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2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid: Quick Gas-Mileage Test

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The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid is VW's second hybrid model, and the first hybrid sedan we've had in the U.S. market from the German automaker.

It's also interesting because the Jetta is available with a fuel-efficient TDI turbodiesel engine--and VW discovered that hybrid and diesel buyers are very different.

When we went to the launch event for the Jetta Hybrid, we walked away with mostly positive impressions of the new hybrid sedan.

But first impressions are just that, so how does the new hybrid powertrain act in daily life? We spent a week in the Jetta Hybrid and found out.

Supposedly 40 mpg or more

During the launch event we noted average an fuel economy of over 40 mpg--but noted that we would be reserving judgment until we could test the vehicle in real-world conditions.

The window sticker on our Jetta Hybrid tester shows EPA ratings of 45 mpg combined (42 mpg city, 48 mpg highway).

During the course of a week, we drove 114 miles at an average speed of 20 mph. Disappointingly, our average fuel economy was 34.8 mpg. In fact, we never once saw an average number anywhere near 40 mpg.

If we were to break out our driving conditions, we'd estimate that about 50 miles of our driving was on the highway, and the remainder was around-town city driving.

But it's still winter

Some might wonder if temperature affected our mileage: Our test was in Portland, Oregon, which isn't exactly warm but hardly gets frigid during the winter.

During the week, we'd wake up to find temperatures in the high 30s to low 40s--and by the middle of the day, it would be nearly 50 degrees.

So while we expected we might not match the EPA ratings due to weather, we expected to be closer than we were.

2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

Enlarge Photo

Other quick driving impression notes

  • The 7-speed DSG transmission is terrific in this hybrid setup, and doesn't drone at highways speeds or under hard acceleration as you would typically find in a CVT-like hybrid setup.
  • The powertrain is smooth, and there isn't the typical lurching you might find in other hybrids.
  • If you need power quickly, the turbo kicks instantly and you have the power you need.
  • The interior is well laid out and very comfortable.
  • The rear seat is huge with lots of space.
  • The rear seats fold down even with a battery pack in the trunk.

While we were disappointed with the gas-mileage numbers we saw during our week with the Jetta Hybrid, we did enjoy the driving experience.

We look forward to testing the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid again when the weather is warmer, to see if we might see better fuel economy results.

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Comments (11)
  1. Reasons why it is better to buy the TDI:

    1) Higher fuel economy
    2) No environmental impact of battery manufacturing
    3) You can run biodiesel in it
    4) Likely longer lifespan of engine

    If anyone was buying a car for purely environmental reasons I can't think why on earth they would buy the hybrid
     
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  2. Morgan, did you read the article? The hybrid has a much higher EPA rating (45 combined versus the TDI's 34 mpg combined). The author here didn't get the EPA number for the hybrid, but what is your evidence for the assertion that the TDI gets better mileage?

    The environmental impact of batteries is an old chestnut. By far, most of the environmental impact of a vehicle is from its fuel usage, not from its manufacturing.

    The environmental impact of biodiesel is still arguable.

    And let's not forget that diesels, even the new ones, spew a lot more criteria air contaminants than SIs.

    No, you certainly haven't made your case that the TDI is a slam dunk for the environmental consumer.
     
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  3. GCR readers know better than to go only by EPA mpg estimates.

    The 2009-2013 Jetta TDI averages 38.1 mpg according to over 2000 drivers at fuelly.com. That's 4 mpg better than EPA. My 2009 Jetta TDI MT wagon is averaging 42 mpg.

    Some of the new hybrids like those at Ford are averaging way below their EPA ratings. The Ford C-Max hybrid and Fusion hybrid are supposed to get 47 mpg by EPA, but at fuelly.com drivers are reporting an average of 37.7 mpg for both of these vehicles, similar to what auto journalists are reporting. Time will tell whether the Jetta Hybrid can average close to its EPA mpg rating like the Prius does, or if it falls well short like the new Ford hybrids.
     
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  4. Best to buy:

    Prius
     
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  5. The TDI does get better mileage than 35 easily. I owned a 2010 Golf with the current engine and never got below 40 combined. Fuelly backs up my experience.

    VW will void your warranty if you run more than 5% biodiesel so it is really not much of a benefit for the TDI.

    The TDI would probably have the same lifespan or not significantly different from the 1.4 turbo in the hybrid.
     
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  6. Join the club (Ford, Hyundai, others) who overstate their gas mileage. This VW has a cheap, plasticky made in Mexico look, lurches a bit on startup, and the brakes feel odd. It is a bit quicker than average, but not as quick as a C-Max or Volt.
     
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  7. Toyota: You just can't beat 'em.

    (Although it's great to have options.)
     
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  8. I own the first 2013 Jetta Hybrid, in Canada. In February with our -30 below weather I was getting 400-420 Km's to a tank. I purchased a winter front for a 2013 TDI, slapped it on the Hybrid and now I'm currently getting 540-560kms to a tank. It's still -20 and I don't have a garage, but I do keep her pluged in over night. The Jetta Hybrid has a 45L tank, now some people are thinking the euro 1.4TSI twin charger is better. I would disagree kindly, instead of a super charger to generate HP/Torque. The 1.4TSI Hybrid has 28HP Electric motor which is instant, just like all the models for Tesla Motors. This summer I would love to challenge the Jetta Hybrid for 700Km's to a tank. I only city drive and don't reach speeds over 100kmh.
     
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  9. We drive both the '09 TDI Wagen & '13 Jetta Hybrid. I find the EPA rating for the TDI (30/41 avg 34) to be pretty reasonable (can get more on the highway, up to 45-46 if I drive more slowly), but I didn't like the city mpg so I purchased the hybrid to up the "city" avg of our cars. But I am disappointed in the hybrid mpg so far (still just over 1000 miles though, in winter and we have hilly terrain for our shorter trips). I've only filled up twice so far (the car came with some gas) and I think I was at about 37-38 mpg, better than the TDI average we get in mixed driving but not 45! In one short test, we drove both and the hybrid reported a better mpg - about 20%. Would appreciate tips on driving techniques for hybrids please! Thanks
     
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  10. I have Owned my 2013 Jetta Hybrid SEL premium for 5 weeks now and 1900 + miles.....I like the the car and I echo the sentiments above my average to date is between 36-36.8 MPG so it is not close to the advertised mileage YET! I sold my 2010 Jetta Sportwagen 6speed Manual to buy the hybrid......the lifetime average og the Sportwagen was 33.8 on Fuelly and the most ever was 47 I love my TDI's but the Hybrid is different and I was ready for a change.....I have never even given a Hybris a 2nd look before this.....It however had all the goodies I desired on my TDI but couldnt have Hids,Fender stereo Climatronic Back up camera led tails so we will see
     
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  11. The real world MPG of it is 40.8MPG according to Fuelly, basically the same as the Fusion Hybrid. Not bad, not great. Not bad for a mildish hybrid.
     
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