Super Street Network

Due to the EU’s Global Data Protection Regulation, our website is currently unavailable to visitors from most European countries. We apologize for this inconvenience and encourage you to visit for the latest on new cars, car reviews and news, concept cars and auto show coverage, awards and much more.MOTORTREND.COM
 |   |   |  2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI - Long-Term Update
Subscribe to the Free

2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI - Long-Term Update

Got Gas?

Les Bidrawn
Jun 1, 2009
Epcp_0906_01_z+2009_volkswagen_jetta_tdi+front_view Photo 1/4   |   2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI - Long-Term Update

You tend to get a feel for your car's fuel consumption rate. Without even looking at the gauge you can tell how much gas you've got left and how long until the next fill up.

That doesn't work with the Jetta TDI.

In fact, we thought VW was playing a joke on us (they do this cheese prank that is sooo not funny) when the car's fuel gauge refused to budge. In its first few weeks with us, the needle stayed near Full. Granted we were only using the car to commute to work and run short errands, but that still meant some 20 miles each day, more on weekends. Someone had to be filling this thing up at night. That or we were in a space/time continuum rift.

Eventually, I needed to make a 300-mile trip down south. Typically, I'd hit the local gas station and fill up, maybe get some road nosh. No need. The Jetta still said it was fueled.

Epcp_0906_02_z+2009_volkswagen_jetta_tdi+tdi_emblem Photo 2/4   |   2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI - Long-Term Update

As I hit the freeway it dawned on me how far away this car is from the first diesel Rabbit. I remember my buddy's oil-burning Rabbit taking a scary amount of time to reach 65 mph. We'd rock back and forth in an effort to squeeze out a few more mph. And once at a decent speed, you'd be careful not to waste it because getting there took a while. I remember it as a solid, yet Spartan, VW. I think the aftermarket radio cost more than the entire car. In contrast, the Jetta TDI breaches 60 mph in seven seconds. Its cabin is first rate, the type of interior you'd expect in a car costing twice as much. There are very thoughtful touches inside too, like telescopic sun visors, spring-loaded drink holders, and a clever iPod adapter. The only thing the old and the new VWs have in common is their bird-like appetite for diesel.

Turns out, it's possible to squeeze 43 mpg from the TDI engine, more if you carefully modulate the accelerator. In hindsight, I was driving the VW carefully as it was a new car with a new engine, never revving it hard or lugging the motor. I was doing what "hyper-milers" do to get the most miles out of a gallon of fuel.

By the time I got to San Diego, the fuel needle had dropped to 3/4 of a tank. Actually, I was somewhat thankful since I'd been wondering if the gauge was broken (and I was dying for a Red Bull).

Epcp_0906_03_z+2009_volkswagen_jetta_tdi+rear_view Photo 3/4   |   2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI - Long-Term Update

The month I spent in the Jetta TDI could not have come at a better time. I'd depleted the checking account paying for a college-bound daughter, leaving me with just enough to pay the bank's service fee. I was, for lack of a better word, broke.

I began to coordinate traffic signals so I wouldn't have to stop and tried to keep the turbo from becoming too excited. I was going to make every ounce of fuel count, not for fun but necessity.

Which is really a shame because the Jetta TDI is hella fun to drive hard. Its engine produces enough torque to smoke the tires from stoplight-to-stoplight. But we know this already. Tech-ed Febbo has gushed about its road holding characteristics and well-sorted ride. And he won't stop talking about its engine. Like all Jettas, it's a genuine German sport sedan. The TDI version actually raises the bar.

Epcp_0906_05_z+2009_volkswagen_jetta_tdi+front_bumper Photo 4/4   |   2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI - Long-Term Update

We like to talk about the performance aspect of performance cars. Typically, fuel mileage is not part of the equation. The Jetta TDI is the first car we've seen that holds bragging rights to both.

At A Glance
+ Brilliant engine, well sorted suspension, excellent mileage for its performance
-- DSG without steering wheel paddles makes us sad
Total mileage: 9,700
Fuel economy: 38 mpg

By Les Bidrawn
242 Articles



In Japan, Porsche builds have always been a big thing, and lately they've been a bit more visible at events like Tokyo Auto Salon. At the 2019 show, everyone was talking about the 4 Laws 911
RodrezJan 17, 2019
Garage Active brought a number of GT-Rs out to TAS '19, all of which were top notch but this R32 warranted a closer look.
RodrezJan 17, 2019
One of the cleanest GC10s you're likely to ever see.
RodrezJan 17, 2019
It's been 21 years since the last generation of the Toyota Supra. This version will be the fifth generation and officially named the A90, but people will often refer to it as the MkV, as well (us included).
Sam DuJan 14, 2019
If you're wondering why this Mitsubishi Eclipse isn't wearing a trio of diamonds, that's because it's an Eagle Talon. Now, if you're wondering what an Eagle is and why people call it a DSM, you're not the only one.
Austin LottJan 8, 2019
Sponsored Links