Taking its place atop the Jetta lineup, Volkswagen’s range of new hybrid versions promise good performance and fuel economy.
The 2013 Jetta Hybrid is part of an about-face by VW Group to go the way of hybridization, and more models are expected to follow. It’s presently the second VW-badged hybrid aside from the Toureg, and VW Group’s formula in its Porsche and Audi hybrids has been to infuse fun-to-drive, and other perceived anti-Prius attributes.
To wit, instead of an infinitely variable ration CVT transmission, the Jetta Hybrid gets a performance-friendly seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Instead of a 0-60 time of around 10 seconds, the Jetta Hybrid promises 7.9 seconds or so.
Instead of road handling that is merely acceptable, VW has been touting the car’s adroitness on tarmac, as well as doing promotional things like running modified versions at up to 186 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats and in the California desert to show what potential this compact four-door has next to other hybrids.
The Jetta Hybrid costs more than the also efficient, and popular Jetta TDI, but in Geneva in 2010, the company’s chairman, Martin Winterkorn was quoted as saying “We will take the hybrid out of its niche status with our high-volume models. In the future, the heart of the brand will also beat with electricity.”
Volkswagen’s full hybrid Jetta pairs the company’s latest EA211 1.4-liter turbo four with a 27-horsepower electric motor.
The gas engine is direct injected, said to be rated at 150 horsepower at 5,000 rpm, and 184 pound-feet of torque at a low 1,600 rpm.
A hybrid module is merged as a single, integrated unit incorporating both the water-cooled electric motor and the clutch that connects it to the engine. This electric motor can also generate 114 pound-feet of torque, but this is limited by the transmission.
Total system power is rated at 170 horsepower at 5,000 rpm, and 184 pounds feet at just 1,000 rpm.
The car utilizes an 11.9 gallon fuel tank, and its EPA rating is 42 mpg city, 48 highway, 45 combined.
Its DQ200 transmission is said to be the most efficient in VW’s dual-clutch lineup, uses a dry clutch, and can be operated like an auto or manual.
The hybrid system has multiple modes. Default upon startup is Electric mode, in which the car operates up to 37 mph for over one mile as an EV.
Putting the foot down hard, or hitting a hill can kick on the gas engine.
Assuming enough battery charge, if the driver selects the “E-Mode” button, the electric mode is maintained up to 44 mph and allows for more aggressive gas pedal inputs.
Above 37 mph (44 in E-Mode), the Turbo Power mode kicks in, which is VW’s way of saying the turbo gas engine seamlessly turns on and engages.
Another mode is “Boosting,” in which both the engine and motor work together for maximum power.
The vehicle also uses regenerative braking and “coasting” in which the the engine is shut off and is decoupled from the driveline at speeds up to 84 mph. This is to save fuel, for instance, when the car is going down a slope or is coasting to a halt.
As for the rest of the car, it is all Jetta – that is to say, its four-wheel independent suspension is set up for firm-enough, and lively handling.
The front suspension uses damper struts with lower control arms and an anti-roll bar. In back is a multi-link, independent layout with gas-pressurized dampers and separate coil springs.
The car weighs nearly 3,400 pounds, and is 160 pounds heavier than a Jetta GLI, but word has it that its fun-to-drive quotient is not a lot far off. Naturally, also, accelerating hard and often will decrease the promised EPA numbers.
The hybrid Jetta lineup has several trim levels.
The Jetta Hybrid is available through special order, and starts $24,995. The Jetta Hybrid SE starts at $26,990; Jetta Hybrid SEL starts at $29,325 And the SEL Premium starts at $31,180.
We will have a full review as soon as possible, but in the mean time, for more info, you can consult VW’s Web site.