, but the driving experience is anything but similar. Although we’ve yet to drive one ourselves, the press have, and they’ve informed us the Jetta Hybrid offers a “level of driver engagement not found in any other hybrid”. This is due to things both obvious (the turbocharged engine; VW’s characteristic steering and suspension setups) and not-so-obvious, including (among a whole suite of other things) a specially-tuned throttle modulation that doesn’t automatically trigger the gasoline engine when the throttle pedal is ever-so-slightly depressed, a regenerative braking system with a more compliant, less “grabby” feel, and a new 7-speed dual clutch DSG automatic transmission that takes “lightning fast gear changes” to a whole new level. Suffice it to say, we’re looking forward to getting behind the wheel of one.
Ok, so how un-thirsty is this thing?
We thought you’d never ask. The Jetta Hybrid will apparently get a combined city/highway fuel consumption rating of 5.2 litres/100km. This is compared to the Jetta TDI Clean Diesel’s not-too-shabby-itself 6.5 litres/100km. We’re talking serious fuel economy here. To help get it that low, Volkswagen made the Jetta Hybrid more aerodynamic than it’s gasoline Jetta brothers and sisters by modifying the front spoiler and adding a rear spoiler and diffuser. They also equipped it with special low rolling resistance tires.
When can I get one, and how much will it cost me?
The 2013 Jetta Hybrid will be arriving at Clarkdale Volkswagen this summer. The first few have already been claimed, but, Vancouver being the perfect market for this sort of car, Volkswagen will surely be sending more our way. They’ll go quick though, so if you’re interested, you might want to talk to a Clarkdale Volkswagen sales rep about placing an order. As for price, nothing official yet, but it’ll very likely be around the $30,000 mark, in line with competing hybrids currently on the market.