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Roadshow Video Reviews
2013 VW Jetta HybridThe First VW hybrid car is very different from a Prius
-Volkswagen has always been a big hybrid doubter. They almost got the feeling and they kind of grudgingly brought out the Touareg Hybrid and with the price was so ridiculous, but now they've a hybrid car worth consideration. Let's drive this 2013 Jetta Hybrid, check the tech, and see if they've got a religion. Now, spotted Jetta Hybrid obviously by the badge over here, but on the front you see it revised a little more arrow. The entire body has been smoothed a little differently, and if you left the trunk, you know, it's a hybrid. There's a big old coffin-shaped thing back there. That's the battery taken up a pretty good amount of you trunk space. That give away you get to do with Jetta Hybrid even if you don't know it, you can tell quickly by that gauge on the left. No tach in his car, a big old EV gauge. Don't be fooled by the numbers two, four, six, eight, ten. Those are not rpm ranges. It's just some goofy thing they put in there to show how much power you're tapping from the car. It takes up a lot of real estate. It doesn't tell a whole lot. It's a very traditional boost or charge gauge. The usual, crunchy, 8-bit monochrome thing in the middle that hasn't changed and speedo and other gauges are normal. Now, we get to your head unit. In this car, we'd seen it many times before then differences when you have the car button on the hybrid, you get to a bunch of energy, you battery state displays. Energy flow, shows you when you're charging, discharging using gas or electric power. O emission is interesting. This will give you all the time slices at which you are giving out zero emissions from the tailpipe and then you get your usual displays of fuel efficiency over time. The key here is to notice that number. We've been driving this car around for over 550 miles and pushing 4 MPG real world, and we are lead footed reviewers living in a hilly area called San Franciski. So, that's actually a very impressive number. Now, media sources are here on this little phone dial thing. It's an interface I've never gotten in love with. In fact, I hate it, Bluetooth streaming right there. We do have a nice display of meta tags. MDI refers to this little portable media interface, this little pigtail here in the glove box. Notice, they don't yet have and Apple Lightning connector. So, I've got to use my little adaptor, and this is where it starts to get a little bit nerve wracking. I don't know if things gonna snap right off. Your aux jack is right here next to these buttons. SD card slot, you never gonna use that. Radios on a separate menu as so many car do, and you can through your Sirius satellite stations very quickly. It's seeks and locks rapidly AM/FM. No HD radio. Because we have a high trimmed Jetta, there is a navigation system here within this postage stamp sized screen. We've seen this one before. It works fine, but again, it's kind of burdened by this overall interface onthis car that I'm not in love with. Now your one choice gearbox on the hybrid is a 7-speed dual clutch transmission. This is a very interesting combination, but it is the only hybrid car yet that has a hybrid power train and a dual clutch transmission. You'd only find the CVT maybe an automatic. You've got your gate over here for shifting as well. No paddles on the wheel are available though. There's also a sport mode back here. Now, I got a hand to VW that didn't get lazy when they engineered this car. There's a ton of tech in this powertrain, 1.4 l, then little betty inline 4 with direct injection and air cooled turbo charging. Ford calls that ECO boost that's the rage in the industry right now coupled with an electric motor that delivers 27 horsepower all combined 170 horsepower, 184 foot-pounds of torque gets this 3,300-pound car to 60 at about 8.7 while delivering an estimated 45 average MPG. As of our shoot today, there is not an official EPA Number, but compare that to the much lower 34 combined on the TDI Jetta, which is no slouch. So, you've got about a third better mileage on this guy. That's a serious improvement, and all that efficient power through front-wheel drive only. No all-wheel drive in this Jetta, not the hybrid yet, And you've also got once choice of transmission we saw on the cabinet, so 7-speed dual clutch automated manual. Now, down the road does it even makes a difference or a VW just showing off what cookie combinations they can cook up. When you're on open road, it's actually quite rewarding, there's a lot of power, a lot of torque in particular on top, and it comes on very consistently, a nice big fat flat torque here as far as I can detect. The problem is when you're not on the highway or an open country road, and you're kind of going on and off the power, you need to do the usual stop and go, this car is a disaster. It is so unresponsive in typical nibbling traffic that I just wanted to get out of it. Specifically, the creep function when you let out the break and the car rolls forward is weirdly synthetic. So, first, there is none, and all of a sudden, that had to roll forward like it's got the idle set at 2000. The other big problem is applying the brakes. You seem to get 1 level of braking and then as you hold the pedal, you get another and it's too much like throwing out the anchor, and the power comes on in some weird stagy way like the breaks do. So, it kind of equates to the worst turbo lag on earth even though that's not what's going on. I think it's electric motor lag. And then combined with that, this is not the VW suspension I'm used to. Maybe it's the additional almost 300 pounds of the battery and electric gear that's throwing off the balance, I don't know, but this is not my favorite Jetta by a long stretch. And in the middle of this massive nonresponsiveness, it seems like a waste to plant a 7-speed dual clutch automated gearbox in the middle of all this. Hitting the e-mode button of the car, will stay all electric as long as it can a little over a mile and up about 45 miles an hour. Now, pricing the Jetta Hybrid is little annoying to me. The base car is actually the SE, at 27,785 delivered. Now, you got an intro way into basic tech by buying chunky packages. You go to SEL for another $2300, then you throw your borne in a form of navigation and a bunch of other niceties, then another $1800 gets you to SEL Premium, which is where you got to go to get a backup camera. In other words, you got to whole hog to get his car down CNET style, just get a Jetta Hybrid SEL premium that includes everything, a bunch of tech you definitely need and probably some still agree you don't, but that's how they package it, 31,975 for a Jetta.