2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid SE (994)


This week we’re looking at the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid SE that continues to please those who appreciate German engineering. Friend and colleague Merkel you may recall is an automotive engineer and designer who is a devoted German and Italian car enthusiast.

You may recall that I owned a foreign car repair shop in Southern California for many years called G & I Automotive (for German and Italian) although we worked on most imports. I’ve owned several German cars including VW, Porsche and Mercedes Benz and I prefer them to most other imports for a long history of craftsmanship of European workers.

High end Italian and British cars in the past tended to be poorly engineered but you gotta love the flair and excitement of great European Art that is exemplified in cars like Ferrari, Maserati and Lamborghini. And what can I say about Jaguar other than it too is beautifully elegant in design and they have all endured for so many years.

General Information: 

Parts – US/Canadian 11 %; Mexico 31%; Germany 16%; Engine and Transmission – Germany. It is assembled in Germany; Classification is Compact. Cars from Volkswagen: Beetle, CC, Eos, Golf, GTI, Jetta, Passat, Routan, Tiguan and Touareg.


Last time I recounted an email from David M about the Diamond lane access. This is just a follow on since someone asked for the references of the CA Vehicle Code sections that deal with the law.

21460 CVC; 21651 CVC; 21655.8 CVC.

If you read this last opinion you will recall the final conclusion was that although half of the officers out there would not ticket for folks crossing over the divider lines ‘off-hours’ but that means it is a toss-up of whether you will suffer a fine of about $500 half of the time – simple law of averages.

Thanks to David M., for his research and opinion and advice.

Handling & Performance:

Solid and confident feel in handling and really fast 170 horsepower turbo hybrid.


Nice lines that are relatively conservative, which is good in my opinion. To each his own, but I’m not in love with ‘homely’ and some would say ‘ugly’ of the radical designs becoming more common these days. But some think they have to ‘shock’ us with their designs. Sorry I don’t buy that. I suppose that is the concept of choice and that is why there are so many choices.

Fit and Finish:

VW quality that is typical of German cars.


This hybrid is greeeeen and gets great fuel economy at 42-48 mpg, so I temper the few thousand more in purchase price with lower operating costs.

I might note here that the original concerns of the hybrid mechanical complexity is long past as they have been out for a long time and there are not glowing maintenance issues that I have heard about.

I’d be interested in your personal experience if you have a hybrid.

Conveniences and comfort:

It is a very nice car and a comfortable ride. I did however get annoyed with the jerky accelerator and grabby brakes. It was connected with the Hybrid feature that I believe needs work to smooth out both acceleration and braking where the braking action charges the batteries.

One of my favorite features is the keyless entry and push button start. I rarely take the key fob out of my pocket all week long. Great convenience.

Consumer Recommendation:

I am convinced that we should all begin to replace our current gas guzzlers when replacement is called for because the writing is on the wall for escalation in gas prices in the future. Keep in mind that world prices of $8 a gallon is inevitable.

Recognized Competition:

VW Jetta Hybrid SE $27,000, Acura ILX $26,000, BMW 1 Series $31,000, Chevrolet Cruze $18,000, Dodge Avenger $20,000, Ford Focus $24,000, Honda Civic $19,000, Hyundai Elantra $20,000, Mazda 3 $25,000, Mitsubishi Lancer SE $20,000, Nissan Sentra $18,000, Subaru Impreza $20,000, Toyota Corolla $19,000.

Good News:

Outstanding fuel economy, comfortable, perfect size for most of our needs and if you don’t care about fuel use it can be ultra-fast and a pleasure on the road.

Bad News:

Jerky accelerator and grabby braking system (this needs attention by the engineers).

Standard Equipment:

1.4 liter Hybrid 170 horsepower TSI (Turbocharged Stratified Injection) engine, front wheel drive, 4-wheel ABS power assist disc brakes, Anti-slip regulation (traction control), electronic stability control, electronic differential lock, 15” alloy wheels, front side and side curtain airbags, LATCH system and rear child door locks, tire pressure monitor, V-tex leatherette seating, touchscreen radio and CD changer, Sirius satellite, climate control, 60/40 split folding rear seat with pass through, cruise control, height adjustable & telescoping steering column, keyless entry and push button start, power windows and locks, heated power mirrors with turn signal indicators, engine immobilizer, trip computer, leather wrapped steering wheel, shift knob and hand brake, MDI / iPod cable.

Gas Stats:

$3.75/ Gal avg. August 30, 2013


For more information.

42 City and 48 Highway MPG


MSRP $26,990.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com

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