Hybrid, Why Bother? - 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Long-Term Road Test
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2011 Volkswagen Jetta Long-Term Road Test

2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Hybrid, Why Bother?

January 10, 2012

JettaHybridGrille1.jpg Volkswagen introduced its 2013 Jetta hybrid Monday at the Detroit Auto Show. The carmaker estimates that the hybrid will have a combined average fuel economy of 45 mpg. My first thought was: "Why bother having a hybrid when Volkswagen already has a perfectly good diesel option?"

We've had a difficult time getting close to the combined mpg numbers in many of the hybrids that have come our way (Ford Fusion Hybrid, Kia Optima Hybrid and Honda Insight, to name a few). You're probably thinking that's because Edmunds editors have lead feet.

Perhaps we do, but the lead in our feet doesn't seem to have a negative impact on the TDIs we've had. We've been able to meet or exceed the combined fuel economy ratings in all the TDIs we have tested.

I prefer diesel engines because they deliver more consistent results and I find that the torque is much more useable in everyday driving.

Despite this clear advantage for diesel, I can think of a reason why Volkswagen would still produce a hybrid -- perception. As far as we've come in terms of clean diesels, the public perception of these engines is years behind the times. Ask people what comes to mind when they hear the word "hybrid." Then ask them to do the same for the word "diesel." Chances are you'll get opposing answers: clean and dirty.

I get that Volkswagen wants to cover all the bases. But if these hybrid VWs catch on, I wonder if it will be the end of TDIs.

What about you? Would you rather have a Jetta hybrid or diesel?

Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Associate


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