2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI, front 3/4

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI, rear 3/4

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI, front 3/4

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI, rear 3/4

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI profile

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI front fascia

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI rear fascia

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI headlamp

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI grille

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI lower air intake

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI alloy wheel

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI alloy wheel

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI mirror

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI door handle

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI tail lamp

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI exhaust

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI engine

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI engine

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI engine detail

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI interior

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI interior

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI interior

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI interior

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI gauge cluster

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI engine on/off button

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI steering wheel audio controls

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI headlamp stalk

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI wiper stalk

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI gear shifter

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI navigation screen

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI navigation screen

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI HVAC controls

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI headlamp controls

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI interior detail

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI front seats

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI interior

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI interior detail

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI rear seats

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI rear seats

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI door

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI door detail

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI rear interior

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI overhead console

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI trunk

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Long-Term
  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI monroney (window sticker)

Vital Stats

Engine:
2.0L Turbo Diesel
Power:
140 HP / 236 LB-FT
Transmission:
6-Speed Manual
Drivetrain:
Front-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
3,161 LBS
Seating:
2+3
Cargo:
15.5 CU-FT
MPG:
30 City / 42 HWY
Click above to view the Jetta TDI's long-term updates on Facebook

Our long-term 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI started its year-long journey with us last month and spent the most amount of days in June under my care, so while I've already passed on its keys to a number of other editors, it's my job to tell you how it fared in its first weeks.

As we mentioned when introducing our long-term Jetta TDI, this 2011 model is vastly different than the 2010 model we had last year. The most noticeable difference is that, unlike the 2010 Jetta and many model years before that, the 2011 doesn't give a very good first impression. The exterior design is anonymous, the interior feels cheap, and every noise the car makes, of which there are lots, is anything but confidence inspiring.

The new Jetta, particularly when powered by diesel like our long-termer, impresses in ways that take more time to bubble up to the surface. You're not going to know right away that it can easily clip along at a Prius-smacking 50+ miles per gallon on the highway, like it did for me on the numerous trips from Cleveland, OH to AOL's offices in Dulles, VA. On my first trip to Dulles with the Jetta TDI, I was so shocked by the trip computer displaying an average of 53.2 mpg that I stopped near the end to fill up and manually calculate the fuel economy. The trip computer turned out to be conservative; I really averaged 53.31 mpg.

Keep your eyes locked on the official Autoblog Facebook page for the majority of our updates, as well as the official Autoblog Twitter account (@therealautoblog, look for the #ablongterm hashtag).

Another thing about the new Jetta that you won't get right away is just how big it is. On one occasion I was ferrying around myself and my wife and both my parents, who were in the back seat. Thanks to the little 2.0-liter turbodiesel's 236 lb-ft of torque, the 550 pounds of people hardly affected the car's performance. But my parents, who normally have no problem excoriating the back seats of cars into which I stuff them, remarked without prompting how much leg room they had to play footsie (TMI, Dad! TMI!). Pop the trunk and you'll likewise be staring at more empty space than you know what to do with.

2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI back seat

The new Jetta's nav system gives perhaps the car's worst first impression, with its smallish screen, poorly designed menu interface and general look of something that's advertised in Best Buy's weekly circular. But again, after spending many hours with it on my long trips to Dulles, the system grew on me. Actually, what grew on me were its navigation maps, which are very high resolution and move across the screen with a high frame rate. Pretty much every other part of the system has annoyed me or is difficult to use, but the nav maps are trick. Check them out in the Short Cut video below.



Finally, Volkswagen has been getting knocks from people like us and any auto enthusiast who's familiar with the Jetta that came before this one. Yes, the new car as a whole feels cheaper, but that's because it is, with a heavily reduced MSRP as your reward for giving up a soft-touch dash. I pointed out the absence of plushy things in the interior to my wife, a woman who is not a car enthusiast but is a savvy shopper. She said something we enthusiasts need to hear every now and again: "Who cares if the dash is soft?" I didn't have an answer, other than that expensive cars have soft dashboards. And there's the rub: The Jetta just isn't an expensive car anymore.


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
  • 83 Comments
      JC
      • 3 Years Ago
      This car has received critical negative reviews from car magazines, Consumer Reports and car enthusiasts BUT they are selling like crazy by the average driver. I can see why their sales are over 50% higher - its all about price and its well - a VW - which most mainstream consumers "perceive" as "above" Japanese cars. They can get one for below 20 G's so to them it a mega value (ching ching VW bean counters) Most people don't care about soft touch surfaces or tons of electronic gizmos on-board they can't figure out - they just want an affordable, comfortable car that can take them from point A to B - that's all. Why do you think Camrys, Accords and Corollas sell so well? Also add most people lease cars now so they will never see how the Jetta holds up past 5 years. For the average consumer - VW hit a home run with it.
      don
      • 3 Years Ago
      Thank god they didn't muck up the 2011 Sportwagen TDI - I'd been waiting a year and a half to be ready to buy and got it last week. Relieved to see it was still 'old school' interior.
        Jim
        • 3 Years Ago
        @don
        That's a great car. If I was thinking of dumping my SUV, I'd be lookin' at the current Sportwagen TDI.
      joe shmoe
      • 3 Years Ago
      cheap? noisy? electrical glitches? pshhh. all that doesn't matter because the door makes a solid thunk sound, and you can jump on the doors like a madman, and they won't fall off their hinges. VW is cool like that.
      godwhomismike
      • 3 Years Ago
      Good article. I am quite impressed by the mileage you got with it. How was the handling in the new Jetta TDI? Is it as tossable as the Cup edition was?
      moorewr
      • 3 Years Ago
      Nice engine.. just get it in a Golf instead of the Jetta...
      drewbiewhan
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ummm, isn't it kind of dangerous that he recorded that entire video while driving???
        omegaslast
        • 3 Years Ago
        @drewbiewhan
        was about to post this... wtf autoblog. the drivers holding the camera and on top of that taking the one hand left on the steering wheel to show us gps nav features!?!? asdfkjasdflaksdfj
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        • 3 Years Ago
        [blocked]
        omegaslast
        • 3 Years Ago
        sadly autoblog actually forgot to detail what noises were actually made... when you make a big claim like "every noise the car makes, of which there are lots, is anything but confidence inspiring." then at least point some out. this is a pretty **** review
      moorewr
      • 3 Years Ago
      (or a Jetta Sportwagen)
      tantareanujellob
      • 3 Years Ago
      Too bad its going to fall apart, catch fire or puke all its oil all over the road in 6 months. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lsEx_-b_o0
        Robdaemon
        • 3 Years Ago
        @tantareanujellob
        Just because you keep saying it doesn't make it true. Don't you have anything better to do with your time?
        creamwobbly
        • 3 Years Ago
        @tantareanujellob
        So you know any other car can have an oil change done totally wrong and survive?
        Carole Beshears
        • 3 Years Ago
        @tantareanujellob
        86,000 mile DSG problem, obviously in late 2009 or later, so; 6 months or 3 years that's an 06 Jetta, Lady Gaga didn't release that album until late 2009 (October?). Not sure if your math is correct on that one... seems like 3 years and 86,000 miles (or more likely 2010). Oh and the dealership trying to fix it IS the problem, they should stay away from trying to fix things they don't understand. The VW dealership network is the largest issue. BTW did you know My 06 Jetta was covered under a warranty extension for this exact problem on the Youtube video? something about the mechatronics unit. I've also had a camshaft failure (replaced at timing belt interval $1700 with belt change) and an EGR problem that cost about $400 to fix. Overall I'm right at $2,000 in "unusual" maintenance items in it's (currently) 254,000 mile life; whereas my 2001 VW Jetta I traded for this had only normal maintenance and a couple of glow plug issues in it's 185,000 mile life ($200 in unusual maintenance issues). STAY AWAY from the dealership, or you'll have to pay the cost of the car over the life of it for BS upsales. I've seen it asked before, but what do you drive? I'm interested since everything you say here is so negative, it would be nice to hear what your alternative would be; Especially since I'm looking at the 2011 Jetta TDI; if this one doesn't go the way of the dodo like AB 2010 tester, I would like an alternative to at least look at.
      tantareanujellob
      • 3 Years Ago
      If you ever wanted an over priced, unreliable, Mexican made car with a tractor motor, VW has you covered.
        Tom C
        • 3 Years Ago
        @tantareanujellob
        Overpriced? Tractor motor? Do you have any idea what the rest of us are discussing here?
          tantareanujellob
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Tom C
          Oh sorry. I didn't mean to trample on the twinkle toes of the Mexican shitbox fan club.
        carfan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @tantareanujellob
        I think you are part of the toyota and honda zombies
        philntx
        • 3 Years Ago
        @tantareanujellob
        Hypermilers don't count. They coast in neutral, turn off the engine, draft,
      tantareanujellob
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why is the fuel economy so bad? Do they know how expensive diesel is? Why can't get it 40mpg on gasoline like all of its competitors?
      Andre Neves
      • 3 Years Ago
      My wife has had her fully-loaded '11 Jetta SEL since February and it's been an excellent car. Great space, no issues, great gas-mileage(despite opting out for the TDI), & at an amazing price. I just can't believe all the hate going around here on AB and some reviewers on the new Jetta. Why? Because it doesn't have a soft-touch dashboard? Give me a break. Most of you have probably never even driven one, let alone sat in one to be talking.
        graphikzking
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Andre Neves
        The problem is this: While all other car mfg's have been getting better interiors etc VW decided to go the opposite way. If you test drive a 2011 Cruze, a 2012 Focus or a 2011 Hyundai Sonata like I did, you will see that they are all now better quality feel and sound much quieter. That coupled with the way the trunk closes in the jetta (old school it swings down into the cabin so you cant put boxes where the hinges are). There were about 5-6 things that irked me about it. Honestly, if it were a Hyundai and was $1200 cheaper than every other car in it's class, we'd probably be praising it, but since VW owns Audi, Porsche, Lambo, Bugatti etc we expect much more out of them. They set the bar so high that when they cheapen out we don't like it. Same thing happened when John Deere started selling in big box stores for quantity rather than the quality. Doesn't mean it's crappy, just means it's not up to their past standards.
        TBN27
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Andre Neves
        I know what you are talking about. I almost bought one. What swayed me away was that the Cruze had a few more creature comforts than the jetta and better gas mileage. Next time around i will go for a vee dub. They have such appeal.
          TBN27
          • 3 Years Ago
          @TBN27
          Wait. I forgot that the jetta's interior and antiquated mechanics is also what swayed me to the Cruze. Hydraulic steering while others are using electric. Come ro rhink of it, the price of an 11 Jetta versus the 10 Jetta is about rhe same when equipped comparably except for the removal of some features. Other than that i still liked it after a test drive.
        tantareanujellob
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Andre Neves
        What? It hasn't crapped out in the first 4 months of ownership? I think thats a new record for a modern VW.
          Tarik Hamza
          • 3 Years Ago
          @tantareanujellob
          @tantareanujellob Your comments on the AB boards are not considered serious discussion. Grow up and say something smart. By the way, what do you drive ... just curious.
          atc98092
          • 3 Years Ago
          @tantareanujellob
          Your rants are really getting annoying. I've been buying and driving new VWs since 2002, and none have crapped out at any mileage. Just traded my 06 Jetta for a 11 Tiguan.
        mitchman06
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Andre Neves
        Of course you are going to defend it, you own one. Bottom line? The new Jetta is a terrible vehicle compared to the one it replaces, there is nothing truly standout about it other than the size and price.
          NightFlight
          • 3 Years Ago
          @mitchman06
          @ Andre Neves Even though I didn't originally post the comment that mitchman did above, I'll call you crazy for not seeing how the newest Jetta is a HUGE step backwards from the previous gen. You are blind if you think that the new car isn't terrible compared to the last gen. No matter where you look, cost cutting is apparent.
          Justin Campanale
          • 3 Years Ago
          @mitchman06
          @ Andre Let's see. Base engine is from the 80's and has only 115 hp. Interior is almost as bad as the Corolla. And it looks nowhere as good as the old Jetta.
          Andre Neves
          • 3 Years Ago
          @mitchman06
          Please do tell me why it is a terrible vehicle compared to the last-gen version. I'd like you to list the facts.
        Egon
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Andre Neves
        No hate here... I sat in one and drove it too. I'll stick with my original statement: It just not as good as the car it replaced. The previous Jetta was a premium compact with an admittedly premium pricetag: Great car, good price. This new design is, well, dumbed down for lack of a better description: Good car, great price. Personally, I've come to expect better from VW. Enjoy the new ride and best of luck...
    • Load More Comments