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2013 Volkswagen Jetta Turbo Hybrid Review

Fuel-efficient, yes, but hard to get used to By ,

At last, I got the opportunity to test drive the new 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Turbo Hybrid. However, the more time I spent on the road, the more pessimistic I felt about meeting the official fuel economy ratings. I thought the gasoline engine worked for excessively long periods, even at slow cruising speeds.

I was pleasantly surprised when the time came to fill up the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Turbo Hybrid: While the 1.4L mill is a busy operator, the electric motor significantly contributes to reducing consumption.

There's just one problem with this car, and unfortunately, it had a major impact on the overall driving experience.

What's a Volkswagen Jetta Turbo Hybrid?
This upscale compact sedan offers all the amenities and benefits of the Jetta GLI, including an independent rear suspension, a roomy and refined cabin, ergonomically designed controls, and comfortable seats.

Of course, the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Turbo Hybrid burns less fuel by combining gas and electricity. On the other hand, cargo capacity in the trunk is affected by the battery pack.

Volkswagen Jetta Turbo Hybrid Prices and Specs
A 1.4L turbocharged four-cylinder engine with direct injection, rated at 150 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, teams up with a 20 kW (27 hp) electric motor producing 114 lb-ft of torque to motivate the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Turbo Hybrid. Total output amounts to 170 hp at 5,000 rpm and 184 lb-ft from a ridiculously low 1,000 rpm. While this results in solid acceleration, you should know that premium gasoline is recommended.

The seven-speed DSG does a nice job but, alas, paddle shifters are nowhere to be found on the steering wheel. I would have liked a tachometer, as well; taking its spot in the instrument cluster were an energy flow display and a power metre.

The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Turbo Hybrid's Start/Stop technology and regenerative brakes further improve fuel economy, so much so that I averaged 5.9L/100km after travelling 80% of the time on the highway.

Pricing for the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Turbo Hybrid starts at $27,875 in Trendline trim. Next up is the Comfortline model at $30,175, and then the Highline at $34,025. I tested the latter, which came with a rearview camera, navigation, a power sunroof, and satellite radio.

Driving the Volkswagen Jetta Turbo Hybrid
So, what's the problem I was talking about? It's the damned brakes! They completely annihilated the fun I could have had behind the wheel. Let me explain...

With what I deemed to be “normal” pressure on the brake pedal, the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Turbo Hybrid violently threw my body forward. Therefore, I had to modulate my inputs with extreme care to prevent this from happening every time I wanted to slow down or come to a stop. After seven long hours on the road, however, I still wasn't used to it.

The worst part is how inconsistent the brakes are. The initial sharp deceleration suddenly fades even with steady pressure on the pedal. And upon approaching a red light, the brakes lose friction, so you're again thrown forward. With another car in front of you, that can be scary!

Other than that, the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Turbo Hybrid has a sharp steering and compliant suspension. While rearward visibility is fairly limited, I was impressed with the smooth transitions between energy sources, which you can follow on the aforementioned display.

Inside and Out of the Volkswagen Jetta Turbo Hybrid
Those who've read my review of the Jetta GLI know that I'm not a big fan of this German sedan's looks. The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Turbo Hybrid sports unique wheels that minimize drag; their size ranges from 15”-17”. A rear lip spoiler and bi-xenon adaptive headlights with LED daytime running lights add flair to the Highline model.

Inside, typical Volkswagen styling applies. The material selection, generous storage and comfortable seats can all be appreciated the moment you settle in. The leather-wrapped steering wheel is driver-friendly, just like the multimedia interface.

Comparing the Volkswagen Jetta Turbo Hybrid
The Toyota Prius and Honda Civic Hybrid boast similar dimensions as 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Turbo Hybrid, while the mid-sized Kia Optima Hybrid and Hyundai Sonata Hybrid offer more room. From a fuel economy standpoint, you should also consider the all-newChevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel.

If Volkswagen engineers could just improve the infamous braking system, I would have a really hard time complaining about the Jetta Turbo Hybrid.
I know that it’s a big gap, the last time I was behind the wheel of a Volkswagen I was 17, and it was a 1986 Jetta! Imagine the shock, it’s like switching from a Commodore 64 to a PC overnight. In spite of the fact that I only spent a few hours behind the wheel, my Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid experience was enough to reconcile myself with the brand…but not enough to consider purchasing this vehicle.
By Josée Paquet
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    2013 Volkswagen jetta Highline
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    2013 Volkswagen jetta Highline
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