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Pair of New Sedans Highlight Hybrid Mass Appeal

The Ford Fusion Hybrid and Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid are showing the way toward good looking, energy sufficient cars.

jetta

The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid is one of the eco cars proving green can look good.

The regular readers I’ve happened to earn around here might’ve picked up on a particular predilection of mine over the last couple years. Namely? I’m not a huge fan of most hybrid or green-aspiring cars.

 

I’ve often found such vehicles to be soft, boring and uninspiring. In some cases, they fell tinny and flimsy while their outward styling is an affront to car lovers. I’ve mentioned before that I sincerely believe some carmakers deliberately design hybrids to look as ugly and dull as possible to appeal to people who hate cars and resent having to own one. While publicly working to build vehicles aimed at saving the environment and save gas, they’re really building a car for non-drivers.

 

I’ve engaged in prejudice to describe the dedicated hybrid owner as a car hater. They don’t like the internal combustion engine. They have no appreciation for performance. They don’t find cars visually or sensually compelling. The hybrid cult is desperate to show the world how hopelessly sensitive and enlightened they are.

 

I’ve pointed to the failed hybrid designs Honda originally marched out years ago. Honda’s old models looked largely identical to their pure gasoline cars. The hybrids didn’t sell well because green car lovers don’t want want a cleaner, more fuel efficient car unless they can constantly announce to the world that they drive a a cleaner, more fuel efficient car. There’s no point in “saving the planet” if you can’t constantly call attention to yourself.

 

fusion

The 2013 Ford Fusion SE performs shows Dearborn’s commitment to green.

However, after having the opportunity to drive two new 2013 hybrid versions of popular models, it seems to me that the dark days of the ugly, clunky hybrids have passed us by. The cars in question were the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid and 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE, and both prove that the latest crop of hybrid eco cars can perform while looking good. 

However, after having the opportunity to drive two new 2013 hybrid versions of popular models, it seems to me that the dark days of the ugly, clunky hybrids have passed us by. The cars in question were the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid and 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE, and both prove that the latest crop of hybrid eco cars can perform while looking good.

 

The Ford Fusion Hybrid SE is not only a prime example of how dedicated Ford is to their eco car technology, but it also stands as close to outright luxury as any car in the Dearborn automaker’s line. Obviously, Ford specializes in mass market consumer cars. It doesn’t look to put out typical luxury lines. But, the new Fusion Hybrid SE moves well enough, comfortably enough and efficiently enough to provide that luxury car feel. You get all of that with an average 47 mpg and a price tag topping out around $38,000, fully equipped.

 

On the Volkswagen side, the Jetta doesn’t quite offer the same luxury feel of the Fusion, but it definitely offers up a riding experience that’s indistinguishable from its straight gasoline cousins. There’s no feeling of flimsiness or gutlessness with the Jetta Hybrid. The drive is solid and reassuring, all while pulling down an mpg between 43 and 48.

 

While the aura of the Jetta lacks some of the Fusion’s refinement, it does come in significantly cheaper than the fusion, capping its MSRP tags around $32,000.

 

Prices and mpg aside, the real story here is we’ve quietly slipped into the era of hybrid cars pulling down serious performance without sacrificing any aesthetics. In other words, they’re cars with engines – and without pretentiousness.