VW Jetta TDI diesel: No fun, no lust -- and that's perfect

Discussion in 'Diesel powered automobiles' started by xcel, Sep 27, 2008.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    You won't buy this car for any venal, shallow or crass reason. That's a good reason to buy it right there.

    [xfloat=left]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/501/2009_Jetta_TDI2.jpg[/xfloat]Dan Neil – LA Times – Sept. 26, 2008

    Thank goodness its here and it’s special because of that 2.0L diesel. -- Ed.

    I find the 2009 VW Jetta TDI's lack of exceptionalism exceptional. This car is ordinary, routine, a mean of averages, a flat line on life's electroencephalogram. It is non-provocative right down to its brake shoes. Find the most common of gardens, and the Jetta is that garden's variety.

    And that's amazing.

    This unassuming car returns better than 40 miles per gallon on the highway. It requires no special care or handling to achieve this efficiency. You don't have to top off some reservoir with strange blue fluid, monitor your electron-flow rate as you do in a Toyota Prius or Honda Civic hybrid (not that that is a big burden), or conjure the pagan gods of natural gas, or plug in. You turn the key and go…

    That's according to the Environmental Protection Agency. VW thought the government's mileage-test methodology low-balled the Jetta TDI's fuel economy, so VW hired AMCI, an independent lab, to test the car. The results were 38/44 mpg, city/highway. At the car's media event in Santa Monica last week, VW presented cross-country hyper-milers John and Helen Taylor, who said they are averaging 58.2 mpg in their Jetta TDI.

    This resorting to independent testing, and the parsimonious example of the Taylors, raises an interesting point about diesel enthusiasts: They are number-crunching penny-pinchers… [rm]http://www.latimes.com/classified/automotive/highway1/la-fi-neil26-2008sep26,0,532475.story[/rm]
  2. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi all:

    ___Most reviews are not news worthy but this one is definitely thread worthy ;)

    ___Good Luck

  3. ILAveo

    ILAveo Well-Known Member

    And besides it is enjoyable to read Dan Neil's writing.

    ++Spoiler alert++

    You definitely don't want to be sipping a beverage while you read gems like "it has the erotic appeal of a chilly bedpan."
  4. flatty

    flatty Member

    Byline: "A great car for L.A.'s Flagellant community"

    BTW: they're still an urban myth. No deliveries here until Jan.
  5. i would still take a diesel any day out of the week.
  6. Harold

    Harold Well-Known Member

    I thought it was VW that used the strange blue fluid! H
  7. Maxx

    Maxx He who posts articles

    Only on their higher-powered applications. Anyone remember how VW and Mercedes worked together to invent it (Eco-Blue-Tec-'Monia)? Both use it, but VW can get away with the older tech on these low-powered applications. I personally prefer not needing to refill an amonia reservoir ever some-odd thousand miles. Though, if I could afford a Merc, I wouldn't be bringing out the wrenches, so the dealership could deal with it.

    What the article actually went out of it's way not to mention, was that this is THE car for the conscientious enthusiast (at least state-side).
  8. Harold

    Harold Well-Known Member

    Thanks Maxx:) for clearing that up!
  9. philmcneal

    philmcneal Has it been 10 years? Wow

    hey do you guys think the pre 2001-2008 TDI models are worth buying if you only care about mpg and not emissions?
  10. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    I would consider one if I knew without a doubt that it had been immaculately maintained. We're talking receipts and records for every last thing, preferably owned by a TDI nut. (Prius nuts and TDI nuts aren't so different, are they?) But then I would go into it knowing that I have a responsibility to do the scheduled maintenance down to the mile or perhaps early, lest I be stuck with an expensive repair.

    Did you ditch the Prius? What's with the Bimmer?
  11. Harold

    Harold Well-Known Member

    Nice cars, but I couldn't live with the diesel smell. H
  12. WriConsult

    WriConsult Super Moderator

    Harold, what diesel smell? Have you smelled a late-model diesel car? I don't know if I've ever noticed a smell from our '00 Golf TDI (even when we are burning petrodiesel in it), and the '09s are many times cleaner.

    PhilMcneal, obviously I'm biased, but yes I think the early '00s TDIs are awesome for FE. As you pointed out they don't compare to hybrids very favorably in terms of overall emissions or fuel cost, but if big FE numbers (or the ability to flip off the oil companies with fryer-originated biodiesel) are your goal they're a great choice if don't have the upfront $$ for a hybrid and want something newer than a '93 Metro. They're still VWs and require lots maintenance, but they really great to drive. I've owned 6 Hondas and am still a loyalist to them, but I will admit that my VWs handle considerably better than the Hondas I have owned. As for FE, we typically get upper 40s on the highway and upper 30s on my wife's TWO MILE commute, a brutal challenge for any hypermiler. I recently got 54mpg on a trip to the Oregon coast, and 62mpg on a 90 mile fuel economy run last year (which I will be reprising again in early May). The pre-2004 "VE" TDIs were rated about 5mpg higher than the 2004-06 "PD" models, by the way. At least for the MTs: the "VE" ATs had different engine tuning and did not do very well, and the AT shortfall was greatly reduced under the "PD"s as I understand it.

    We paid a premium for our TDI, buying it just over a year ago when fuel prices were through the roof. Presumably much better deals can be had today. I'm sure they aren't cheap, but this is a car you commit to for the long haul because TDI engines can run virtually forever if you're willing to deal with the hassles.

    Good article overall, but it sure seems odd to me that this guy thinks they aren't fun to drive. What have we come to? A car that can do 0-60 in 8 seconds is considered not fun? WTF? I've owned only two cars that could pull low 8s ('87 Integra, '98 Civic EX) and both were considered quite "sporty" for their time. The vast majority of cars I've owned have been in the 10-11 second range and I've never needed more. Just goes to show the ... um ... opportunities we yet have to improve the fuel economy of our national fleet.

    Flatty, I can confirm that the new TDIs are no longer completely urban legend. I saw a brand new TDI -- SportWagen, no less (one of my dream cars) -- parked in someone's driveway this past Sunday.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2009
  13. flatty

    flatty Member

    Harold, see: 2009 TDI Smell

    Wri: started seeing them on ebay in the region last month. That was written in September.
  14. Harold

    Harold Well-Known Member

    I'm talking more about the fill up side of dealing with diesel fellows not so much on the road smells! Hal
  15. WriConsult

    WriConsult Super Moderator

    Oops, didn't see this was an old thread. Sorry.

    Harold, I'm with you there. Fillups are a stinky operations for sure. (Somewhat less so in full-service Oregon: although unlike gasser drivers we are allowed to fill our own tanks, you can usually still get an attendant to do it for you. Personally, I don't like waiting, but it is usually an option.).
  16. Harold

    Harold Well-Known Member

    Yes indeed Oregon run thier station's the good old way. I wish all States and Canada would follow suit. Would create a few jobs as well. Good time to change. So many out of work! H
  17. toastblows

    toastblows Well-Known Member

    Yes. (2003 Jetta TDI)*

    * If you can do your own maintenance. 1) its more expensive for routine maintenance parts (oil filters, etc) and 2) dealers don't work on enough diesel cars , and dealers pretty much suck at everything (cost, workmanship, customer service).

    2003 is the best of the vw ALH motor series (03 is last year). 2004-2006 use the same motor which differs from 1999.5-2003.

    You will get the best mpg in the vw ALH series, then the 04-06 pump duse engines, and finally the new 2009 which is a pile of garbage regarding the "future of mpg and diesel".

    FYI i get 51mpg combined summer in a 2003 5spd. no hypermiling, no bs. good times ;)
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2009
  18. philmcneal

    philmcneal Has it been 10 years? Wow

    i moved from British Columbia to Ontario, and gave the prius to my dad.

    My family had an extra car for me and it happened to be the bimmer.

    So far I can clock it at 6L/100km (38 mpg?US) while traveling at 100 km/hr (2700 rpms)

    I could try to sell it, but with the thing at almost 234,000 km (125k miles?) I might as well keep and maintaining the car, even though I was looking at TDI's to begin with :)

    At least I have fun drifting the damn thing hahaha..... I can see why they call it the "Ultimate driving machine" but boy... auto sure robs a lot of the fun out of it!

    edit: I did some calculations if i were to sell the bimmer and swap for a 03 TDI.... would take me at least 5 years or so to start saving money... so I might as well drive the bimmer till it dies completely... then maybe then some newer TDI's on the used market would be more desireable... but right now its just a WANT rather than a NEED at the moment :(

    my time will come when I drive a car I truly want... actually ideally I want a 330D but at 50G..... haha......... but hey! RWD with @ 80 mph @ 2000 rpms... you cannot go wrong!!!!!!!!!
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2009
  19. donee

    donee Well-Known Member

    Hi WriConsult,

    Believe me , behind one of those 00 TDI's, you can smell them when in slow and go traffic.

    Not an '09 tho. Great improvement.

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