I'm just finishing my review of VW's 2013 Jetta Hybrid, which I'll post on Monday. When I was at the press preview, I did pose the question a lot of you have been asking: Why hasn't Volkswagen done a diesel hybrid? The short answer: Cost and need.
The primary consideration is cost -- not just to Volkswagen, but to the consumer. VW will be charging a premium of about $2,500 for the diesel and $4,500 for the new hybrid -- that's compared to a similarly-equipped Jetta 2.5, by the way, and not the cheapie base model. Regardless of the actual costs, VW would obviously have to charge more for both technologies, less they devalue either one. So now we're talking about a $27,000 Jetta with cloth seats. Even for devoted Volkswagen buyers, that would be a hard sell.
A second reason -- and I have to give VW credit for being honest with us hacks about it -- is that they simply don't need the technology yet. They acknowledge that a diesel hybrid would deliver pretty spectacular fuel economy, but they can meet current CAFE standards with diesels and gas-eletric hybrids. (This smacks of the 100 MPG carburetor that the government is supposedly keeping under wraps.)
Is the technology coming? You betcha. Volkswagen showed the Cross Coupe concept (Autoblog photo, VW press release) at the Geneva show this past spring, a compact CUV (Tiguan replacement?) with a plug-in hybrid powertrain, the internal-combustion component of which was a turbodiesel engine. VW as much as told us that we will see this type of powertrain in the future, though it's still several years off.
For now, we'll have to take what we can get... and what we can get is the TDI diesel -- which, as I am learning in our long-term Passat TDI test, is pretty spectacular -- and the Jetta Hybrid -- which, as you will see on Monday, is also pretty darn good. -- Aaron Gold