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Going green without the drawbacks
by Richard Cazeau
Recently Volkswagen set a hybrid world record, not in fuel economy, but in speed, with the very new Jetta Hybrid hitting an astonishingly fast 187 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.
A hyperbole of sorts, the point VW is making is that its hybrid isn’t just about fuel economy – though it makes an impressive statement in that area as well. Driving the brand’s first ever hybrid in and around Santa Fe, New Mexico, there’s an immediate sense that the German automaker has succeeded in delivering customer satisfaction without any compromises.
How VW managed to do so is by combining a 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with a 27-hp electric motor, regenerative braking and an all-electric, zero-emissions operation. The combination delivers impressive performance and fuel economy. Matched with a 7-speed dual-clutch DSG automatic transmission, the outcome defies regular hybrid expectations presenting a vehicle that feels powerful yet is extremely economical.
CLEAN, CONSERVATIVE AND CONFIDENT
Long and lean from front to back, the Hybrid looks blessed with normality and the same contemporary presentation as its gas counterparts. Redesigned in 2011, the Jetta has a longer wheelbase and 2.9-inches added to its overall length.
The designers at Volkswagen decided not to reshape the Jetta for hybrid-sake yet have refreshed the exterior look with mild hybrid marketing accents while keeping the Jetta’s essence. The only notable identifiers of the green vehicle are blue-highlighted VW emblems, hybrid badging, new alloy wheels and a new front grille. More subtle changes include a custom front airdam, trunklid spoiler and side skirts.
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