Competitors like Honda and Toyota offer hybrid vehicles in their lineup, but unlike their models, the 2014 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid feels more like a regular sedan.
Sure you can appreciate the smooth and quiet ride, in addition to good fuel economy ratings that are characteristic of its kind, but one quick pump on the gas pedal will likely dispel any negative ideas associated with these types of cars.
Who is it for? – Consumers that want to benefit from the fuel efficiency of a hybrid model, while still under the impression they are driving a regular compact sedan.
What to watch for – Infotainment display is small, and interior setup may not please all.
Competitors – Honda Accord Hybrid, Acura ILX Hybrid, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, Toyota Prius.
Is it fun to drive?
If your previous experience with a hybrid model has left you wanting more in terms of power, VW’s compact sedan should feed that need. Acceleration is certainly far from slow, as one can attest to when pressing their foot against the gas pedal. When fully accelerating, the vehicle does not seem very hybrid-like, and in fact it’s a lot of fun to drive. That of course is due to the turbocharged 1.4-litre 4-cylinder engine that is unique to vehicles in this segment. Paired with an electric motor, one can obtain a total output of 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque as a result.
And rather than being equipped with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) that can be found on several hybrid models, the engine is instead coupled to a 7-speed automatic DSG (Direct-Shift Gearbox) transmission. Otherwise known as a dual clutch, this transmission allows you to change gears in a smooth and quick manner that, while doing so, also maintains torque as opposed to losing a bit of power.
Variations of this technology can be found in several other vehicles, but VW gets “props” for the quick-shifting DSG that is especially fun to use when passing another vehicle. Handling is good too, and when entering a curve, the sedan moves in a way that instils confidence in the driver.
When on the highway, we noticed the vehicle would coast if the right foot were lifted from the gas pedal. The speed would eventually drop, but not as quickly as most other vehicles. It’s quite nice. In the city however, may want to maintain a safe distance between the cars. The 2014 Jetta Hybrid does not immediately slow down, at least not in the customary fashion that most people are used to. Braking may also seem odd at first due to the sponge-like or suction-type feeling as you depress the pedal. It’s one of those love-it or hate-it aspects to consider.
Verdict: Yes, especially when considering that it is a hybrid vehicle.
Is it comfortable?
When on the road, VW’s compact sedan provides “smooth sailing,” along with a quiet interior. Driving over bumps and potholes should not overly disturb you either, and overall the 2014 Jetta Hybrid provides a comfortable ride.
Inside the vehicle, the heated leatherette or leather seats, depending on the trim, add to the comfy factor, and dual-zone climate control is standard on all models. The layout is clean and includes easy-to-find and easy-to-use controls. It is possible that some consumers will complain about the quality of the plastic materials, and it would be understandable considering the base MSRP of $28,490 – $35,300. In addition, the Jetta Hybrid doesn’t exactly offer the most entertaining cabin considering the price tag, but the simplicity of it all does help to maintain a peaceful vibe.
The sedan can also benefit from a larger touch-screen, since the current one provides a rather small view (5 to 6.5-inch display to be precise) of the navigation system and rearview camera that is standard on the Highline trim. Otherwise, features such as cruise control that is standard on all models, the push-button start available on the top trim, and satellite radio that one can get with the Comfortline and Highline models, further adds to the relaxed interior atmosphere.
Verdict: Yes, though you will have to opt for the Highline trim to enjoy the convenience of certain features like navigation and a backup camera.
Is it spacious?
Spaciousness is yet another aspect to appreciate. In fact, it’s all-good up front, and six-foot-tall passengers can sit in back without having to fidget during the entire drive. They can also pull out an armrest to relax.
Towards the rear of the vehicle, the cargo volume should not overly disappoint you considering these types of vehicles are not praised for the available trunk space. After all, the battery has to go somewhere, though luckily the rear seats do fold.
Verdict: Yes, in terms of passenger space. The cargo volume will depend on your needs.
Is it fuel-efficient?
The sedan is stated to have a fuel economy rating of 4.5/4.2 litres per 100 kilometres (city/hwy). My average consumption for the week puts it at 6.3 L/100km over 266 km, and premium fuel is recommended over regular.
There are a couple of interesting things to note about this vehicle with regards to fuel efficiency, such as the Jetta’s ability to coast, as previously mentioned. It helps with the fuel economy, in addition to the start-stop mode and an E-Mode button that one can select, along with the use of regenerative braking that helps to charge the battery.
How does it behave in winter?
The sedan was not tested on snow, but the front-wheel drive 2014 Jetta Hybrid sedan feels solid. There is a sense of quality built to the vehicle, and it is equipped with an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), stability control, brake assist and anti-slip regulation, to name a few.
Verdict: It may not have all-wheel drive, but it feels solid and balanced when driving.
The 2014 VW Jetta Hybrid is far from being one of the typical, boring models in its segment. It offers performance and driving pleasure that is closer to a regular sedan due to the turbocharged engine under the hood, and the dual clutch transmission. It’s also stylish, comfortable and spacious. The catch? You will have to make your peace with the cargo volume, and the simplistic interior styling and small infotainment display.
2014 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid Gallery