2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid first drive

* Hybrid version of VW Jetta saloon driven * Uses 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine and electric motor * Technology will come to UK in Golf in 2014...

2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid first drive

The Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid uses a mildly tweaked version of the company's 148bhp 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine and a 20Kw electric motor.

These combine to produce a 0-62mph time of 8.6 seconds, with CO2 emissions of just 95g/km and average economy of 68.9mpg.

The electric motor will drive the Jetta Hybrid for 7.5 miles at speeds of up to 43mph.

While the Jetta Hybrid will not go on sale in the UK, Volkswagen plans to bring a Golf Hybrid to the UK by 2015 and this could use a similar powertrain.

Whats the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid like to drive?
The 1.4-litre petrol engines are quiet and refined in the standard Jetta, so add the electric motor, thicker windows and a redesigned exhaust system and the Hybrid's cabin is a seriously calm place to be.

At town speeds the electric motor means the Jetta travels in near-silence and it's hard to tell when the engine engages. When it does, the Jetta is refined right up to motorway speeds, where there is just a hint of road- and wind noise.

The electric motor is swift to respond at lower speeds. Accelerate harder and it pulls well, with the engine kicking-in smoothly for rapid overtaking.

A noticeable downside of the hybrid system concerns the brakes. They grab far too sharply, and make it difficult to slow smoothly.

Added weight from the battery has not drastically hindered the Jetta's ride or handling. It remains composed over most ruts and bumps, while it corners in a predictable manner with minimal body roll.

Whats the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid like inside?
The most notable change is the rev-counter, which has been replaced by an eco-meter. This is similar to systems in cars such as the Toyota Prius and shows whether you are using the engine or the battery. The infotainment screen also has a sub-menu that shows how much emission-free driving has been completed.

Should I buy one?
The technology isn't cheap. In Germany, the range-topping Hybrid costs around 2000 (1750) more than the equivalent diesel model.

Given that the forthcoming Golf Bluemotion emits just 85g/km of CO2 and does average economy of 88.3mpg, a petrol-electric hybrid would need to be very competitively priced to take many sales in the UK.

Volkswagen will also offer a plug-in hybrid Golf Bluemotion Twindrive late in 2014 or early in 2015. This will do a claimed average economy of 188mpg and emit around 35g/km of CO2.

Tom Webster

Chevrolet Volt
Toyota Prius

Read the full Volkswagen Jetta review >>

Engine size 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol and electric motor
Price from n/a
Power 168bhp
Torque 184lb ft
0-62mph 8.6 seconds
Top speed 125mph
Fuel economy 68.9mpg
CO2 g/km 95g/km