GirlDriver, USA

GirlDriver, USA
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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

VW Jetta Hybrid

It's a hybrid!  No, it's a turbo!  No, wait, it's both!

VW’s Jetta Hybrid doesn’t broadcast itself as a hybrid except for the
moniker on the rear of the vehicle, so it’s easy to forget this Jetta is a hybrid. The 2013 VW Jetta Hybrid comes with a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder and a 20kW electric motor, a combination good for 170 hp and 184 pound-feet of torque. Power is fed to the front wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission.
The electric motor alone can power the Jetta Hybrid for almost a mile at speeds up to 37 mph. VW says the Jetta Hybrid can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in less than 8.6 seconds.

According to the EPA, the Jetta Hybrid will return 42 mpg city/48 mpg highway and 45 mpg combined using required premium fuel.  At speed you wouldn’t know you’re in a hybrid Jetta unless you check your exceptional 45 mpg gas mileage at every stoplight.  The only other clue is when all goes quiet at stops.   When I took my foot off the brake, I noticed a slight lurching possibly caused by an enthusiastic electric motor.
I am reminded it’s a hybrid when I try to stuff many bags into the trunk—batteries take up a lot of space.  I get most of my belongings in the trunk with a bit of cramming.  Still it has 11.3 cubic feet of space in the trunk.
The cabin—including the back seat––is sedan roomy, again posing as a normal car and not a hybrid.  The driving dynamics feel dependable—it takes off from a stop brightly and corners well.  It comes with an excellent safety profile as one would expect from VW.

GirlDriver, USA really likes VW interiors, but the interior of the Jetta hybrid doesn’t have the sharpness of other VW models.  It was a little disappointing, more ordinary than VW’s usual executions. There's a lot of cost in mechanics of this car, which is probably why the interior is a little toned down from VW's usual.
It has a touchscreen stereo interface (standard in all SE and SEL models) and also a dial knob so you can choose how you want to access your tunes.

Base model starts at $24,995 and runs up to $31,180 MSRP.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Drifting with the Turbo Veloster

What is it about this 2013 Hyundai Veloster that makes me feel like I'm in one of those Japanese Drifting movies--Bakusou Drift R.   I'm not drifting––not speeding, not off the rails, as it were––but  the styling of this hatchback-son-of- Elantra and Accent coupling puts me in a drifting state of mind--in my imagination.

Bad photo of third door
I get a kick out the three doors (why not four?). The third is door on the passenger side and it makes the cramped back seat useable for groceries and packages.  The built-in cup holders between the back seats are clever.  Still I wouldn't want to be back there for very long.

My Veloster is powered by a 1.8 liter, 4 cylinder turbo engine that delivered 201 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque.  It's front wheel drive powertrain is paired with a 6-speed manual.  I'll take a manual any day over an automatic but I found the gearbox a little indefinite.  Others, who can't be implicated here, agreed.

I did get good gas mileage--about 30 combined. The heated seats bolstered the old back on my long drives.  I appreciate the Oreo cookie-sized  start button is smack in the center console.  I found the controls easy to operate.  Hyundai has its own version of connectivity in its vehicles, called bluelink that pairs your phone and has voice-activated features.

One of the coolest aspects of the car--and perhaps the reason I felt like I was in a drifting movie--was the paint job.  Matte finish steel gray.  Matte finish has been showing up on Mercedes AMG's and other premium cars for a few years now. But the Veloster is priced at $27,520, $1,000 of that is the paint.  But let's face it, we couldn't get ourselves into one of those drifting movies for $10,000. Not that we'd want to.  Although I admit I've been thinking about going to drifting school.

Other added features take the base price from $21,950 to the final price.  If you opt for a panoramic sunroof you're going to get the more expensive package and you have to order the sunroof to get navigation--huh? The car is well equipped for its base price and includes a big boy stereo.

The EPA fuel economy is 24 city/35 highway, 28 combined, which isn't going to win any contests but is acceptable if you love this car. And like I said, I got 30.

What Hyundai wanted to do with this car is make it a standout--something to bring car buyers into the showroom.  I hope it works for them.  They're doing a bang up job of making take-home vehicles.