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2013 Volkswagen Jetta TDI vs. 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

Volkswagen surprised quite a few people when the automaker announced that it would offer a hybrid version of its Jetta compact sedan. It was odd for several reasons, the first being that the German manufacturer was not recognized for its hybrid technology. Add to that, Volkswagen already had an efficient version of the Jetta: the venerable TDI.

Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid and TDI

Whatever the case, the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid is indeed a reality and has been available at your Volkswagen dealership for the last several months. And for the green car lovers, there are several reasons worth considering it. The question is, should you choose the Jetta TDI or the new Jetta Hybrid?

Which car is more efficient?

1. 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid 2. 2013 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid is undoubtedly the most fuel-efficient of the two green cars. Both on paper and in the real world, the Jetta hybrid comes out on top. At the same time, both vehicles provide essentially the same range, whereas the cost of fuel – the Jetta Hybrid requires premium gasoline and the TDI obviously requires diesel – is almost identical.

During our winter test drive with the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid, our average fuel consumption was 6.8 L/100km. According to Volkswagen, the average fuel economy for the Jetta Hybrid is supposed to be 4.3 L/100km: 4.5 L/100km in city, 4.2 L/100 km on the highway.

We observed an average of 7.3 L/100km with the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta TDI when incorporating the same driving style as our test with the hybrid model. The average fuel consumption of the Jetta TDI is 5.7 L/100km, according to the manufacturer.

The main difference between these two models relates to city driving. It’s in this environment that we can observe how the 2013 Jetta Hybrid is more fuel-efficient than its turbodiesel counterpart.

Which vehicle is the most fun to drive?

1. 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid 2. 2013 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

Volkswagen insisted on making their Jetta Hybrid fun to drive. Hybrid vehicles are generally not known for that, and so the German manufacturer wanted to change this aspect. Mission accomplished, as the Jetta Hybrid is a car that, looking beyond its eco-friendly characteristics, offers precise handling and accelerations that will put a smile on your face.

The Jetta Hybrid’s 1.4L 4-cylinder turbocharged engine develops, in combination with the electric motor, 170-horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. Although its not as quick off the line as the Jetta TDI and its 2.0 L turbodiesel engine offering 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, the Jetta Hybrid is quicker when passing and remains peppy as speed increases, which is the case with the TDI that tends to lose some oomph after the initial quick jump.

Our test models were equipped with a 7-speed dual clutch transmission otherwise known as Volkswagen’s DSG transmission. In one model or the other, the transmission does its job brilliantly and discreetly while also changing gears with greater speed and fluidity.

When driving in the city, you may not necessarily notice the difference in power between the two models. From one traffic light to another, the Jetta TDI seems as dynamic as the Jetta Hybrid. When the revs increase is when we can feel the difference between the two engines.

Which vehicle is more spacious?

1. 2013 Volkswagen Jetta TDI 2. 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

Obviously, interior space between both cars will be quite similar, given their identical overall proportions. However, there is a difference to be noted.

That difference can be found in the trunk of the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta TDI, as it is larger than the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid. Due to the position of the lithium-ion batteries, the Jetta Hybrid offers only 320 litres of cargo space compared to 440 litres from the Jetta TDI.

One of the most interesting features of the Jetta lineup is without a doubt cargo space. With 440 litres, the Jetta has a cargo capacity that is unmatched in its category and greater than many mid-size vehicles. Although the 320 litres of the Jetta Hybrid remain useful, buyers looking for lots of space will be disappointed.

For the rest, the two cars have the same temperament on the road. This means that the driver and passengers are not immune to the car’s reaction to bumps and potholes, but neither car seems uncomfortable. Interior space within these two Jettas is identical and can only accommodate four adults comfortably, the 5th seat being very hard.

Which car offers the best subjective value?

1. 2013 Volkswagen Jetta TDI 2. 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

The Volkswagen Jetta TDI equipped with the DSG transmission is available from $25,590 before taxes and delivery fees, while the base-model 2013 Jetta Hybrid is available from $27,875 before taxes and fees.

With equal equipment, expect to pay nearly $5,000 more to drive around in a Jetta Hybrid. If it indeed offers better fuel economy, the difference still does not justify the price gap. If one opts for the Jetta Hybrid, it’s because of its better performance, and to benefit from the exclusivity that comes with driving this model that, without a doubt, will be less popular than the Jetta TDI. More pragmatic buyers will opt for the TDI.

Who wins in this comparison?

1. 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid 2. 2013 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

The better value between the two cars can be found with the Volkswagen Jetta TDI. In the end, the price difference between the cars compensates over the slightly higher fuel-economy rating on the diesel model.

On our end, we choose the 2013 Jetta Hybrid as the winner of this comparison because of its dynamic handling. It’s one of the few hybrid cars that is actually fun to drive, and this is why it would our choice. But let’s be clear, this is a decision coming from the heart.

2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid and Jetta TDI gallery

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