Hybrids aren't exactly known for being fun to drive, but maybe that's because they haven't been built by Volkswagen until recently. The 2014 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid is a blast to drive with its turbocharged gasoline motor, whip-smart automatic transmission and confidence-inspiring Germanic road manners. When you stomp on the Jetta Hybrid's accelerator, it really scoots; the car never feels artificial or robotic like so many other hybrids do. At the same time, it hits all the right notes for hybrid buyers, so you really do get the best of both worlds. Here are five reasons to try hybrid technology the Volkswagen way.
Great Fuel Economy and Low Emissions
The whole reason for a hybrid's existence is to minimize fuel consumption, and the 2014 Jetta Hybrid is definitely up to the task. Thanks to an electric motor that takes most of the pressure off the gasoline engine during normal driving, the Jetta Hybrid gets a remarkable 45 miles per gallon combined, including 42 mpg in the city and 48 mpg on the highway. For context, the popular Toyota Camry Hybrid gets 41 mpg combined (43 mpg city/39 mpg hwy), so Volkswagen's newcomer beats the class favorite right out of the gate. Also, with its ultraclean emissions, the Jetta Hybrid is significantly more efficient than its high-mpg diesel sibling, the Jetta TDI.
Most hybrids provide leisurely acceleration at best. The rare speedy ones tend to be performance-oriented, which is code for "not great on gas." The Jetta Hybrid doesn't make you choose, however. With 170 turbocharged horses from its 4-cylinder gasoline engine, plus a major assist from the electric motor, the Jetta Hybrid is one hybrid that really hauls. Paired with Volkswagen's highly responsive 7-speed direct-shift-gearbox transmission, this power system scoots the car to 60 miles per hour in about 8 seconds. Thanks to the electric motor's generous torque, it feels even quicker. Compared to a Toyota Prius, for example, the Jetta Hybrid races around like a sports car.
Hybrid identity notwithstanding, this Volkswagen provides the same upscale driving experience as any other Jetta. You get precise steering, a sophisticated ride and imperturbable stability at highway speeds, not to mention luxuriously low noise levels. If you love to drive but want to maximize your mpg, the Jetta Hybrid is uniquely satisfying among affordable hybrids. This is one hybrid that actually drives better than a lot of conventional cars.
Despite its high-tech drivetrain, the Jetta Hybrid starts at around $25,000, making it surprisingly affordable for a lot of shoppers. Of course, its fuel economy is vastly superior to that of the typical $25,000 sedan. If you get a regular Camry or Malibu, you can expect an average of 25-30 mpg. The Jetta Hybrid will do 45 mpg in its sleep. Not only is the Jetta Hybrid a good deal in the first place, but it will also save you a pile of gas money over the years.
Built for the Real World
Some hybrids seem more like science experiments than practical daily drivers, but once again, the Jetta Hybrid defies the trend. Its gauges and controls are conventional and user-friendly, as is its transmission lever, so there's no learning curve when you get behind the wheel. Also, the back seat is plenty spacious -- the Jetta is essentially a midsize car these days. While the hybrid battery pack does consume some trunk space, there's still ample room for groceries or luggage.
The 2014 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid proves that hybrids don't necessarily hate fun. If you've had your doubts about hybrids over the years, try a Jetta Hybrid, and see if it changes your mind.