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2014 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid Review

Hybrids are synonymous with great fuel economy. It’s a fact. But sometimes they lack style -- a lot.

I’m not naming names because in the last three years, there have been some pretty nice looking hybrids out there. That, however, wasn’t always the case.

Since the introduction of the VW Jetta Turbo Hybrid in 2012 (as a 2013 model), you get the sassy sedan styling this four-door is known for, with an added touch of green.
 

What is the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid?
If a sporty hybrid is what you’re after, this Jetta has it in the bag.

That was essentially the inspiration behind this vehicle. While some would argue, “Why not buy a diesel if you’re looking for a VW with great fuel economy?”

Well, not everyone is open to the idea of diesel. So, the Turbo Hybrid is the next best thing.

Even though it comes with some nice exterior details, like 17” alloy wheels and bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights and AFS, there isn’t much by way of physical attributes that distinguish the Hybrid from its siblings. There is the hybrid badging, a different grille, and a revised front air dam.

Inside, however, is a dead giveaway that this Jetta is a hybrid.

What would normally be the instrument cluster -- tachometre and all -- has been replaced with a power metre. Like most hybrids, it tells you what’s going on at any given point in your drive. Whether you’re tapping into electricity or gasoline. Or both!

There’s also the option on the touchscreen/centre stack to see how efficiently you’re driving, how long you’ve run on electricity, and more.

Isn’t technology wonderful?

2014 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid Price and Specs
Sourcing the power for this particular hybrid is an all-aluminum DOHC 1.4L 4-cylinder, which is turbocharged and intercooled. Then there’s an electric motor residing between the engine and 7-speed DSG transmission. Note that the 7-speed is the first dual-clutch in a hybrid.

Net horsepower and torque equate 170 at 5,000 rpm and 184 at 1,000 rpm. Don’t expect mind-blowing acceleration, though there is some pep to it. The Jetta does get up to speed fairly quickly and the transitions between gasoline engine and electric motor are smooth and unnoticeable.

The VW Jetta Hybrid has a starting MSRP of $28,490. For the Highline trim I tested, it comes in at $35,300. If we include the $300 Oryx White Pearl, $1,395 destination charge, the $100 A/C fee, we’re looking at a total of $37,095 (excluding taxes).

Inside and Out of the 2014 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid
Inside the Jetta’s cabin is the usual VW greatness: a centre stack that has a modern and clean setup, lovely leather seating surfaces, and room for five.

The one downfall of the Hybrid version is the compromised trunk space. Because of the battery pack motor, you lose a few litres of cargo capacity in comparison to the gasoline or diesel versions of the Jetta. In the Hybrid, you’ve got 320 litres, whereas in the others you have 440 litres. Also, the trunk configuration is a little awkward if you want to get larger items inside. Though, the back seats do fold down, so it’s not impossible -- just a little tough.

Because it’s a VW with a sizeable price tag it comes with a Fender Premium Audio System, which is pretty darn good. And since the vehicle is so quiet, especially in EV mode, you can really get a feel for the sound emitting from the speakers. Additionally, you have an RNS315 touchscreen navigation system, a power sunroof, leather seats, and then some.

Driving the 2014 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid
Even with a set of winter tires on, the Jetta Hybrid wasn’t uncomfortable in the summer weather. I even had a chance to put it through an autocross course that, with the tires, didn’t demonstrate its stellar abilities. After a second loop, I decided it had had enough.

Though I will give it credit on the road. The cabin is quiet when rolling along at highway speeds and the steering doesn’t have a sloppiness to it -- ahem, like other hybrids. In fact, if the indicators weren’t there -- badges, power metre and such -- you probably wouldn’t notice that it’s a hybrid. Also, considering it has a similar suspension setup to that of the GLI, it’s pretty darn good.

Comparing the 2014 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid
Within the hybrid sedan selection pool, you have vehicles like the Ford C-Max, Honda Civic Hybrid, Honda Insight, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, and Toyota Prius.

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