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#17

in Affordable Small Cars

MSRP: $25,560 - $31,895
Invoice: $24,538 - $30,619
MPG: 42 City / 48 Hwy
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Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid Performance

The 2014 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid is surprisingly sporty and fun to drive, reviewers say, adding that unlike many other hybrids, it feels a lot like driving a regular gas-only car. The turbocharged engine provides brisk acceleration, test drivers note, adding that the dual-clutch automatic transmission’s shifts are quick and seamless. Test drivers agree that the handling is agile and the steering is responsive, but they are split on the regenerative brakes. Some reviewers say they are grabby, but others think the brakes have good pedal feel.

  • "The electric motor provides immediate punch off the line, and the turbocharged 1.4-liter gas motor kicks in seamlessly, teaming up with the quick-shifting DSG automanual transmission to pull you forward with real urgency. In fact, the Jetta Hybrid feels similar to the fastest Jetta on the market, the turbocharged nonhybrid VW GLI -- except it gets an incredible 45 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving." -- AutoTrader
  • “The Jetta hybrid is one of the sportiest hybrids we've driven, barring low-volume, high-cost alternatives such as the Fisker Karma." -- AutoWeek (2013)
  • "It doesn't just look like a refined European sedan, the Jetta Hybrid even drives like one. It's more than a second quicker to 60 mph than the Prius, offers manual control of its quick-shifting dual-clutch automatic transmission, and feels and handles just like a Jetta - albeit one with efficiency-enhancing tires and a few hundred extra pounds." -- Kelley Blue Book (2013) 
  • "Mash the pedal and the Jetta Hybrid feels just like a regular car. It has a 0-60 mph time of about 8.6 second, according to VW, but it feels sprightlier than that in person. The seven-speed dry-plate DSG transmission provides smooth shifts and there's none of that high-engine-revving-until-you-get-going experience you get with a CVT transmission." -- Road and Track (2013)
  • "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 (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The 2014 VW Jetta Hybrid has a turbocharged 1.4-liter, four-cylinder engine and an electric motor that make a combined 170 horsepower. All models have a seven-speed automated manual transmission. The Jetta Hybrid gets an EPA-estimated 42/48 mpg city/highway, which is good compared with the fuel economy of rival hybrids and better than the diesel-powered Jetta TDI, which gets fuel economy ratings of 30/42 mpg.

Reviewers agree that the 2014 Jetta Hybrid is powerful and fast, which is high praise for a hybrid. They say that the turbocharged engine is quiet and offers rapid acceleration, while the automated manual transmission delivers smooth, brisk shifts.

  • "The Jetta Hybrid is a surprisingly quick car, powering confidently away from stoplights and zipping around slow-moving traffic with ease. The gas motor is refined and responsive, while the electric motor adds a big dollop of torque that shoves you back in your seat." -- AutoTrader
  • "The 2014 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid's turbocharged gas engine is smooth and quiet, a pleasant change from the droning dramatics in some rival hybrids. The seven-speed automated transmission shifts quickly and smoothly, lending an authoritative feel to the car's sprightly acceleration.” -- Edmunds
  • "The gas engine, electric motor and 7-speed dual-clutch transmission work beautifully together in delivering smooth, eager acceleration.” -- Kelley Blue Book (2013)
  • "As I discovered over the course of roughly 100 miles, the Jetta Hybrid offers brisk acceleration free of turbo lag, plenty of low-end torque for merging into fast-moving traffic and top-end oomph when attempting a pass at high speeds, and seamless shifts from the DSG gearbox. That unit, by the way, offers a Sport mode and a manual-shift feature, both of which allow drivers to dial in a smidge more fun." -- Cars.com (2013) 

Handling and Braking

Test drivers note that the Jetta Hybrid delivers a steady, quiet ride. Steering is crisp, they say, and handling is more athletic than in other hybrids. Reviews are mixed on the Jetta Hybrid’s regenerative brakes. Some reviewers say that the brakes have good pedal feel, while others say that the brakes are grabby and take some getting used to, which is a common complaint about hybrid brake systems.

  • "Blessed with largely the same upgraded suspension components as the GLI performance sedan, the Jetta Hybrid holds its own in corners, limited more by its mpg-minded tires than anything else. As for the ride, it's great, striking a subtle balance between control and comfort, and generally keeping road and wind noise at bay." -- AutoTrader
  • "Helping to fulfill the car's sporty promise is a multi-link rear suspension borrowed from the GLI (lesser Jettas get a low-tech torsion beam). This setup helps to provide secure handling and greater agility than the average hybrid, although the Jetta Turbo Hybrid isn't a genuine sports sedan." -- Left Lane News
  • "The steering wheel is weighty and although the electric power assistance isn't as linear or convincing as Volkswagen's best efforts, it's far more direct feeling than what you get from the hybrid establishment. Braking, on the other hand, is marred by the same unpredictable behavior that's typical for gas-electric cars. On our short drive, initial response was different every time we touched the pedal and braking force showed absolutely no correlation with how far or how firmly you pushed the pedal." -- Automobile Magazine (2013)
  • "Even more impressive is VW's ability to get a much more progressive and compliant braking experience from its regenerative system. Unlike the Prius, which has always been plagued by overly-grabby brakes, the Jetta Hybrid manages to allow more modulation." -- Autoblog (2013)
  • "The sporty suspension and stiff body shell deliver the kind of decisive dynamics that still distinguish German sedans." -- Popular Mechanics (2013)
Review Last Updated: 5/14/14

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