2011 Volkswagen Jetta Long-Term Road Test

2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: TDI Versus GDI

August 05, 2011


Alright, so here's a question: is the new wave of fuel-sipping small cars a serious threat to Volkswagen's diesel-engine hegemony? In the past five years or so, we've given high praise to the Jetta for its TDI availability. If you didn't want a hybrid, here was the next-best (and really only) choice for high fuel economy. But with new cars like the Cruze Eco, Focus SFE and Elantra offering comparable fuel economy thanks to technologies like gasoline-direct injection, does TDI still have a place considering its traditional price premium?

Here's a comparison chart from fueleconomy.gov. As you can see, the official EPA are all quite very similar.


On its own, this is just fine. But the Jetta is the most expensive of the bunch. It's hard to get a direct comparison in terms of features (the TDI comes with a lot of features as standard, including heated seats, a sunroof and a premium sound system), but here's what I came up with as ballpark:

2012 Chevrolet Cruze Eco: $19,245

2012 Ford Focus SEL: $20,300 (I put the SEL here, but technically the SFE package is only offered on the lower-equipped SE that starts at $17,400)

2012 Hyundai Elantra Limited: $20,445

2012 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: $22,525 (a comparable Jetta SE with the five-cylinder gas engine is $21,185)

In addition to this, you have the higher price for diesel. But the TDI does counter with its unique power delivery, which some people really like.

So, what do you think? Does the Jetta TDI finally have real competition?

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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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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