2011 Volkswagen Jetta Long-Term Road Test - Miscellaneous

2011 Volkswagen Jetta Long-Term Road Test

  • Full Review
  • Pricing & Specs
  • Road Tests (3)
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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Best SLO Sandwiches

February 27, 2012

Eskimo Pie-1600.jpg

I made a quick trip up to San Luis Obispo this weekend. Thanks to one of those handy, crowd-sourced review sites, I found what the locals rate as the "Best Sandwich Shop in SLO." It's way off the beaten path, but worth finding in its residential neighborhood. Been there?

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Diesel Needs A New Name

February 14, 2012


Ever wonder why diesel hasn't earned broad acceptance? Why cars like our 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI still represent a tiny share of the market?

Even though it's still not the case, diesel cars have the lingering reputation of being noisy and stinky. But it is true that the fuel smells greazy and comes with an unshakable urge to wash your hands Right Now if you get any on you.

Also it's named after poo.

It seems so unnecessary to add the sad little "#2" onto signs and pumps. "Diesel" by itself seems to suffice. And has anyone ever seen Diesel #1? Is that one pre-mixed with the urea solution necessary for clean emissions?

I jest, of course. There is such a thing as Diesel #1, even though most of us have never seen or sniffed it. It's sometimes called Premium Diesel because it is more expensive to make and is generally found only in very cold areas because of it's lower viscosity. But it's not exactly the premium choice (if you have a choice) because it has less lubricity than #2 and contains fewer BTUs per unit volume.

At best it will allow your engine to run at all in the Great White North, albiet at reduced MPG; at worst it could ruin your engine if it's too un-cold outside.

Here's an idea: let's call Diesel #2 by the name Diesel instead. Or maybe Regular Diesel. Diesel #1 can then be Thin Diesel or Cold Diesel.

Let's face it: we all have a third grader buried deep within our psyche (some deeper than others), so why give the brain any subliminal ammunition it could use to drag diesel fuel and diesel engines through, as it were, the mud?

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 17,150 miles

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: What a Jerk

February 01, 2012


I grabbed the keys to our 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI last night. When I walked down to the parking lot this is what I saw. Who parks like this? I know it wasn't me because I was there first. What a jerk. Yes, that means you, Honda guy.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 16,551 miles

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Hybrid, Why Bother?

January 10, 2012

JettaHybridGrille1.jpg Volkswagen introduced its 2013 Jetta hybrid Monday at the Detroit Auto Show. The carmaker estimates that the hybrid will have a combined average fuel economy of 45 mpg. My first thought was: "Why bother having a hybrid when Volkswagen already has a perfectly good diesel option?"

We've had a difficult time getting close to the combined mpg numbers in many of the hybrids that have come our way (Ford Fusion Hybrid, Kia Optima Hybrid and Honda Insight, to name a few). You're probably thinking that's because Edmunds editors have lead feet.

Perhaps we do, but the lead in our feet doesn't seem to have a negative impact on the TDIs we've had. We've been able to meet or exceed the combined fuel economy ratings in all the TDIs we have tested.

I prefer diesel engines because they deliver more consistent results and I find that the torque is much more useable in everyday driving.

Despite this clear advantage for diesel, I can think of a reason why Volkswagen would still produce a hybrid -- perception. As far as we've come in terms of clean diesels, the public perception of these engines is years behind the times. Ask people what comes to mind when they hear the word "hybrid." Then ask them to do the same for the word "diesel." Chances are you'll get opposing answers: clean and dirty.

I get that Volkswagen wants to cover all the bases. But if these hybrid VWs catch on, I wonder if it will be the end of TDIs.

What about you? Would you rather have a Jetta hybrid or diesel?

Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Associate

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: 5 Reasons To Get a Jetta TDI Over a Prius

January 04, 2012

Prius plate2.JPG

1) Our 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI has more get-up-and-go than a Prius. (The 2011 VW Jetta TDI's 0-60 is 8.8 seconds; Prius V's 10.3, 2010 Prius 10.1.)

2) People won't see you coming and instantly assume you're a bad driver.

3) Doesn't emit toxic gas called Smug.

4) That HOV sticker no longer works for Prii so why bother?

5) Comparison Test: Jetta TDI vs. Prius V. 'Nuff said.

Any you'd like to add?

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

PS: Relax, I'm just havin' fun. Happy New Year!

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Dog Report

January 03, 2012


For the New Year's holiday weekend, we stayed in town but did use our 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI to take my dog Mya hiking. Every New Year's Day I like to hike up to Griffith Observatory and past that to Mt. Hollywood to get a lay of the land. Fortunately Griffith Park allows dogs on its trails so Mya was able to tag along.

It was so easy to load her up in the Jetta. I always love it when the seatbelt fasteners protrude from the seat because then it's easier to buckle in this squirming dog. On an unusually warm January day, we turned on the A/C. Unfortunately there aren't any vents in the back but the air coming from the center dash up front was able to reach her just fine.

We didn't have to bring too much of her gear this time -- just the collapsible water bowl and water bottle -- so storage space wasn't an issue.

Mya seemed comfortable enough back there. And as you can see from the photo (man, her head looks huge), she really enjoyed being able to look out the window, sitting up most of the time. Usually when traveling, she'll just lie down.

Anyway, we give the Jetta two paws up for dog hauling. Heh.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: The Jetta for John

December 13, 2011

jetta sportwagen.jpg

I'll say it right here and now -- I'm a fan of our Jetta TDI. Yes, the power delivery could be less lazy off the mark -- although putting the tranny in Sport mode takes the slack out of the step-off acceleration. And so would going with the manual tranny, as I would. Either solution renders this gripe a non-issue for me.

And no doubt you've heard enough about the sedan's little trip downmarket (more hard plastics/less soft-touch, non-adjustable center armrest). But let's not forget that the Jetta's price was dropped too and that most of the essential Jetta goodness remains -- solid construction, comfortable seats, sharp styling and a nice ride/handling balance for the real world of grueling workweek commutes and weekend road trips.

What too many people forget are the Jetta TDI's uncommon and greatest strengths -- great fuel economy along with plenty of pull when you want it, in a roomy, comfortable sedan. There's no need to "try" to get high fuel economy, just drive it in a normal fashion and you'll get 35-45 mpg. Lean into it to pass a left-lane laggard and that swell of turbodiesel power whisks you past. Even with our team of leadfoots and a steady diet of ever-present L.A. traffic, our Jetta is averaging 35.4 mpg, which is slightly better than the EPA's 34 mpg combined figure.

Yep, I'll take the Jetta TDI over a tiny, under-powered subcompact or complex hybrid any day. Specifically, I'd like a Jetta Sportwagen TDI as it looks good, holds a lot of stuff and retains the previous Jetta's nicer cabin. It was also my top pick in our Fuel Sipper Smackdown.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ ~ 15,200 miles

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta: 15,000 Trouble-Free Miles

December 07, 2011


Our Jetta TDI's odometer clicked past 15,000 miles this morning, and I quickly grabbed my camera to memorialize the moment.

The shiny red VW has been to the dealer just once during our ownership, and that was for its 10,000-mile regular service which included a TSB for the door seals.

Here's to 15,000 worry-free miles.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 15,015 miles

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Seeing Red

November 28, 2011

vw jetta tdi red.jpg

The Jetta TDI's engine note and power delivery may be coarse, but you can't say the same about its Tornado Red paint job. We've rhapsodized about its richness and depth before, but for me, it's a point that bears repeating; the look of the paint catches my eye every time I walk up to the car and goes a long way toward making the sedan look more expensive than it actually is.

Neutrals like silver and gray are popular with car buyers, probably because they tend to impart a premium look. With the Jetta, it's obvious that red can be just as upscale.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta: Taxi Service

November 28, 2011


My family was hosting for the Thanksgiving holiday this year, and the Jetta ended up doing a lot of shuttling of relatives coming to visit. This included two round trips to the airport and and daily pick up and drop off at a local hotel.

I suppose it would have been fun to use the M56 or A8 as they would have more easily impressed in terms of gadgets. But the Jetta certainly got the job done, providing respectable legroom for backseat passengers and lots of trunk space for luggage. Plus, it managed fuel economy in the high 30s throughout the ordeal.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 14,461 miles

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Is the Spoiler Sporty?

November 02, 2011


This is one of the oddest details on the new-generation Volkswagen Jetta sedan, at least it is for me. VW press material says the extended front spoiler adds to the Jetta's sporty look, but I have to think it must bring some tiny aerodynamic improvement which yields some infinitesimal EPA fuel mileage benefit, because it just looks so odd and draws my eye every time I walk up to the car. Of course, that's my speculation, free of actual facts, and should I find one of those (a fact, that is), I'll report back here.

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Foglights

October 31, 2011

Jetta TDI Fog2.jpg There are few things that our 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI has that the previous generation TDI didn't. Many of you may already know that a number of features were left behind to bring down the price of the vehicle, which is why I was surprised to see that this Jetta TDI came equipped with a set of foglights.

Foglights come standard on the top trim Jetta SEL with the 2.5 liter engine, and also on the TDI trim level. However, they're not quite up to par with other VW foglights. The foglights on the Golf TDI, Jetta Sportwagen TDI and Toureg TDI all have a cornering light feature.

When the low beams are on and you make a turn, the corresponding foglight will illuminate the direction the vehicle is turning. Then it automatically turns off when you bring the wheel back to the center position. The cornering lights also come on when you have the turn signals on, perhaps as an extra sign to other cars that you are headed in that direction.

Are foglights a big deal to you? Would you want them to have the cornering feature?

Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Associate @ 13,389 miles

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: 1000 Mile Dinner

October 27, 2011

Ferrariengine-MMNAT.jpgActually it was only a 100 miles, but Santa Barbara is a long way to go for dinner, even if I was curious about the Mille Miglia North America Tribute, an adjunct of the classic, 1,000-mile, Italian road event for old cars.

I've done dumber things than drive 100 miles for dinner, but of course the bar is pretty high in that respect. For example, it seemed even dumber to start out on a 200-mile round trip late on a Tuesday afternoon with only a half tank of fuel, even in the Jetta TDI.

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: More Damage

October 07, 2011


I found a ding in the door of our 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI the other day. It bummed me out, but I got over it. Today I see this scuff on the underside of the front bumper. Now I'm getting upset. One more thing to add to our list of repairs. Maybe it will rub out.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 11,954 miles

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Ding-Dong

October 05, 2011


I walked out to our 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI yesterday to find this ding in the door. I don't know how it got there. But it's there now. We'll have it popped out before returning this car to VW.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 11,924 miles

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Burn Hazard Recall

September 14, 2011


Volkswagen is recalling 30,294 2011 Jettas in the U.S. because a port-installed stainless steel exhaust tip may pose a burn hazard according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The recall is expected to begin in November.

Exhaust tips are hot. Don't touch them unless you want to be burned. We always thought it was common knowledge but it's good to know NHTSA is looking out for us.

A call to our local VW dealership confirms that the recall is known. But they are not yet prepared to remedy the problem. Being that our car does not have stainless exhaust tips, we're going to predict we are in the clear.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 11,098 miles

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Colors

September 05, 2011


I was trying to capture the beautiful sunset but when I focused on the bright red Jetta, my camera washed out the sky.

The sky really looked like this, but I couldn't photograph the car and the sky at the same level. I need Scott Jacobs and Kurt Niebuhr to give me some tips. Would you be interested in an online car photography tutorial?

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Color Is not Cheap

September 02, 2011

2011_volkswagen_jetta_f34.jpgWe're always talking about color values around here. It's a kind of art thing, and we have three guys (Kurt, Mark and Rex) in the editorial department who went to school at the well-known Art Center College of Design and they keep us all talking about art things whether we want to or not.

"Color value" is a notion that speaks to the character and quality of a color itself. I understand it as essentially an authentic reproduction of the color as defined by a kind of abstract scientific quantity -- purity rather than dilution. It's one step up from the paint chips that you get down at Home Depot.

But for me, "color value" is just another way of understanding that color also has another kind of value, which speaks to our terrific and yet terrifically cheap Volkswagen Jetta TDI.

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: 10,000 Mile Milestone

August 30, 2011

milestone jetta tdi 10.jpg

Kurt's the tough guy here. Photographers are always trying to make a stand and prove some sort of political point which is why he went crazy, stuck it to the man and took his milestone photo at 10,012 miles.

I'm not that bold and like palindromes (and I misjudged how long it would take to come to a stop) so today's Milestone is at the wonderful 10,001 mile mark!

It took us just over five months to hit that number and during those 10,001 miles, absolutely nothing has gone wrong. It hasn't even required a service yet, though one is certainly on the horizon. We've averaged 35.1 mpg with a best of 46.1 mpg and a best range of 642 miles.

Fingers crossed for 10,001 more trouble-free miles.

Mike Magrath, Features Editor @ 10,001 miles

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Forgot To, And For-got That, Too

August 25, 2011


This daytime reenactment doesn't fully convey the shame and self-loathing I felt when I walked out my front door this morning at 5:30 am to discover that I had somehow managed to leave our 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI's headlights on all night. D'oh!

The Jetta's rotary light switch has two positions, "on" and "off"; there's no "auto" setting like the car I drove the previous night. (A useful feature, that.) The act of locking the car must've cut the main lamps, because only the dim front parking lights and the taillights were on this morning.

It was with no small amount of trepidation that I pressed the start button, worried that the few remaining electrons would be insufficient to turn the little diesel over.

I needn't have worried. She cranked right up. Bullet dodged.

Later this morning, finally at my desk, I couldn't find my iPhone. And then I remembered the second thing that I'd forgotten...

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Drove the New GLI, Too

August 25, 2011

GLI2.jpg (Photo courtesy of Volkswagen of America, Inc.)

At the Volkswagen event I attended earlier this week (hence the previous Golf R post), I also briefly drove the new 2012 Jetta GLI. I was excited to drive it as I've spent plenty of time with our long-term Jetta TDI and wanted to see how the two cars compared.

As with previous iterations, the new GLI is a Jetta with GTI hardware. That means the GLI gains the GTI's 200-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a choice of a six-speed manual transmission or six-speed DSG transmission, 17- or 18-inch wheels, bigger brakes, an independent rear suspension and retuned spring and dampers rates with a lower ride height. It also looks a bit different on the outside (new grille, dual exhaust, front spoiler) and has a GTI steering wheel, sport front seats and red-accent stitching on the inside.

As you can imagine, the GLI is much more interesting to drive. Just as in the GTI, the turbo-4 is a gem, with a wide torque band and a pleasing engine/exhaust note. The DSG comes with paddle shifters (they're not offered on the TDI), making it easier to snap through gear changes. (Also, for what it's worth, I didn't notice any of the low-speed engine braking that Mark pointed out recently. It could be a TDI quirk). In terms of handling, the GLI is more responsive and gripper when cornering. The overall suspension tuning is still on the soft side, though, reflecting the car's balanced approach to performance and comfort.

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

August 10, 2011


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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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Possible Recall

August 10, 2011


(Photo by Scott Jacobs)

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened a preliminary safety probe into an estimated 40,000 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDIs and Jetta SportWagen TDIs after receiving seven complaints alleging leakage from the fuel line. .

We are not one of the seven. Our car is doing just fine at this time.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Art House Versus Mainstream

July 25, 2011

vw_jetta_art.jpg I was at a friend's house over the weekend.

"What are you driving?" he asked.

I told him a new Jetta.

"Oh, so how is it?" he said, curious.

"It's, well..." I replied, but I had to pause as I didn't have an immediate response. Thinking a little, I regrouped with: "Yeah, It's a nice car." I expanded on how it's roomy, competitively priced and, at least in my mind, handsomely (though conservatively) styled. I also noted that you can get it with the TDI engine like our car or the upcoming GLI with the GTI's turbo-4. My friend seemed reasonably satisfied.

In thinking about this conversation later, however, I noticed how the Jetta isn't quite as easy to talk up as it used to be.

Before, I felt like I was letting people in on a little secret when I told them about the Jetta. "It's got an upscale interior, it drives really well and it has top fuel economy with the TDI. You'll have to pay a little more, but it's worth it," is what I would have generally said about the prior two generations.

When discussing the 2011 Jetta, it's less about intangibles and more about spec sheets. This might seem like the wrong way forward, but maybe the Jetta was just too art-house. Critics like me liked it, but not enough of the general public did (from VW's standpoint, anyway). So the new Jetta, with its more mainstream appeal, could work out well. And if you go by the sales increases the new car has posted so far, that would seem to be the case.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 7,846 miles

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Coming Out of the Shadows

July 19, 2011


Unlike you're some sort of sales data geek, you probably don't know that the latest Jetta is experiencing a bit of a resurgence. Through June of this year, the Jetta is up 77% over the same period in 2010. In June alone, sales more than doubled over the prior year.

Maybe this is just a sign of a market that's finally bouncing back, or maybe this Jetta is a far better combination of what the U.S. consumer in looking for in a compact sedan. We've noted on various occasions that we weren't all that impressed with the visible cost cutting done to make this Jetta more affordable than its predecessor. Then again, a lower price automatically translates into more potential buyers.

As you can see here, the new Jetta isn't dramatically different in terms of styling compared to the older model. The average buyer probably barely notices the difference. One thing they always notice, however, is a difference in price. It's probably why Volkswagen's plan is working so far. Should be interesting to see if it works for the Passat too.

Ed Hellwig, Editor

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Seeing Stars

July 18, 2011

Jetta TDI crack1.jpg That thing you see between the cars in this photo isn't a UFO. It's a crack in the windshield of our Volkswagen Jetta TDI, and it happened on the way back from Vegas, after Fuel Sipper Smackdown IV. I never saw the object that hit the windshield, but it made a loud pop.

I've driven the car for over 200 miles since the impact and so far the crack has not spread. We will monitor it closely and get it fixed if it worsens.

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: A True World Car

July 06, 2011


German car. Built in Mexico. Rides on Korean tires. So that's how Volkswagen makes all that money.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Edmunds.com

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Should I Have Owned a Jetta?

July 05, 2011


A couple of guys were talking in the office a while ago, and I heard them refer to the Volkswagen Jetta as one of the quintessential (not gonna say chick cars) cars for young college women.

"Huh?" I said, thinking back. I couldn't remember a single friend of mine who owned a VW, much less a Jetta. But then, I'm from Michigan, and I didn't make my final western crossing of the Mississippi River until my late 20s.

My friends probably didn't even know Volkswagen made a car other than a classic Beetle, let alone considered buying one. Their Dads made sure they drove Ford Escorts, Chevy Chevettes. Maybe a lucky few scored a Chrysler Le Baron convertible.

The other day the local KCBS Los Angeles anchors were discussing their first cars on the morning news. Three of the three women at the desk said they owned Jettas.

So did I miss a revolution, or was it just a regional thing?

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 6,207 miles

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Memorial Pit Stop

July 04, 2011


This is our Jetta in front of the U.S. Submarine Veterans WWII National Memorial - West. It commerates the 52 submarines lost during WWII and the 3,505 men who went down with them. The Jetta seemed like an appropriate ride since it uses diesel power just like the WWII submarines. If you're ever in the Seal Beach area, the memorial is worth a stop.

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Totally Twisted

June 13, 2011


It was weird. It was my first time driving our new Jetta TDI, and I was gassing it up. The pump clicks off, and I go to remove the nozzle from the fuel filler hole, but it won't come out. It's stuck. Won't budge. I try it multiple times. I pull. I push. I take a deep breath, and try again. Nuthin'. I look for a release button somewhere. Negatory.

I double-check that it is, in fact, the proper diesel nozzle and that I haven't accidentally put in regular unleaded gasoline. Nope, I didn't mess up. I walk away and walk back to the car, thinking maybe I can sneak up on it and fake it out. No dice. I think about going into the cashier/mini-mart to ask for help and then think better of it.

Last ditch effort: I call Mark Takahashi's cell phone. I explain my dilemna. He and James discuss and suggest I call Ron Montoya (or Rontoya, as Magrath likes to call him), since he owns a Golf TDI. I call Ron's desk and am starting to leave a rambling, idiotic message when I turn around and suddenly see Takahashi standing between the pump and the Jetta smiling at me. What the what?!

"How did you...where did you...wha?" I manage to blurt out.

"James and I were eating at the Greek place around the corner. When you called, we figured it was a good bet you were at this gas station, so I took a chance and walked over," says Mark.

Hallelujah. Mark fiddles with the handle of the nozzle and confirms that it's stuck. But he's brave enough to try something I hadn't tried yet: twisting the nozzle. It works! He twists it almost all the way around and it unscrews itself, essentially. The Jetta is free from its greasy, stinky tether, and I'm too relieved for words.

So now you know what to do if it ever happens to you.

Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 4,908 miles

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Headlights and DRLs

June 10, 2011


Ever notice that the Volkswagen Jetta tends to burn out headlights? One-eyed cars are rare nowadays, but it seems to us that certain late-model Volkswagens are the most common motorcycle impersonators.

And we're not just saying that because it happened to us two generations of Jetta ago, when our 2005 VW Jetta TDI turned into a cyclops. These older Jettas use their regular headlights as daytime running lights (DRLs) too, which subject them to near-constant use.

Clarification edit: at full brightness, not some reduced voltage.

We also think the previous generation Jetta, as represented by our 2009 VW Jetta TDI, used the same headlights-as-DRLs strategy. We're not entirely certain because our photographers always want the headlights on in beauty shots and drive-bys. But with a little digging I found a series of shots that were never used in a blog that seem to implicate the headlight theory.

Our new 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI shouldn't have a problem with iffy headlight life because its DRLs are stand-alone units. The headlights themselves only come on when the headlights are turned on. Imagine that.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 4,563 miles

PS: I know what you are thinking: Why have they had three Jetta TDIs in a row? Good question. We like to keep an economical diesel compact close at hand when discussions of hybrids, plug-ins and electric cars get frothy. We don't want to leave diesel out of the mix.

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: New Red, Old Red

June 08, 2011


When I saw our bright, shiny red VW Jetta TDI parked in front of this aging Mazda Miata, it made me wonder what the TDI's paint will look like in 10 years.

The Miata looks like it's lead a pretty full beach life here in Southern California. Hope the Jetta wears a higher SPF.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 4,478 miles

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Visiting the Cousins

June 06, 2011

visiting the cousins.jpg

There's a Porsche in my family that needed a new air-filter housing, so I took the Jetta along to the local dealership on Saturday, figuring it could spend a few minutes rubbing shoulders with its German kin while we worked on the service order.

It's hard to beat the Porsche 911 for sheer style. (Although I can't say that for the Cayenne. Yech.) But I think our lipstick-red Jetta has a je ne sais quoi all its own. Is it the practicality? The fuel economy? The radically lower price tag? What do you think?

Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @4,316 miles

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: More Sales Fever

June 02, 2011

2011_volkswagen_jetta_bdg_lt.jpgIf it seems like you've been seeing more VWs on the road lately, that's because you have.

Volkswagen of America reports that it sold 30,100 vehicles in the U.S. during May, a 27.9 percent increase over May 2010. Jetta sales totaled 16,671, a 58.6 percent increase over last year, while TDI variants of all VW models represented 22 percent of the month's sales.

It appears that Volkswagen won't rest until it has covered the whole country with the VW badge. It makes you wonder if it can come close to the glory days of the 1960s, when a half million VW Beetles were sold here. What kind of magic can the VW badge still have?

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 4,190 miles

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Too Many Jettas?

May 26, 2011


Our friend Itai Lottati over in the data department at Edmunds.com told us an interesting story about his own Jetta recently. Here are his thoughts:

As the owner of a 2009 Jetta TDI, I'm slightly concerned about the resale value of the Jetta now that it seems like VW is pumpling a lot of new ones into the U.S. market.

Even though I plan to keep my Jetta diesel for a long time and I primarily got it for its fuel economy (which it does deliver, as I am consistently achieving at least 33 mpg in mixed driving around Los Angeles), I can't help but wonder what's going to happen to my Jetta when it comes time to sell it as a used car.

After all, Volkswagen sold 13,905 Jetta sedans in April, an 87.7-percent increase from last April 2010. VWoA has sold 57,975 Jettas in just the first four months of this year, which compares to the 123,213 Jettas sold in the U.S. in all of 2010.

I live in the Valley, and I am seeing a lot of brand-new Jettas on the road every day during my commute to and from work. I see a mixture of styles, but out of all the styles, I must say that I happen to see more of the base, S or SE styles. I've only seen a few of the SEL styles, which might further imply that people are going to buy the most economical style if it is being offered in volume at a really low price. Furthermore, Volkswagen of America has added a base model for MY2011 that starts at around $15,000. Previously, the cheapest Jetta style that was offered was the S, and it cost somewhere in the $17k range if I remember correctly.

It's great to see so many people choose VW, but it does make me wonder what will happen when people like me put their cars into the used car market in a few years. Will the value of our cars be depressed because there are so many Jettas on the road? Will we feel like the value and reputation of our premium-style Jettas have been undercut by the new model?

Finally, the opinions I have heard regarding the 2011 model vary widely. I've heard people like the new model because the styling is a little bit reminiscent of Audi's styling (I think just in the taillights). However, I think most people do agree that the exterior styling is very boring compared to other vehicles out there in its class and that the interior quality has diminished from the previous model years.

Of course, this is speculation about the future. For my part, I'm really enjoying my Jetta TDI, which I bought with 17-inch alloy wheels and a spoiler. I bought it because it is extremely comfortable and has great performance -- great torque and wonderful acceleration and handling. The elegant blue and red instrument illumination is probably one of my favorite things about the car.

For me, the Jetta TDI is a premium sedan. I hope someone else thinks so too when it's time to put it into the used car market.

Itai Lottati, Pricing Analyst, Edmunds, Inc.

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Satellite Controls are Merely Average

May 05, 2011


Yesterday I singled out the steering wheel controls in our Kia Optima for their simple, functional design. Here's a less inspired design courtesy of our Jetta TDI.

I know this because I accidentally hit the microphone button at least twice while parking last night. I never use voice command controls. Call me crazy, but it seems easier to simply reach out and push a button or turn a knob rather than push a different button, wait for it to respond and then hope it understands what you're saying. I'm annoyed just writing it.

Also notice the volume and seek buttons. They're not terrible, but they're not great either. Once you get used to them it's easy enough to feel your way around, but I find myself looking down often to remind myself what I'm about the push. Maybe it's the lack of color coding?

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Edmunds.com

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: All Down the Line

May 02, 2011

Jetta TDI-range-web.jpg

I like diesel. I don't know why. Like the energy, like the smell. Like the sound of the word and the images it evokes of Mack long-haulers and Santa Fe cross-country freights. Less enamored of the particulate emissions that end up embedded in our respiratory tracts, though. So I like our Jetta TDI almost by default. Its 2.0-liter turbodiesel makes a nice chatter at idle, not at all noisy inside. Feels like it has purpose and a surprise skill set, the Jetta sibling steered toward a law career that instead traveled abroad and ended up running guns in Afghanistan.

It's got great pull on the highway. Just keep it in the sweet spot (70 mph, 2,500 rpm), then stomp to pass or arc around an erratic wolfpack, and it uncoils effortlessly. It's rated at the same horsepower as the Honda Civic (140), but with 100 lb-ft more torque, the two couldn't be more different. On the streets around town, I too noticed some of the hesitation and sponginess Mark wrote about. It displays a similar character in congested traffic. We're at almost 2,500 miles; is it still breaking in or learning our style?

For this kind of range, I could live with it. It's not as bad as the standard hiccup mode in recent BMWs, anyway. Tight parking can be a little dodgy. Lift your foot from the brake and instead of inching forward, you sit there. Don't go for the accelerator too quick, lest you end up with a bumper-full of bumper. But after having put 260 miles on it during this trip, and with the 14.5-gallon tank still more than half-full, we're looking pretty close to VW's estimated range of 609 highway miles.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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Past Long-Term Road Tests