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Detroit show: Jetta Hybrid not for Oz

Fuel sipper: The newly-revealed Volkswagen Jetta hybrid is unlikely to come to Australia.

VW takes on the Toyota Prius in North America with Jetta Hybrid

10 Jan 2012

VOLKSWAGEN has revealed a Hybrid version of the Jetta sedan but – as with the Touareg Hybrid – it appears unlikely to be sold in Australia.

While US buyers will be able to add the Jetta Hybrid to their shopping list from the end of this year, Volkswagen Australia will continue to offer a broader range of diesels Down Under instead.

Previewed at the Detroit auto show this week, the Jetta Hybrid will became the most economical model in the Jetta range, averaging just 5.3 litres per 100km in the unique North American fuel consumption cycle – around 30 per cent better than an equivalent non-hybrid version.

Driving the front wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission – a first for a hybrid – is a turbocharged 1.4-litre direct-injection four-cylinder petrol engine developing 111kW of power and 250Nm of torque.

Being a series parallel hybrid like the Toyota Prius, the VW can run for up to 1.9km at 60km/h on pure electricity. That can be extended by another 10km/h if the driver selects a special E-mode button to the right of the gear lever.

3 center imageThe 20kW electric motor and a 220-volt 1.1kWr lithium-ion battery pack – weighing about 36kg and located behind the rear bench seat – not only helps the 1.4TSI achieve better frugality but also improved performance, with a claimed class-leading 0-100km/h sprint time of less than nine seconds.

Regenerative braking technology means otherwise wasted kinetic energy can be fed back into the system and stored in the battery pack as electrical energy, further boosting the drivetrain’s efficiency.

Lifting off the accelerator prior to braking for as long as possible not only extends the effectiveness of regenerative braking, but – at under 135km/h – shuts down the TSI engine and also decouples it from the drivetrain to cut driveline drag.

An idle-stop system brings further fuel economy benefits in heavy traffic.

For maximum performance, the Jetta Hybrid will only rely on the TSI engine when the driver floors the throttle. To this end there is a ‘Sport’ mode on the transmission selector.

A digital display outlining all the different powertrain permutations is fitted within the instrumentation cluster, including an energy flow diagram via a pictogram with arrows. Also on show for the driver is a battery charge state indicator.

Volkswagen says the hybrid gear adds only 100kg to the Jetta’s overall weight, which is listed as a competitive 1501kg.

Subtle aerodynamic enhancements in the form of a new front air dam, rear diffuser, and boot spoiler improve the Hybrid’s drag by 10 per cent, while unique 15-inch alloy wheels with all-season low rolling resistance tyres also help efficiency.

The Jetta Hybrid is identified by a blue Volkswagen logo sited centrally on a different grille, a scattering of badges and the fact that this is the quietest C-segment sedan the company has ever produced.

A different exhaust system, acoustically optimised windscreen and thicker front side windows help to quell noise.

As with all Jettas, the Hybrid includes ESC, ABS brakes and six airbags (driver and front passenger, front side thorax and side curtains front and rear).

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