I have been getting many questions about the real world fuel economy of the VW Jetta Hybrid. I figured I would share this to give people an idea of what is possible with smart attentive driving.
On my trip to class today, roughly 40 miles on back roads with lots of hills and corners, I averaged 50.7 mpg. That is almost 3mpg more than the EPA says the maximum highway mileage is for this car. I did this not by “hyper mile-ing”, but by driving normally and paying attention to the car’s systems in conjunction with my surroundings. I stayed within 5mph of the posted speed limit as well, as to keep things realistic. Weather was around 60 degrees F, with a light breeze.
Our car has just under 5000 miles on it now, and is just getting fully mechanically broken in. When we first got the car we were seeing averages in the lower-mid 30s, and MPG has steadily increased as we have put miles on the car.
Now, keep in mind I was trying to drive as efficiently as reasonably possible, so I was paying special attention to how much throttle I was using, and planning when to use the gas motor to keep the battery charged. I have found that when I drive the car like i normally drive, typically 10-15mph over the speed limit, then the car seems to average more in the high 30mpg range. The Jetta Hybrid is turbocharged, so your mpg depends mostly on your right foot. It is pretty quick, especially for a car capable of 50mpg, but realize that there is a big tradeoff between using its performance abilities and getting “great” fuel economy.
That said, this is definitive proof that the VW Jetta Hybrid will deliver its claimed fuel economy in the real world, so long as it is driven properly.
Edit: I drove home using the same methods, this time on an all highway route, and saw 48.3mpg, exactly what VW claims. It is more difficult to “sail” on the electric motor at highway speeds, especially with the varied terrain in my area. I was able to coast on downgrades, but in general there were less opportunities for the electric motor to do its thing, and more traffic to deal with. My average for the day wound up being 49.5mpg, much higher than the EPA’s stated average of 45mpg. I think the Jetta Hybrid’s true fuel economy potential (with good driving) is more like 51 mpg in town and country driving, and 48mpg on the highway. Again, this is all staying within 5mph of the posted speed limit. It is both a realistic and acceptable driving style, but if you let your lead foot get the best of you then you will see you mpg drop off.