2013 Volkswagen Jetta HybridEnlarge Photo
Standard styling with flourishes
The Jetta Hybrid is instantly recognizable as the latest Jetta sedan, launched in 2011. Outside, the few minor changes to the front end include optional bi-xenon front lights bordered with white LED running lights.
The grille opening below the bumper is outlined as well, reflecting the new and more aerodynamic front air dam. And the VW badge has a blue background for the first time (to Germans, blue is green).
In the back, the red taillights are low-energy LED units, below an integrated rear spoiler and above an underbody air diffuser hanging below the rear bumper. Overall, VW says, the drag coefficient of the Jetta Hybrid is 10 percent lower than the standard model's, which uses less fuel to slip through the air above 40 mph.
Special 15-inch alloy wheels carry low-rolling-resistance tires, and there are Hybrid badges on the grille, front fenders, and trunk lid.
Inside, the usual hybrid energy-flow diagrams are available on the central screen, and a power meter that replaces the tachometer shows whether the powertrain is operating at full power or more economically, recharging, or running with no electric contribution.
Diesel and hybrid
The Jetta TDI clean diesel is already the model's fuel economy leader, so why include a gasoline hybrid alternative? In part because diesels are still foreign to some buyers, whereas hybrids have a universal image of fuel economy (and a bit of a green halo, for better or worse).
The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid will be, VW says, "competitively priced with other compact hybrids." Our only data point right now is the 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid, which carries a base price of $24,050 plus a $770 delivery fee.
The hybrid Jetta will arrive at Volkswagen dealers at the end of 2012.
Volkswagen provided airfare, lodging, and meals to enable High Gear Media to bring you this report from the Detroit Auto Show.