2010 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI

Driving a TDI Volkswagen is always refreshing. Despite the fact that the suspension is more about comfort than sport and the powertrain is optimized for fuel economy instead of performance, an enthusiast will walk away relatively happy. Complaints about the soft brake pedal and less-than-perfect steering are minor when you consider the cargo capacity and fuel economy benefits of a wagon like this.

I particularly enjoy DSG-equipped TDIs because the clutch on a manual TDI is very light and offers no feel. During aggressive driving you really need to work the manual to keep the engine in the power. With a DSG, all you need to do is plant your foot and the car sorts out the rest for you and you never have to worry about stalling while creeping along in traffic.

Volkswagen's navigation system is quite nice looking, though I had no reason to use it for directions during my time in the TDI. The heated seats work very well, which is a good thing because the diesel engine (like so many others on the market) is slow to warm up in the winter. Perhaps owners would become accustomed to the wait, but I found myself wishing for a remote starter to let the car idle while I ate breakfast.

Overall I find the Jetta TDI wagon to be one of the best values on the new-car market right now. It would certainly be on my short list if I were shopping for a new car.

Phil Floraday, Senior Online Editor

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