August was quite the month for our long-term Volkswagen Jetta TDI. Not only did our diesel darling roll over the 10,000-mile mark, it did so while making its journey across the United States – Detroit to Los Angeles – with AOL Autos' Michael Zak behind the wheel.
Before hitting the road, we took the Jetta in for its first scheduled maintenance appointment, all of which was covered under Volkswagen's carefree maintenance program (no-cost scheduled maintenance for three years or 36,000 miles). We had the oil changed, tires rotated, fluids topped off, and other key points inspected. Simple stuff. Upon dropping the car off at the dealership, though, we found out that there was an open recall on our car for – wait for it – wind noise. The service technicians told us that the driver door's sound deadening materials would be inspected and replaced, and to be honest, there wasn't any noticeable difference in wind noise when we picked the car up from service later that day.
In any case, the Jetta was now primed and ready for its cross-country voyage, which meant saying goodbye to the Jetta as we handed the keys over to Michael Zak. After four months of service with our east coast staff, it was time for the Jetta to head west. Click through the jump to read more.
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The Jetta was now ready for its 2,308-mile journey, where the car would experience breathtaking vistas, monuments to headless chickens, the world's largest wooden nickel (pictured below) and roadside dinosaurs (not just the ones at the Sinclair station, either). Following the journey, Michael Zak reported in with his final impressions.
"I asked a lot of the Jetta on this trip. Not only did it have to travel 2,308 miles over steep mountain roads and scorching, endless desert highway, but it also had to make the trek filled to the brim with clothes and miscellaneous heavy objects – I wasn't just driving to LA for fun, I was moving.
The Jetta performed admirably. Our car's 2.0-liter diesel engine had more than enough power to conquer steep grades in western Colorado, and the 43 miles per gallon we achieved made it so we weren't praying to make it between gas stations (at one point in Utah, we drove 108 miles before seeing another fuel station). I probably could have achieved higher fuel economy numbers if it weren't for all the added weight of my personal belongings.
Speaking of which, I was surprised at how much stuff could actually fit in the trunk and backseat. With some Tetris-like strategy, I packed several suitcases, pots and dishes, a 37-inch TV and numerous boxes of miscellanea. Of course, I could no longer see out of the back window, but the Jetta's large side mirrors sufficed.
Now that the Jetta has safely landed in Los Angeles, our west coast team will be spending some time with the economical Vee-Dub. Stay tuned for updates on the Jetta's life in California in the coming months.