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Consumer Reports auto experts report from the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

What is it? This version of the Jetta small sedan introduces the fifth powertrain to the lineup, and is the second Volkswagen hybrid (following the Touareg.)

Power comes from a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that works with a 27-hp electric motor and a seven-speed DSG automated manual transmission. The 1.1 kWh battery pack is composed if lithium-ion batteries, and a clutch decouples the engine when driving in electric mode.

Volkswagen claims that the Jetta hybrid will get 45 mpg combined and will be able to drive for up to 1.2 miles in full electric mode at speeds up to 37 mph. It will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in under 9 seconds. Like many other new hybrids, the Jetta will automatically shut off the engine if the accelerator pedal is released at speeds up to 84 mph, to further squeeze out mileage. This increases the energy saved by regenerative braking, the company says.

What's new or notable? When put into E-mode the Jetta hybrid will be able to be driven up to 44 mph solely on electric power. Volkswagen claims a 30 percent improvement in city mileage over a similar vehicle with a conventional powertrain.

CR's take: Volkswagen said that the Jetta hybrid is sporty and fun to drive. If that means it handles like the Jetta GLI, great. If it handles more like the Jetta SE, then buyers won’t be in for a fun driving experience.

When will it be available? November 2012

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