New Car Reviews

2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI – Four Seasons Update – June 2009

Long-Term 2009 Volkswagen Jetta Update: Spring 2009 ( 2 of 5 ) Miles to date: 0

Mileage to date: 19,095
Months in fleet: Eight

Our Four Seasons Volkswagen Jetta TDI has turned the corner in its year with us, but it continues to rack up long-legged miles and evoke few complaints.

The car’s torquey diesel powerplant has led to some issues on the rare occasions when the VW requires a fuel fillup. Road test coordinator Mike Ofiara reports: “I had an anxious moment when the clerk at a gas station would not turn on my diesel pump. He was convinced that my little VW was not a diesel. I had to walk into the station, and he told me that the pump I was at was a diesel pump. I told him I knew that. He asked why I pulled up to that pump. I said: ‘Because my car is a diesel, and I would like to fill it up.’ As if that wasn’t enough, I then had to walk him out to the car and prove it. His response was, ‘Oh, I didn’t know Volkswagen made diesels.’ Where have you been buddy?”

Diesel pumps that lack a credit-card reader have also frustrated drivers and required visits to the human clerk inside the station. How archaic!

Other recent notes have been more positive:
“I still really like driving the Jetta,” says assistant editor David Zenlea. “It’s true that most normal people would be better served by the DSG automatic, but I love the challenge of keeping the low-revving diesel on the boil.”

Notes Web producer Evan McCausland: “I love the ability to lock virtually every storage compartment inside this car. I’m not only talking about the glove box, but both of the rear seatbacks and the center rear-seat pass-through. I also like the ability to open/close the trunk from inside the car. Perhaps it’s my neuroses talking, but being able to cinch down the car like a vault is reassuring when you’re forced to hand over the Jetta to a hotel valet…”

Fortunately, we’ve got a few more months before we have to hand the Jetta back over to the folks at Volkswagen.

2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

Base price (with dest.): $23,090
Price as tested: $23,090


Body Style: 4-door sedan
Accommodation: 5-passenger
Construction: Steel unibody


Engine: Inline SOHC turbocharged 4-cylinder diesel
Displacement: 2.0 liters
Power: 140 hp @ 4000 rpm
Torque: 236 lb-ft @ 1750-2500 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual transmission
Drive: front-wheel
Fuel economy: 30/41/34 mpg (city/hwy/combined)


Steering: Power-assisted rack-and-pinion
Turns lock-to-lock: 3.0
Turning Circle: 35.8 ft
Suspension, Front: McPherson struts, coil springs
Suspension, Rear: Multilink, coil springs
Brakes F/R: Vented discs / solid discs, ABS
Wheels: 16 x 6.5
Tires: Continental ContiWinterContact
Tire Size: 205/55 R16 H all-season


Headroom F/R: 38.5 / 37.2 in
Legroom F/R: 41.2 / 35.4 in
Shoulder Room F/R: 54.8 / 53.1 in
Wheelbase: 101.5 in
Track F/R: 60.6 / 59.8 in
L x W x H: 179.3 x 70.1 x 57.4 in
Cargo Capacity: 16 cu ft
Weight: 3230 lb
Weight Dist. F/R: N/A
Fuel Capacity: 14.5 gal
Est. Range: 490 miles
Fuel Grade: diesel fuel

Standard Equipment

Front, side, curtain airbags
Auxiliary jack
Cruise control
Electronic stability control