Car Explainer

Welcome to Car Explainer

There is a greater focus than ever on how we can all change the fortunes of the environment by transitioning to cleaner technologies. We understand that for the consumer it is a difficult time trying to figure out what you should do. There is a lot of noise about whether or not you should buy a specific type of car and the fear of making the ‘wrong’ decision is high. In fact, 68% of Irish drivers say they would like a website that explains the different engine/fuel types available in Ireland.

At Volkswagen, Ireland’s No.1 car brand, we are committed to helping consumers make an informed choice. We are not pushing one technology over another as we offer a full suite of options, from modern petrol and diesel engines to fully electric or hybrid alternatives; because we know that different drivers have different needs. 

Explore the various options, and we will assist you as best we can to get you the car you need.

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV)

Electric vehicles, or Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV), are powered exclusively by a lithium-ion battery which means they are genuinely emission-free for 100% of their journeys. They can be charged at home or at work (using special wall-boxes or standard 3-pin sockets) and also within the Irish public charging network. Driving ranges vary by model. For example, the all-new Volkswagen ID.3 has ranges of up to 540km¹ on a single charge.

  • Electric vehicles offer genuine, emission-free driving, with zero CO2 and zero NOx produced for all journeys.
  • Electric vehicles currently benefit from Government-paid financial incentives of up to €10,000* and additional incentives such as reduced road tolls**, 0% BIK*** (Benefit in Kind tax) and grants towards the installation of home wall-box chargers.
  • Journey ranges vary depending on the model but the Volkswagen ID.3 has ranges of up to 542km.
  • Electric car drivers typically charge their vehicles at home overnight or at the workplace. The public charging infrastructure is growing year-on-year with millions of euros pledged by the Irish Government.
  • Electric vehicles offer smooth, quiet driving and instant electric acceleration. They are controlled using an automatic gearbox.

Electric vehicles are best suited to people who want genuine, emission-free driving for 100% of their journeys and to lower their overall carbon footprint if they are driving a petrol, diesel or hybrid model currently. Due to their power source, they are better suited to people who typically have shorter, urban journeys and access to their own charge point (at home or at the workplace). However, with the ever-increasing advances of battery technology and the heavy investment in public charging, in the very near future, this should no longer be a consideration point.

ID.3 Life 204HP
Battery Consumption (WLTP, Combined Driving Profile)
15.5 kWh/100km
Emissions (WLTP, Combined Driving Profile)
CO2 0g/km
NOx 0mg/km

Current Electric Vehicles from Volkswagen include the ID.3 and the ID.4. These two models are the first of a whole new family of fully-electric vehicles designed to be accessible to the masses.

See the ID. Family

Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles (PHEV)

A Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) car uses two methods of propulsion: a large battery powered electric motor paired with an internal combustion engine which uses petrol, in most cases. As the name suggests, the large battery is charged from an external source when plugged in. A Plug-in Hybrid can drive using the electric motor only, resulting in genuine, emission-free driving, like a fully electric car. Or it can use a combination of the petrol engine and electric motor resulting in significantly lower emission levels compared to a regular petrol, diesel or hybrid model*. 

  • Plug-in Hybrids allow complete, emission-free journeys unlike regular hybrid cars (HEV/MHEV). For example, the Passat GTE Plug-in Hybrid has an electric-only range of up to 59km*.
  • Overall CO2 emissions of a Plug-In Hybrid car are greatly reduced compared to petrol, diesel and hybrid models*.
  • In Ireland, there are Government-paid financial incentives to purchase Plug-in Hybrid models (currently €7,500* for private retail customers). These do not exist for mild- (MHEV) or conventional hybrid cars (HEV).
  • Plug-in Hybrids can be charged at home or the workplace using a wall-box or standard 3-pin socket. They can also be charged in the Irish public charging network. It takes 3 ½ hours to fully charge the Passat GTE Plug-in Hybrid using a standard 7kW wall-box.
  • Plug-in Hybrids use an automatic gearbox.

This type of car is ideal for drivers that want the ability to drive with zero emissions in electric mode for shorter journeys, but who also on occasion have the requirement of a conventional petrol engine for longer distances. Effectively the driver might use no fuel on their daily commute but could travel the length of the country without any worries about distance/range should the need arise.

Golf GTE 1.4 TSI 245HP 
Fuel Consumption (WLTP, Combined Driving Profile)
Emissions (WLTP, Combined Driving Profile)
CO2 26g/km
NOx 16mg/km

Passat GTE 1.4 TSI 218HP
Fuel Consumption (WLTP, Combined Driving Profile)
Emissions (WLTP, Combined Driving Profile)
CO2 29g/km
NOx 18mg/km

Current Plug-in Hybrids available from Volkswagen include the all-new Golf GTE and the new Passat GTE. However, more models will be available with PHEV variations in the future.

See the Volkswagen range

Hybrid Vehicles

Mass-produced hybrid vehicles have been available since the 1990s. There are two types of hybrid vehicles, the conventional Hybrid (HEV) and the mild Hybrid (MHEV). Both types typically use an electrical motor/generator to assist an internal combustion engine (normally petrol) to aid with fuel economy. Conventional Hybrids (HEV) typically have a larger electrical motor/generator compared to mild Hybrids (MHEV) thus allowing increased assistance to the combustion engine. The electrical motor cannot be charged using an external charge-point; it must be charged from driving the car on the petrol engine and partially by regenerative braking. Hybrid cars may allow for improved fuel economy and reduced emissions, but unlike fully electric (BEV) or plug-in hybrid (PHEV) cars, they are still reliant on an internal combustion engine for propulsion over a typical journey.

  • A hybrid vehicle is one that pairs an internal combustion engine with an electrical motor generator to assist it.
  • Hybrid vehicles may improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions, compared to their petrol equivalents, depending on the driving style and distance.
  • Hybrid vehicles are most efficient on shorter, urban journeys compared to longer, motorway driving.
  • There are no Government incentives against the purchase of Hybrid vehicles and they are typically more expensive than their internal combustion engine equivalents.
  • Hybrid vehicles typically use an automatic gearbox.

Hybrid vehicles are typically more suited to shorter, slower-speed journeys as the electrical motor can assist more with this type of driving, allowing for optimum fuel efficiency and reduced emissions. At higher speeds, such as motorway driving, the internal combustion engine is the predominant power source, thus increasing fuel consumption and emissions due to the additional weight of the battery and electric motor.

Golf 1.5 eTSI 150HP (MHEV)
Fuel Consumption (WLTP, Combined Driving Profile)
5.9 - 6.3l/100km
Emissions (WLTP, Combined Driving Profile)
CO2 134 - 142g/km
NOx 28.2mg/km

Toyota Corolla 1.8 e-CVT  122HP (HEV)
Fuel Consumption (WLTP, Combined Driving Profile)
4.5 - 4.8 l/100km
Emissions (WLTP, Combined Driving Profile)
CO2 102 - 111g/km
NOx 3mg/km

The all-new Golf from Volkswagen is available with the new eTSI mild-hybrid system. 

See the Volkswagen range

Diesel Vehicles

A diesel vehicle uses a diesel-fuelled engine exclusively for its propulsion. Generally speaking, diesel engines offer better fuel economy than their petrol equivalents as they use less fuel, especially over longer distance motorway driving. Similarly, they may emit less CO2 than comparable petrol vehicles*. Some diesel vehicles may emit more NOx than petrol vehicles but advanced engineering has significantly reduced these particles as they must conform to stringent EU emission regulations. In Ireland, diesel vehicles accounted for almost 47%* of all new car sales in 2019.

  • Diesel vehicles typically use less fuel therefore offer better fuel economy compared to their petrol equivalents*. In Ireland, diesel fuel currently costs less than petrol.
  • Lower CO2 emissions mean that they can fall into a lower tax band compared to some petrol equivalents which may result in lower road tax.
  • They typically are more suited to medium-large vehicles and are also generally the most fuel efficient engine type for towing due to their higher torque.
  • They are best suited to longer distance, motorway driving.
  • Diesel vehicles are normally available with both manual and automatic gearboxes.

Diesel vehicles are best suited for longer distance driving as they offer superior fuel efficiency compared to petrol. Diesel engines also have higher torque at lower speeds. This results in a more relaxed drive as the engine doesn’t feel like it is working too hard. Diesel fuel performs optimally when driven on longer journeys (as the engine has warmed up) so are not as well suited for short, stop/start urban driving.

Golf 2.0 TDI 150HP (DSG Automatic)
Fuel Consumption (WLTP, Combined Driving Profile)
4.5 - 4.7l/100km
Emissions (WLTP, Combined Driving Profile)
CO2 117 - 122g/km
NOx 28.7mg/km

Passat 2.0 TDI 150HP
Fuel Consumption (WLTP, Combined Driving Profile)
4.7 - 5.1l/100km 
Emissions (WLTP, Combined Driving Profile)
CO2 122 - 134g/km
NOx 36.5 mg/km

Tiguan 2.0TDI 150HP
Fuel Consumption (WLTP, Combined Driving Profile)
5.5 - 6.0l/100km 
Emissions (WLTP, Combined Driving Profile)
CO2 145 - 158g/km
NOx 56.8 mg/km

Most models in the Volkswagen range are available with diesel engines. Typically, customers opt for diesel engines for the larger SUV (Tiguan, Touareg) and Saloon (Passat, Arteon) models.

See the Volkswagen range

Petrol Vehicles

Petrol vehicles use petroleum (gasoline) fuel to power their engines for propulsion. Generally speaking, a petrol vehicle car is less expensive than their hybrid, diesel, plug-in hybrid or electric equivalents. Whilst they emit more CO2 than diesel vehicles, their NOx emissions are typically lower. However, in recent years, their emissions have been steadily declining with new technological developments as petrol vehicles must conform to strict EU emission regulations. A petrol engine revs quicker than a diesel engine resulting in a more responsive drive but slightly lower fuel efficiency. In Ireland, petrol engines accounted for almost 42%* of all new car sales in 2019.

  • Petrol engines typically accelerate quicker than their diesel equivalents so allow a more responsive, livelier driving experience.
  • They are well suited to medium-compact vehicles and performance models due to their responsiveness.
  • Petrol engines are better suited to shorter, urban driving in towns and cities.
  • Petrol vehicles are typically available with both manual and automatic gearboxes.

Petrol vehicles are typically better suited to urban or city driving due to their responsiveness and lower NOx emissions. Many modern petrol engines now benefit from the assistance of turbocharging technology to give the same sort driving comfort of a diesel car. They are generally the less expensive option in a model range.

Golf 1.5 TSI 130HP
Fuel Consumption (WLTP, Combined Driving Profile)
5.5 - 5.7 l/100km
Emissions (WLTP, Combined Driving Profile)
CO2 124 - 130g/km
NOx 47.2mg/km

Passat 1.5 TSI 150HP
Fuel Consumption (WLTP, Combined Driving Profile)
5.9 - 6.4l/100km 
Emissions (WLTP, Combined Driving Profile)
CO2 133 - 147g/km
NOx 39.1 mg/km

Tiguan 1.5 TSI 150HP 
Fuel Consumption (WLTP, Combined Driving Profile)
6.8 - 7.6l/100km 
Emissions (WLTP, Combined Driving Profile)
CO2 155 - 172g/km
NOx 36.7 mg/km

Polo 1.0 TSI 95HP
Fuel Consumption (WLTP, Combined Driving Profile)
5.7 - 6.0l/100km
Emissions (WLTP, Combined Driving Profile)
CO2 138 - 150g/km
NOx 27.1 mg/km

Most models in the Volkswagen range are available with petrol engines. The smaller hatchback (Polo) and SUV (T-Cross, T-Roc) tend to be popular in their petrol versions.

See the Volkswagen range

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¹Predicted range for going through cycles in accordance with the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) on chassis dynamometer (no series status). WLTP range values for standard vehicles may vary depending on equipment. In practice, the actual range varies depending on driving style, speed, use of convenience/auxiliary equipment, outside temperature, number of passengers/additional load, and topography.