VW's Jetta Hybrid's Detroit Show First LookEnlarge Photo
To be launched very late this year, the new Jetta Hybrid will be VW's first-ever mass-market hybrid model (its pricey Touareg Hybrid crossover sells in very small numbers).
With a promised gas-mileage rating of 45 mpg combined, Volkswagen is setting an ambitious target for the Jetta Hybrid--and displacing its Jetta TDI diesel as the fuel-efficiency star of the Jetta lineup.
The 2013 VW Jetta Hybrid will be its first U.S. model--but not the last--to use a new, efficient 150-hp, 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine.
In this case, it's mated to a 20-kW (27-hp) electric motor that feeds into Volkswagen's 7-speed DSG direct-shift automatic manual gearbox, with a combined power output of 170 hp. That should make the Jetta Hybrid sporty and fun to drive as well as efficient.
VW says it can do roughly 1 mile on electric power, with all-electric running available as high as 44 mph, and the 0-to-60-mph time is about 9 seconds.
The Jetta Hybrid was first unveiled at January's Detroit Auto Show, and it resembles a standard Jetta with some detail changes--including LED running lights, special wheels with low-rolling-resistance tires, and some additional aerodynamic aids.
It will be priced from $24,995--with the higher-specification SE models priced at $26,990--putting it directly in Prius territory--though how many people cross-shop a Prius with a VW Jetta is debatable.
Volkswagen will be holding its press event for the new model later this month, so we'll know more about the hybrid Jetta in a few weeks.
NEW DIESEL MODELS
Relatively few new diesels are coming onto the market for 2013, although we expect more to arrive next year as 2014 models (including the Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel crossover and the Chevrolet Cruze diesel four-door compact sedan).
But so far, for 2013, we've only identified one new diesel entry in the U.S. market.
2013 Volkswagen Beetle ConvertibleEnlarge Photo
Yep, there's a new ragtop version of the Beetle, which was completely redesigned for last year.
And it's a unique model, though: the sole diesel convertible on sale this year.
VW has fitted the Beetle TDI Convertible with the same 140-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel that it uses in the Jetta TDI compact sedan, the Golf TDI compact hatchback, and the Passat TDI mid-size sedan.
Fuel efficiency ratings aren't yet out for the convertible Beetle TDI, but the last time a diesel Beetle was sold in the States (its last year was 2006), the EPA rated it at 34 mpg combined with a five-speed manual, and 33 mpg with the six-speed automatic.
And it's worth remembering that Jetta TDI diesels often exceed their EPA ratings, as do the other models in the VW diesel line.