Hybrid-electric cars are seen by many as the most effective way of saving the environment, while diesels are often shunned as being dirty, smog-producing motors designed for trucks. This anti-diesel view couldn't be further from the truth. Modern diesel engines in many cases offer superior mileage to their hybrid counterparts and, with the latest exhaust particulate filters, are just as clean, too.

Paul Eisenstein from Popular Mechanics (didn't he found The Car Connection?) managed to get an exclusive test-drive of one of Volkswagen's 2008 Jetta Diesel prototypes. The car is running VW's brand-spanking new clean diesel technology in the form of a 2.0L four cylinder common-rail diesel engine that will meet the Tier 2 Bin 5 emissions standards for all 50 US states. Check out the video after the jump. The VW guy talking is a bit preachy, but the new Jetta Diesel is an important product for the coming diesel revolution. Since the U.S. market is used to seeing diesel-powered Volkswagens running about, we doubt it will make as big a splash in the marketplace as Honda's Diesel Accord or GM's half-ton pickups with the new 4.5L V8 Diesel Duramax, but it's great to see this hybrid humbling little car back on sale after its short hiatus.

[Source: Popular Mechanics]