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#31

in Used Small Cars $14K and up

Avg. Price Paid: $17,718 - $21,084
Original MSRP: $24,995 - $31,180
MPG: 42 City / 48 Hwy
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2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Generally, hybrids aren’t called sporty, but many test drivers think the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid is one of few that deserves that label. Its turbocharged engine and electric motor deliver good acceleration, and reviewers think its dual-clutch automatic transmission is significantly more refined than the continuously variable transmissions hybrids are often equipped with.

  • "The Jetta hybrid is one of the sportiest hybrids we've driven, barring low-volume, high-cost alternatives such as the Fisker Karma." -- AutoWeek
  • "Those Jetta Hybrid customers probably won't sweat the price tag, either. This car feels more refined than the Jetta TDI and should return higher mpg. And while it won't challenge the Prius for mpg supremacy, the VW is far more enjoyable to drive every day, with its powerful turbocharged engine and conventional transmission." -- Edmunds
  • "The sporty suspension and stiff body shell deliver the kind of decisive dynamics that still distinguish German sedans." -- Popular Mechanics 

Acceleration and Power

The 2013 VW Jetta Hybrid has a 1.4-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine and an electric motor that make a total of 170 horsepower. The Jetta Hybrid comes with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Its fuel economy ratings are 42/48 mpg city/highway, according to the EPA, which is good for the class.

Reviewers immediately notice that the Jetta Hybrid is powerful, which is unusual for a hybrid. They like that the turbocharged engine provides the Jetta with strong acceleration and notice that when the car switches to electric power, it isn’t abrupt or harsh. It’s also rare for a hybrid to have a dual-clutch automatic transmission, and reviewers appreciate that the Jetta Hybrid has one. Critics are impressed with the transmission’s smooth shifts, which help create a rewarding driving experience.

See the full 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid specs »

  • "Acceleration on the low end is as strained as in any compact car, hybrid or otherwise, but we were impressed by the strong top-end pull from the gas engine. The driving experience also benefits from a transmission with seven distinct gears rather than the rubbery uncertainty of a continuously variable transmission." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "In the Jetta Hybrid, it's a downright enjoyable drive, as the turbo 1.4-liter never runs out of breath. It's also impressively smooth and quiet for an engine of such small displacement." -- Edmunds
  • "First, the Jetta Hybrid is among the smoothest of its kind in engine on-off transitions." -- Motor Trend
  • "The gas engine, electric motor and 7-speed dual-clutch transmission work beautifully together in delivering smooth, eager acceleration." -- Kelley Blue Book 

Handling and Braking

Often, hybrids receive negative reviews for having grabby regenerative brakes, but test drivers think the Jetta Hybrid’s brakes are pretty good. One reviewer notices the Jetta Hybrid’s brakes are a little touchy, but two different critics say the regenerative brakes feel a lot like normal brakes. Test drivers say that the steering is balanced, sharp, responsive and delivers very good feedback.

  • "It was, however, decently weighted and relatively easy to control, even at high speeds with a pro driver (turned journalist) in the left seat." -- AutoWeek 
  • "The Jetta Hybrid's handling manners are also impressive. While the car will understeer at the limit through most corners, body roll is minimal. The steering is quick and linear, with excellent feedback. And the ride quality is even, with the body structure displaying excellent rigidity through corners and over bumps." -- Road and Track
  • "Even in resort town traffic, we hardly notice the transitions between regenerative braking action and the conventional friction brakes. The electric power steering feels good, too. It's crisper and more precise than the setup in our Jetta TDI." -- Edmunds
  • "Second, the brakes felt a bit grabby to me, though my co-driver found them just right." -- Motor Trend

Next Steps: 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

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