Volkswagen has officially debuted the Jetta Hybrid at the Detroit Auto Show, however the ultra fuel-efficient model is not expected to make it into Australian showrooms.
Set to go on sale in North America towards the end of 2012, the Jetta Hybrid is touted as the most fuel-efficient model in the Jetta range.
Using a 112kW/249Nm turbocharged 1.4 litre petrol four coupled with a 20kW electric motor, the Hybrid delivers a claimed combined fuel consumption figure of just 5.2 l/100km - 0.3 l/100km better than the Jetta 103TDI diesel that's currently available in Australia.
Its 220 volt, 1.1kW/h lithium ion battery pack also carries enough energy to move the Jetta up to 1.9km on electric power alone. The electric motor can also operate by itself up to 70km/h, although vigorous driving or a low battery state will see the petrol engine cut in sooner.
Stop-start, regenerative braking and engine-off coasting also help drop fuel consumption.
Performance isn't too slow for a hybrid vehicle, either. The 0-100km/h sprint is done in less than 9.0 seconds, and the seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox also features a sport shift mode.
The combined power of the petrol engine and electric motor measures in at 126kW, although that's countered by the Hybrid's 1.5 tonne kerb weight - roughly 100kg more than a regular Jetta.
Distinguishing features of the Jetta Hybrid include a power meter in the instrument cluster, which shows the driver how much power is being deployed and whether the petrol engine, electric motor or both are operating.
Externally the Jetta is identifiable by its unique aerodynamics package, which includes a slipperier front fascia, a rear diffuser and an integrated bootlid spoiler - all of which shave 10 percent off the Jetta's aerodynamic drag figure.
A set of 15-inch alloys are standard, and are shod with low rolling-resistance tyres.
However, like the Touareg Hybrid, it's unlikely we'll ever see the Jetta Hybrid on our shores.
Volkswagen Australia's strategy eschews hybrids in favour of clean diesel technology, so for now the Jetta 103 TDI will be the most eco-friendly small sedan in VW's Australian showrooms.
As Volkswagen Group Australia spokesman Karl Gehling told TMR today, pricing is also a factor that works against the more expensive hybrids:
"As with the Touareg Hybrid we have no plans to bring add [the Jetta Hybrid] to the range," Mr Gehling said.
"We already have some very economical diesels which are more affordable than the hybrid models."