Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid Review

2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid SEL Premium Sedan Exterior

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More than just a standard small sedan, the Volkswagen Jetta has been a refined option for the compact-car buyer for years. It is available with a variety of engines, including turbocharged gasoline, turbocharged diesel and, more recently, even a gasoline/electric hybrid. Volkswagens typically have nice interiors, reserved styling and good driving dynamics, and this hybrid compact does its family heritage proud.

The Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid doesn't drive much like a hybrid, and that's one of the reasons you might like it. It has a transmission that feels crisp and a suspension that makes it feel secure when driving around corners. While there are other hybrids and different versions of the Jetta (including the excellent diesel model) that you might also consider, we think the Jetta Hybrid is worth a look.

Current Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid
The Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid is a compact sedan that's available in Base, SE, SEL and SEL Premium trim levels. It's powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a 20kW electric motor. Together they produce 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automatic transmission (with manual control capability) and front-wheel drive are standard. Not only can you expect combined fuel economy to be in the mid-40's, but its acceleration is notably quick for the segment.

The base Jetta Hybrid comes with dual-zone automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leatherette (premium vinyl) upholstery, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a six-speaker sound system. The SE adds LED taillights, keyless ignition and entry, VW's Car-Net telematics system and an upgraded sound system with a touchscreen interface. The SEL adds a sunroof, heated front seats, a six-way power driver seat, a rearview camera and a navigation system. The SEL Premium tops the range with adaptive bi-xenon headlights, foglights and an eight-speaker Fender sound system.

In the cabin, rear passengers will find plenty of room compared to a traditionally powered compact car, but less than in similarly priced hybrid family sedans. The styling is clean, the gauges are straightforward and the various controls are simple and easy to use. The interior panels are mostly hard plastic and feel a bit cheap compared to top rivals. We like the touchscreen stereo interface and its redundant dial knob, but the navigation screen is small and doesn't display much information.

On the road, we've found the Jetta Hybrid's power delivery to be smooth and quiet, with quick shifts and sprightly acceleration. This is a pleasant change from the droning dramatics characteristic of some rival hybrids. The Jetta Hybrid feels balanced in corners, has responsive brakes and shows more athleticism than expected for a hybrid car.

Used Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid Models
The current, first generation Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid debuted for the 2013 model year. Other than lacking the availability of VW's Car-Net telematics system, this Jetta Hybrid is identical to the current version.

Shoppers interested in used Volkswagen Jettas may also want to look at the standard Jetta and its optional diesel engine.

Read the most recent 2014 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid review.

If you are looking for older years, visit our used Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid page.

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