A turbo? In a hybrid?
A tree-hugging, vegan-eating, west-coast lifestyle vehicle (aka hybrid) but with that extra jolt of turbo love
The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Turbo Hybrid: a marketing ploy or real-world perfection? Well, turns out it’s little bit of both. When I was handed the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid, I thought it was a mistake. A tree-hugging, vegan-eating, west-coast lifestyle vehicle (aka hybrid) but with that extra jolt of turbo love – I was utterly confused. Or was it the car that was confused; lost somewhere in a mid-life crisis not sure if it should be for young drivers wanting the thrill of an extra pick up, or a family of four on a road trip out east. But alas, here I was with a vehicle that is as affordable as $27,000 but with options, taxes, fees, can quickly reach $40,000. Before stepping in, it had me thinking why someone would pay that much for a Jetta, but then I got into it and actually started driving.
My tester was fully loaded; eco-friendly grey leather seats, a Fender sound system, touch-screen navigation, and everything else Volkswagen has to offer in a mid-size sedan. The seats were firm, yet comfortable enough for a couple of extended trips into the city. The simplicity of the interior design isn’t as out there as some other futuristic looking vehicles, but the utilitarian German lines of this vehicle make it feel more refined than that price tag would suggest. The navigation unit is easy to use, and the information display within the instrument cluster can be changed to suit your needs. I left it on fuel consumption, because after all, that’s a huge concern when buying this car. The Fender sound system worked very well, but regular radio stations seemed to cut in and out more frequently than other vehicles I’ve been in lately. As for space, both front and rear legroom is much more than you would think a car in this class has. Advertised rear legroom numbers were presumably measured with the front seats pulled up fully so only an infant can drive the car (Disclaimer: this wasn’t actually tried). That being said, when I had two 6’+ colleagues in the rear seat, legroom was sufficient enough that I didn’t hear the usual moans and groans.
The exterior, along with the entire car, was freshly updated in 2011 to mark the sixth iteration of the Jetta. This update brought back the straighter, cleaner lines of the fourth-generation vehicle and yet managed to create a more premium look. Both front and rear lights feature LEDs, and one great feature for night time driving out in the sticks is a side light that comes on with the use of your turning blinker. Although many, again, will say the straight edges and boxy look of the vehicle is not modern like the swooping lines of many competitors, I definitely predict that 10 years from now this Jetta will have aged gracefully.
But at the end of the day, no one is buying a hybrid for its flashy design or tech-filled interior. They’re buying it for one reason: fuel economy. This Jetta Turbo Hybrid is rated at an astonishing 4.5L/100 km in the city, and 4.2L/100km on the highway. My week with the car had it go both above and beyond this. I managed to hyper-mile the car on a drive home (all city roads) down to 3.9L/100km with the use of the “E-Mode” with its 2 km range of full electric driving after every stop. This was unrealistic though as many foul words were mouthed at me for driving so leisurely during this jaunt.
The next day, I drove briskly and with a heavy foot and still managed to keep it below 7L/100km. Overall though, mainly with city driving, I was able to hover around the 5.0L/100 km mark, which for a mid size sedan is incredible. And here is the kicker; I was able to enjoy the driving experience as I could in any other sedan with a turbo. The Jetta Turbo Hybrid is rated at 7.9 seconds to 60 mph, and you especially feel it when entering on a highway, or for passing other vehicles. When needed, this car can favour well to its enthusiastic sibling, the GLI in its ride and handling capabilities.
There I was at the end of the week, left in sheer amazement. Is this car a great hybrid? No. Is it a great turbo? No. But, it is a great turbo hybrid. This vehicle is definitely not a marketing ploy as I could boot around by myself and feel exuberant, and yet when I had a long haul felt as though I was wearing hemp clothing and saving the world. This car has come the closest to bringing together the joy of driving and fuel-saving that is so needed with the ever-increasing price of gas. The only exception I can think of off the top of my head of a car that does this as well would be a Tesla Model S; but considering they’re double the price, the Jetta will have to do.
2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid Gallery