The book on hybrids has always been that they're no fun. But you know what? The authors of that book clearly haven't driven a 2013 VW Jetta Hybrid. Boasting a turbocharged gasoline motor, a whip-smart automatic transmission and Volkswagen's familiar Germanic road manners, the Jetta Hybrid is a genuinely good time. Nonetheless, it still ticks all the traditional hybrid boxes, so you really do get the best of both worlds. Here are our top five reasons to put one in your driveway.
1. Great Fuel Economy and Low Emissions
The main point of a hybrid is to use as little fuel as possible, and the Jetta Hybrid certainly delivers, thanks largely to an integrated electric motor that lets the gasoline engine take it easy most of the time. Rated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at 42 miles per gallon city and 48 mpg highway, this VW is even better on gas than the popular Camry Hybrid. Also, with its squeaky clean emissions, the Jetta Hybrid is gentler on the environment than its high-mpg diesel sibling, the Jetta TDI.
2. Surprising Performance
For a lot of people, "hybrid" is a synonym for "slow." But the Jetta Hybrid will change this perception the first time you hit the gas. With a turbocharged 170 horsepower under the hood, along with extra punch from the electric motor, this VW is one hybrid that really hauls. It's also got a uniquely responsive 7-speed transmission. Overall, the Jetta Hybrid's performance reminds us more of a sport sedan than a Prius.
3. Continental Character
Hybrid badges notwithstanding, the Jetta Hybrid delivers the same refined driving experience as the rest of the Jetta lineup. You get athletic steering response, a supple ride and rock-solid high-speed stability. If there's an affordable hybrid for driving enthusiasts, this Jetta's the one. It just so happens that this particular German driving machine gets almost 50 mpg on the highway.
4. Attractively Priced
Although the Jetta Hybrid is chock full of technology, it starts at around $25,000, making it surprisingly affordable for American families, and it is vastly superior in fuel economy to a standard $25,000 family sedan. Suppose you average 45 mpg in your Jetta Hybrid; that's about 20 mpg better than, say, a Camry or Malibu. So not only is the Jetta Hybrid a good deal in the first place, it'll also save you a pile of gas money over the years.
5. Built for the Real World
Some hybrids seem more like spaceships than practical everyday vehicles, but the Jetta Hybrid bucks this trend, too. The gauges and controls are straightforward, so driving this hybrid is much like driving a regular car. Also, the backseat is quite roomy -- the Jetta is hardly a small car anymore -- and although the hybrid battery pack takes up some trunk space, there's still plenty of room for groceries or luggage.
Bottom line: The 2013 VW Jetta Hybrid proves that hybrids can be as fun and rewarding as any other kind of car. Take one for a spin and see if it's the right hybrid for you.