2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

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Key Specs

of the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    45 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    150-hp, 1.4-liter I-4 (premium)
  • Drivetrain:
    Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    7-speed auto-shift manual w/OD and auto-manual
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Gas mileage
  • Available Fender premium audio

The Bad

  • Some low-grade cabin trim
  • Looks a lot like regular Jetta

Notable Features of the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

  • Volkswagen's first hybrid sedan in U.S.
  • Estimated 45 mpg combined
  • Turbo four-cylinder engine
  • Seven-speed dual-clutch transmission
  • Lithium-ion battery pack

2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid Road Test

Mike Hanley

When it comes to fuel-saving technology, Volkswagen has been one of the staunchest supporters of diesel engines. Americans, however, have preferred hybrids, and VW is relenting with its new Jetta Hybrid sedan.

The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid's fuel economy puts it among the hybrid elite, and its sporty demeanor is a welcome addition to a segment that lacks excitement. Our enthusiasm, though, is tempered by the car's clumsy brake-pedal feel and accelerator lag.

The Jetta Hybrid starts at $25,790 including a $795 destination charge. We tested a well-equipped SEL trim level with an as-tested price of $30,155, which is about $4,000 more than a similarly equipped gas-only Jetta SEL. To see the Jetta Hybrid's pricing and specs compared with the Toyota Prius and Ford C-Max Hybrid, click here.

Unique Approach Yields Excellent Gas Mileage
The Jetta Hybrid gets an EPA-estimated 42/48 mpg city/highway and requires premium gas. Using the EPA's combined city/highway driving calculation, the sedan gets an estimated 45 mpg compared with the Prius' 50-mpg rating and the C-Max Hybrid's 47-mpg estimate.

Based on the car's trip computer, my observed gas mileage over the course of a week was an impressive 50 mpg. I covered 106 miles at an average speed of 19 mph, and my travels saw stop-and-go city driving, Chicago rush-hour traffic, and suburban streets and highways. The outside temperature hovered in the mid-40s, and I drove it the same way I do other test cars.

The 
Volkswagen Jetta ...

When it comes to fuel-saving technology, Volkswagen has been one of the staunchest supporters of diesel engines. Americans, however, have preferred hybrids, and VW is relenting with its new Jetta Hybrid sedan.

The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid's fuel economy puts it among the hybrid elite, and its sporty demeanor is a welcome addition to a segment that lacks excitement. Our enthusiasm, though, is tempered by the car's clumsy brake-pedal feel and accelerator lag.

The Jetta Hybrid starts at $25,790 including a $795 destination charge. We tested a well-equipped SEL trim level with an as-tested price of $30,155, which is about $4,000 more than a similarly equipped gas-only Jetta SEL. To see the Jetta Hybrid's pricing and specs compared with the Toyota Prius and Ford C-Max Hybrid, click here.

Unique Approach Yields Excellent Gas Mileage
The Jetta Hybrid gets an EPA-estimated 42/48 mpg city/highway and requires premium gas. Using the EPA's combined city/highway driving calculation, the sedan gets an estimated 45 mpg compared with the Prius' 50-mpg rating and the C-Max Hybrid's 47-mpg estimate.

Based on the car's trip computer, my observed gas mileage over the course of a week was an impressive 50 mpg. I covered 106 miles at an average speed of 19 mph, and my travels saw stop-and-go city driving, Chicago rush-hour traffic, and suburban streets and highways. The outside temperature hovered in the mid-40s, and I drove it the same way I do other test cars.

The 
Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid debuts new drivetrain technology for Volkswagen in the U.S. The hybrid system consists of a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine assisted by an electric motor that's powered by a lithium-ion battery pack. It drives the front wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.


The high fuel economy alone might be enough for some efficiency-focused car shoppers, but the Jetta Hybrid offers more, delivering an overall driving experience that popular hybrids like the Prius can't touch. Responsive steering and taut suspension tuning that's still compliant enough for daily commuting make the Jetta Hybrid feel nimble in the city and comfortable on the highway. Many hybrids have a way of isolating the driver from the act of driving, whether through numb steering or sloppy handling. The Jetta Hybrid shines above the class norm.

Rough Around the Edges
Not all is well with the Jetta Hybrid model driving experience, though, as it suffers from poor brake-pedal linearity, excessive idle creep, and accelerator lag. These issues combine to make the car feel clumsy in stop-and-go driving and when maneuvering at slow speeds.

Automakers have struggled to perfect brake-pedal feel in hybrids, which blend regenerative braking technology with traditional friction brakes, and the struggle continues in the gasoline-electric Jetta Hybrid. The first half-inch of pedal travel produces immediate stopping power from the car's regenerative braking system, but after that initial forcefulness the response tapers off significantly, with the last few inches of pedal travel yielding modest braking. It was enough to scare one editor and his passenger. After a few days, I acclimated and the brakes felt less jarring, but they still demanded a lot of my attention in order to make a smooth stop. Let up on the brake pedal and the car will lurch forward rather than creep.

The accelerator lag also drags down the driving experience. Press the gas pedal to take off from a stop, and nothing happens for a moment before the car surges forward. The delay is brief and occurs consistently enough that you can account for it as you drive, but it's nonetheless another idiosyncrasy that, like the brakes, makes the car feel unpolished.

Design & Comfort
The hybrid's cabin is nearly identical to the gas-only sedan, and our 
Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid SEL version had some of the premium features from the Jetta GLI — like a soft-touch dashboard — which helped restore some of the sedan's premium trappings that were deleted as part of its 2011 redesign. (The redesign did, however, bring about a car priced closer to the competition.) In SEL trim, the Jetta Hybrid's cabin has enough niceties — both in terms of features and materials — to warrant our car's $30,000-plus as-tested price.


One of the key interior differences in the hybrid is its instrument panel, which drops the tachometer in favor of a gauge that shows instantaneous power use and when the car's lithium-ion battery is being charged. As a coaching tool for driving more efficiently, the gauge isn't as effective as the one in the Ford Fusion Hybrid, which indicates when the gas engine will turn on, helping drivers keep the car in its electric-only mode (E-Mode).

The Jetta Hybrid's seats are finished in V-Tex simulated leather upholstery. The front buckets are supportive and comfortable, and there's enough side bolstering to keep you properly situated in front of the steering wheel. The three-person rear bench seat is impressively roomy for two adults, with a comfortable seating position and generous legroom and foot space.

Like many hybrid sedans, a portion of the trunk is occupied by the hybrid system's high-voltage battery pack; a ledge in the forward portion of the trunk takes up about half of the cargo area's vertical space. Despite the intrusion, the gas-electric 
hybrid Jetta retains the regular sedan's 60/40-split folding rear seat. With the backseat folded, there's a narrow horizontal slot between the passenger and cargo areas.

Crunching the Numbers
Volkswagen offers a variety of powertrains for the Jetta and, generally speaking, more efficient versions come with higher price tags. We looked at four Jetta drivetrains with automatic transmissions. There's some inevitable variation where features are concerned, but overall equipment levels are relatively similar. As the chart shows, despite high fuel economy estimates for the diesel and hybrid versions, significantly higher initial prices mean it will be many years before lower fuel costs make up the difference; the Jetta Hybrid's payback time is the shortest, at around nine years.

The Cost of Fuel Efficiency
  2013 Jetta S 2013 Jetta SE 2013 Jetta TDI 2013 Jetta Hybrid
Drivetrain 2.0L I-4 w/6AT 2.5L I-5 w/6AT 2.0L I-4 w/6AT 1.4L I-4 w/7AT
Base price* $18,570 $20,890 $24,885 $25,790
EPA gas mileage (city/hwy/combined) 23/29/25 24/31/26 30/42/34 42/48/45
Fuel requirement Regular gas Regular gas Diesel Premium gas
Price premium** -- $2,320 $6,315 $7,220
Efficiency increase† -- 4% 36% 80%
Annual fuel cost†† $1,980 $1,904 $1,721 $1,200
Years to recoup price premium -- 30.5 24.4 9.3
*Including $795 destination charge.
**Over base model.
†Over base model, using combined mpg ratings.
††Using combined mpg when driving 15,000 miles a year, assuming regular gas costs $3.30 a gallon, diesel costs $3.90 a gallon and premium gas costs $3.60 a gallon.


Safety
The Jetta Hybrid received an overall rating of four stars (out of five) for its performance in crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Standard safety features include antilock brakes, an electronic stability system, traction control, side-impact airbags for the front seats and side curtain airbags for both rows. A backup camera is optional.

For a full list of safety features, check out the Features & Specs page.

Jetta Hybrid in the Market
The hybrid market has been defined by quirky-looking cars like the original Honda Insight and the Toyota Prius. Their distinctive appearance lets drivers communicate to the world that they're driving something different without saying anything at all. The trend is repeating itself in the electric-car segment with models like the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt. The 
Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid, though, speaks to the future, and the idea that hybrids will be just another powertrain technology we'll see in more regular cars. It's a good effort overall, but VW needs to address the car's brake and accelerator quirks or it risks alienating potential buyers.

 

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Latest 2013 Jetta Hybrid Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.4)
Performance
(3.8)
Interior Design
(4.3)
Comfort
(4.4)
Reliability
(3.5)
Value For The Money
(3.6)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

An overlooked VW gem

by S Bard from Maine on July 12, 2018

Forget about VW's dieselgate scandal. The real tragedy was how their hybrid market was unable to take off under the cloud of suspicion. My father, a 2009 Jetta TDI owner, was heartbroken to have to ... Read full review

(1.0)

I bought a lemon

by Not happy car owner from BROOKLYN on July 8, 2018

The car had no problem until my warranty expired. At 37,000 miles since I bought the 2013 Jetta hybrid it needs a transmission unity with a cost of $6,000. It's absurd that a car needs a new ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid currently has 1 recall

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid has not been tested.

Manufacturer Warranties

Backed by Volkswagen
New Car Program Benefits
  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    36 months / 36,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits
  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    7 years/less than 72,000 or 75,000 miles (model-year specific)

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    Model-year 2017 and older, 2 years/24,000 miles; model-year 2018 and forward, 1 year/12,000 miles; TDI models, 2 years/unlimited miles

  • Powertrain warranty

    5 years/60,000 miles

  • Dealer Certification Required

    100-plus point inspection

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All Program Details

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Jetta Hybrid received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker