Jet Setting in the VW Jetta: This Hybrid Holds Its Own


Among the Posh and Polished, The Hybrid VW Jetta Fits Right In2014-Volkswagen-Jetta-Hybrid

Travel to East Hampton can be by private plane, helicopter, Uber, seaplane, Jitney, Long Island Railroad or plain old car.

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The open sunroof let us enjoy the fresh air on our ride out to the Hamptons

Actually, we chose ‘new car,’ the 2014 Jetta Hybrid SEL., and felt great for not burning tons of fossil fuels, since this sporty little sedan gets 48 miles per gallon.

I actually love taking the train to the Hamptons, reading my book and ignoring the petty arguments around me. But the house my brother rented was seven miles from the train station, eight miles from the beach and we had the house to ourselves for a couple of days, so we needed our own wheels.

We were also taking our dog, who is banned from public transportation, so we really had no choice. But the Jetta proved to be a perfect vehicle for those who don’t like to use excess gas.

Young Driver Input

My 21 year old daughter , Sela, is used to junker cars, so things like rear view camera and power steering delighted her.  Seriously, she was amazed at how responsive the brakes and steering were, things most older adults take for granted (this gives me pause about letting her drive long distances with her friends, whose parents may want to consider a newer, safer model).

Sela’s fresh eyes appreciated the comfy seats, (heated if you needed – we obviously didn’t) excellent sound system and integrated iPod capability. There’s an attached cable so you don’t have to remember your own, and you can easily connect your phone and/or iPod to stream music.

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You can charge your iPhone, but the cord won’t reach or tempt the driver – yay!

What I also loved was that the cable was short enough that you couldn’t actually use the phone while driving – best to eliminate distractions rather than encourage them.

Choose Your Tunes: Preset Those Stations

You can set up to six favorite stations, which you should do because it is almost impossible to scroll slowly through stations. If we were on, say, 60s on 6 (which our kids would never let us listen to anyway) and wanted to change to 90s on 9 (more their speed) we would wind up on a station in the 20s or 30s. And if the passenger can’t change stations easily, imagine what would happen if a driver alone in the car tried to. So set your faves, which is easy to do and safer anyway.

Navigate Your Way

The built-in nav system was easy to use, and you can enter an address while the car is moving (the passenger, that is). But the backroads navigation was lacking. We wanted to take the back route through the Hamptons to avoid traffic and the nav wound us around until we were back on the main road, in the middle of a huge traffic jam.

Hey, I’m a New York native – maybe this is a little bug to confuse the arriviste, keeping the Hamptons more intimate and the locals on the back roads. But that snafu aside, directions were clear, with enough advance warning.

Room for Five?

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See that little red square on the upper left of the touchscreen? You can’t use it to scroll slowly through stations – you presets

Well, yes if that fifth is a dog who curls up on the floor. Three in the back? Not so much. With just 2 kids back there, we could pull the center console down, with cup holders and a sibling separator.

And the trunk space is rather skimpy  – just 15.5 cubic feet, or room enough for luggage for a week long trip for four; with a fifth person and luggage, it would have been a tight, if impossible, squeeze.

Flexible Space For Passengers or Cargo

But if you are using the car to pick up Ikea furniture or other large times, you can fold the rear seats down, in a 60/40 split. The flexible space also comes in handy if you are picking up just one kid from college; you can fit her and her stuff in the car.

And if you don’t know the back roads, just be savvy and leave at an off time. We headed back on a sleepy Thursday, and had the roads to ourselves.

What We Loved

  • Incredible gas mileage – 42 in the city, 48 on the highway; 45 overall
  • Power sunroof
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The sibling separator in the back seat keeps 2 kids apart – good luck with 3 in the rear

  • Integrated iPhone/iPod charger
  • Quiet, smooth ride
  • All the latest tech: large touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity, keyless access and pushbutton start
  • Type of Fuel Required: Regular
  • And did I mention the gas mileage?

What You Need to Know

  • Base price is $30,245; the model I drove included no extras
  • 5 star government safety rating (highest possible)
  • 2 year/24,000 mile maintenance included
  • 24 hour roadside assistance for 3 years/36,000 miles
  • VW New Vehicle Warranty 3 years/36,000 mile warranty
  • Powertrain warranty 5 years/50,000 miles
  • Hybrid system warranty 8 years/100,000

Note: Volkswagon provided the Jetta for my review; opinions expressed are my own.


Judy Antell, who is's Free in 50 States editor, lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with her husband and... More about Judy Antell