A hybrid version of the Volkswagen Jetta sedan makes its worldwide debut this month in the North American market. VW introduced the model publicly at the Detroit auto show in January.
The $25,000-$31,200 hybrid is powered by a 27-hp electric motor, 1.1-kWh lithium-ion battery and a 1.4-liter turbocharged, four-cylinder gasoline engine that makes 150 hp. The powertrain delivers a combined 170 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
In electric mode, the Jetta Hybrid can reach a top speed of 44 mph and travel 1.3 miles, according to VW. The company says the car will average about 45 mpg in combined city/highway driving, making it about 20% more fuel efficient than a comparable car with a conventional powertrain.
VW says fuel savings are achieved in equal measure by the car’s ability to operate in electric mode, recharge its battery through regenerative braking and shut off its piston engine when the car stops or encounters bumper-to-bumper traffic.
The car also enhances fuel economy with a “sailing” system that decouples the piston engine if the driver releases the accelerator at speeds between about 45 mph and 84 mph. VW says the hybrid model is fitted with a special air dam, rear spoiler, extended side skirts and underbody panels that reduce the car’s Cd to 0.28 from 0.30 for the standard Jetta.
A Jetta Hybrid driver monitors the powertrain’s operational state with a multi-function “power meter” that replaces the standard Jetta’s tachometer. High-end models include a touch.