2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Great Mountain Climber
July 21, 2011
I recently took our Jetta TDI over the Tejon Pass (locally known as the Grapevine), which on the Interstate 5 freeway connects Southern California to the northern parts of the state. Driving over Tejon isn't terribly challenging, but its 4,000-foot elevation gain is a nice test of a car's power and gearing. As for the Jetta, it rocked.
Most cars I drive on this pass require a downshift or switching over to manual-shift mode (if they're automatic) to get what I want in terms of maintaining speed or desired rpm. With the Jetta's TDI engine, though, the combination of ample torque and the elevation-negating effects of the turbocharger meant there was no need to shift. I just kept it in drive the whole time, and the Jetta easily powered up the hill. Plus, if you do want to shift for yourself, the TDI has got your covered thanks to its DSG dual-clutch automated manual gearbox.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor