• Sep 28th 2007 at 8:34AM
  • 13
In conjunction with the kick off of Volkswagen's Dieselution tour, the assembled media got an opportunity to take a brief drive in one of the Jetta diesels. The prototype Jetta sedan that was on hand had the latest 2.0L CleanTDI engine mated up to a six-speed DSG gearbox. DSG is Volkwagen's branding for the dual-clutch gearbox that has been available in the GTI, R32 and Audi TT previously.

The Jetta is a relatively compact car but it still held three full-sized auto writers and a VW engineer in reasonable comfort. Adding a third adult passenger to the rear seat is one of those fallacies, similar to the idea of any human with full-size legs using the back seat of a Lexus SC or Porsche 911. It probably wouldn't be the ideal choice for four adults on a long road trip due to lack of stretch out room, but a cross-town jaunt to lunch or dinner shouldn't leave anyone feeling grumpy.

Post continues after the jump.

Starting the diesel yielded a muted note, different from a gas engine but nothing like the racket most Americans would still expect from a diesel. It was in no way bothersome or offensive. The DSG transmission operates just like a conventional automatic when you put it in Drive, with smooth seamless shifts and no indication of anything unusual. The fact that it uses mechanical clutches though allows a DSG to beat a comparable automatic by about 10-15 percent in fuel economy. The Jetta diesel will also be available with a conventional six speed shift-it-yourself gearbox for those so inclined.

As with all diesels, the 140 hp 2.0L has plenty of torque with 236 lb-ft from 1750 rpm. That's more than enough to move a loaded Jetta without working up a sweat. Underway, the diesel has a distant growl and it's obvious that VW put a lot of effort into optimizing the NVH of this car. From the outside when the car is sitting idling, bystanders can barely tell that it's running. Besides the lack of noise, there was no smoke and no smell. The Jetta is able to pass Tier 2/Bin 5 standards without a urea injection system. A diesel particulate filter is used to keep the soot at bay and a NOx trap captures those gases.

The engine periodically swithes operating modes to a richer air/fuel mixture for a short time which allows the NOx trap to process the NOx and replenish itself. The result is a maintenance free after-treatment system that meets the same fifty-state standards as gasoline engines. The new CleanTDI's will also be certified for use with biodiesel blends up to B5 right out of the box. Currently, there are still no national standards for higher percentage blends like B20 so VW won't warranty those. Once a B20 standard has been implemented and certified fuels are available, VWoA President Stefan Jacoby said they would revisit that issue.

The new CleanTDI Jetta will go on sale in March of 2008 in both sedan and SportWagen styles. According to VW spokesman Keith Price the new CleanTDI Jetta will have a similar price premium to the old diesel running about $2,000 more than a gas engine model. For that price you get a sedan or wagon that gets real world mileage in the mid-40s in the city and low to mid 50s on the highway. VW isn't stating any specific sales targets yet, but traditionally when diesels have been offered they have comprised about thirty percent of the mix for those model lines. They expect a heavier mix of diesels in the wagon than the sedan, with perhaps half going diesel. We're anxiously awaiting our opportunity for a full test of the new Jetta CleanTDI to see if it can really live up to expectations.

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      Sounds great. But I'll wait a few years. I've still got a bitter taste in my mouth from my last experience with VW -- a 2000 GTI GLX quality control disaster.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Maybe the manual shift transmission is the one to get, if you are going to chip the engine.

      Not going to match BMW's serial-sequential twin turbocharged 2.0.


      Maybe VW will get a 7 speed double clutch, with wet clutches soon.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Anecdotal data point: My buddy has an '05 Jetta Diesel and he has had ZERO problems with it. Just hums away with the 6spd DSG at a nick over 40MPG with mostly highway mileage. And he doesn't treat it gently either. This new diesel described above with the common rail injection is more effecient, hence the higher estimates.

      One thing to consider with this car vs. the Prius is the interior. VW interior is FANTASTIC. The Prius is flimsy and not very ergonomical. I'm getting rid of an 18 month old loaded Toyota Camry Hybrid largely because I'm so sick of the interior. That's the part of a car that you see day in and day out. My german diesel arrives in a few weeks! Can't wait.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Mike, "It's getting to be a hard choice."

      I'd say that's a good thing, my current car should last me till 2012 or so and I'm hoping for a good mix of high MPG choices. I'm not a GM or Toyota fan, Toyota has bland styling and I've just never been a GM fan, the Volt could change that but I hope for more choices.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Was at my local VW dealer yesterday and was told the new Jetta TDI's wont be in until September 08. Makes you wonder whats wrong with production that they have had to stall the arrival 3 times now?
      • 8 Years Ago
      My 06' TDI has been a dream - but then again, I only have 20k miles on it.
      I've been running it on B100 with no problems. This article claims there is no standard for blends above B20 - which is not correct. There is a BQ9000 certification. I'm not looking to put home brew in my brand new(ish) car.
      • 8 Years Ago
      This car, the Prius or the Volt. It's getting to be a hard choice.

      The hybrids will have the advantage of home solar panel feeds when they become Plugins. I believe the hybrids would be at an advantage in an emergency evacuation plan, sitting in traffic for 8 hours, as they have 2 power sources.

      This diesel has plenty of power, VW has a sportier reputation and still very good economy.

      Does AutoBlog have the ability to set up a poll? What does the "wisdom of crowds" say?

      • 8 Years Ago
      This looks like a fantastic car, but Diesels are really best for long-distance travel. According to this report the Jetta is designed for commuting.

      Now that the development of the PHEV-40s like the Volt is in full swing along with almost daily advancements in cheap distributed solar power generation, I'll just save up my money and wait. Like most PHEV-40 drivers, I’ll rarely use liquid fuel at all. Patience grasshopper.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Glad to see VW is finally demonstrating their clean TDI. Thanks for that report. Anybody heard anything on planned production/sales numbers for the US? I hope they'll make enough to meet demand, but I'm guessing the demand will be higher than they anticipate.

      I am a little surprised by VW's 40s/50s mpg claim. It sure would be nice, but how can they improve mpg while improving emissions? The 2006 1.9 TDI is listed in the mid 30s (combined) with the new EPA tests (and a new 2.0 TDI Jetta sold in the UK is rated at ~50mpg combined UK, which is ~40 mpg in US gallons.) So high 30s with the new EPA numbers seems more realistic. But like with any car, those new EPA numbers will be easy to beat. So since there don't appear to be new EPA number for the new Jetta yet, maybe that's why they can get away with advertising these "real world" mpg claims. Or maybe VW forgot to convert their UK mpgs to US gallons?
      • 7 Years Ago
      The improved mileage is coming from the switch to common rail injection. It is going to be much more efficient than the previous PD engine. The EPA stated that my 06 was rated for 36/42, but I was able to beat that on a regular basis. I was getting closer to 38/46.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This will be a great car. I can't wait until I replace the aging heap with my new TDI wagon next March(??!! -it'll need to last only 5 more months...). Mine will have the excellent 6 speed auto. I've driven a car with just that drivetrain in Europe recently. It's a fast 50 mpg sports sedan, no excuses!
      • 7 Years Ago
      My '06 TDI Jetti continues to run like a watch. VW needs to get on board, however, and certify the use of B20 biodiesel. Their statement that there is not a National standard is just plain not true.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The B20 standard was only ratified about 6 weeks ago.
    • Load More Comments
    Share This Photo X