Reviewed 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TD: when new diesel technology competes with the best hybrids


“It’s 2 p.m. I’m getting 45 miles per gallon and I can’t smell a
damn thing.” That was taken directly out of my driving log as I parked
at the tourist’s information center in Trinidad, Colorado. The mpg was
after driving faster than posted the entire way from Denver and not
smelling any diesel exhaust.

this little bugger gets great mileage which is on par with the best
performing hybrids in the business. The thing is, this little
Volkswagen Jetta TDI is a lot of fun to drive – something I find
lacking in many hybrids.

The more I flogged the Jetta TDI, the
more I realized how great this car is. Imagine this; a car that gets
fantastic mileage, has GOBS of torque (236 lbs feet), good horsepower
(140) and returns spunky performance. I’ve driven other diesels and
usually find them great power-sources for SUVs and pickups.
Volkswagen’s 2.0 liter, 4 cylinder diesel is a fantastic, GREEN diesel
that runs and smells much the same as a regular gas engine does.

to 60 times were more than competitive at a tick under 8 ½ seconds and
cornering maneuvers are just as surefooted as the gas-powered Jetta. My
Volkswagen Jetta tester came in just under 25K with nearly every major
option except for the navigation system.

At a smidgen under 3,300
lbs the Volkswagen Jetta TDI is a bit on the heavy side and if you push
too hard on a corner, that weight will pull you off line. Still, for
regular performance, highway ride and in-town maneuvers, the Jetta TDI
is a superb machine.

Forget the annoying commercials from VW – this car IS worth a look.

you get to know the clean-burning, common rail, direct injection,
turbocharged diesel engine – you can have some real fun. It’s different
from a gas engine as you can bog down from a standstill if you neglect
to let the turbocharger spool up. Once underway, the turbo assists in
pulling the Jetta TDI along with authority. If you don’t pay attention,
you can easily squeal the tires (even in the automatic) if your right
foot is too heavy.

with the regular Volkswagen Jetta, the TDI is roomy with excellent
seats. I’m not thrilled with the steering feel, although it is easy to
master in practice. Interior quality is spot on (Volkswagen’s strong
suit) and rear seat comfort is quite good for a small car. I would like
a little more headroom front and rear. Oddly, this is something that is
not as much of an issue in either of the Volkswagen Jetta SportWagons.

you are a Volkswagen fan, you will most likely thrill at the design of
the Jetta. Other than labels, there are no discernable differences
between the regular Jetta and the Jetta TDI. The look is clean, tight,
balanced and well rounded. This is a car that looks and FEELS like
rolling quality.

Well done Volkswagen.

I hope this new
spirit in green diesels continues. I know those Europeans love their
fast diesels and it’s only a matter of time before more come to our
shores. As it stands, I am imminently impressed with Volkswagen’s Jetta

Automotive media, racing, vehicle evaluation, wrecking yards, and car
sales are just a part of Nathan Adlen’s vehicular past. He writes out
of high octane passion! To read more reviews by Nathan Adlen or just to
enjoy more of excellent writing please visit him on at his
page HERE. Photos by: N.D.