If you're in the market for a Jetta TDI sedan and like to drive, this is your car. The firmer GLI suspension, larger brakes, and upgraded antiroll bars go a long way towards making the Jetta sedan exciting to drive. Of course those upgrades do nothing to address the modest horsepower of a TDI engine, but we're especially sensitive to the TDI's horsepower output because we've been driving the superb VW GTI for a few months. Anyone considering a TDI vehicle understands the lack of hp is more than made up for by the car's incredible 41 mpg highway rating and insanely long cruising range.
The Volkswagen Jetta TDI is a very good car in base trim, so I was surprised at just how much better the TDI Cup Edition is. The buttoned-down suspension transforms this Jetta from a staid commuter to an engaging companion. Even better, the improved handling comes at virtually no cost to the ride quality. This is still a very comfortable for daily driving. It makes me think that the GLI suspension should be standard on the Jetta TDI, just like the Golf TDI gets the GTI suspension as standard equipment. In fact, the TDI Cup Edition seems to be the perfect response to the few complaints we had about our Four Seasons Jetta TDI
Like Eric and Phil, I was pleasantly surprised by the Jetta TDI Cup Edition's sportier-yet-just-as-comfortable chassis. I'm not big on the body kit's styling tweaks, though, which are a bit too tuner-y for me, but thankfully and as Eric pointed out many of them are optional. My ideal Jetta TDI would feature this car's sport suspension, plaid seats and aluminum pedals, and eighteen-inch "Charleston" wheels but forgo the side graphics and the aero modifications, except for the trunk-lid spoiler.
Decals aside, the differences between the standard Jetta TDI and this Cup Sport edition aren't all that dramatic -- and that's a good thing. After four seasons with a TDI, we all thought it was comfortable, wonderfully efficient, and even rather entertaining to drive. The Cup Sport edition amps up the fun-to-drive quotient just a bit without detracting from all those other benefits. Even with the firmer damping and larger, low-profile tires, it does a great job absorbing road imperfections. The reduction in sidewalls has also improved the precision of the steering, which was quite good to begin with. As others have noted, the manual transmission can take some getting used to, and, yes, I stalled it. Once you're going however, the smooth, precise gearbox and light clutch encourage just the sort of frequent shifting one needs to keep the diesel within its narrow sweet spot.
- David Zenlea
I love both the Jetta TDI and the GTI, so shouldn't I love the Jetta Street Cup, a car that combines the thrift of the diesel and the suspension tuning of the hot hatch? On paper, the equation suggested so, but in reality, I wasn't completely blown away by the package.
Racing any diesel -- whether it's a family sedan or a semi-tractor -- strikes me as the height of silliness. This tiny turbo-diesel engine doesn't rev up and the usual mountain of torque doesn't fully compensate for the stunted power curve. That's not to say this Jetta TDI is without virtue. Its ability to haul five comfortably while delivering mid-30s mpg qualifies it as the family sedan of the future. Towards that end, I'd recommend the TDI engine mated to an automatic transmission. That solves the frequent stumble and flame out when the clutch is abruptly engaged after a stop sign, plus the slushbox adds one mpg to the highway mpg rating.
- Don Sherman
2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup Edition