The Volkswagen Jetta is getting a hybrid version. Yes, a hybrid version.
That may not mean much to those gas-guzzling, sports car-driving types, but for those that take pride in alleviating some of Mother Nature’s plights, a green Jetta is just what the doctor ordered.
The Jetta Hybrid, which was launched at the 2012 North American International Auto Show, will provide customers a more economical version for a car that has long been one of Volkswagen’s most popular models.
The hybrid engine doesn’t sound like a world-beater - the lithium-ion battery only produces 1.1 kWh - but it’s still competent enough to allow the car to hit 44 mph. And when you add that to a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine that hits a total of 170 horsepower, you have a car that’s fixing to make a lot of Jetta lovers smile from ear to ear.
UPDATE 10/08/2012: Back in August 2012, Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid established an impressive speed record of 185.394 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Just a couple of short months later, the vehicle returned to the scene of the victory to break its own record, and succeeded in doing so! The car averaged 186.313 mph over two runs during the SCTA’s World Finals event, eclipsing the previous record by 18.8 mph. Even more impressive is that, during the first round, it hit a top speed of 187.147 mph.
Find out more about the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid after the jump.
Exterior and Interior
Aesthetic modifications for the Jetta Hybrid were left to a minimum. Among the modifications are a new front airdam, a rear diffuser, and an integrated rear spoiler. The car also has a special radiator grille that houses the VW logo, which has been integrated on a blue background, as well as Hybrid markings on various parts of the car, including the grille, fenders, and rear deck. Last, the Jetta Hybrid rides on a set of special 15" alloy wheels wrapped in all-season tires.
Volkswagen has announced that the Jetta Hybrid will be offered in three different trim levels with all the details set to be announced on a later date. Nevertheless, the car still comes with plenty of standard safety equipment, including Electronic Stability Control (ESC), anti- lock brakes (ABS), and six airbags: driver and front passenger airbags, front side thorax airbags and Side Curtain Protection airbags on both the front and rear.
Other standard features include Bluetooth technology, LED taillights, SiriusXM satellite radio, special 15-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, bi-xenon headlights and LED Daytime Running Lights, a power driver’s seat, heatable front seats, the RNS 315 navigation system, a rear-view camera and Volkswagen’s exclusive Fender Premium Audio System.
For all intents and purposes, this is where the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid really makes a difference. Utilizing a 1.4-liter turbocharged gasoline powerplant, the Jetta Hybrid’s engine is capable of generating 150 horsepower and 184 lb/ft of torque. Then you add a 20kW electric motor with a lithium-ion battery that’s integrated behind the rear bench seat and weighs less than 80 lb. The battery consists of 60 individual cells with a combined energy capacity of 5 Ah.
The frequency of the discharge and charge cycles in hybrid operation requires high- performance battery cooling. To accomplish that, Volkswagen mounted a fan directly on the device. On top of that, the battery also has its own management system that performs safety, diagnostic, and monitoring functions as well as temperature management.
The Jetta’s Hybrid’s entire powertrain system is then mated to a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission that sends power to the front wheels and operates automatically and efficiently, while also providing super-fast shifting.
All told, combining the gas engine with the electric motor nets the Jetta Hybrid a peak output of 170 horsepower with a 0-60 mph time of less than nine seconds. Combined fuel economy figure hits an estimated 45 mpg while a pure electric-run mode allows the car to hit a top speed of 44 mph.
Land Speed Record
In August 2012, the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid achieved a land speed record of its own at the Bonneville Salt Flats. During the Southern California Timing Association’s Speed Week at Bonneville, the Jetta Hybrid was able to record a 185.394 mph top speed, marking the fastest speed ever achieved by a production-based hybrid on the Bonneville Salt Flats.
"Achieving this speed at Bonneville shows that the all-new 2013 Jetta Hybrid is a distinctly different offering in the compact hybrid class,” said Jonathan Browning, CEO and President, VW Group of America. “As well as being expected to achieve combined fuel economy of 45 mpg, the Jetta Turbo Hybrid also retains the fun-to-drive nature you expect from a Volkswagen in a segment dominated by less exciting vehicles.”
The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid that achieved the record was able to do so with a few modifications to its hybrid setup. Volkswagen R&D in Wolfsburg, Germany modified the engine to provide a few more ponies, while A-Salt Racing and Advanced Product Engineering, based in Camarillo, California, provided project integration and other modifications. Everything was finalized with an engine calibration and a once-over by the folks at the Volkswagen Test Center California in Oxnard, CA
There’s no word on the pricing for the Jetta Hybrid yet, but we expect it to slot right in and around the $25,000 range, which is what the Jetta GLI is selling for these days.
There are a number of vehicles in the market today that can compete with the Jetta Hybrid. One that comes to mind is the Kia Optima Hybrid, which is a pretty good comp for the Volkswagen given that they have pretty much similar numbers.
To be fair, the latter posts better powertrain numbers - 206.2 horsepower and 195.4 pound-feet of torque when in hybrid mode - than the Jetta Hybrid. On the flip side, the Korean hybrid’s 2.4-liter GDI engine means that it drinks up more fuel than the German Jetta, which then results in a more efficient car for the Volkswagen, compared to the Optima’s estimated 40 mpg fuel efficiency numbers.
- The Jetta is more fuel efficient
- Still enough ponies to run around
- Fresh new technological features
- Not a lot of styling changes
- Other options are available