- Fuel efficiency is one of the diesel's virtues. Previous-generation Volkswagen diesels have easily exceeded 40 miles per gallon, even in stop-and-go traffic.
In tests of the last-generation VW diesel with a manual
gearbox, we managed 46
miles per gallon overall, with mid-50-mpg
readings in highway driving. No four- or five-passenger hybrid has exceeded these numbers in our tests.
- Compared to the last one, this newest Jetta diesel is more powerful and its performance is noticeably improved.
- Fuel economy, however, fell a little short, though it should be noted that the review car came with just 200
miles on the odometer and had a six-speed automatic
transmission. Nonetheless, our results were excellent: 45 miles per gallon overall and just over 50 miles per gallon on the highway.
- This latest Jetta is lively. Zero-to-60 takes 9.4 seconds. On the highway, throttle response is instantaneous and impressive. The car squirts from 40 to 70 mph with ease. "It has tremendous torque at low rpm," Cocco said.
- The Jetta is one of the best of the premium compact cars now available, and the Loyal does nothing to diminish the model's ranking. Ride and handling are exceptionally good and the interior is finished to high standards, using upscale materials.
Clean and green, the new Jetta TDI should make converts of even the most stubborn diesel doubters. It is hard not to be smitten by its comfort, its performance – and real-world economy results that trounce the EPA estimates. <29 - 40 and 33-34 combined >
Interested parties should get in line now.
For the last four years I have driven a Jetta TDI with a manual transmission. So I feel that I am in a perfect position to comment on the new 2009 Jetta diesel.
The price of diesel is now about $4.97 a gallon. Gasoline is averaging $4.37 a gallon. But I get 46 miles per gallon, so the cost per mile for fuel is still less
with my diesel: 10.9 cents versus an estimated 14.5 cents to 17 cents a mile for the 2.0-liter gas version.
That said, the new Jetta TDI is smoother, quieter and more powerful than mine. It is not more <fuel>
economical, though it should be noted that the test car had an automatic transmission. We came close, but did not quite equal the fuel economy that my limbered-up TDI delivers.
The back seat is more comfortable and the trunk is larger in the new model.
Jim MacPherson is the host of "The Car Doctor" show Sundays at noon on WTIC-AM. Paula MacPherson is his wife and new-car review partner. Send comments, questions, suggestions in care of Special Sections, Hartford Courant, 285 Broad St., Hartford, CT 06115.