Friday, February 1, 2013

Jetta has evolved, and hybrid version is a treat

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website – via the “GALLERY: Reviews of new cars” link at

Sacramento, California – Another week, another Volkswagen.  But ah, there’s a story behind this 2013 VW tester that kept me busy for a week.

First off, the current Jetta is light years improved from the Jetta that bowed to the world at the 1979 Frankfurt Auto Show.  The 2013 Jetta, and there are an astounding18 ways to get it, is different from the Frankfurt show attendee like the rocket that blasted Neil Armstrong to the moon is different from the tin can John Glenn rode around the Earth.

The current-generation Jetta is so much more substantial than the old-school models that it’s almost a crime of deception that the current version carries the same nameplate.

And new this time around is the hybrid version, with a zero-emission electric motor (20 kilowatts) and a peppy engine grinding out a combined output of 170 horsepower.  And yes, it actually feels like 170 horsepower – quick and lively.  Here’s a hybrid that even a performance buff can love.

That good, really?  Yes, believe it.

Covering all the bases, my tester was the 2013 Volkswagen Jette Hybrid SEL Premium sedan, and it’s the most expensive one in the long Jetta lineup, starting at $31,180.  Worth every penny, I tell you.  You’re stealing top-notch technology at that price.

Fuel mileage your top priority?  Then you’ll probably like the Jetta hybrid’s government ratings of 42 miles per gallon in the city and 48 mpg on the highway?

The car just felt sizable and firm in my hands.  Responsive steering and hill climbing pop when I asked for it.  Super-quiet inside.   Long list of standard comfort, convenience and safety features.  Ample room for passengers and cargo in the boot.

Best of all for me, it did not have any of the functional mysteries that I have experienced with other hybrids … everything from “Is this thing on?” to “How much gas am I wasting at this particular moment?”  Yes, the simple pleasures mean a lot to me when I’m driving gas-electric fueled transportation.

Best hybrid on the market?  Can’t say that absolutely for sure, given the impressive Toyota Prius fleet currently putting up big sales numbers.  But I’d put this Jetta right up there.  If you can spring for $31,000 or so and count on saving a bundle on gas over the long term, this Jetta is worth the time of a test drive.

And while you’re saving all that money on gas, you might just learn to like this car for what it is.  I know I did.

No comments:

Post a Comment