2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid – First Look and Review

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The Jetta Hybrid is clearly a Jetta (see the multimedia virtual tour on page four) but there are few nuanced differences that observant drivers may notice, including a VW emblem with a blue surround, hybrid-specific badging, and unique wheels and front grille.  Other telltale signs include a special air intake, trunklid spoiler, front airdam, and extended side skirts, all of which contribute to a lower drag coefficient (Cd), 0.28 versus 0.30.

As you move up the Hybrid line, there are small differences as well.  The SE model gains LED taillights, the SEL model is further differentiated with 16” wheels, and the SEL Premium rides on 17” wheels, getting Bi-Xenon headlights with LED running lights and foglights.


The Jetta Hybrid’s interior is exactly what one would expect in a German sedan.  The top-of-the-line Premium edition comes with soft leather seats, a superb Fender audio system, a rearview camera, and touchscreen navi.  The Hybrid is the first to see the return of an elegant soft-touch dash (diesel models will see this in a few months), which goes a long way to enhance the look and feel of the cabin.  The seats are comfortable and supportive and every switch and button is logically placed and easy to access.   The leather steering wheel feels great.

The navi screen has a sophisticated power meter that shows the flow of power from battery to engine to wheels.  It also displays a log of the car’s emissions of the past 30 minutes, so one can see how much or little is being contributed to global warming.

On the dash, however, is the biggest difference: the Power Meter, which replaces the tachometer.  While it takes getting used to, the Power Meter gives the driver a good indication of whether he is driving in the most efficient manner.  The dial goes from OFF (which really is off) and moves to green (brake regeneration), then drive-ready (which Volkswagen represents with a “0.”  The blue section that follows on the dial is indicative of the most fuel efficient driving, where the car alternates between electric and gasoline power, followed by gasoline only when the dial hits “6.”  The boost mode at “10” shows maximum power when the electric motor and gasoline engine are providing maximum power together.

Another unique feature of the Hybrid is the ePower meter in the cluster display. The ePower meter shows the level of the battery’s charge and the range of electric driving available at a given moment.  On the Jetta’s navi (SE model and higher), the touchscreen will display the powertrain’s operation, showing exactly where the power is coming from and going to at any point in time.

Click here to continue to Page 3Driving the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

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