The Jetta is Volkswagen's biggest selling model and they want to offer a full compliment of drivetrain options for customers. The fifth drivetrain option for the VW Jetta will be a hybrid version and get a combined 45 mpg, according to preliminary estimates. Now, customers who prefer a European style sedan instead of the Asian and American hybrid offerings, can add the Jetta to their list of green car choices.
The 2013 Jetta's hybrid powertrain is built around VW's 1.4L turbocharged gasoline engine and a 27 hp electric motor for a combined output of 170 hp. Transmitting this power will be a 7-speed DSG automatic transmission – the first production hybrid to use a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
Unofficially, the Jetta Hybrid will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 9 seconds.
Volkswagen engineers decided to use Li-Ion battery packs because of its higher energy density and because they operate at higher voltages. In full EV mode, the Jetta can cruise to a speed of 44 mph and travel up to 1.2 miles. Of course, you have to be extra gentle with the accelerator pedal or the system will kick you out of EV mode and bring the gas engine back into action.
From the outside, the Jetta Hybrid will look very similar to the Jettas with gas and diesel engines except for a few subtle styling cues. In addition to the Jetta Hybrid badging and blue VW hood and trunk emblems, the Jetta Hybrid has a more aerodynamic front bumper, side skirts for a lower ride height, and alloy wheels unique to the hybrid model. Standard equipment for the Jetta Hybrid are Xenon headlamps, LED DRLs, and LED taillights.
Inside, the Jetta Hybrid features seats upholstered in Ecotec fabric (made from recycled material) and an instrument display with a large analog gauge that shows the instantaneous status of the hybrid system. For more graphical detail, the touch-screen monitor in the center stack has an option to display a real-time graphical image of the hybrid system's power distribution. Other than the above, the Jetta Hybrid looks and feels the same as other Jettas with the German quality expected from Volkswagen.
The VW Jetta Hybrid is expected to reach showrooms in the fall of 2012. Pricing hasn't been set but should be competitive with the Toyota Prius, Ford Fusion Hybrid, and Hyundai Sonata Hybrid.