CleanMPG First Drive Review of the 2013 VW Jetta Hybrid

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by xcel, Nov 6, 2012.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    [​IMG]The sixth-generation Jetta receives a new family member in the form of the 2013 Jetta Hybrid.

    [fimg=right][/fimg]Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - Nov. 6, 2012

    2013 VW Jetta Hybrid - $24,995 to start and a 42/48/45 mpgUS city/highway/combined estimate.

    The SE ($26,990) though SEL Premium ($31,180) adds more comfort, luxury and convenience features.


    The familiar but not terribly exciting Jetta exterior has been tweaked to reduce its coefficient of aerodynamic drag to .28 from .30 with a slight lowering, a front air dam, more closed up grille, slightly extended side skirts and a trunk lid spoiler. While not exactly eye-catching, the upscale alloy wheels on all trims and laser body to roof seam welds add a touch of class over and above its competitors.


    Situated between the informative, but not ground-breaking, all-new Power Meter on the left and the speedometer on the right is a standard Multi-Function Instrument, which shows ambient temperature, gear selection, the trip computer, a second audio display, and driver settings. In the Jetta Hybrid, this screen also presents the car’s drive state and the “ePower meter,” which includes the level of battery charge and the available amount of electric driving (“E-Max”).

    An Auto dual-zone climate that incorporates an electric-based A/C system for a cool interior climate even when the engine is shut down is standard.

    A new soft plastic upper interior covering and cloth textured headliner and A-pillar adds to its upscale appearance.

    All Hybrid models also include standard Bluetooth connectivity and a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel.

    Comfort? Spending over 200 miles in the Jetta Hybrid split between the driver and passenger seat yesterday, the car was quiet enough to have a conversation with a passenger without raising your voice or straining to listen at speeds up to 75 mph. In addition, the large diameter cushioned soft leather wrapped wheel, ergo and seat comfort was excellent.

    2013 VW Jetta Hybrid - The Driving Space



    The Jetta Hybrid combines a direct injected and turbocharged 170 HP and 184 lb-ft of torque 1.4L I4 gasoline engine with a 27 HP clutched electric motor mated to a very smooth 7-speed dry dual clutch automatic and a 1.1 kWh Li-Ion pack located under the rear trunk floor. The small electric motor acts as a starter to spin up the engine from 0 RPM, provides EV propulsion under light demand and regenerative braking whenever the brake is actually applied. Together, the drivetrain provides an eye opening and somewhat easy to achieve 45 mpg combined rating along with a 0 to 60 mph dash time of just 8.6 seconds.

    The Jetta Hybrid can be accelerated gently to 37 mph, and 44 mph if using the “E-Mode” button although the topography driven on yesterday was too hilly to test these limits. I did see EV propulsion at 65 + mph on mountain downhill’s so it is torque demand based vs. a hard ceiling limit imposed via software.

    The Jetta Hybrids killer app is its ability to glide at up to 84 mph. I did not test that top limit but at any speed just let off the gas, the engine is declutched from the transmission and shutdown evoking a glide without any work from the driver whatsoever. While there is a small amount of drivetrain drag, it is vastly reduced compared to Toyota’s HSD, Ford’s e-CVT and even Hyundai’s Bluedrive in D.

    Placing power to the road, all versions (15, 16 and 17 in wheel equipped) of the 2013 VW Jetta Hybrid are shod with somewhat low rolling resistance Continental ContiPro Contacts.

    2013 VW Jetta Hybrid EV Mode in action

    Notice I am demanding power via the “ePower meter” (left gauge) with the engine shutdown (0 RPM per the ScanGuage) while traveling at far beyond its specified 37 mph EV
    Mode top speed. Glide speeds may in fact be unlimited. This higher speed mountainous driving stint ended at 60.1 mpg with a net elevation decrease of approximately 300 ft.​

    When the Li-Ion pack is filled to capacity with a slight touch of the brake to evoke Regenerative braking during a lengthy descent, the engine does spin up with the injectors shut down to provide engine braking as expected.

    Ride and Handling

    Whooa is it good! The Jetta Hybrid features the Jetta GLI’s suspension components minus the stiffer springs. Why is it good? Great tuning up front and at the rear, a truly independent multi-link rear suspension. Again right out of the great handling Jetta GLI but with softer spring rates and probably less aggressive dampers that provide a very comfortable ride.

    Volkswagen’s latest electric power steering (EPS) system in the Jetta Hybrid provides an excellent balance of precise road feel without limiting driving comfort at speed. Maybe a touch under-boosted at parking lot speeds, at suburban and highway speeds it buries the entire compact class other than the Mazda3. And we are talking a fuel efficient hybrid, not a purpose built autocrosser.

    All told, taking 35-mph-suggested, decreasing-radius mountain sweepers in 50 mph PSL zones at 60 + mph inspires confidence like nothing in the high fuel economy class.

    Fuel Economy

    The 2013 Jetta Hybrid is expected to be certified with a 45 mpgUS combined rating. This is of course an excellent rating and like all CleanMPG’ers, it is simply a number to achieve as a minimum with much more available in the real world. The following was a short US highway round trip drive in the chilly (39 – 43 degrees F) morning hours with the average Fuel Consumption Display (aFCD) reset and then recorded some 21.2 round trip miles later at the exact location that it was zeroed. Unfortunately the terrain in the Santa Fe area is extremely mountainous and there was an 800 ft. descent on the first leg heading out and the same 800 ft. climb coming back. The result as shown is not a calibrated result (odometer or fuel consumption) but given VW’s focus on accuracy, I suspect the 68.0 mpg result is extremely close to the actual result in subpar conditions and tough topography. In temperatures of 70 degrees, I would expect a 73.1 mpg result after temperature compensation on that same mountainous round trip route. In other words a world-record-breaking automobile and the only thing needed is to maintain speed between the limits and allow the Jetta Hybrids EV/Glide mechanisms to work as designed.



    [fimg=left][/fimg]The Jetta Hybrid arrives with front, side and side curtain airbags. On the active front, it incorporates Anti-lock Braking (ABS), Electronic Brake-Pressure Distribution (EBD), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA) and VWs exclusive Intelligent Crash Response System (ICRS), which unlocks the doors and turns on the hazard lights, as well as shutting down the fuel system in certain types of collision. On the tough NHTSA crash test regimen, the Jetta Hybrid scored 4 of 5-stars with the frontal crash test falling just short of the 5-star goal.

    Preview Conclusions

    While expensive (really $26,990 to start for the SE) and requiring premium fuel, the 2013 VW Jetta Hybrid provides excellent acceleration with a great ride and confidence inspiring handling within its competitive segment. I am speaking of the Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid and C-MAX by an instantly noticeable margin. It is also very quiet at both a stop and at speed. The transitions from Engine-Off in a glide, EV propulsion or regenerative braking to Engine-On and propelling the Jetta Hybrid are almost seamless. The driveline shift shock between gears is also one of the best in the business for a traditional automatic. Around town with the ICE-Off, I can only think of the current Fusion Hybrid being quieter.

    The Jetta Hybrid, will go on sale later this month with specific details uploaded in the following: 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid Pricing, Options and Specifications

    2013 VW Jetta Hybrid

    Ready to take you on a "Fun-to-drive" mountain road adventure.​
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2012
  2. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Re: CleanMPG Previews the 2013 VW Jetta Hybrid

    Hi All:

    VW released the certified EPA numbers this week at 42/48/45 mpgUS city/highway/combined as it reaches dealership showrooms IIRC, this week. Its highway number ties the Prius hatch!

  3. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Re: CleanMPG Previews the 2013 VW Jetta Hybrid

    Hi All:

    The 2013 VW Jetta Hybrid is now available to order in Germany for

    With an NEDC combined rating of 57.4 mpgUS combined, it is 27.4% higher rating then the 45 mpgUS combined rating on our own EPA. Same car, same drivetrain, same everything. I will have to adjust future conversion estimates accordingly…

    In addition, the car is CO2 emissions rated at 95g/km (200 g/mile here in the US) and while that is almost 15% higher than some of Europe’s best small turbo diesels, not a single one of those super diesels can do the 60 dance in < 8 seconds like the Jetta Hybrid can. In case anyone needs a little kick to consider one that is ;)

  4. 300kmileprius

    300kmileprius Well-Known Member

    Re: CleanMPG Previews the 2013 VW Jetta Hybrid

    Hi all: I recently drove the Jetta hybrid round trip in 31 degree weather at 65 mph on i195 in MA. I only achieved 40.1mpg. Just after that I drove my prius on the same round trip and got an indicated 46.1 mpg. Since the Jetta is rated at 48 and my 2005 prius is rated at 45 hwy, I am very disappointed in the fe and I smell another lawsuit similar to the cmax and fusion hybrids.
  5. thunderstruck

    thunderstruck Super Moderator

    Re: CleanMPG Previews the 2013 VW Jetta Hybrid

    I wonder if this is another case of them designing the car to do well on the test instead of designing it to do well in real world driving, as appears to be the case with FFH/Cmax.
  6. philmcneal

    philmcneal Has it been 10 years? Wow

    Re: CleanMPG Previews the 2013 VW Jetta Hybrid

    great writeup as usual wayne! So in cold weather temps <32F you think the current prius has an advantage due to its heat recovery system?
  7. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Re: CleanMPG Previews the 2013 VW Jetta Hybrid

    Hi Phil:

    Probably. Toyota's heat recovery system is really good and I have seen nobody do better. Except... Ford's allow full EV on start if SoC is high whereas Toyota/Lexus HSDs, 3 seconds after D and they are running hard from cold.

  8. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    A few notes on the Jetta Hybrid being driven this week...

    2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid SEL Premium Review

    Initial top off at Shell just outside LAX.

    96.3 miles from Shell just outside LAX to a Shell in Leucadia, CA.

    96.3 actual miles on 1.501 gallons = 64.157 mpgUS actual.​

    To top one of these off is a pain. The filler neck flapper closes tight and there are little drains back into the tank. In CA, the pumps nozzles shrouds have to be held back while you try and squeeze in a few hundredths of a gallon at a time. My right and left fingers and hands still hurt this morning from the initial and final top off.

    I did not see the Trip rest until later and there was 1.2 miles on it when I initially topped off. This reveals that the Trip and Odometer are almost dead on with 96.3 miles actually traveled and 96.4 miles displayed. Highly unusual given the variances we have seen from other manufacturers automobiles.

    This was a tough drive. A 15-minute delay on Century Blvd just as I left the Shell due to a 3-car accident and two slowdowns on the 405 as signs were still up indicating its closure from this past weekend even though it was not? Average speed showed 39 mph. Elevation began at about 50’ and ended at close to 200 ft. so only a slight climb over the distance.

    This is a high end SEL Premium with the 17’s and ContiPro Contacts (not so Low RR) so VW probably gave up 1.0 to 1.5 mpg vs. the std. 16’s and less well equipped Base, SE, and SEL Jetta Hybrids. On the plus side, it includes Xenon HIDs so electrical load at night from the headlights were kept to a minimum. LED taillights are std. on all trims.

    Driving? It took a while to get the feel of what was going on. When cold, the Jetta Hybrid like most hybrids does not want to drop out the ICE but once ready to go, you have some decent action. It took about 20-miles but when coming out a glide, you have to just bring in the throttle ever so gently as the Jetta hybrid is tuned for performance and to quick a rate brings in the turbo charged 1.4L with a vengeance. Just a light application and you can drive another block up as you are accelerating before firing off the ICE. Keep load at 50% or less in this one and she’ll pay dividends.

    Steerable headlights are also neat. We have driven with these on the 14 Mazda6 and 14 CX-5 and now the 13 Jetta Hybrid and they do what they are supposed to. Illuminate beyond that of fixed lighting while cornering. The HIDs just add to the Jetta Hybrid’s already great headlamps.

    I did not use the Fender Audio system until late in the drive as I was still trying to figure out the most efficient accel rates and the most efficient way to get the ICE shut down and brought back up with up to maybe 1.5 percent grades along the I-5 while nearing the Camp Pendleton area almost all the way to San Diego.

    No USB and only one 12V outlet that I cold find? A MIDI cable for an iPhone/iPod in the glovebox but no USB. I used my single 12V to multiple 12V ports and 2 USB outlet converter to cover the needs of the Garmin, my RAZR and the Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX HD.

  9. priusCpilot

    priusCpilot George

    12 cars on fuelly and the avg is 40.7mpg.

    Still though I bet if this was a non hybrid people would get like 25mpg.

    Nice sport option with 4drs but unfortunately a VW product.

    The TDI are getting 38mpg on fuelly.
  10. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi PriusCpilot:

    Which goes to show a problem with Fuelly. The TDI would walk all over this on this route quite easily...

  11. thunderstruck

    thunderstruck Super Moderator

    VW still doens't understand what USB is. Your car probably has an SD card slot instead. My old Golf had an adapter that would let me use a USB drive. I had a 120 GB HD that I plugged into it.
  12. priusCpilot

    priusCpilot George

    I would say most definitely your right on the TDI VS Hybrid but in the case of the masses who don't care anything about hypermiling. The Hybrid is doing better than the TDI.
  13. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi PriusCpilot:

    Hypermiling is simply beating the EPA.

    As it stands, the Passat TDI dropped below its EPA at 78 mph. The Jetta Hybrid will not even come close. I will be performing those tests on the Jetta Hybrid hopefully later this week.

  14. priusCpilot

    priusCpilot George

    The fact that the Hybrid is doing better than the TDI on fuelly is due to the city aspect.

    Engine shutting down and all the other benefits are bring the Hybrid average up.
  15. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi PriusCpilot:

    A modern turbo diesel uses just ¼ the fuel at idle than a gasoline engine of similar displacement. Saying that, a full hybrid will continue to better around an urban setting than a gas or diesel powered vehicle.

    So if you were a mostly highway driver, what should you consider? Prius, Passat TDI, Sonata/Optima Hybrid or new Fusion Hybrid. If you were an inner city driver what would you drive? Prius family or a PHEV/BEV.

    Relying on fuelly results has proven time and again to be suspect as to your choice of vehicle given what we discover in some cases well before anyone has had the chance to enter a single tank.

    You are driving the most fuel efficient gasoline fueled car without a plug and I have no idea what Fuelly shows nor do I care. If I were tasked to drive with the lowest consumption, I would drive yours and this was discovered after a few hours behind the wheel at the short lead a few years back.

    Last edited: Jul 31, 2013
  16. priusCpilot

    priusCpilot George

    Do you have plans to do a nice long test on the C one of these days? hehe
  17. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi PriusCpilot:

    I sent out some feelers last week and included your name in a short list of drivers too! If I hear anything, you will as well ;)

  18. SI_Prius

    SI_Prius Well-Known Member

    Not sure about that, maybe American NA gasoline engine, but surely not VW 1.4 TSI or Mazda Skyactiv or any other modern gasoline ICE design (turbo, valvematic ...).

    Sure diesel will use less at idle, but come on only 25% of the gasoline car? I would bet more on like 80% of the gasoline car.
  19. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi SI Prius:

    Turbo Diesels of the same displacement consume just 25 to 30% of the same displacement gasoline fueled engines at idle.

    Last edited: Aug 1, 2013
  20. RedylC94

    RedylC94 Well-Known Member

    True, but for a fair comparison we could compare a "Turbo Diesel" to a turbocharged SI engine sized to produce the same power --- or non-turbo to non-turbo of the same power.

Share This Page