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Old 01-28-2012, 09:29 AM   #1
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Default VW Jetta hybrid due about Dec. 1, rated 45 mpg

Volkswagen says the gasoline-electric hybrid version of its Jetta sedan will go on sale about Dec. 1.

When that happens, Jetta will be available with a gasoline engine, a diesel or a hybrid drivetrain, unique among small and midsize cars. Volkswagen gave the additional details about the hybrid at the Washington, D.C., auto show Thursday.

VW has hardware, at least in prototype form, to offer a full-electric car and a plug-in hybrid, but those versions aren't likely in the near future for Jetta. The company did show its E-Bugster, an electric-power Beetle unveiled at the Detroit auto show earlier this month. But the automaker continues to present it as a concept car, rather than a production vehicle.

VW''s U.S. chief, Jonathan Browning, says the Jetta hybrid should be rated 45 mpg in combined city/highway driving, accelerate from standstill to 60 mph in less than nine seconds and go as fast as 44 mph on electric power only.

The gasoline portion of the hybrid drivetrain will be a turbocharged four-cylinder rated 150 hp.

The U.S. arm of the German automaker is involved in internal discussions about pricing for the Jetta hybrid, and something between $2,000 and $3,000 more than for a similar gasoline car seems most likely. That could be seen as a bit high; typical hybrid premium is about $2,000, though it varies widely.

VW says it hasn't decided on a price, so the number being discussed now could change before the car goes on sale.

Some automakers, such as Buick and Lincoln, sell hybrids for the same price as similar cars with gas engines.
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