2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: A Valid Case For Rump Toasters
March 14, 2012
Diesels are efficient.
As a consequence of this, VW equips all 2011 Jetta TDIs with something to keep your buns warm.
The very characteristic of diesel engines that makes them frugal with fuel -- high thermal efficiency -- also extends their warmup time.
Compared to gasoline engines, diesels convert a larger fraction of the fuel's energy into propulsion rather than "waste" heat, and that "waste" heat is what is ultimately plumbed through the cabin heater and warms up your buns (and everything else) on cold days.
Simply put, diesel engines sloooowly generate meaningful calories that can be enjoyed by chilly mammals within the passenger compartment. Our TDI is no exception.
To ameliorate this situation a bit, VW installs seat heaters in all TDI-equipped Jettas. The seat heaters are pretty danged solid. There's also word of an auxiliary electric heater (and our car has a 100-amp fuse in the underhood box, suggesting the heater is present) which supplements the conventional heater core when certain conditions are met. I wouldn't expect a blast furnace from this device, rather something simply to help defog/defrost the windshield.
In summary, the slow engine warmup doesn't affect your comfort. In the words of Kirk Lazarus, it "ain't nothing but a thang." There are becoming vanishingly few reasons not to buy a diesel... aside from the fuel price issue.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor