2013 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

The Jetta has traditionally been Volkswagen’s top seller in the U.S. and previous generations were little more than versions of the Golf two- and four-door hatchback sedans. That changed with Jetta’s model-year 2011 redesign – although the SportWagen retained its Golf-heritage with new front sheetmetal to mimic the sedan’s looks. The redesign dropped the Jetta’s price, enlarged cabin space and sparked a sales increase that placed it fifth in the compact class for calendar year 2011, a position it has retained through the first half of 2012.

Volkswagen has a long history of integrating diesel engines into its lineup and is the leader in bringing modern, clean diesel technology to the U.S. The German automaker currently offers four clean diesel models with sales that total more than all of the other diesel offerings combined. The Jetta TDI (Turbocharged Direct Injection), sedan and SportWagen, is the leading seller, racking up more than 28,000 units through July.

For 2013, the Jetta TDI SportWagen has only minor changes over 2012 models; a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel and multi-function display on the S Trim.

Updates for the 2013 sedan TDI build on a series of changes VW began last year that include exterior styling tweaks and new interior appointments. On the outside, the sedan gains chrome grille accents and chrome window trim. Inside now includes power-recline driver and front passenger seats in addition to a leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift knob, and handbrake lever. A new iridium trim enhances the dash and door panels. Later in the model year, the TDI sedan will receive a soft-touch dash.

The top-of-the-line TDI Premium with Navigation trim now includes a six-way power driver seat and new 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels that differentiates it from the 16-inch standard wheels of other models.

Pricing for the 2013 Jetta TDI sedan starts at $22,990, a $215 increase over the outgoing 2012 model. The SportWagen TDI has a sticker price starting at $25,540, the same as last year. EPA estimated fuel economy for both models is 30 city/42 highway and 34 combined.

Jetta TDI Sedan

The most significant change for the 2011 Jetta TDI sedan was that it received its own platform – it’s no longer a Golf hatchback with a trunk added to the rear end. The car strains the definition of compact, pushing the envelope nearly into the mid-size arena. Its wheelbase grew 2.9 inches, to 104.4 and overall length is increased the same, to 182.2 inches.

By adding nearly three inches to the space that must be negotiated by hips, thighs, knees and toes, VW turned the backseat into adult-ready territory. And the trunk is large enough to handle more gear than any other sedan in the compact class.

2013 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

The growth was accompanied by a new body-style that continues for the 2013 model year. Tossed was the distinctive wide mouth grille, replaced with a more determined and synchronous face. Rearward of the toned-down proboscis, the look is less Germanic, more generic. While the Jetta is not stirring or striking, it is clean with sharp lines that provide an overall appearance of understated sophistication. It’s a look that outdistances its intended compact car competitors.

The exterior’s contemporary look is carried inside the car, with a driver-focused instrument cluster and uncluttered center stack. When used, switchgear has that solid feeling expected in a German automobile. That said, the cabin is the first place where the bean counters’ influence is noticed – the rich looking, soft-to-the-touch materials of the outgoing model were replaced by shiny, not-so-soft plastic. VW obviously is correcting that.

The inside isn’t the only place where the accounting types had their way with the sixth-generation Jetta. The multi-link rear suspension was replaced with a less expensive torsion-beam design. Those who regularly check the engine’s vital fluids will find the gas struts that hold up the hood are gone, ditto the trunk lid struts, replaced with gooseneck type hinges that intrude into the trunk space.

Jetta SportWagen TDI

The 2013 Jetta SportWagen TDI is basically the same vehicle it’s been for several years, with an underbody structure of the 2005-2010 Jettas. Notwithstanding its own distinct styling, the SportWagen is easily identified as a Jetta family member. The cabin continues with high-quality materials that are noticeably better than the sedan.

Riding on a three-inch-shorter wheelbase, the SportWagen is smaller than the Jetta sedan resulting in a more constricted rear seat area than the sedan. But if you’re buying a wagon you’re looking for cargo room and the wagon boasts 32.8 cubic feet of cargo volume behind the rear seat and 66.9 cubic feet with its rear seat folded. That’s comparable to many crossovers.

2013 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

There’s a new SportWagen in the works that should show up in fall 2013, and may or may not be named a Jetta SportWagon. It’s expected that there will be shortages of the wagon around the end of the year so, if you like the current edition, buying sooner than later is advised.

For 2013 both the sedan and wagon are equipped standard with remote keyless entry; power windows, locks and outside mirrors; air conditioning; an AM/FM radio with CD player; adjustable front seats; and a tilt and telescopic steering wheel. Most of the usual options are available including a navigation system that includes the new Fender audio system with an SD card slot and iPod integration.

On The Road

Volkswagen provided a Jetta TDI sedan with a six-speed manual transmission for a weeklong evaluation. TDI is a direct injection system where fuel is sprayed directly into each cylinder, rather than into a pre-combustion chamber. A turbocharger and intercooler are also used. Together, these components result in cleaner emissions and better acceleration, the latter due to diesel’s higher-torque characteristics. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel furnishes 140 horsepower and a very healthy 236 pound-feet of torque.

We did three stints with our Jetta TDI to get a reading on fuel economy: We clocked 56 miles on city streets, 241 miles of mostly interstate driving and a fun-filled 137 miles on two-lane back county roads.

2013 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

During our in-town driving trek I put on my “conservative” driving hat and forced myself to shift gears according to the up-shift arrow on the instrument cluster. Shifting into fourth gear at 30-32 mph, as the arrow directed, was difficult. But apparently the folks at Volkswagen know how one should drive to squeeze out fuel economy because I wrung out 33.8 mpg. (So much for the way EPA arrives at its numbers.)

The following day we topped off fuel two blocks away from Interstate-5 and headed south from Olympia, Washington to Portland, Oregon. On this leg we drove mostly in the right lane and limited speed to between 60 and 65 mph. On the return, far left lane driving seemed more like the natural place for the Jetta and we cruised most of the way at 75-80 mph. We exited where we started and pumped 5.63 gallons of diesel. That’s 42.8 miles per gallon.

Three days later it was time for the turbo to spool up and stay there – and never mind the fuel mileage. There are some marvelous, seldom-used two-lane roads in the South Sound area of Washington State (Olympia/Tacoma). Blacktop surfaces range from silky smooth to almost gravel, with stretches of flat or hilly straight-aways and an abundance of blind corners and off-camber hairpin turns. For most of the 137 miles the transmission was in 3rd or 4th gear, making sure that the 30 to 50 mph posted speeds weren’t exceeded by too much. The 236 pounds-feet of torque produced by 2.0-liter four arrives at 1,750 rpm, proving that you don’t need a large displacement gas engine to have fun. And a 140 horsepower diesel validates that you can have a smile on your face while averaging 32.3 mpg.

2013 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

The stretched wheelbase improves the Jetta’s ride quality and despite the switch to a torsion-beam rear suspension, the sedan hasn’t lost its taut, Teutonic feel on the road. Steering is tight, well weighted and communicative and the brakes are strong under foot and linear in their response. Cabin noise is at a minimum, even at highway speeds, with less road noise and wind whistle than expected for the class.

On The Green Side

On top of this, super-greenies and energy security hawks can run biodiesel in the Jetta TDI. The Volkswagen warranty only allows a 5 percent blend of biodiesel, but for some, rules are made to be broken – especially when considering the stakes of continuing our national dependence on oil. Biodiesel offers a 100 percent petroleum-free alternative today. (We can’t tell you what to do; let your conscience be your guide.)

These opportunities are only possible because Volkswagen overcame the hurdle of California’s Tier 2, Bin 5 emissions standards. Unlike the Mercedes Bluetec system, which injects urea into the exhaust system to convert NOx to nitrogen and water, the Jetta uses a NOx storage catalyst, which holds the emissions in a reservoir until they can be burned off by the engine. In addition, the common rail fuel injection uses piezoelectric fuel injectors, which permits higher injection pressure than a mechanical system. These clean diesel technologies, developed in partnership with Audi and Mercedes Benz, are a breakthrough in terms of neutralizing emissions and filtering out diesel-related particulates.

2013 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

Exciting stuff, but when looking at overall low emissions, diesels still can’t compete with hybrids. It’s a big milestone for a diesel to pass California’s Tier 2, Bin 5 standards, but that’s still only about average for a new vehicle. Meanwhile, the squeakiest of squeaky-clean standards is the SULEV, reserved for the Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid, and a handful of other vehicles including the conventional version of the Volkswagen Jetta.

Diesel-makers will be quick to point out that the difference between Tier 2, Bin 5 and SULEV is negligible—considering that both of these standards are many times cleaner than past generations of cars and trucks. That argument is supported by the federal government’s ruling the Jetta TDI is an “Advanced Lean Burn Technology Motor Vehicle.”

Once upon a time, we all figured exceptional fuel efficiency would be the modern hair shirt—righteous but painful. With the 2013 Jetta TDI, Volkswagen has given lie to dire expectation and delivered a car that not only dispenses that exceptional fuel efficiency, it’s actually a lot of fun to drive.

Prices are manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) at time of publication and do not include destination charges, taxes or licensing.


  • Great mileage while offering punchy performance
  • Only non-luxury clean diesel vehicle on the market
  • Sharp and clean look for the sedan
  • Some interior materials cheapened with latest version
  • Low reliability ratings
  • Fluctuating diesel prices make for uncertain economics

Price quote for Volkswagen Jetta TDI

2013 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
Base MSRP: $23,000
Is this the vehicle for you? Want to find out what kind of deals are available? Fill out some basic details and we.ll have a dealer in your area send you a price quote to get the ball rolling.
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  • JamesDavis

    Its looks and MPG is still too unattractive for that price, and it is still too polluting. I’ll wait for an all electric. Hurry up Japan, I can’t wait forever for one of your great looking electrics.

  • Dom

    I’ve said it befoe and I’ll say it again, that TDI wagon is HOT!

    Thanks for the review! It’s nice to see a positive one, most of the other 2011 Jetta reviews are composed of constant whining about the changes made to make it less expensive.

  • TD

    Thanks for the Commercial.

  • john woodson

    does the wagon have multilink rear suspension? when will vw bring a diesel hybrid or diesel plug in electric to the US? why does europe get the good stuff 1st ?

  • Naclamara Tinklediper

    Cool! This is really helping the environment. Maybe you can help me go green if you know what I mean. Lol 🙂

  • JokerAce

    You should drive one before you say that. I have two Jetta TDI’s and I the fuel mileage in town is never under 40MPG in Dallas. (lots of stop and go) Highway at 75 tends to be between 42 and 45. On top of that the reliablity has been outstanding. Dealer oil changes are a must or you WILL have problems. My 2006 yas 97,000 miles and I have had to change the brakes once, some tires (I get around 45k per set). When I factor in all the costs I can guarantee that I get more miles per $ than anything else. Hybrids have two drive systems and will never be as economical. In fact my 2006 gets better mileage than a Prius of similar vintage. We bought a 2009 TDI and it is a little more refined and a lot more powerful for about a 2mpg tradeoff. Electrics are at least a decade away from being ALL ELECTRIC and go more than 100 miles. The pollution levels are minimal and if you want to cut pollution where you live help get a 10+ year old car off the road. that will do more for the environment than an electric which still pollutes through other means-toxic chemicals in production as well as materials required and use of electricity from misc power plants. Do some real homework before you leave a review.

  • G

    Taking a 10+ yr old car off the road pollutes the environment with at least 2000 to 4000 lbs of garbage. There is nothing more we can do for the environment better than keeping our cars longer. Repairing your older car is the same as recycling. Add a tune up and some tires and you reuse your old car for another year. One less pile of toxic crap going into a landfill and one less new car coming out of a polluting factory.

    The only environment you are saving by taking your old car off the road is the economic environment for the automakers. If that is where you want to spend your money then try to keep your interior clean because I’ll likely be buying your used car and driving it until it begins to revert to its base elements.

  • G

    Taking a 10+ yr old car off the road pollutes the environment with at least 2000 to 4000 lbs of garbage. There is nothing more we can do for the environment better than keeping our cars longer. Repairing your older car is the same as recycling. Add a tune up and some tires and you reuse your old car for another year. One less pile of toxic crap going into a landfill and one less new car coming out of a polluting factory.

    The only environment you are saving by taking your old car off the road is the economic environment for the automakers. If that is where you want to spend your money then try to keep your interior clean because I’ll likely be buying your used car and driving it until it begins to revert to its base elements.

  • T Nack

    Yeah, good luck with that sparky at 45mpd (day).
    Oh, and less see you get 200,000 miles out of your toy with out $8,000 worth of batteries.

    Signed, second TDI owner.

  • Jason

    Taking an old car off the road is absolutely the worst thing you can do for the environment. the vast majority of cars create less pollution during their entire lifespan on the road than they do during the manufacturing product. Hybrids are the worst, with all the toxic chemicals involved. Honestly, buying a used giant SUV and driving it 200,000 more miles will be a greener solution than manufacturing one more Prius.

    I also own a TDI, a 2001 (the most efficiant year) and I get 46mpg city consistently, and over 50 on the highway. my best tank on a road trip was 57mpg. Everything on the car is stock right now, but in a few months I will be getting aftermarket injectors and a new ECU that will increase my fuel mileage more yet.
    So basically, I’m getting more MPG than any highbrid, with fewer batteries than an ipod. Not to mention, I can run 100% biodiesel in there (althogh I don’t do that all the time) which means burning 0 petrol and everything that comes out the exhaust pipe is biodegradable. It’s really too bad the newer TDIs cannot run 100% bio…

  • etcgreen

    Good review.

    Smart and informed readers – EV’s and Hybrids are not our future.

    Sorry to see that the author did not include the new emission numbers that take the off-sets from the 2nd generation biodiesel into account. If so, they are far better than any gasoline burning vehicle – including hybrids such as the Prius.

    http://etcgreen.com Article: Are you driving your last gasoline powered car?

  • WalthamJoel

    I LOVE my 2010 Jetta TDI. I have purchased 3 brand new Civics and 5 brand new Accords over the last 20 years. I was looking for better mileage and a manual transmission. What I didn’t expect was all the cool little features of the Jetta. The heated seats. Flicking the wiper stalk when the engine is off to raise the wipers into the perfect position in case you need to scrape the windshield. The spring loaded hook in the trunk that perfectly captures cloth grocery bags so they don’t fall over. The L shaped velcro brackets in the trunk that also hold things in place. The reading lights for the backseat passengers. The black German vinyl that feels so good and stays nice and clean. The handling and power or excellent. Also a great car in the snow with Hakkipelitas. Awesome sound system. Much better turning circle than Accord.

    I just love this car. 44 MPG on highway trips in new car with snow tires, 3 adults and their luggage. I expect summer mileage to increase to 47 MPG. Way, way more room than a Prius for luggage.

    These cars are way better than Civics and better than Accords.

  • Andy

    Too polluting? You hybrid/eclectic loyalists are fooling yourselves. Electricity generally takes coal to produce in the U.S., so you’re polluting either on the front end or out of your tailpipe.

  • james42

    Not too mention all the extra toxic materials in their batteries and the inherent inefficiencies in converting chemical energy to mechanical energy to chemical energy and then back to mechanical energy.

  • Curt

    Dumbed down American. Do you really believe that junked cars go to a landfill? I have ocean front land to sell you in North Dakota. Used NiCad batteries are considered hazardous waste. Lithium ion batteries are very dangerous too, just try shipping them by air. Petroleum fuels are still our best bet for at least a couple of generations unless a miracle breakthrough in technology occurs. Until then smoke your pipe dreams and accept reality.

  • Mike w

    This is my opinion:

    The 09′ and 2010 VW and Audi TDi’s sold in the U.S. are under investigation by the national highway traffic safety administration.
    Google “TDI NHTSA” and you will find recent news articles on the issue.

    And before you buy a 09′ TDi clean diesel, do some research on what a HPFP failure could cost you.

  • Future Owner of Jetta, TDI

    I will be getting my new Jetta TDI in a couple of weeks. I have done my research and found that having a diesel gas is better for the environment that regular gas and battery powered cars. I also found that having a diesel car will last longer than the regular gas cars, with proper maintenance.

    I also looked into the “TDI NHTSA”, it did state that most of the reasons why the fuel pump failed is that people put in the wrong gas, HELLO!!! As we all know, not everyone tells the truth. Adding regular gas to my new Jetta is my biggest concern. Even if i have to use a post its that says “diesel gas only.” I will do that. But i know i will take good care of my new buddy.

    I also looked at the Toyota Pruis. I almost got one. My dad told me to do a little bit more research and i did. I found that it is more polluting to have a pruis than the Jetta TDI. I don’t really remember, I know batteries don’t last to long and a replacement might be free, but look at the affect it will have in the environment. Baterries are TOXIC.

    So I can’t wait to have my new Jetta, TDI.

    Future Owner of Jette, TDA

  • Victor

    I purchased a 2011 Jetta Sportwagen TDI on13 March. I researched new vehicles for two months and concluded the TDI was the way to go. My previous car, 1986 Honda Accord LXi, had worn out. I cannot complain about the Honda. It served me well for 25 years and with regular maintenance it was a low-cost per mile vehicle.
    I only have good things to say about the TDI. The fit and finish are superior, the interior is well laid out, the seats hug you, the handling is tight, and with in-town driving it is averaging 34 mpg.
    I have an 82 911 and the TDI is much closer in handling, pick up
    and drivability than the Honda was. The TDI is quiet and the high torque provides quick throttle response. It drives and handles more like a sports car than a station wagon.
    No regrets and I highly recommend the Sportwagen TDI to those who want to be green as possible but also have room to haul stuff (with back seat down there is a lot of room) and have a fun to drive vehicle.
    I did test drive the A3 TDI. However, the higher cost with less (standard options) plus ten inches shorter, smaller sunroof, and cramped back seat made it a non-starter. GO SPORTWAGEN TDI!

  • Eric

    Bought my 2011 Jetta Sportwagen TDI about 3 weeks ago and I love it. It is so fun to drive and I am pulling about 40MPG combining mixed use highway and city. We are running it to Florida in a few weeks and I cannot wait to fill up at home in NC and drive all the way to FL without stopping once and still having a 1/4 talk to tool around town.

  • Bill

    NHTSA blah blah blah… your car will fail and you will die instantly, blah blah blah.

    Well, I bought a car that makes sense. Although I could care less about saving whales and the hole over Green land (I don’t live there) I said to myself “Let’s get a green car.” My wife, who is an eco-terrorist, drives a Subaru Forester, a gas guzzling beast of a car (JK, I like the Forester fine) and me, me, the red meat eating troglodyte moron who wants a wagon to carry guns to hunt little animals and just wanted a nice car buys a Diesel.

    I bought a 2011 Jetta TDI Sportwagen. If the TDPHFGDTDG breaks, who cares, it’s got a warranty. I like cars, cars that men fit in… mainly because I am a 6’3″ man. Prius, I have waited 3 thousand years for a prius to get out of my way while driving my motorycle before. These people and their poisonous little midget cars should be outlawed. I wanted a man car. Something you don’t have to make excuses for. Something with comfy leather seats for my rotund bottom.

    OK, I traded in my jeep Liberty (you can see why I wanted a nice car after driving that pile of rust, rubbish and failing iron. Hey NHTSA guy; my front wheel dropped in the street once and the whole front end was going hinky, try that sometime (LOL)

    I’m two tanks in, I love this car. I’m not some weenie in glasses driving down the freeway watching the fuel gauge and doing little calculations in my head. I’m a weenie in glasses that rips by hausfraus babbling on the phone. 80 MPH, or whatever I can get away with.

    This cute hippie girl even got me my 2nd tank in the form of cheap bio diesel. My fuel mileage to date… 39MPH! For me, that’s like Christmas, Easter and the lower Oakland Roller Derby Championships rolled into one. So I have a nice comfy seat, room for my stuff, a wonderful driving cabin and environment and at worse 39MPG. Add on to that young, hip people complimenting me for trying to change and getting cheap gas from them, fre wheat grass smoothies, politically correct recycled pamphlets and who knows what else. Will the next tank be hemp diesel? Yeah.

    Anyway, I don’t live in Nepal, if it breaks I’ll take it to the shop and they’ll fix it. I’m gonna save my self $100 bucks this month and spend it on cigars, ammunition and cheeseburgers. Ja!

  • bresson

    I’m astounded by the comments on this page defending eco terrorism with gas guzzling SUVs while bashing hybrid electric batteries. Those of you committing the offense outlined in the sentence above, have you considered a cost benefit analysis? How about some hard numbers on pollution comparisons between hybrids and other cars? Until you provide some meaningful, your comments are uninformed at best, forum trolling at moderation, and eco terroristic disinformation at worse.

  • Bill

    That or we don’t don’t take it too seriously. People drive what they like. Have fun (I know how I am) I’m just very pleased about having a car that is comfortable and can get out of it’s own way while at the same time solving a few problems and maybe saving a few caribou.

    At the same time, reminding folks not to worry about problem this problem that (all vehicles have problems) well, that’s good too.

  • CDubber

    I’m about 9 months into my 2010 SportWagen TDI. What a car! Room for family and gear, comfortable, *fun* to drive (get the manual tranny!), phenomenal build quality (more BMW than Honday), and averaging 36 mpg in mixed driving. I hit 45 mpg on my last tank (road trip). And well under $30k.


  • john cordine

    I have owned 2 jetta diesels. The first was bought in 1985 non turbo. I drove it for 593768 miles without any breakdowns. Average mpg 52. I gave it to my son who drove it for 3 additional years. Then sold it for 1000.00. My second was a tdi.
    It was driven for 238000. And got 47 mpg average. It died in a wreck. I will be buying another.

  • Binars

    As an American, cigar smoking (not), burger eating guy goes (yes), this totally cracked me up! We need to support American interest and that is buying American. Buy American means ‘global economy’ (ever call for help in India or Mexico?). To buy American means owned by American international interest. I love your review. Thank you and I needed it.

    I am waiting on delivery for my 2011 VW TDI Jetta this week. I am a loyal Subaru owner and expect my car to last a lifetime (only American Lincoln and Cadillac still do that do that). Like just about everything American, a car is considered a consumable. To be used up well before its really used. Things used to be made to last but that mentality has been totally ‘left behind’. This diesel engine will last, but the car will not. The TDI is a cheap car and VW is not hiding the fact.

    This is the bottom line. Diesel is the future. Europe has understood this years ago. Brazil (South America) is way ahead of everyone. Diesel engines are not understood (no spark plugs for starters). Bio-fuel is not understood. The word is Bio-diesel (there is no ‘bio gas’).

    So you ready to really save money? Find a place who manufactures biodiesel. Not only is it better for your diesel engine (the ignition products are lubricants), the cost is well below your pump cost. Locate a co-op (chemist, like me binars68@yahoo.com) who can make this simple fuel reliably. The person manufacturing it is getting his cost for a very low amount and giving you a great rate per gallon.

    End of green revolution. Go ahead and get your gas ‘hybrid’ or electric, 35 miles to the charge battery (while we burn ~ ¼ mile of coal rail cars to support the energy costs). But hey, North America is the Saudi Arabia of coal. Never mind the huge fresh water mass above the N55 parallel affected by carbon output (doesn’t Saudi Arabia wish they had that seeing how they have no water at all). Oil for water, I’ll take water {dah!} but we really are that mixed up.

    Car engine diesel guys have us over a barrel right now (don’t you love the terminology? Kills me that Its real). The mark up is wayyyyy over value due to economy craze. If you are doing a lot of highway miles then you cant expect pump costs to break even around 5 years. It’s much longer if you are doing city miles.

    I hope to get a lot more than 5 years out of my Jedda. Yet my warranty only gets 3. You don’t see a lot of 10 year Jeddas on the road, but you do see a lot of Jeddas out there. Must be a fun car to drive then right?

    The EU, Japan, Korea and the US have really got this economy thing figured out. What we are willing to pay vs cost to operate and maintain has been carefully balanced with the current economic conditions.

    Another bottom line for you. We have to reduce using fossile fules. Even if I say please? That’s what I thought. Your Coca Cola (yeah its mixed with water and transported with fossile fuel) doest not cost enough yet for you to release your 15mpg vehicle. Our fattened reality. Lipids and water don’t mix.

  • RT

    Jetta TDI’s actual emit less CO2, CO, and hydrocarbons than a Prius. They still emit slightly more NO and particulate matter but these are very short lived in the atmosphere. In defense of the Prius, the batteries hardly ever fail and they can be recycled. They are not toxic midget cars, but they are extremely ugly.

    The diesel vs hybrid debate is dumb. Diesel + hybrid is the way to go. 100mpg and the ability to still have fun while driving — coming to a town near you.

  • Cars Philippines

    Great car… great review… 🙂

  • Jetta Fan

    We bought the 2005 Jetta TDI for a business car. It now has almost 300,000 miles on it (283,000). The oil has been changed as needed and we have gone through three (maybe four) sets of tires. All else on the car, is original….and it still gets over 45 mpg.

    LOVE the JETTA!!!

    We are picking up our new 2011 Jetta TDI this week. So now we are a two Jetta family!!!

    THANKS VW!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Cars are completely recycled, what the hell are you talking about? Where do you think they get the metal for new cars / engines?

  • brianm

    I have to say my wife took a road trip massachusetts to her friends house ad got 44 mpg when they quouted her 42…plus i autocross and the car has great pickup. I hate the pause between the gear shift but i figure a safety feature but wish it was a continuos power. besides that great car

  • A. Nelson

    If you wait for the hybrid, have you considered where the electricity comes from, and the toxicity of the batteries, which must be replaced?
    Just curious.

  • kamagra

    Here are represent the reasons that i like the Jetta you see the design the motors are very powerful i don’t know what yo say as for me this is one of my favorite cars.

  • Colin Farrar

    We have a new 2011 Jetta Wagon TDI. Over the first 3000 miles we have averaged 46 MPG, mostly on country roads and some around town. When I drive carefully I get 50-55 MPG on round trips of 40-50 miles. Those are real world numbers.

  • Chuck

    I don’t understand why Japanese auto makers do not release diesel cars in U.S. They do in Europe..

  • Charles

    Have put about 2500 miles on my 2011 Jetta sportswagon TDI. It is fun to drive, gets great mileage (about 40 average) and I have to drive 15 miles one way on a dirt road to reach pavement. My other vehicle is a chevy silverado 4X4 that is required when it rains and the dirt road that turns to the equivalent of deep duck shit (13 mpg). It is 80 miles one way to the nearest grocery store and 31 miles to get my mail.

    I had an early VW Rabbit diesel pick up in the early 1980w and loved it. that was a big reason for returning to the VW this time. It died in an accident at 135,000 miles. It had the original tires on it at the time and would go so far on a tank of diesel, that I would forget to watch the fuel level gage and run out occasionally. It would go almost anywhere my nephew’s Toyota 4X4 would go and it was comfortable.

    Planning on making a bumper-sticker for my 2011 VW that will read “thanks for driving a Prius – so I don’t have to!”

  • Big3Engineer

    The whole debate about recycling should include impacts to cost/benefit analysis by the cost of disposal. Costs go up with the toxicity and down with higher material recovery. Niether one is currently favorable in the Li world. Will it change? Yeah in time but at what factor of improvement? Anything like the 100% improvement of ICE over the last 15 years? Doubt it.

    There has been a major debate about the carbon footprint of a Prius where some studies (one from UConn??) equated it to a Hummer over a four year period; just before you have to replace the batteries.

    Bottom line is that the batteries make a BIG impact on the environment at assembly and recycling. Big enough to think my diesel will be a better alternative over the long term. Yeah, and I would love to burn Bio-diesel 100 and can’t wait to have a car to do so with. And a much better alternative to ethenol. Haven’t heard as much yelling about it over a couple of years ago before they calculated the net energy loss to produce the liquid. So is a Prius the same all over again??? Just asking.

    My pet peeve – Prius owners who talk of reduced gas usage but drive the vehicle at speeds that reduce their ’54mpg’ to rates much lower than 45mpg and still hold the highway left lane hostage to their slower speeds due to handling issues on 14 inch tires. Really. Take your go-cart back to the city streets, where they really make the highest gas savings possible, and start recovering some of that toxic pile you created.

    I think they should have those quiet electric vehicles operate like the automobile had to in the early 1900’s, with someone leading them with a bell since pedestrians could not hear them coming before they met with a bump.

  • TDI LOve

    Just wanted to let you know that I loved your comment… simple, funny, and straight to the point. It had me laughing while reading it….


    I have a 2011 VW Sportwagen TDI DSG, solid car, hope the car will last (aside from the engine). Someone’s comments above regarding a possible diesel/electric combo, just will not happen due to the prohibitive cost. Its bad enough with two separate drive systems with a gas and electric engines, but a diesel engine and electric? Obviously the best gas mileage yet, but too expensive. I have a better idea. Lower the weight of each car 1,000 lbs and you will increase the gas mileage at least 20% on each car. Think about it. the 2006 Jetta was about 2,600 lbs. Now the sportwagen is 3300lbs. That is ridiculous! We have the technology with plastics and light metals to lower the weights, but we are not doing too well.

  • r Inman

    Just ordered a 2011 Golf TDI Wagon (Canada designation) and am waiting a similar great car experience as had with my ’78 Rabbit diesel smoker, but without the smoke. (sold after 330 000 km). My brother raves about his Prius and the technology package, but a drawback is that in very cold weather, there is a considerable delay in the electric system “kicking in” and the cabin warming. I anticipate a little loss of economy in winter and a slow warm-up with the diesel, but after warm-up, the fuel economy should still be pretty fair.

  • Nash

    You are so wrong buddy, 2011 jettas are 0% emission, the government will stimulate you to get one of this. As for the mileage, I got 750 miles with a full tank, made it from Indiana to Greenvile in NC on a single tank= $53.
    Rethink it.

  • sjg4real

    Oh goody! I can’t wait for the gov’ment to “stimulate me.” Stimulate away I say.

    Currently own an ’03 Jetta GLI. Love it. 2.8L VR6 w/ 6 speed is awesome. But do not want to put ethanol into my car when state makes it mandatory next year. Would like a diesel, maybe A3 TDI, but cannot live without a manual. So, am considering VW Sportwagon TDI 6-speed.

    And having UnKle Sam is going to stimulate me is an added bonus. (Bonus. Hee hee.)

  • niki

    when you compare Jetta with any model of VW you may feel that mileage is better and even the fuel economy and pricing is reasonable.

  • AJ

    Bought the 2011 Jetta TDI 6 speed just over two weeks ago and i can say that I love the car. My previous car was a Nissan Maxima and got 25 to 28 mpg. I do all highway driving back and forth to work and I can say it’s almost addicting to see what the best average trip mpg is going to be. Driving at the speed limit on an empty highway the other day on my way to work at 5 am I got 58 mpg. I was so shocked I took a picture of it with my phone.

    With the Maxima I filled up once a week with premium gas, with the Jetta I should be able to go 2 weeks for the same price. (1c difference at my local station) It is fun, sporty, has all the comfort and features that I like and the gas mileage is awesome.

    I drove all this week back and forth to work and the gauge says I’m between 3/4 tank and full. (60 miles a day) What an impressive car. Research pays off.

  • Christino

    The interior of the Jetta is one of the most elegant, high quality and comfortable of the entire luxury class.

  • TomK

    I have a 2010 Jetta SportWagen TDI with a manual trans. Over a one year period (July 1, 2010 to July 1, 2011), I have averaged 43.2mpg. I live in Minneapolis, MN where we have snow and cccold weather. It does take longer to warm up than a gasoline vehicle so I added a 200 watt, 12 volt portable ceramic heater that I velcro’ed to the dash and helped to clear the windshield in the winter. I purchased it on eBay for $25. The lowest average tankfull was 37.7mpg on Dec 20th, 2010, the only one below 40mpg. The highest was 48.3 on the fourth fill-up in July 2010. I filled up 35 times over a distance of 19,780 miles averaging 565 miles per tankfull. The shortest fill-up distance was 367 miles, and the longest was 646 miles. I have seen numerous trip to and from work with over 50mpg. All of these numbers have the tire diameter offsets compensated for using a GPS and mile markers over a 100 mile run. I run winter tires that are 3.5% taller and the summer tires are .5% taller than the odometer. My work travel is 23 miles and it takes about 30 minutes, I spend about 30% of the time in town and 30% on 55mph highways and 40% on 65mph highways. There are seven stoplights each way to work and back. The car performed excellent in the winter in the deep snow, ice, sleet, rain, ect…The stability control, traction control, differential lock, anti-lock brakes work seamlessly and are not over-controlling like in the Kia Soul that I had previously. The electric steering always provides excellent feedback without too much or to little boost. The clutch was grabby the first few months but then smoothed out and is not a problem for others like my wife and kids whom only drive it occasionally. The only issue was at the 10K service I had the passenger seat lumbar knob replaced as it would fall off, problem solved. Our family uses this car as much as possible instead of the 2004 Sienna van which we need to last us a very long time. I am looking forward to a whole bunch of years with the SportWagen. I have a friend whom has a Honda Civic hybrid and gets 47mpg. When you quiz him on that, you soon find out that that is the most he has seen on a tank and not a full year average. He says that in the winter it drops down into the low 30’s per tank. There you go…….

  • rao

    I agree Jetta is a solid ar and sports TDI is outstanding. People who are concerned about the budget and performance along with quality, yes it is the best choice. The fuel economy is improved and is free from emission.

  • Terry R. Cornell

    The reason we don’t get the good stuff over here is money. Congress and the oil industry as well as the auto industry really don’t want the good stuff here. Do you know that there is a car made in Europe that gets 100 mpg? It’s main engine uses compressed air instead of any kind of fuel. It uses regular gas to run a small compressor to recharge the air tanks. Do you think we will ever see it. H*** NO! The oil and auto industries have bought out Congress and that car will never be here.

  • Stylin Ripper

    Went 209 miles & just hit 55.5 MPG’s @ 63 MPH. AYKM!!!! I love this whip. A little smaller than the Legacy Wagon. However, I still enjoy the wagon aspect. A couple of things to take note of:
    1. A knocking sound from the front end on fast tight turns.
    2. F I’ve noticed a little stutter that might be the fuel recall problem while in 2nd gear going into third. I have just under 8200 miles and this hasn’t gotten worse. Only time will tell.
    3. IPod 3 is unable to be controlled with the touch screen. May need to upgrade to IPod 4.

    Enjoy the ride and remember to always drive it like ya stole it!

  • Retired my_Acura

    I have just retired my 91 Integra with 210k on the clock, it still has plenty of life in it hope to sell it to the Hyundai dealer guy who was hoping I would buy an Elantra (40+mpg and a good little car)

    My new daily grind will be 120 miles return to NJ from CT and having tried a couple of cars finally decided it made sense to go A> Jetta then B> Diesel The Hyundai was under active consideration but the sales tactics put me off a little.

    Whilst the Jetta will cost me I have to spend money to make money as my new job is important to me and public transport is an option just not a 5.5 hrs a day option. (Lincoln Tunnel Traffic in the evening adds the killer 1 hour).

    Looking forward to getting some great service out of my Jetta TDI and since I am not a hard driver I hope to get high 50’s out of it,
    + NJ Diesel is about 3.70 gallon

  • Brad

    Diesel prices? Has anyone compared gas and diesel prices between a TDI and a hybrid?

  • Joe

    Just hit 212,553 miles in my 2004 “Toy” with batteries. With 47.2 lifetime mpg, Go back to the drawing board VW!

  • L

    “when looking at overall low emissions, diesels still can’t compete with hybrids…”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but It is my understanding that a vehicle running B100 is as close to zero-emissions as you can get. For every molecule of carbon that such a vehicle emits, a molecule gets removed from the atmosphere to make more B100.

    I have in fact been shopping for a used diesel Jetta TDI for a few weeks now, and my experience with used car salesmen leaves one with a bitter taste for humanity in general. Out of sheer frustration I am considering just buying a new 2011 Jetta TDI and violating the warranty with B100. If anyone thinks this is an awful idea (or even a good idea) please feel free to contact me.

  • JasminePreit

    Like the car design very much and I have seen the interior elsewhere on the net that too very specious. In all a good car for the buyer.


  • WL

    You maybe right about the price but you should get more infos about clean diesel wich is FAR less polluting than gaz and most other alt fuels.

  • John Urban

    Nice try but your electric pollutes, only because you don’t see it you think it doesnt. The generator plant using fossil fuels or coal to produce your PURE electricity is as dirty as hell. In reality solar and wind are too expensive and still only about 2-3% total electricity production in america. The hype does play well with the Obama crowd though!

  • Bruce

    Anyone who is smart and does their homework will clearly see that getting a VW Jetta TDI is the best option when considering all the variables! Hands down, there’s no other vehicle which can match its combined fuel economy, performance and total cost of ownership! NONE!!!

  • Al

    Anyone who is smart and does their homework will clearly see that getting a BMW X1 with a diesel is the best option when considering all the variables! Ha, consider these variables: 204hp, 295lb-ft of torque, intelligent AWD with normal 40/60 front/rear drive, 0-60 in 7 sec, manual transmission or your option of 8 (eight) speed automatic. AND (hold on to something in case you pass out) 32mpg in city, 45mpg on highway and 39mpg combined. This is not a fantasy.
    Oh wait, actually it is a fantasy for Americans because this miracle of engineering is not offered in the United States.
    You need to move to China to get it, or Russia or India. Of course, Europe gets it too. Australia get it. Heck, even Canada get it (only gasser though). But Americans are out of luck on this one. Go figure

  • Al

    Anyone who is smart and does their homework will clearly see that getting a BMW X1 with a diesel is the best option when considering all the variables! Ha, consider these variables: 204hp, 295lb-ft of torque, intelligent AWD with normal 40/60 front/rear drive, 0-60 in 7 sec, manual transmission or your option of 8 (eight) speed automatic. AND (hold on to something in case you pass out) it gives you 32mpg in city, 45mpg on highway and 39mpg combined. This is not a fantasy.
    Oh wait, actually it is a fantasy for Americans because this miracle of engineering is not offered in the United States.
    You need to move to China to get it, or Russia or India. Of course, Europe gets it too. Australia get it. Heck, even Canada get it (only gasser though). But Americans are out of luck on this one. Go figure

  • Anonymous

    Anyone who is smart and does their homework will clearly see that getting a BMW X1 with a diesel is the best option when considering all the variables! Ha, consider these variables: 204hp, 295lb-ft of torque, intelligent AWD with normal 40/60 front/rear drive, 0-60 in 7 sec, manual transmission or your option of 8 (eight) speed automatic. AND (hold on to something in case you pass out) it gives you 32mpg in city, 45mpg on highway and 39mpg combined. This is not a fantasy.
    Oh wait, actually it is a fantasy for Americans because this miracle of engineering is not offered in the United States.
    You need to move to China to get it, or Russia or India. Of course, Europe gets it too. Australia get it. Heck, even Canada get it (only gasser though). But Americans are out of luck on this one. Go figure

  • Derrick

    Just talked to the VW dealership about bio-diesel on the new Jetta TDI’s. They flat out told me not to, took me to their repair shop and showed me what happened to a 2011 TDI when it was fed 100% Bio-Diesel. The engine carrodes, the fuel tank shrinks and let me tell you, it looked really ugly… Plus VW’s warranty is violated when doing this. The person who was making their own fuel thought that if their Mark IV TDI can take it, so can the new 2011 model… Not so. Apparently, Bio-Diesel does not contain the same chemical properties as Ultra Low Sulfer Diesel and does some serious damage to ones car. This is why VW strongly reccomends not using bio-diesel. If there is an alternative way to make Bio-Diesel that can run on the new model’s, please let me know.

  • big al

    Pure Joy, My black beauty sport wagon with the roof and 6 speed stick with grey spoke rims and red painted calipers remains my secret. As people ask questions I boast, ride handling and fuel mileage along with handling and practical wagon use. Some don,t get it. They say, but diesels are slow smelly and the fuel prices are higher. None of the above if you use high test unleaded. The best was a guy in a Smart Car telling me he gets 43mpg. I said “me to”. He said but diesel is more expensive! I said “why are you pumping high test that’s a penny more a gallon? He went on to say it was required by the manufactures. I said, Cool, I can almost fit it in the back of my Sport wagon.Some friend think I have a Mercedes or BMW wagon, when I tell them it’s a VW, they look puzzled.
    I love this car.

  • gordon

    Old cars don’t go the landfill, they go to auto salvage yards where about 90% can be recycled or crushed and sent to steel mills to be melted down and turned into usable steel products.

  • Eric

    Love my 2011 Jetta TDI. Fast and high MPG with an engine I plan on driving 200-400k easy on it.

    If I was going to get a Hybrid, my drool car is the Volt. I don’t know how anyone else would want to drive around in a car that takes 13 seconds to get to highway speed? To each their own.

  • Markb

    My wife has a 2010 jetta TDI to replaced her
    Totaled Toyota I talked her into it after reading
    About the new tdi’s it puts my 2009 Corolla s to shame
    So superior in every way. Starting with superior paint.
    My Corolla’s paint is soooo soft chips every where.
    Toyota and Consumer reports claim 40 miles per gallon
    For my Corolla on the hiway , maybe true if you drive 50 miles
    an hour! The Jetta TDI you can drive at 80 miles an hour
    And get 40 miles per gallon. Something consumer reports
    Fails to mention. After driving the TDI Jetta, I hate
    My boring Corolla. My next car will be a VW maybe a Jetta wagon?
    I think most people who would try a TDI would buy one
    Over a gas car.

  • hybridhybrid

    reading the comments on this page really made me laugh. i dare say majority of tdi owners here hates the prius for some reason. what have the prius done to make you hate it so much?

    i myself drive a prius 3rd gen. i have friends who drives jette tdi, and we all share our joy of fuel efficiency and savings at the pump. i enjoy its torque, and they enjoy the silence and regenerative braking.

    for those who said producing NiMH batteries are environmental more polluting than hummers/suv, please gather your facts right and make sure this hoax is not coming from those oil digging and drilling $%^&* companies. oh and btw, NiMH batteries are recycable.

    for those who say that the jette tdi can match/beat the 3rd gen prius in highway fuel economy – thumbs up because you maybe right!

    for those who say the tdi can match/beat a 3rd gen prius in city economy – better think again if not, go out and test drive a 3rd gen prius before farting through your mouth. yes, people can hypermile their jette and get 40-45mpg. if a prius hypermile it can get 75mpg (tested and well proven).

    bottom line – prius or jette – both are great cars. but to bash one without strong facts just goes to show how idiotic one can be. love your car and love your neighbours. don’t go start bullying prius drivers instead, smile at them. don’t you guys ever forget that if not because of EV cars and hybrids, gas price will just keep rocketing up because we are giving those $^&((^$ oil speculators a chance to raise gas price

  • Brandon

    I am thinking of purchasing a Jetta TDI 2012… but this going green crap is for the insane! Im doing it to save money on gas because of the people are worshipping this new religion and are causing us to pay higher amounts for gas. For all you “Green” maniacs.. quit being sheeple!

  • About to buy…. help!

    I’m about to buy a 2012 JSW. As I do most of my driving in the city, and average less than 15,000 miles annually, I didn’t seriously consider the diesel.

    Until reading this forum.

    My concerns about the diesel:
    1. Engine noise at lower speeds.
    2. Is it worth it if I mainly drive in the city?
    3. Fear of the unknown (naive about cars generally).

    Thanks for your comments.

  • Joe Butcher

    I have had my 2011 Jetta TDI for about 7 months. The fuel mileage is not as advertised. I’ve had it in for service twice because a bolt in the drivers seat keeps coming out making the seat loose. Now I have an appointment to check out the sunroof because it will not close. It’s making me wonder about the workmanship thats put into these cars

  • Debbi

    I just wanted to say that we just purchased a used jetta sportwagen (17000Mi) and it is sooo sweet. It is our FOURTH TDI and we love em.Our first one was a brand new 2003 jetta wagon and each one is durable,dependable.Our soon to be sold to a new home 2006 has 94000 and only replaced the tires. We do service a VW dealer and do all required servicing and I think that is the key.3 Yrs from now you will still love it.

  • John Zaloudek

    I drive a 2011 Jetta TDI, in Houston, and average over 45 MPG driving approximately 70% hwy and
    30% city with the air conditioning on and driving 60-70 mph. This beats the milage I ever got with
    my 2005 Honda Civic Hybrid driving at highway speeds and with the air conditioning running. Commuting daily 36 miles one way, I get over 50 mpg consistently.

  • Anthony S

    I bought a used 2000 Jetta TDI 5 years ago, with already 262,000km (155,000 miles) on the clock . At that time I was driving almost 200 miles daily for my work, for 6 months. My drive was 90% highway. I drove a little over our speed limit of 100km/hr – actually it was an average of about 125km/hr to 130km/r (up to 80 mph -don’t tell anyone) depending on safe driving conditions.

    With all these factors I still managed 19km/litre ( 45 MPG US gal.) in REAL world driving, and easily saved $1000 in fuel compared to my 2001 Venture van. The $2,400 premium for the diesel motor would have paid back in less than 2 years -I don’t think any hybrid could match that with REAL world driving.

    I did not see any change in consumption using the AC. The car drives like it is on rails – especially with Michelin Rain Edge tires (lasted over 100k miles), and still has plenty of umphh.

    Now it has almost 400,000 km (250,000 miles), and aside from a timing belt change, battery, brakes plus a few small issues that have never left me stranded, has been virtually maintenance free. I should get at least another 200k on it. I love hybrid in concept, but the TDI is reality.

  • Al T

    I have a 2011 Golf TDI with the DSG (dual clutch auto) transmission. This is my first diesel car and so far it has been awesome. I consistently average 37 mpg regardless of how I drive it, including a recent trip where I drove 90+ mph for quite some time. Obviously I was out in the middle of nowhere! My only complaint is the price of diesel fuel which I believe is kept artifically high by our friends at Shell, et al. I drove the Prius and Volt before buying my VW and I can honestly say I wouldn’t accept the Chevy Volt as a gift. Maybe someday they will make an electric vehicle I would have confidence in, or more accurately with a battery system that is actually efficient, affordable, long-lasting and small. I have read lots of articles lately on upcoming battery improvements, but I doubt these will become readily available and cheap for quite some time. I really wish VW would bring their Amarok diesel truck to the US, but for some reason they are reluctant to do so.

  • Steven

    Tdi is better than hybrid ? I have a Prius 2010 and a Lexus 400h. Both amazing car. Prius 44 mpg Lexus 27. In 1990 I bought a golf tdi 95 hp it was 1 year old. I put 150 000 km in that car! Replace it break pad air and oil filter tires and usual stuff. I still have this golf until today! Great car and I think that car pay back my money! I really hope my Japanese machines will be the same! Sorry for my English.

  • Greg

    german tdi or trustful Japanese hybrid? great question.. how about both in one package?
    after 8 years hybrid batteries can be die..
    german tdi service kind of expensive…

    At europe they saling japaniese tdi. Like toyota lexus or any kind.. run forever and MPG is 50+

    next generation is diesel-hybrid! Yes! Can be 80-180 mpg! YES! cant wait! 0-60mph 7sec!

  • mink22

    I take pleasure in, cause I found exactly what I was taking a look for. You have ended my four day lengthy hunt!God Bless you man nutritional supplements. Have a great day. Bye

  • David

    I was considering a 2012 VW Sportswagon TDI in black to replace my 2006 Honda Accord V6 with a manual transmission that was totaled. My Accord actually got decent gas mileage of 24MPG combined and 30 – 32MPG on hwy. I dive hard.

    Anyway, I could find the black one in Southern CA. Also, I was still apprehensive about reliability of VW. Diesel is also $0.60 to 0.70 more expensive and rare to find. I love how it drove and handled.

    Then I test drove a Toyota Prius V with a Package V. It is slow . However, it is more spacious and has more technical amenities than its counterpart, VW. Yes, it does not have a true moonroof. It drives fine and it gets about 42MPG so far in mixed driving. I do drive slower, now. It is excellent in a city or traffic jam situations. Overall, I was surprised by how the new Prius V drove. We should all be happy with these two different and superior automobiles.

  • Danielle Conner

    This was a very cool and fun article to read. I really have enjoyed this information so much. I cant wait to drive this car. Thanks – Facebook Applications

  • Gideon Goldsmith

    See the above link for an idea to public transport. Electric bikes which can be used to charge and therefore pay for transport on a public bus. We need more innovative solutions like this to move to more renewable patterns of transport.

  • Alexa Chanier

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  • Christina Walsh

    This was really so interesting to read. I love this little car. It is really a great and fun treat to say the least. I really do appreciate this so much. Designer jewellery

  • Robert Bupp

    I ride my bicycle to commute to work (14 miles)—sometimes I take the bus (diesel). Or i may drive my 1973 220D Mercedes— also diesel, which gets high 30s mpg in the city. The argument to keep what you have and drive it is valid if you are concerned with the environment.

    Think about shipping your new fuel efficient car from germany or japan then read this: http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1020063_pollution-perspective-one-giant-cargo-ship-emits-as-much-as-50-million-cars

  • Shine

    I really like the Jetta SportWagen…perfect as a family vehicle. high pressure cleaning

  • jim stauffer

    diesel hybrid coming mid year!

  • Simone Sylve

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  • Kerri Giara

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  • Ralphie

    What I never see mentioned in articles about diesels is the problem of comparing mileage figures for regular gas and diesel. The Union for Concerned Scientists suggests discounting diesel mileage figures by 20% because it takes more crude oil to make a gallon of diesel than a gallon of regular gas. I think a lot of the impressive mileages reported by TDI owners above would disappear if this rule was applied. If all you’re concerned about is gas price, then yes, perhaps diesel is a great buy. But if you’re concerned about energy independence and environmental impact, then diesel doesn’t look as quite so rosy.

    That said, I believe cars like the TDI are part of the solution we’re all looking for.

  • MS

    I will be glade if some one can compare and provide sources on the pollution made by the Jetta Diesel and Jetta Gasoline.


    Having this comparisson would bring some clarity about how clean is the Diesel version (or in this case not so clean).

  • wxman

    @ MS – I calculated “well-to-wheels” emissions of the Diesel and Gasoline versions of the 2012 VW Passat. It’s available at…


  • Eva McDonald

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  • MS

    wxman – Your article is very compreehsive, and seems accurate considering the assumptions made there.

    However I have two main remarks on the assumptions, that for me are relevant when analising the use of the car on a daily basis.

    I would only make reference is that the Wheel-to-Pump pollution do not occur on the same place as the Pump-To-Wheel, as such they are only comparable in the books. As such when refering that a Car may be less pollutant than other, in my option, the main concern is were the car is used, e.g. cities. As such the comparison for health purposes is only Pump-to-wheel.

    By other side, the comparission made in your article is between the Passat Diesel 140hp (2.0 liter) and Passat Gasoline 170hp (2.5 liter). However, considering the efficiency levels of VW the more equivalent Gasoline Passat to compare is the Passat Gasoline 160hp (1.8 liter), a lot more efficient that the 2.5 liter.

    Comparing Passat Gasoline 160hp vs Diesel 140hp
    CO Emissions 154 vs 238
    HC Emissions 41 vs 31
    NOx Emissions 29 vs 94
    HC+NOx Emissions 70 vs 125

    So what I would say as a useful input for your article.
    When using the Gasoline Passat pollutes less CO, Nox and HC+Nox over the Diesel version, when using the car in the place where the driver and his/her family live.

  • wxman

    @MS – thank you for your comments.

    I would only add that according to the U.S. EPA, most of the well-to-pump VOC emissions are in fact local (from the distribution and storage of the fuel), so those are still relevant if you’re concerned with emissions in cities.

    Also, other than a 3.6 liter, the 170 hp Passat is the only Gasoline version currently available in the U.S. (I’m located in the U.S., I’m assuming you’re from Europe?), so that’s why I used the 170 hp Gasoline version.

    Furthermore, the emission comparison of the Euro version of the TDI isn’t directly comparable since the U.S. emissions are collected during the FTP test cycle, while the European emissions are collected in the NEDC test cycle, which aren’t identical.

    Nevertheless, I though it was revealing that the WTW emissions of the PZEV Gasoline Passat were actually higher across-the-board than even the Euro-spec Passat TDI.

    Again, I appreciate your comments, but in my opinion, more than just what comes out of the tailpipe needs to be considered when evaluating the environmental damage cause by vehicles.

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  • tapra1

    trunk added to the rear end. The car strains the definition of compact, pushing the envelope nearly into the mid-size arena.Fast Newsletter

  • JP Panteloglow

    I just moved over to our Nissan store from our Volkswagen store…. now I have the LEAF (completely electric vehicle). Sticker price is approx. $38,000.00 plus to add a home charging station…. $2,600.00, ouch…… oh, but wait, I can drive for almost 75 miles without re-charging!!!???

    For the additional $10+ Thousand Dollars… I would rather step on the pedal and know that I can drive from Denver to Colorado Springs! Cost = $6.43 in fuel… wear as, oh that’s right, can’t quite get there in a LEAF, too far!!

    LOVES MY VW TDI…. Can’t wait to get more information on this TDI-Hybrid they are building!!

  • Peter

    Where do you think electricity comes from?

  • Jenny McQwerty

    Jettas outdo Priuses any day. That’s why I get insurance from MetLife. You drive faster and might need the protection someday.

  • Chris Nash

    Knot sure if I’m correct or not but doesn’t most of our electricity come from coal which pollutes anyways? Just saying dude. Suck it up.

  • Jack Schaffer

    Did you try B100 in your Jetta TDI? If so, what was the result? Any problems? Thanks.

  • Abel

    Diesel is good for the lungs.

  • Ms Bees

    Thank you for a real review. I’ve been looking at these and have wondered how they rate the mileage so low when customers are getting such good mileage?? And I agree if folks would research, they will find that hybrid cars have a very expensive battery that when replaced ends up being very toxic in the wastelands, plus are very very expensive. Our diesel requirements are much higher than Europe’s equally much less pollutants. Yes we do need to step away from our dependent on oil but with this not happening soon at all biodiesel seems a good way to start.

  • cynthia

    All interesting stuff. Like it. But really need a little info on sportwagen tdi’s RELIABILITY. I keep hearing conflicting things (not here). So…is this presumably wonderful car reliable or not? It truly sounds too good to be true overall. Single mom w/ 2 little kids, love to drive, finally giving up my ’91 saab convertible (which WAS reliable believe it or not). What mechanical and electrical problems does the sportwagen have? Is there a year to go for or avoid?

  • Brett Beard

    I have had two TDI’s, most recent is a 2012 Sportwagen. I love this car! I can baby it and get phenomenal gas mileage (45-55 mpg) or drive it fast and enjoy the torque and still get decent mileage (33-40 mpg). Handling is as good as it gets! Wont bash the prius as I see alot of them on the road and obviously there is an appeal. Personally, I would rather drive an economical/clean car that has sports car capabilities.

  • machine

    Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup Street, Edition, the Concept; do not misunderstand, this is not dominating the sales charts in the Chinese forefront of the Jetta, the Jetta nor that Jetta. pellet machine

  • Victor Montgomery

    Your an Idiot !!!! TDI”S rule !!! wait for your electric wind up car I’ll be zooming along with great Torque and handling and GREAT gas mileage !!!

  • Jeff

    What would be excellent is to have the fuel system be able to handle natural gas (as is happening slowly in the medium to large diesel truck market). Fuel would be super cheap and pollution much lower.

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  • Jim B.

    After several weeks of intensive research comparing the TDI wagen with a Toyota Rav4, Suburu Outback, and Honda CRV, I gave in to the German engineering of the TDI. I also own a 2011 Prius which is an amazing car and which beats my new Jetta for its high tech dash, body sensor system, navigation app and rear view camera–the last two features are only available for $3-4K more and when the sunroof is also purchased. I immediately took the Sportwagen on a 2000 mile road trip through northern New Mexico and southern Colorado, it was a sweet, super ride. New, the Jetta oozes quality, stability, and yes indeed it is fun to drive. Much more punchy than the Prius. I considered the Prius V for a second car but in the end, it felt just too delicate for putting a bike in the back or a few bags of mulch.

  • Vangel

    Electric vehicles are not exactly efficient. If you use the DOE methodology that accounts for all of the losses you are looking at around 35 mpg.

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  • emin

    It’s a known fact the TDi diesel engine models offer greater fuel efficiency compared to standard petrol engine models, so the consumers who are are looking forward to own a new fuel-efficient vehicle, can try the new VW Jetta TDI.

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  • Anonymous

    The 2012 VW TDi Sportwagen absolutely demolishes the Prius V/VI/VII/VIII/VIIIII… in overall driving enjoyment. The MPG differential is so small.

    Roll by a faltering Prius on a loooong uphill climb at 70 MPH and the “grunt” of the efficient diesel is wonderful. Think Appalachia… Efficient AND powerful is the TDi. Nail the Prius on the downhill segments as well due to superior handling.

    What moves America today? Diesel locos and trucks. Diesel versus regular unleaded gasoline prices are within 13 cents in Virginia at my last fill…

    Until the “status quo” changes, The Jetta TDi SportWagen with 6/manual is the superior unit if you genuinely enjoy driving a car.

    “YMMV”… LOL!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for your concern.

    I have owned at least one diesel VW at all times since 1981… 7 in total.

    I waited TWO years to get an A3 VW TDi… 1995 was when I placed my order. I begged several dealers and FINALLY got it delivered in 1997. SEAT was sucking up TDi engines, thus few if NONE of the 1.9 90HP units were sent to the U.S.A. It was a poor situation. Car still rolling well. Very well. Almost 15 years of perfection, but I did all major maintenence myself.

    Do NOT blame consumers in the USA, rather BLAME our government, current and past.

    Now we have the Bosch HPFP faiure scare in the VW 2.0 CR diesel… NHTSA investigation ongoing… Cars going “belly up” with destroyed fuel systems calling for $10,000 in REPAIR. Recall of 100,000+ vehicles with “injector resonance” issues… Ya wonder why Americans are wary?

    I still roll diesel. Bought a new one today. Don’t bust nationalities.

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  • John H.

    Picked up a new 2012 Jetta sedan today. Noticed the plastic rain gutter under the windshield has only two 1/4″ d. drain holes with no tubing connected. One hole was already pluged with a little mud. Clearly this gutter is going to overflow whenever it rains. What damage could this undirected water cause (especially during salty winter conditions. My previous car had 2 1″ d. tubes leading to the bottom.

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  • WindsorFox

    Seriously??? Looks are subjective but too polluting and the MPG does not justify the price? On what planet? I get as good or better mileage than a Prius and have no batteries. The extreme lean burn Diesel makes less smell than the gasoline engine in the Prius. You need to do a little more research before commenting.

  • winger383

    My wife’s 2011 Sportswagen TDI get’s 45 MPG in mixed driving (about 51 MPG on the interstate at 65 MPH). She has about 25000 miles. Diesel’s take a few thousand miles to break in and get their best mileage. As far as the emissions, they meet the same emission standards as hybrids or gasoline engines.

  • joan boy

    Excellent post. I have seen toyota pirus on the domain registration company route and it is one of the capacity beautiful hybrid car. Because i like van type cars.

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    I was bullied as a tech geek kid in school, but seriously, some people just need to grow a thicker skin. see this

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  • jennifer

    bought a new Jetta TDI premium Nav package today (5-4-12) in Honolulu Hawaii. The MSRP was 27,200 and we offered 25,543 as our bottom line and they accepted by offer immediately. WTF? This is about 500 below invoice: did i offer too low? I’m satisfied by the price but I have to ask why there was no counter offer?football shirt

  • VicGee

    Drama!! Get a TDI if you want. The issues have been resolved via. Recall. All new TDIs are equipped with the resolution… As of October 2011!!

  • VicGee

    Drama!! Get a TDI if you want. The issues have been resolved via. Recall. All new TDIs are equipped with the resolution… As of October 2011!!

  • Anonymous

    An unscheduled trip to VW service center is sufficient to wipe out several years of fuel cost savings. My friend’s Passat transmission was rebuild around 100k for $5000. Another friend’s Jetta was towed three times in 7 years. In many states diesel cost more than premium gasoline are is usually 10% more than regular unleaded. So 42mpg diesel is same as 38mpg unleaded regular.

  • Denny Steinman

    iI have a 2006 TDI JETTA. i drive from Edmonton Canada to Cabo San Lucas Mexico on 5tanks of diesel!!! Wow.Why does a labor rate of $31 per hour in the Baja at an authorized VW dealer compares with a shop rate of $130 per hour here in Edmonton!!!!If the tech can not find his screwdriver in his toolbox it is cheaper for me to buy him one from the Snap on tool truck!!!Anyways Love my Jetta with 205,000 Kilos!!!!!

  • Anonymous

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  • Amorawilson

    Overall this is a very nice car. The new design added backseat leg room. The TDI engine is very efficient and hass plenty of power. The car is quieter than the previous TDI vehicles. This is our 3rd TDI and I VW/Audi would make a TDI sedan with AWD.teacher training 

  • honey

    I’ve read the complaints about the shift, so I took one for a test drive. No problem. I’ve driven a Morgan Plus 4 for decades. It has a moss box transmission, a short-throw stick shifting the gears directly, no linkage, and there is no syncro in first. The VW Jetta was a dream. No problems. No stalls. It’s all in how you approach it.telefonkatalogen.biz

  • Ben Delaney

    I just bought a VW Jetta TDI Sportswagon 3 months ago and I am blown away by the fact that it actually gets 30 mpg city as advertised and drives like a sportscar with lots of exceleration for getting onto the freeway (a very important safety thing with me). I can’t believe I was this smart to buy this vehicle. Not only do I have the most fuel efficient car I’ve ever owned but it cost under $30,000 and has lots of power and lots of space inside. I’m flabbergasted! This is a great vehicle and I guess I lucked out or I’m smarter than I think I am. Wow!

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  • danwat1234

    Why is VW so dumb?? Don’t use a 1.4 liter OTTO cycle gas engine! I don’t think they are even using an Atkinson cycle OTTO. VW is not very good with gas engines, take the whopping 31MPG hwy new Beetle for example.

    Come on now! It’s real easy. Put a 1.2 liter turbodiesel like you have in the European Polo and mate it to a strong hybrid drivetrain.

    Bam. Now you have more MPG than any Prius and decent acceleration due to the power of the electric motor.
    55-60MPG HWY is within reach.

    I know VW can make that 1.2L Diesel pass emissions in the USA so make it happen and beat the competition! Don’t use the oversized 2L diesel engine that you use in the USA Passat, Jetta, Beetle, use the small 1.2L from Europe!

    I do like that this hybrid will decouple the drivetrain from the wheels when the gas pedal isn’t being pressed. This is in contrast to the Prius, where it has a ‘engine drag simulator’ by lightly regenerative braking whenever you aren’t on the gas pedal. Wastes energy.

  • Matteo

    I understand VW’s changes to increase their volume in the US market. I just wish they would offer more options to customize their models. If someone is willing to pay more money to add options that are available in Europe, they should be able to get them. I drive a 2010 Jetta TDI. Fortunately, there are websites that sell parts for the European Jetta models that work on the US version. I was able to add the LED tail lights and visor with Homelink. Both of these options were not very expensive but for me it makes the car a nicer experience. I wish VW would make the SEL models a more high-end experience to make it a better upgrade from the SE or at least offer more add-on packages for the SEL. If you price the GLI and the SEL, the prices are not that different. Seems like the upgrades in the GLI are more valuable than the price difference of the 2 models.


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    I really like this forum’s initiative of promoting hybrid cars and green technology.In India also Volkswagen launched the Jetta but in petrol version.

    The grapevines surrounding the launch of petrol variant of the Jetta sedan from the German auto giant Volkswagen has finally found some base as the sources confirm the speculations. The Volkswagen Jetta petrol version is expected to be rolled out on the 20th of June 2012 which would be powered either by a 1.4-liter TSI engine or a 1.8-liter TSI engine but Volkswagen India is expected to equip the car with the 1.8-liter TSI petrol engine as it tried, tested and more cost effective. Along with bestowing the Jetta sedan with a petrol variant, Volkswagen is also expected to upgrade the current version of the car with an air-conditioner with climate control and xenon headlamps.
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  • Froggie96

    I have my eye on a tdi sportswagen with 6 speed manual. 2 quibbles: you have to buy an unnecessary navigation package to get full ipod integration, and a sunroof is a bad idea in my sunny climate.

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  • jennis

    The $26,065 test car, called “TDI w/Nav,” also had automatic transmission, fog lights, a lumbar adjustment for the driver’s seat, satellite radio and an iPod cable, which can be an expensive piece of wire from some automakers. No power seats, though, or auto-on/off headlights.order Juvederm

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  • Froggie96

    I haven’t been able to find a Jetta TDI Sportswagen within a 100 miles that is manual. All listed prices inflated 1 to 2 K. Also what is volkswaggens fascination with black or dark blue exteriors and black interiors? Hard to keep clean and hot as blazes in the sun.

  • Ken Zabriskie

    Hope you live long enough to see that “electric” car that will fulfill your needs. Just like I am waiting for a airplane to operate from a windmill. I bought a Jetta TDI a few months ago, I took it in for it 10,000 miles service this week. This car is a winner! best car I have had, and they have been many. I am getting over an average of 47 mpg. I love everything about this car and I challenge your “too polluting” comment. You really need to check it out.

  • Mr Frugal

    Just purchased a 2012 TDI Jetta.
    This is a nice ride. It’s not the top of the line model, because I don’t need navigation or loud jive noise coming from stereo, and I hate water leaking sunroofs. I am amazed at the great fuel mileage. It has changed my driving style-I like to see just how many mpg’s that I can “nurse” out of it. I am currently getting 50.3 mpg on my 15 mile trek to work and 40.6 mpg on the drive home due to using a different route. Only bought it because of fuel mileage and that equates to saving me money. If it saves part of the environment, well then that is an added plus, but it did not contribute to my choice. The U.S. consumers need to demand that vehicle manufacturers produce diesels for our market. VW seems to be a good car brand, but we should be allowed more car selections. Thanks.

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  • Peter D. Boehringer

    After a lot of research we decided to purchase the Sportwagon TDI about a month ago. We have a 12 year old Passat 4 Motion that still runs beautifully, so we didn’t have concerns about VW quality. I looked at the Fusion hybrid, and the Toyota Prius, but they are quite pricey and they have a greater environmental impact when you figure in battery toxins and the fact that the electricity may actually be coming from coal fired electric plants.
    That being said, the TDI is exceeding our expectations. It feels like a much more expensive car in terms of handling and interior design. I own a modified SAAB classic 900 and a 9 3, and the TDI gives me the same feel for the road, instead of the isolated feeling I get when driving American or Japanese sedans (although, hats off to Ford on the Fusion, it is quite responsive). The 4 link rear suspension helps give the car a sporty feel. My only concern so far is that the brakes are so responsive that I find myself looking in the rear view mirror for fear of being rear ended. The DSG provides incredibly smooth and quick shifting and contributes significantly to fuel savings as it shifts at 2k rpm and anticpates my next shift.
    I can’t help but love the fuel mileage. Although it has only been a month, we have averaged 42.3 mpg.

  • Mike french

    my new TDi gets about 50mpg when i drive the speed limit and take care on the hills. This is 1000x better than “electric” vehicles- as if plugging in an electric car to a coal/nuclear/diesiel/hydro grid has no emmissions or negative effects. When you plug you electric into a battery bank charged by your own solar, let us know the cost so we can decide if its worth the effort- and batteries dont last forever (cadmium, lead, etc.). So, i chose a diesel. It kills the mpgs, has power, and is not make-believe.

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  • Bob Royston

    With all the seats folded forward, is there enough room in the Sportswagen to sleep in it? When camping?

  • Bob Royston

    With all the seats folded forward, is there enough room in the Sportswagen to sleep in it? When camping?

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  • davehead

    Diesel owners are always so defensive.

    I have both TDI and hybrid. The hybrid does NOT use electricity from the coal gird… it generates it onboard the car from regenerative braking. And the batteries are NiMH… they do not contain any toxic material and the EPA says they can be thrown in the landfill. (Unlike NiCads which must be recycled.)

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  • Jason

    Hello, if I may take a few minutes of your time. Could you elaborate on what you meant by “grabby”? I’m having problem achieving a smooth start in first, I have no problem with stalling, but the clutch seems a bit “chattery”. Hill start exacerbates the problem and it’s worse when the car’s warm. Is this what you have been experiencing?

    Thank you!

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  • Michael Fischer

    Have you decided to go ths route yet? I am interested in the 2013 TDI Jetta Wagon but don’t want to buy it unless I can burn B100. This is so ridiculous that these car manufacturers are putting all these unnecessary emmissions controls (which is uncompatable with B100) on vehicles when all we have to do to reduce emissions is run B100……

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    Cars are recycled like a tin can is recycled. They are sold as scrap metal by the pound. Taking your car off the road does not add 2000 to 4000 pounds of garbage to the environment. That is silly.

  • Alexy

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  • panayoti

    Read all the comments here and can’t find definitive insight into almost exclusive city driving with a TDI. I’m in the hills and 80% of my driving is in the city, mostly pretty steep hills and very few level roads. Weather is very hot or very cold, windy and icy in the winter. Drove the Sportwagen and loved it but can’t get a feel for what the mileage would be for my conditions here. $3 to $4K difference in a regular Jetta vs TDI will buy lots of gasoline so I need help in deciding which to buy.

    Sticker says 29/39 but I have never been able to reach that city number no matter what I drove, car, truck, SUV or Wagon. This has been over 52 years of driving 4, 6, ad 8 cylinder vehicles. I can never get to the EPA city number. Truth be told, I am a fairly aggressive driver for my age and just love to flog the vehicles through the turns. It has always been my belief that everyone lies about their gas mileage and I’m the only guy in the world that doesn’t. (grin) So I turn here for real life experiences from those who tell the truth. What would you guess I should be able to get with a TDI in 80% city driving in my area (30 miles due west of Pittsburgh)?? Sticker says 29 and I don’t buy it. All input would be appreciated.

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    I just bought a 2013 Jetta Sportwagen, Candy White with manual transmission and without a sunroof or nav system. I pick it up monday. BTW manual trannies are scarce as hen’s teeth in the southeast.