2011 Volkswagen Jetta Long-Term Road Test

2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Challenge Accepted

February 28, 2012


I left our Santa Monica offices for Flagstaff, Arizona yesterday morning with one goal in mind: crush the mileage record for this car. So far, the record for our long-term diesel Jetta is 46.1 mpg. As the image above shows, I had 395 miles of straight and boring highway in front of me.

About 40 miles into the journey, I was feeling pretty confident, as the on-board trip computer estimated my mileage at 47.2 mpg. "I've got this," I thought to myself...

And then this happened.


Traffic came to a complete stop. According to the traffic report, there was a hit-and-run accident that was serious enough to require landing a medevac helicopter on the freeway. I was caught up in the mass of cars that were inching along for about two miles. It took almost a full hour to get past the incident.

Well, that pretty much killed my chances, so I decided to indulge in my usual road trip fare (beef jerky, Red Bull, trail mix and nacho cheese Doritos) and drop the hammer. I was pacing myself with other cars on the eastbound 10 freeway, in an effort to make up for lost time. I had to be in Flagstaff by 7pm and the navigation was estimating 7:25pm.

I reached the hotel at 7:03pm, which in my book is a win. But I was surprised to see that the trip computer was showing an average of 41.9 mpg from L.A. Even driving with way more enthusiasm, this Jetta TDI managed to hit its EPA-estimated mileage -- traffic and all. This certainly supports Chris Walton's most recent experience.


I'll be driving back to L.A. on Thursday morning, and, barring any other hiccups, I am still confident I can top 46.1 mpg.

What do you think I'll average?

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 18,392 miles

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The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2011 Volkswagen Jetta in VA is:

$147 per month*
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