“2016 VW Jetta Hybrid SEL Premium”
An Antidote to the common hybrid
Volkswagen’s 2016 Jetta Hybrid continues to serve as an antidote to the common hybrid. It is an attractive, fun-to-drive four-door, five-passenger sedan that is easy on one’s pocketbook in two ways – it is economical to operate and it is reasonably and competitively priced.
The sixth generation Jetta, which was introduced as a 2011 model adds the Jetta Hybrid to its popular family in 2013. The Jetta Hybrid retains the same aerodynamic, ageless styling as the rest of the Jetta lineup, rather than trying to come up with a freakish interpretation to set it apart from its stablemates. There are obvious subtle differences however, such as the blue highlighted VW logo, hybrid badging, uniquely designed wheels, and front grille. Other distinguishing features that contribute to the Jetta Hybrid’s streamlined efficiency include: a hybrid-specific air intake that provides a flush seal, controlling the cooling air flow through the engine compartment; a custom trunklid spoiler, front air dam and extended rockers or side skirts. There are also additional trim panels and end plates for the underbody of the Jetta Hybrid, which aid in reducing turbulence and lowering the drag coefficient from 0.30 for regular Jettas to 0.28.
The Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid is a parallel hybrid and will come in four levels of trim: the base model Hybrid which starts at $24,995; the Jetta Hybrid SE starting at $26,990 and distinguished from the entry-level Hybrid by LED taillamps; and the SEL Hybrid, which starts at $29,325 and adds 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels; and finally the Jetta Hybrid SEL Premium with a starting price of $31,180 that adds 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels, Bi-Xenon headlamps with uniquely distinctive LED Daytime Running Lights, Active Front Lighting System, foglights with cornering lights, a rear-view camera and Fender’s Premium Audio System.
Motive force for all Jetta Hybrid trim levels is provided by a 1.4-liter, turbocharged and intercooled, Direct Injection inline, 150 horsepower four-cylinder gas engine that also delivers 184 pound feet of torque. The gas engine is coupled with an electric motor powered by Lithium-Ion battery that supplies 27 horsepower (20Kw) and 114 pound feet of torque (155 Nm). The two combined deliver a total of 170 horsepower (125 kW @ 5,000 and 184 pound feet of torque (250Nm @ 1,000). Metering power to the front wheels from the transversely mounted front engine is a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission. It may be operated in a purely automatic mode or shifted manually. A Sport setting is also provided.
The Jetta Hybrid’s interior features a unique set of displays that highlight the advanced powertrain’s operation. A “Power Meter” replaces the traditional tachometer. The Power Meter reflects levels of charge and operational efficiency. In addition, there’s the standard Multi-function instrument that displays ambient temperature, gear selection, trip computer, a second audio display and driver settings. In the Hybrid, this screen also displays the car’s drive state and the “ePower meter” which indicates the battery’s charge level and the available amount of electric driving (“E-Max”). On SE and higher trim levels, the radio and navigation system’s touchscreen in the center console doubles as a detailed graphic visualization of the powertrain’s operation. The car starts in electric mode operating in EV mode for up to 37 mph. Selecting the “E-Mode” button to the right of the gearshift lever activates the zero-emissions, electric mode, maintaining a speed of up to 44 mph, while allowing for more aggressive throttle input. This mode requires sufficient battery charge and temperature range. If the battery is depleted, the gas engine kicks in and the system will reactivate once enough power has been regenerated.
The new MIB II infotainment system brings USB connectivity and smartphone integration with VW Car-Net® App-Connect technology supporting all three available connected car systems: Apple CarPlay®, Google Android AutoTM and MirrorLink®
In terms of safety features, the VW Jetta Hybrid comes standard with front and side airbags for front-seat occupants as well as Side Curtain Protection airbags for both front and rear seats. Included in driving aids and safety systems are: ABS, EBD, HBA and ESC. Jetta also employs VW’s Intelligent Crash Response System, which unlocks doors, turns on hazard lights and shuts down the fuel system in certain types of collisions where the airbags deploy or safety belt pretensioners activate. Automatic Post-Collision Braking System is now standard, and the Driver Assistance Package now includes Adaptive Cruise Control and Forward Collision Warning, as well as Autonomous Emergency Braking (Front Assist) in addition to Blind Spot Monitor w/ Rear Traffic Alert.
My test 2016 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid was in SEL Premium trim and sported a Reflex Silver metallic exterior finish with a two-tone Titan Black and Art Gray leatherette interior. The base sticker read $31,120 ($60 less than the 2013 model that I first tested), while the final sticker totaled $31,940.
SUMMARY: The 2016 VW Jetta Hybrid is truly a no-compromise hybrid that features the only turbocharged engine and dual-clutch transmission in its class, while also claiming the best acceleration and sportiest handling in its class. In addition, it provides the most rear-seat legroom and largest trunk (11.3 cubic feet) in the compact hybrid sedan class, along with the best fuel economy in the Jetta lineup.
The new Jetta Hybrid delivers impressive acceleration with its four-cylinder turbo boosted engine and off-the-line clout with its electric motor combination.
The seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic operates superbly in either the automatic mode or when shifting manually. Passing on an uphill grade in high altitude poses absolutely no problem at all.
The ride quality provided by the Jetta Hybrid is comfortable and compliant, while delivering a firm and stable handling response thanks to the same suspension componentry as the Jetta GDI. Handling characteristics are both nimble and sporty, with a good on-center steering feel through its electric power steering.
The Jetta Hybrid family gives consumers a choice of five different powertains. For now, the Hybrid is an ideal choice for fuel economy conscious drivers who also seek a high level of driving enjoyment. The same warranty is offered for the Hybrid as for all other Jettas – 3 years/36,000 miles with a 3-year battery pack warranty.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2016 Volkswagen Jetta SEL Premium Hybrid
|Price as Tested:||$31,940.|
|Engine Type and Size:||1.4-liter, TSI turbocharged and intercooled, Direct Injection, 16-valve inline four-cylinder gas/electric hybrid.|
|Horsepower (bhp):||150 @ 5,000 rpm / Electric motor: Horsepower: 27 (20Kw) . Combined: Horsepower: 170 @ 5,000 rpm – (125 kW @ 5,000)|
|Torque (ft./ lbs.):||184 @ 1,600 rpm / Electric motor:114 (155 Nm) – Combined Torque|
|Transmission:||Seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic.|
|Drive Train:||Transversely mounted front engine / Front-wheel drive.|
Front – Strut-type with lower control arms, coil springs, telescopic dampers and anti-roll bar.
Rear – Multi-link, coil springs, telescopic dampers and anti-roll bar.
|Brakes:||Power-assisted dual circuit four-wheel discs (vented front), with ABS, EBD and ESC.|
|Tires:||Continental ContiProContact 205/50 R17 all-season mounted on 5-stylized “Y”-spoke with black painted inserts.|
|Length Overall:||183.3 inches|
|Curb Weight:||3,371 lbs.|
|Fuel Capacity:||11.9 gallons|
|EPA Mileage Estimates:||42-mpg city / 48-mpg|
|0 – 60 mph:||8.6 seconds – Top Speed=125 mph.|
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.