2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid Or Jetta TDI: Which Would You Buy?

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2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

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Volkswagen has long put faith in diesel technology as a way of offering both performance and economy to car buyers.

In October, buyers will be granted a second option, however--with the launch of the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid.

Using a 1.4-liter, turbocharged and hybrid-assisted four-cylinder, the Jetta Hybrid will put out 170-horsepower, and uses a 7-speed dual-clutch DSG transmission.

That's enough to out-punch the already nippy Jetta TDI, a Volkswagen stalwart and a popular choice with those who want to save money on fuel. Rated at 30 mpg city, 42 highway and 34 combined--with the potential for more--it's a quick and frugal sedan with well-proven technology.

But will the Jetta Hybrid make it obsolete? Volkswagen estimates a 45 mpg combined rating from the EPA, which puts it 11 mpg ahead of its diesel stablemate.

It's also likely to be significantly better than the diesel in city driving, with VW touting a 1.2-mile electric range when it debuted at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show.

Volkswagen even claimed, back at Detroit, that the Jetta Hybrid would be competitively priced with other compact hybrids.

2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

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We expect that means it's closer to the $24,000 Honda Civic Hybrid than the $20,000 Toyota Prius C, but anywhere in that range will make it an option for buyers looking at the $22,990 Jetta TDI.

So where exactly does that leave the diesel Jetta?

Well, with less weight than the hybrid--3,161 lbs plays roughly 3,300 lbs--the TDI might still be the more nimble choice, and for many partisan Volkswagen buyers, diesel provides all the performance and economy they need--and let's not forget, the EPA's fuel efficiency ratings for the Jetta TDI are proving fairly conservative.

But for those who can't bring themselves to buy diesel, the Jetta Hybrid is a shrewd move by VW to appeal to a wider range of buyers.

Which would you buy, Jetta Hybrid or Jetta TDI? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Comments (33)
  1. I think Antony gives the best clue to the answer. If you are a city dweller, the hybrid is probably a better choice. If you are a highway star, you might enjoy the diesel.

    It will be great to see another 45 mpg+ (combined city/hwy) option on the market.

  2. I have the 09 TDI w/DSG (the first Bluetech 2 liter) i get plenty of torque for the sporty ride, great fuel economy and range. I have driven several times on long trips and I can tell you I drive this car (on the highway for) 1k miles on a 1.5 tank of gas (about $70) if i only drive the 65 mph speed limit I can actually do better :). So I am very happy with my TDI but the Hybrid is something I may consider down the road if its performance is as good as its mpg rating ;)
    My only negative is the TDI's require special motor oil that meets yje VW 507 requirement which is incredibly pricy at $50 for 5L jug online or $80 at the dealer, so changing oil is either something you do or the dealer as you cant buy this oil at your local wal mart.

  3. Go to Pep Boys...they sell Mobil 1 ESP Formula oil made specifically for automotive diesel engines. You can get 2 quarts for the price that you pay VW for one quart of Castrol. It meets VW 507 requirements. Pep Boys is the only company that sells it. http://www.mobiloil.com/USA-English/MotorOil/Oils/Mobil_1_ESP_Formula_5W-30.aspx

  4. Thanks Randall, I will look into this

  5. Article does not say if it is a micro hybrid, mild hybrid or full hybrid. In my opinion, micro and mild hybrids are BS hybrids.
    If it is not a plug-in hybrid which can drive in EV only mode, then I'm not going to consider it (unless I can get an after market plug-in kit with extra batteries and drive at 60mph in EV only mode like the http://www.nilco2.com.au kit for the Prius).

  6. It's a full blown parallel/series hybrid combo. The engine can charge the battery or help power the wheels and the car can travel without the engine on.

  7. Hybrid. It is a no brainer. Both of them are diesel powered, but the hybrid can recover the braking energy where the TDI can't. Especially if the cost is similar..

  8. No. The hybrid is not diesel powered. Here is what I found:

    2013 Volkswagen Jetta powertrain consists of a 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, 150 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque produced, that the peaks per 1400-3500 rpm. The electrical part of the equation consists of a hybrid 20-kW (27 hp) electric motor. At low speeds (as far as 37 miles per hour), the Jetta hybrid to full power for about a mile, with the gasoline engine comes to life when the throttle is flattened. At highway speeds, the Jetta hybrid works almost exclusively on gas engine with regenerative braking, charging the lithium-ion battery helps.

  9. Even better, gas is cheaper than diesel and it is cleaner with less particulate pollution. And higher MPG? No brainer...

  10. The TDI has a higher thermal efficiency than any gas powered vehicle (about 41% for the TDI vs. 37% for the Prius). That makes up for any regenerative brake system.

  11. Not according to Fuelly. Real world, Jetta/Passat TDI owners get about 40MPG combined. The Prius, 47MPG+ combined.

    Also take into account that diesel contains about 17% more energy than gasoline. So if your diesel gets 17% more MPG than a gas car, it's not any more efficient, just has more energy to work with.

    I do think a tiny 1.2L bluemotion TDI along with a hybrid powertrain would be interesting. Would it get better MPG than a Prius? Maybe. Toyota planning on tweaking their engine some more so it'll get better over time.

  12. I bought a Jetta TDI a few weeks ago. In my case, it was an easy choice to go with diesel over hybrid.

    Wagon with manual transmission. The hybrid doesn't come in that flavor.

  13. Neither I like my Prius better.

  14. After two TDI's, a 2001 and 2006 (which have far less torque and horsepower than the new ones, I had an opportunity to drive a friends Prius, good car but talk about BORING! Not a driver's car. One thing about VW's is that they are always fun to drive

  15. How about a Diesel Hybrid - Like Mercedes is doing with the E300 CDI Hybrid they are launching in England.

  16. overkill...the price of a D-H would kill it. Getting a diesel at all is a miracle. The diesel is superior on the highway...the gasoline hybrid is the king of city dwelling. Both systems are extremely expensive by themselves. Neither approach can one-up the other enough to justify the cost of making a hybrid hybrid. That Mercedes is a toy that won't last more than a couple of years. It will be a benchmark for why automakers won't try it again in the future.

  17. If the jetta hybrid lives up to the 0 to 60 acceleration advertised, I see little reason to pick the TDI. I would also consider that power worth the tradeoff of a few less MPG than a similarly priced prius. The article mentions the cheaper prius compact, but it is really smaller so not as comparable.

    On a sidenote, I dislike the shape of the prius. Even though the prius windshield isn't small, it's so sloped that you get less vertical field of vision.

  18. I own a 2012 TDI and I get 38 city MPG and 47 HWY on my manual trans jetta. It is really just a matter of how you are going to drive it, but I can't wait for a 1.4L TDI/Hybrid that gets 90 MPG. Then VW will own the market on hybrids.

  19. Agreed !

  20. It won't get 90MPG. The 70+MPG rated Bluemotion 1.2L TDIs in Europe are grossly exaggerated. The EU MPG testing cycle is stupid old, and you have to account for the fact that an imperial gallon is 20% bigger than a USA gallon.

    Maybe 55-60MPG realistic USA real world MPG if they do it right. It's not going to be that much better than a Prius.

  21. Why not produce a plug-in. Diesel hybrid ?
    It would combine the best of both worlds

  22. Cost. Diesel exhaust systems are expensive, large lithium ion battery packs are expensive and take up cargo space.

  23. I have a 2003 Jetta TDI, I average 45 mpg, 42/52 highway. A diesel engine will last longer than a gas engine. (The new diesels are cleaner than gas) You won't have to worry about replacing batteries ever with a TDI. 235,000 miles and counting, all original!

  24. I would buy neither if I had a choice, but if I were forced to pick between the two, I would buy the TDI diesel: simpler, longer lasting, more fun to drive, and gets slightly better fuel consumption. And the torque, oh, the torque! Plus there is always the bonus of having a manual transmission option with the diesel.

  25. Whats up with all the diesel haters? Its BS that Americans dont want diesel. How do we know that if there are so few diesel car options offered? The EV has proven to be a bust, but I dont think VW has trouble selling the TDIs, in fact they are hard as hell to find due to demand. As for the TDI/hybrid, it makes absolute sense to mate a diesel engine that gets great hwy mpgs to an electric motor that provides the low speed city driving power. Excuses abound regarding how diesel engines are so much more expensive than gas, but do they not last 3 times as long? The fuel is more costly,but not after you factor in the greater effiency and energy density. 60 MPG is a realistic number for a hybrid right, but not a gas hybrid, a diesel hybrid!

  26. We loved our Jetta TDI sedan we bought three years so much we bought another one. This time a wagon with it we haul mulch, kayaks and anything else with worrying about not enough torque. Our baby is good to us.

  27. OK, first off IMO, VW did make a good choice offering both the TDI and Hybrid Jetta. As Diesel sales in North America have been notoriously low. Where as in Europe, Diesels account for over half of new car sales. I'm assuming most Americans never drove a newer Diesel car.

    Looking at the hp + torque figures between the 1.4 Hybrid and the 2.0 TDI, I'm convinced that the 2.0 TDI is a much more enjoyable ride. I love the TDI and will be my next car. I have driven other Hybrids from Ford and Lincoln, they are really querky to drive, the engine going off and on at slightest throttle press or lift was annoying. Ok, I do understand this would be great in super slow , stop and go traffic. But otherwise prefer a TDI w/ 6-spd real manual trans.

  28. Can't bring themselves to by diesel? What logic would be applied to come to this decision? Most cars sold in Europe are now diesel, providing better performance, better economy and more reliability. Even Le Mans leaders are mostly diesel now. Get with it America!

  29. @Matthew: A few facts.

    (1) Diesel fuel in the U.S. is as expensive or pricier per gallon than gasoline, unlike the many European countries where it's tax advantaged and cheaper. (2) The U.S. requires more stringent aftertreatment than any other market in the world, boosting costs. (3) Only half of U.S. fueling stations have diesel available, and of those, only half have it on the main pump ranks--the rest have it out back where semis fuel up.

    Those factors together make diesels rather less obvious for U.S. consumers than their most ardent advocates may realize.

  30. I was trading in my 2009 TDI and drove both the hybrid and the new TDI. They hybrid with the 7 speed transmission and switching between the electric and gas motors has all sorts of hesitations and dead spots. I opted to go for the 2013 TDI which is much smoother and a lot more fun.

  31. I'm surprised no one has mentioned the total environmental impact of manufacturing for hybrid vs diesel; also that the EU subsidizes diesel heavily in the interest of efficiency, whereas the US has chosen to heavily subsidize gasoline in the interest of protecting the domestic auto industry.

    The lifetime environmental damage of a hybrid, from the manufacturing process to the disposal of expired batteries, is significantly higher than the env damage of manufacturing diesel vehicle.

    The short story is that if you care about the environment, the entire impact (ie amount of env damage in aggregate of a hybrid is significantly higher due to mining lithium and the disposal of expired batteries.

  32. Diesel vs gas - even with the higher fuel prices, Diesel $ is equivalent to high-test. The per mile pricing is less and think about the gallons of fuel that are Not being used - if everyone was able to save ~200 gal/yr - there would be no oil crisis.
    (Ex 15,000m/yr At avg 24mpg = ~625 gal / @ avg 34mpg = ~440 gal. That's ~185 gal not used per year. AT $4/gal = $736 savings plus environmental benefits of not using 185 gal of fuel)
    Just bought my 3rd TDI (81 Chevette/02 VW wagon/'11 VW wagon) There's a Facebook page dedicated to bringing Subaru diesel to the US.

  33. All these comments are really helpful to those of us trying to decide, however, I couldn't help but mention that although diesel is a little more expensive than regular grade gasoline at 3.51/3.36 respectively but the hybrid only runs on premium which at this time 6/2013 is selling at 3.76 a gallon, which makes me personally lean toward the TDI. Not to mention our 2005 Jetta TDI Sedan drove from Belfair, WA to Jacksonville, FL on four tanks of diesel. Started with full tank and then filled up three mre times. Amazing!! Way better fuel economy than the EPA will let on!

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