The Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid was the green car for enthusiasts
Have you been to a gas station lately? No matter where you are in the world, you will no doubt have noticed how expensive fuel has become. Prices for regular, mid-size, premium diesel and even diesel are skyrocketing, hitting record highs in some areas.
Add to that the recent fuel shortages in places like the UK, and penny-pinching gasoline ends up in a bit of a mess: Keep feeding your fun car’s drinking habit despite the increase in cost, or supplement it with an economical driver’s daily.
Buying a frugal car on a daily basis is not a new concept, but for enthusiastic drivers, being behind the wheel of an eco-box is a purgatory. They are mostly all bland, if not intentionally ugly to look at, their motors sound like old refrigerator pumps, and they tend to drive with all the excitement of a sleeping house cat.
However, not all green cars are ugly, not all are crazy like drones and they are not. all miserable to drive. Sure, you could spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a next-gen hybrid sports car like the Acura NSX Type-S, but if you want really cheap thrills, there is another way.
The mid-2010s wasn’t exactly Volkswagen’s best time, but amid growing reliability issues and a $ 15 billion slap on the wrist to blame its shows on the dog, it managed to create (and kill quietly) one of the most compelling powertrains he’s ever ridden in an economy car: the 1.4 TSI hybrid found in the Jetta.
The MK6 Jetta Hybrid might not be the kind of car to set the hair on fire, but compared to its battery-powered rivals, it’s practically a sports car. Read on to find out how this forgotten fuel saver was (and still could be) the green car for enthusiasts.
VW Jetta: a brief history of the three-box cousin of the Golf
The Volkswagen Jetta has been with us for decades. It’s a very common car, a German Corolla, but there has always been something endearing about VW designers trying to create a sedan-friendly North American product without diminishing its European charm. It’s a recipe that has worked pretty well, as evidenced by the fact that you can’t get a regular Golf in North America anymore (it’s GTI and R-only now), but your local VW dealer will get a pleasure to sell you the cheapest Jetta. in the field.
Originally built as a simple Golf with a trunk, the Jetta evolved and separated from the ubiquitous hatchback, generally positioning itself as the more affordable and affordable option of the “premium” Golf. Some generations have deviated from this idea (MK4 and MK5 cars come to mind), but when the MK6 Jetta launched in 2011, it was certainly intended to lower the price of its team mates.
You could have a base 2.0L four-cylinder gasoline engine (later replaced by a non-hybrid 1.4T), a great-sounding 2.5L inline-5, or a common rail turbodiesel. 2.0L in the dual TDI. In the sporty “GLI” version you get a slightly detuned version of the 2.0-liter turbo engine “EA888” from the Golf GTI, as well as better rear suspension. This is probably the most important upgrade; the vast majority of Jettas sold had a fairly primitive torsion beam rear suspension, but the GLI got a multi-link independent rear end borrowed from the Golf GTI, dramatically improving its ride quality and handling characteristics.
So there was a Jetta MK6 for thrifty buyers, Audi rally fans who couldn’t afford the Sport Quattros, diesel geeks and avid drivers, but what about the fuel savings? Hypermileurs? People who want to get the last drop of gasoline as far as possible? In the early 2010s, you would have been limited to the Toyota Prius, or the Toyota Prius-like Honda Insight, both of which are green cars in the traditional sense we described above. But Volkswagen saw a gap in the market and decided to fill it when, in 2013, it launched the Jetta Hybrid.
A hybrid unlike any other
It would be different from Volkswagen to just follow a trend and design something similar to its rivals. When it can’t be the trailblazer itself, VW likes to get weird, and that’s what it did with the hybrid Jetta. First of all, remember what we said about the rear suspension? The Hybrid has the same multi-link rear end as the GLI, due to the location of the battery under the rear floor. This makes it the only other MK6 Jetta model to achieve this setup, giving it a significant advantage in handling and comfort.
But, of course, the real magic is under the hood. VW’s hybrid transmission consisted of a turbocharged 1.4L “TSI” four-cylinder engine and an electric motor feeding their combined torque outputs into a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. As far as we can tell, this is the only budget hybrid to use a DCT (or DSG in VW lingo) – you’ll have to move upmarket to find another hybrid + dual clutch setup.
The 1.4L engine produces around 150 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, and the electric motor alone could match that torque figure. Working together, the two engines deliver 170 hp to the front wheels but limit torque to the 184 lb-ft figure quoted above, in order to preserve transmission life. Instead, the electric motor acts like in hybrid sports cars: by compensating for the turbo lag and bridging the torque gaps between gear changes, the Jetta Hybrid almost feels like a diesel under acceleration, without them. smelly fumes. 0-60 mph is handled in just under eight seconds, or almost fast enough to threaten an stock BRZ.
The battery adds negligible weight, with the Jetta Hybrid weighing 3,300 lbs, 100 lbs less than a Sportwagen. Most importantly, the Jetta Hybrid’s fuel economy numbers are perhaps its most impressive stats: 45 mpg combined (just under 5.5 L / 100 km). That’s twice as good as five-cylinder cars and even better than the notoriously frugal diesel.
Some of that mileage is achievable because the Jetta, unlike some of its hybrid competitors, can only run on electricity. In “electronic mode”, it will move with pleasure at low speed using only its electric motor, which can be disconnected from the ICE with a clutch. It will only do this for a few miles before it needs the gasoline engine to charge the battery, but it is the perfect solution for a daily commute involving many stops and starts or a queue during a service. driving. .
Why it disappeared and where you can find one
The short answer is Dieselgate. That “$ 15 billion slap on the wrist” the company received in 2015 was far more devastating for the VW auto group than it appears. Gone is the XL-1, a carbon fiber hypermiler that took the Jetta Hybrid philosophy to the extreme, and Audi cut its entire Le Mans outfit. Tons of other VW AG projects have been canceled and model lines cut. The Jetta Hybrid was one of the many casualties.
A few remaining models from 2015 were sold as 2016, but even before the soot dust settled around the TDI scandal, the gasoline-electric Jetta was gone, with less than 10,000 units sold, well under 1. % of total MK6 Jetta sales. It was largely overtaken by diesel until these were taken off the market, but with the bitter taste of Dieselgate still on the tongue of consumers, no one looked to Volkswagen for a green car anymore.
Thus, they can be difficult birds to track down. A voucher will cost between $ 7,000 and $ 12,000 or so, with some really perfect examples paying even more. As with any late model car, there is invariably a list of things to look for when purchasing, but luckily the MK6 chassis turns out to be one of VW’s best. The hybrid system adds levels of complexity that the average shade tree mechanic might not be able to fix, so expect to seek out specialized technicians and pay the costs that come with them. But those risks are worth it for the fuel savings associated with a driving experience that’s more akin to drinking a cup of coffee than taking melatonin.
The Jetta Hybrid made eco-friendly gasoline and electric cars fun to drive in a way they never had before. Its conventional DSG transmission and GLI-spec rear give it credibility with enthusiasts that its driving experience would match. It won’t really make your heart beat faster, but it will allow you to enjoy driving cars without spending your savings at the pump.
With VW so passionate about all-electric now, it’s unlikely that they’ll make a car like the Jetta Hybrid or the Golf GTE just for Europe again. We’re not saying that a 2010 eco-car will one day be a priceless classic, but you can’t fake exclusivity.
It has an incredibly versatile personality, from daily family commutes to a nimble performance sedan.
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