Track Tested: 2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Sportwagen

Track Tested: 2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Sportwagen

2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Sportwagen tests hundreds of vehicles a year, but not every vehicle gets a full write-up. The numbers still tell a story, though, so we present "Track Tested." It's a quick rundown of all the data we collected at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.

You may recall that we track tested a Volkswagen Sportwagen several months ago. So why bother doing the same tests all over again?

Well, this time our Jetta Sportwagen was powered by Volkswagen's 2.0-liter TDI engine. It's about as popular as a diesel engine gets in the U.S. At one point last year, Volkswagen said it was literally sold out of Jetta Sportwagens with the TDI option. Oh, and Volkswagen dropped the 2.0T from the options list on the Sportwagen for 2010.

What's so great about the TDI anyway? Mostly torque and great mileage. Its 236 pound-feet of torque tops the gasoline-powered 2.0-liter engine by a healthy margin (207 lb-ft) and the TDI's EPA ratings of 30 mpg city and 42 mpg highway make it one of the most fuel-efficient cars on the road. And what do you lose in terms of performance? See what our test drivers had to say after some track time.

Vehicle: 2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Sportwagen
Odometer: 1,759
Date: December 22, 2009
Driver: Josh Jacquot
Base price: $25,715
Options on car: N/A
Price as tested: $N/A

Drive Type: Front-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed automatic
Engine Type: Inline-4
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 1,968cc (120 cu-in)
Redline (rpm): 5,100
Horsepower (hp @ rpm):  140 @ 4,000
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 236 @ 1,750
Brake Type (front): Ventilated disc
Brake Type (rear): Disc
Steering System: Electric speed-proportional power steering
Suspension Type (front): Independent, MacPherson strut
Suspension Type (rear): Independent, multilink
Tire Size (front): P205/55R16
Tire Size (rear): P205/55R16
Tire Brand: Hankook
Tire Model: Optimo
Tire Type: All-season
Wheel Size: 16-by-6.5 inches front and rear
Wheel Material (front/rear): Alloy
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,358

Test Results:
0-30 (sec): 3.0
0-45 (sec): 5.5
0-60 (sec): 8.9
0-75 (sec): 13.7
1/4-Mile (sec. @ mph): 16.6 @ 82.1
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec.): 8.5
30-0 (ft): 32
60-0 (ft): 129
Braking Rating: Average
Slalom (mph): 64.9
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.80
Handling Rating: Average
Db @ Idle: 46.0
Db @ Full Throttle: 70.1
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 56.1

Acceleration Comments: Sport mode does shave significant time from the Jetta's acceleration runs and does so without any significant disadvantages. Shifts are still smooth and comfortable. Shouldn't it always shift like this? Best run in Drive. Mild brake torque seems to help a bit off the line, but it's easy to get too aggressive, which slows things down.

Braking Comments: Lots of squish in the brake pedal, but no appreciable degradation of braking performance throughout all stops.

Handling Comments: Skid pad: As per the norm at VW, stability control cannot be fully disabled, which is frustrating. Turning it "off" does somewhat loosen the reins such that better numbers can be had, but there's no getting too out of shape here. Predictable understeer was apparent on the skid pad. It was the same for the slalom, which made for easy control, but slow times.

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