Volkswagen Unveils Clean Diesel Jetta Sportwagen

VW Jetta TDI Sportwagen

The new Jetta is outfitted with a 2.0-liter 50-state legal turbocharged direct injection diesel (TDI) that produces 140 horsepower and an explosive 235 pound-feet of torque. Moreover, Volkswagen claims a big fuel economy boost that could deliver a sporty wagon with highway mpg in the mid-40s.

Volkswagen brought its clean diesel technology into the American limelight with the unveiling of its 2009 Jetta TDI SportWagen at the SEMA Convention (Specialty Equipment Market Association) in Las Vegas. Though diesel has had the stigma of being loud, dirty, and unappealing in years past, it has more recently been touted in the United States as a cleaner, more cutting-edge fuel source.

Diesel burns with fewer emissions, offers better fuel economy, and grants terrific, torque-driven launch capabilities off the line—an attribute that any sports car or rally racer would want. The Europeans have been aware of these benefits for awhile, and initiatives like Mercedes Benz’s Bluetec technology are indicative of the change in mindset over diesel. SEMA is generally regarded by young car enthusiasts as a showcase for all things hip and cool in the automotive world, and makes the perfect venue to trumpet Volkswagen’s renewed diesel push into North America.

The new Jetta is outfitted with a 2.0-liter 50-state legal turbocharged direct injection diesel (TDI) that produces 140 horsepower and an explosive 235 pound-feet of torque. Though fuel economy ratings have not been released, Volkswagen is claiming the new engine will represent a significant improvement over the company’s former 1.9-liter diesel powerplant, which offered 31 mpg in the city and 40 on the highway. But it’s the performance wagon’s “fast and furious” styling and hard-hitting power that’s sure to grab the attention of young people, which is clearly one of VW’s primary areas of focus. The car will go on sale in March of 2008.

VW will continue to showcase the performance virtues of its advanced diesel technology by launching a dedicated Jetta TDI Cup Series at various racetracks across North America in mid-2008. Sanctioned by the Sports Car Club of America, there will up to eight racing venues and as many as 30 Jetta TDIs in competition. The formation of the new racing circuit marks an eco-conscious step for American motorsports—and will heat up the competition between diesels and hybrids in the race for the next generation of green car buyers.


  • Stefan

    Great job, VW for building a diesel. That’s one-step towards 100% efficiency. Now, let’s go up another step with a diesel hybrid. Hopefully, this one can be more powerful, yet more reliable, fuel efficient, and cleaner.

  • Max Reid

    Its good to come with a vehicle that will sell in all 50 states.

    But currently average price of Diesel is $3.3 and that go gas is $2.98. Why is Diesel so expensive.

    Has it got to do with the type of Crude Oil available (Heavy instead of Light).

  • Chessia

    This car is hot…I want it. Why aren’t there more fuel efficient super hot cars like this one? I’m not an economist or anything, but I bet people would buy them. Congress is debating passing a bill that would raise fuel standards to 35 mpg on average by 2020 and it is really getting held up by the auto lobby. The standard is definitely achievable, and who knew, but with great style. I am working to pass the fuel standard because I think all the cars on the road should be like this one. I urge you to click on http://www.energybill2007.org to sign the petition and let our representatives know how we feel.

  • Chessia

    click here to sign the petition
    Energy Bill 2007

  • Chessia

    hmmm….does this work?
    http://www.energybill2007.org
    if not just go to the website. Sorry!

  • diddy

    i find it funny that some crazy wacky doo da ideas like “seat bealts” or “cruise control” can be picked up relatively quickly yet a concept like “fuel efficiency” is something that isn’t used to bait US customers by US manufacturers ever so effortlessly to the hybrid market? Are the US auto companies so greedy that they would hold out till the last possible moment to switch to more efficient less consumption alternatives far more achievable than corn fueled dreams? a vital step for America and the future taken off beat and ill-timed compared to what could be. And that’s why any “35 mpg by 2020 !” or whatever stated as a great step for customers is DIDDLY SQUAT because foreign (asian) automakers are going to keep up what they do best: blowing US automakers out of their own shoes through more fuel efficient and overall more dependable automobiles. The US fuel cell tech is only coming to fruition (hopefully) in the near years to come.

  • Scott Z

    Well Diddy actually the auto industry (especially the US) has always been slow to add good ideas. The big three US companies did not want seatbelts. It took upstarts like Tucker to get that going. I personally care a great deal about fuel efficiency. Seems to me people that buy large inefficient cars are supporting most of the problems in our work today. That is why when I look for a new car it is often Japanese or German. All other companies seem to not care at all. Nice job VW but I agree with the post above. Give us a hybrid/diesel.

  • John

    How come someone in the US can’t buy a volkswagon that gets 58.9 mpg highway? You can do it in the UK, http://www.volkswagen.co.uk/new_cars/passat_saloon/engines#

  • domboy

    Awesome car! I hope diesel cars finally become the hit they deserve to be in the US.

  • domboy

    … and I’d say forget the Prius wagon, looks like this Jetta will be as just as fuel efficient, plus a lot more fun to drive! All that torque in the low rev range, plus a six-speed manual sounds like fun-filled efficiency. Or get the six-speed DSG transmission if you don’t like manuals (those are the two announced transmissions by the way). I really should move to Europe…

  • av

    John: Because UK MPG and US MPG aren’t quite the same, for one.. the UK uses imperial gallons, which are about 1.2x the US gallons. So really it’s more like 49 MPG, and that’s for a ~140 HP diesel on their “extra-urban” (highway) cycle. When the “clean diesel” VWs start arriving next year, we should see a combined mileage close to theirs.

  • Timothy Jepson

    I’m dissabled and on very limited income. It’s just what i need!Can I afford it?

  • Richibald

    VW is rumored to be working on hybrids my guess is diesel but unsure. My only question does this have an aluminum head like all the preceding TDI’s? If so that is an engineering flaw in my opinion. Nothing warps a head faster than aluminum and this engine’s ancestors have a notorious habit of warped heads. Hopefully the timing belt issue has been cleaned up you have to replace one on earlier TDI’s every 100,000 Kilometers or the engine blows up. That’ll set you back 400 bucks to install a new timing belt. Kinda eats into that fuel economy pretty harshly. Hopefully with a full year off the road in R&D and 3 years from the drawing table to here VW has improved on engineering flaws from the past TDI’s nice looking wagon.

  • Texas

    Diesel has a much higher TAX applied to it which makes it more expensive. I have no idea why because diesel is easier to make, is more energy rich and pollutes less than gas to refine it.

    I think it was due to lobbying by the refiners so they could get rich at our expense.

  • domboy

    To whoever posted this story on the front page, let me say thank you! I think it’s helpful to encourage ALL types of alternative vehicles, not just hybrids. I think we’re going to need them all, for different reasons.

  • wwein

    The issue that Richibald refers to is if the timing belt is not changed after 60k miles (100km) it may break and kill the head as the TDI’s are interference engines. Since 2004 the TDI engines have been fitted with 100k mile belt kits (160km)thereby lengthening the time between belt changes.

  • michael jones benjamin

    i want to know how much are you put car now camary 2007 my email stmichaelderock@yahoo.com

  • John

    In 1998 Clinton/Gore got the Dept of Energy to partner with the Detroit Big 3 for the Partnership for a New Generation Vehicle, to get 80 mpg. After $1.2 billion, the program was killed by Bush and the Big 3 in their move to the hydrogen car. Funny thing is, the PNGV car was to have been a diesel-hybrid! Go figure. Where is all of the technology and intellectual property, and where did it go? I think I’ll win the lottery before I ever figure out what makes GM/Ford/Chrysler tick.

  • Foolish

    Hey good idea,
    http://www.foursprung.com/2006/09/citroen-diesel-hybrid-sports-car.html
    But not a new one.
    If I remember correctly the VW New Beetle was first shown as a single cylinder Diesel Hybrid. 250 mpg, and that was mid 90′s.
    It’s all politics.
    There is no reason anyone on this planet should be driving a 15mpg Suburban, that is just plain foolish. The gas prices are so high is because we as a society have set being wasteful as a status of wealth. Tell me how many Escalades are there in Beverly Hills, let me guess they are good in the snow.

  • Rob

    All diesel engines are interference design due to their high compression ration. The combustion chamber is typically a hollowed out area on top of the piston.

  • Mike

    Take your points in reverse order:
    TAXES collected would be passed on to the government not kept as profit by the refiners. No way government would let that one slip through.

    Might diesel taxes be higher (I don’t know if they are) because diesel fuel is primarily used by commercial trucks whose size and weight causes much more wear on highways than gasoline powered cars?

  • James Delile

    ACTUALLY Diesel should be less expensive of all the products which is dirived from oil, there is less refineing to do then making gas and other fuels from crude. So why is it so expensive that is what everyone is asking specially the truck drivers of America.

  • Jon

    I get both magazines, but the March issue of Road & Track or Car & Driver has a one page article from one of the editors about the subject of Diesel fuel. I think the title is called “Diesel’s comeback in America when we are running out of oil” Something along those lines. Anyways, the article explains most of the reasons why diesel is now more expensive than gas and other tidbits of information. I recommend you look into it.

  • Rik

    As I understand it diesel prices go up in the winter as it is made from the same type of oil base as home heating oil. I have driven a diesel for a few years, and it seems to be near par during the summer, and 10-15% premium in the winter in the NW.

  • james braselton

    hi there tdi hybride vw beatle 100 mpgs alwsoume lets go pure electric or hydrogen or hillium 3 engine zero emissions all the way

  • Carmen Palis

    I think the VW Jetta is not really the most charismatic car in the VW lineup, but it is very practical. It’s has tons of Golf components, the most important being the engine, identical with the Golf GTI, and it almost matches it in performance! I’ve noticed a nice-looking Class B Motorhome for sale last month but since the Jetta prices are starting to go down, I just might buy myself one. Still I think it will be the TDI diesels that will sell in greatest numbers and not the hybrids because most people are still reluctant to driving a hybrid.

  • Ronnie