The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid is a new version of the popular Jetta Sedan, one that combines a turbocharged gasoline engine with an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack.
You'll need to look closely to spot a Jetta Hybrid. Key design changes include a subtle restyling of the front and rear bumper covers, an integrated rear spoiler, aerodynamic 15-inch aluminum wheels wearing low-rolling-resistance tires, LED taillights, and a grille-mounted VW badge set on a blue background. Or, you could just check to see if it has "Hybrid" badges.
Like other hybrid models, the 2013 VW Jetta Hybrid's gauge cluster and in-dash information screen display hybrid-specific information related to battery charge, energy flow, system settings, and even how often the vehicle has been driven in a zero-emission state.
Volkswagen will sell the new Jetta Hybrid in three levels of trim. As you move up the trim-level ladder, you can get a power driver's seat, heated front seats, navigation system, and a premium Fender audio system. A reversing camera is also available, along with bi-Xenon headlights and LED running lights.
Under the Hood
The new Jetta Hybrid employs a 1.4-liter, turbocharged, 4-cylinder gasoline engine and a 20-kilowatt electric motor powered by a 220-volt lithium-ion battery pack. Together, they produce 170 horsepower, which is transferred to the front wheels through a 7-speed Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) dual-clutch automated manual transmission. Volkswagen claims the Jetta Hybrid weighs just 221 pounds more than a standard Jetta, and that it can accelerate to 60 mph in less than 9 seconds.
Volkswagen says that the Jetta Hybrid can operate solely on the gasoline engine when the battery pack is depleted, or it can operate solely on electricity when the battery pack is charged. In E-mode (electric mode), the car can travel up to 1.2 miles at speeds up to 44 mph running solely on the battery and electric motor, the company claims. When the battery is depleted, the Jetta Hybrid's turbocharged, 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine makes 150 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque, the latter peaking between 1,400 and 3,500 rpm.
To help ensure that the battery remains charged, the Jetta Hybrid's regenerative braking system captures kinetic energy from the brakes to recharge the battery. Volkswagen's system is unique in that it decouples the powertrain from this process, meaning the car is slowed and stopped only by the braking system so that maximum battery recharging occurs without velocity losses to drivetrain drag.
Additionally, the new Jetta Hybrid features Stop and Go technology, which shuts the engine off and decouples it from the drivetrain when the car comes to a stop. As long as the battery contains enough juice, the Jetta Hybrid accelerates using the electric motor until the gasoline engine is required.
A "coasting" feature is also included with the new Jetta Hybrid. At speeds below 84 mph, when the driver releases the accelerator pedal, the gasoline engine shuts off and decouples from the drivetrain to reduce drag and improve fuel economy.
The EPA has not finalized fuel-economy estimates for the new 2013 Jetta Hybrid as this preview is published, but Volkswagen claims the car will get a combined 45 mpg in mixed city and highway driving.
The 2013 VW Jetta Hybrid is equipped with six air bags, traction and stability control, and anti-lock brakes. A reversing camera is optional. Crash tests have not been performed on this version of the Jetta as this preview is published.