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

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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