Why is the Jetta Such a Popular Diesel? - 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Long-Term Road Test
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2011 Volkswagen Jetta Long-Term Road Test

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Why is the Jetta Such a Popular Diesel?

August 10, 2011

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According to some recent sales numbers compiled by HybridCars.com, the Volkswagen Jetta TDI is far and away the top selling diesel-powered vehicle in the U.S. Nearly 57,000 of them have been sold through July. The next best seller is the Golf TDI, but it's barely up to 6,000 units sold in the same time period.

So why does the Jetta rule the class so handily? I think it has less to do with its performance and more to do with its legacy. The Jetta has offered diesel power on and off for years now while other vehicles are just now starting to include a diesel engine on the options list. The BMW 335d is an excellent use of diesel power, but how many 3 Series buyers even know it exists?

Legacy is the only reason, though, as this Jetta backs up the name with satisfying performance. It's about the perfect size for the 2.0-liter TDI. The Passat on the other hand starts to strain the 2.0-liter to the point of making you wonder if it's worth the trouble. I never feel that way in the Jetta, it just goes. Should be interesting to see if any vehicles start to catch up with the Jetta as fuel mileage becomes more of a priority.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Edmunds.com

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