2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: I Could Own This Car
April 18, 2012
I spent a long weekend with the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI, and though I'm still liable to fuss over small details, this is one of those cars that integrated fairly seamlessly into my life and began to feel like my very own car. I've even thought about the car a few times since I turned it over to the next driver. That sounds insignificant, but I'd say this happens only half the time with the long-term test cars I drive.
For some reason, I feel very comfortable driving our Jetta TDI. The driver seat is flat, but it fits me perfectly and the steering wheel is scaled just right for my hands at nine and three. I like the sound and feel of the diesel engine, too. Oh, I could certainly do without the dead throttle response off the line, and I'd pick the conventional manual gearbox so I'd have more to do while commuting, but as it is, there's still enough torque for satisfying bursts of acceleration.
Also, fuel stations are often crowded and competitive in Southern California, so I usually put off going as long as possible, and with the TDI's range, I can go more days between fill-ups.
I'll offer a parting thought on space. During a family outing, my soon-to-be father in law decided it would be OK if I drove us in the Jetta instead of all of us getting into his Avalon. He sat up front, and I'd preemptively moved the seat back to accommodate him (he's about 6 feet tall). The amount of legroom in the car took him by surprise, and he kept moving the seat up, noting repeatedly how much room is in this cabin.
I chewed on that for a while and then noticed how much space there was behind my seat (see below). It's a lot -- there's considerably more rear legroom in this car than in the four-door GTI my fiance are targeting for future family use. Maybe the North-Americanized Jetta isn't so bad after all.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 22,412 miles