The full production version of the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid has been revealed at the Los Angeles motor show – and although there are no plans to bring the car to the UK, its drivetrain will be used in the Golf Hybrid due in Europe next year.

First seen in near-final concept form at the Detroit motor show, the Jetta Hybrid is powered by a 148bhp 1.4-litre turbocharged TSI petrol engine and a 20kW electric motor, mated to a seven-speed DSG gearbox that drives the front wheels. 

According to the manufacturer’s claims, the Jetta Hybrid’s fuel consumption is about 20 per cent better than an equivalent petrol-powered vehicle, meaning it can achieve about 54mpg. The car can also cover 0-60mph in less than nine seconds.

Like Volkswagen’s bigger Touareg Hybrid, the Jetta uses a decoupling clutch that can disengage the petrol motor for pure electric drive (or when coasting or braking), disengage the electric motor (for higher speeds or when the battery charge is low), or combine the two units for maximum power. The two power sources combine to give peak power of 168bhp.

Using electric power alone, the Jetta Hybrid can be driven at speeds of up to 44mph and over a distance of 1.3 miles, depending on conditions.

The lithium-ion battery pack that powers the electric motor is housed behind the rear seat bench. The Jetta Hybrid weighs 100kg more than the non-hybrid Jetta, at less than 1500kg in total.

Under braking, the Jetta Hybrid switches to a battery regeneration mode, which decouples the TSI engine and uses the electric motor as a generator. The generating power of the motor rises with increased brake pedal travel.

The interior is unchanged from existing Jettas, apart from a dash display that shows current drive mode, energy flow and battery charge.

Externally, the Jetta Hybrid can be identified by low-drag aerodynamic tweaks including a new front spoiler, a rear diffuser and a rear spoiler. There are also new headlights with LED running lights, LED rear lights and unique 15-inch alloy wheels with low rolling resistance tyres. It also gets a Volkswagen logo on a blue background and ‘Hybrid’ badges on the front wings and bootlid.

A newly designed exhaust system, an acoustic windscreen and thicker front side windows help to make this the quietest vehicle Volkswagen has ever offered in this class.