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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.

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.

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).


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 39 Comments
      Rick
      • 3 Years Ago
      In pictures, it looks absolutely dull and boring and cheap. In person, it looks expseive and understatated. Like a baby Audi. Very simple yet straightforward, nice stance, and just the right amount of bulk to make it not look wimpy. I own an A4 and I still turn my head everytime I see one on the road, which is quite often. I want the wife to get one, throw some 18s on and it's a nice ride.
        Rick
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Rick
        Wow, no edit button. I apologize for the mess above.
      Lisa Thompson
      • 3 Years Ago
      My hubby and I just purchased a 2011 Jetta TDI loaded in Tornado Red w/tan interior. I love it - it's spacious and very fun to drive. I commute approximately 90 miles/day highway and I'm averaging 48 mpg. The navigation system is very easy to implement and spot-on with directions. I like how it zooms out when you are driving over 50 mph and zooms in when you slow down. I do enjoy the interior - it helps me stay focused on the road. The only two things I would change is to have a longer armrest on the center console and a plug-in for my phone to be inside of the center console.
        bradlove
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Lisa Thompson
        The center arm rest can be extended forward by about 4 inches by just pulling on it. (at least that's how my 2009 tdi works).
      shle896
      • 3 Years Ago
      This has got to be the most vanilla looking ugly-ass car I've ever seen. It looks like a 1990's era cheap Ford. What's up with that?
        tenspeeder
        • 3 Years Ago
        @shle896
        have you driven through a Toyota dealership lately?
          NissanGTR
          • 3 Years Ago
          @tenspeeder
          Atleast Toyoda is changing their image, GM on the other hand......
        01nb
        • 3 Years Ago
        @shle896
        That's just asinine. I'm not a big fan of the MkVI, but come on. It looks nothing like any of the 90's Fords, or Chevys, or ???. It's a clean design, nothing groundbreaking, but ugly-ass is an idiotic statement that is clearly not the sentiments of the thousands upon thousands of people who are purchasing these. It's a hit, like it or not.
        Draw007
        • 3 Years Ago
        @shle896
        Sounds like Hyundai seems more your speed. Feel free...
      Andre Neves
      • 3 Years Ago
      Face it folks. The new Jetta, despite what everyone says and thinks about it, is a great value for your money. My wife has a fully loaded SEL w/Sport Package and we love it. When going on long trips where the Evo just doesn't do well on(loud, tight suspension), the Jetta just seems like the perfect little car. What more can you ask for? It's extremely spacious, comfortable(even with sport seats), gets great fuel effeciency, & is even mistaken for a Audi A4 by some which is a great compliment IMO. But you know, there are those who will never forgive VW for not including a soft-touch dash, disc brakes on the lower trim models, etc. But the most important thing, is that current owners are more than happy with their purchases and this is apparent if you take a look at online owner opinions, sales figures, or merely just by asking someone. Love these articles AB. Keep 'em up.
        01nb
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Andre Neves
        Agree for the most. I'm not going to buy one, ever, but it does what it needs to do and does it better than the competition. My biggest problem was the interior choices made by VW with these. Inside, the MkV feels like an Audi whereas MkVI feels like a really nice Honda. A really nice Honda is a compliment, but in my context it is a backhanded one, as I think it should feel like the Audi. So, I'll keep my two MkV's, but if I was a fan of basic transport, I'd probably be wowed by this VeeDub. I am not, so the MkV's will remain in my stable for the foreseeable future.
        VJGoh
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Andre Neves
        I don't like the new Jetta, and I would never buy one, but I rather think that's the point. I have a MkIV Jetta, and it's basically a longer A3. So why split the market? It makes far more sense for me to buy an Audi as my next car. There was simply too much overlap between the vehicles for no reason. The Jetta is now considerably more affordable, and more people will be brought into the VW/Audi fold because of that. It certainly gives VW a good chance to show off how well the diesel engine works and make converts there. From the perspective of the whole company, this is absolutely the thing they needed to do. So my next car won't have the 'Jetta' nameplate on it. So what? VW/Audi gets my money either way.
      Anthony Mindel
      • 3 Years Ago
      The new Jetta is classy,and has a classic design which wont date. Class leading interior space and trunk makes it a winner for me. Well done VW,they are selling like hot cakes.
        Keven Fitzpatrick
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Anthony Mindel
        haa love the rice lovers who rate down any and all comments positive about about anything other than their straight JDM masterpieces
      jbm0866
      • 3 Years Ago
      VW may have joined forces with Toyota in cornering teh bland market, but still it's good to hear the little turbo diesel didn't have a problem with the mountains. That's always an iffy thing with 4cyls of any type..
        Andre Neves
        • 3 Years Ago
        @jbm0866
        LoL. Where do some of you get your info from?
        NightFlight
        • 3 Years Ago
        @jbm0866
        FI engines, even four cylinders, don't have as many problems at high altitudes as their NA counterparts. It is obvious you don't know what you are talking about.
        kcroc10077
        • 3 Years Ago
        @jbm0866
        WTF are you talking about?? Better to stay quiet and let everyone *think* you're an idiot.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @jbm0866
        4 cylinders are a problem with mountains? Maybe undersized ones with no variable valve timing that are 20 years old.. No problem charging up 10% grades at highway speeds with my little 2.0L DOHC.
      Tim
      • 3 Years Ago
      VW copied Subaru's Mediocridy design big time!
      Bruce Lee
      • 3 Years Ago
      I like how this piece of junk gets a pass for being duller than dull just because it's a German car. 43mpg would be great if diesel didn't cost more than gasoline in the US, and if it wasn't only carried at less than 1/2 of gas stations.
      AngeloD
      • 3 Years Ago
      Good looking vehicle. I give VW credit for bucking the gigantic headlamp trend. And also for the absence of lame side fender vents. It's nice to see at least one manufacturer show some taste and not have headlamp assemblies that extend 3/4ths of the way up the hood.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Renaurd
      • 3 Years Ago
      Frompy.
        Draw007
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Renaurd
        The spelling is actually frumpy. Regardless, in person, it's not. Just like you, it's not very photogenic.
      Oceanblue78
      • 3 Years Ago
      I can understand the way they went with this car..make it look unoffensive, Audilike with a cheap base price. It's kind of like a poor mans Audi. However, the interior is awful and honestly I like cars that are fun and fun to look at. I get so many compliments on my Candy Blue Focus..and it is fun to drive. So this car would not be for me. Plus the nightmare that comes with owning vw...no thanks on poor quality!
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