October proved to be a busy month for our long-term 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI. Unlike September, where it bounced between our Los Angeles editors, the keys to the Tempest Blue sedan were in my hands through Halloween. During the past month, it has traveled all over Southern California and taken more than a few trips to Los Angeles Airport loaded with my suitcases.

It's hard not to be impressed with the diesel engine and its fuel economy. Displacing 2.0-liters, the turbocharged inline-four generates 140 horsepower. While that first figure isn't particularly impressive, the 236 pound-feet of torque is. Even with five passengers and a full load of soccer equipment in the huge trunk, the Volkswagen Jetta TDI pulls confidently and has no trouble maintaining speed regardless of the grade. The EPA rates the Jetta at 30 mpg city/42 mpg highway – figures that aligned nicely with my overall average of about 36 mpg for the month of October. The TDI's frugality is maximized on the highway, where I have seen better than 50 mpg more than once.
In terms of reliability, there have been no issues to report in the month of October. All switchgear and everything mechanical work well and it doesn't appear to burn engine oil (the dipstick still reads a bit overfilled even after a month of stop-and-go driving). Tire and brake pad wear is almost immeasurable.




Now that I have become familiar with the sloppy transmission shifter and light clutch, they don't bother me. Even the hard dashboard and lack up upscale appointments are last month's complaints. My biggest gripe – and it's likely a deal breaker – are the seats. First, the V-Tex leatherette doesn't breath despite the tiny perforations in its surface. Second, the lumbar support is too high for me – it misses my lower spine. The result is a driver's seat which is genuinely uncomfortable for any trips over half an hour. I came close to purchasing a wood beaded seat cover, just like a taxi driver, and wedging a pillow under it to comfort my vertebrae.

As my time with the Jetta TDI drew to a close, I decided to pamper it with a good detail. With that in mind, I contacted a product specialist at Griot's Garage - I've been using their products for nearly two decades and those guys have helped make car care a religion. After hearing about Autoblog's blue Jetta and learning about its relatively new but slightly marred dark paint (mostly swirl marks from automatic car washes), they were generous enough to send me a Machine One-Step Sealant Kit, a bottle of Machine Polish 2, some Car Wash soap and a dozen microfiber cloths for treatment.




With a bit of elbow grease, several hours on a Saturday and with the help of my son, Autoblog's long-term Jetta eventually emerged sparkling with mirror-like paint. All of the Griot's products performed very well. A little bit of the car wash soap went a long way, the clay bar was generously sized and the microfiber cloths baby-soft. I was most impressed by how easy a random orbital machine makes polish and wax application (this particular Griot's model was fitted with a must-have twenty-five foot cord). According to the company, their One-Step Sealant should keep our Jetta looking good for about six months if properly taken care of. (Let us know in the comments if you want to hear more about the detailing process. If so, we will do an informative separate post on it.)

I'm saying goodbye to our long-term Jetta TDI this week and handing the keys to Drew Phillips, our hot-shot photographer, to see how it fits his busy lifestyle and accommodates his photo gear. In the meantime, don't forget to check out our weekly Facebook updates.


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  • 42 Comments
      Richard
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why buy a diesel? The torque curve is fantastic, I routinely climb 10,000 foot mountain passes in 6th gear at 2300 RPM. A 13 gallon fill-up will easily take me 550 miles and though I'm getting almost 40mpg the car doesn't feel like an econobox. I've clocked over 44,000 miles in the past 12 months with my VW Jetta Sportwagen TDI and wouldn't trade it for anything else.
      donnieorama
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm not particularly enamored with its looks--but you can't deny the practicality.
      AcuraCake
      • 3 Years Ago
      I find any car with the protruding-jab-you-in-the-head headrests have truly uncomfortable seats. They do not alloy you to sit fully back in the seat, which puts added load on your spine. Worst law by congress ever. They don't even reduce whiplash to a great degree, but IIHS pushed it through so its members have a reason to stop paying whiplash claims.
        BG
        • 3 Years Ago
        @AcuraCake
        Absolutely right; so many recent cars sold in USA have those blasted headrests that make you stick your head forward away from your back.
        askroon
        • 3 Years Ago
        @AcuraCake
        Except that most cars have adjustable headrests (oh and they can be removed too) so its easy to find a comfortable position. I really can't see why you wouldn't be able to sit back in the seat.. Worst ever law by congress... right.
      Andy
      • 3 Years Ago
      Sponsored by Griot?
      Greg
      • 3 Years Ago
      Next time try to make it less obvious you got paid to do an advert at the end of the article. Nice classless journalism.
      4gasem
      • 3 Years Ago
      Next time use Adams Polishes... I've used both... Adams has MUCH better customer service and is easier to use and they go out of their way to buy USA made products. NO Chinese in their line like Richard Griot has. Adamspolishes.com
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        jrwgti17
        • 3 Years Ago
        Well, when you drive with a lighter foot you'll get better mpg, can you imagine an autoblog editor getting 33 in a gasser???? Consumerreports reports that they achieved 39mpg overall with their Golf tdi, which is rated the same by the epa.
          brianXL
          • 3 Years Ago
          @jrwgti17
          I'm at about 39.9 running average with my Golf TDI since new. That is every single fuel stop tracked. Getting maximum EPA highway mileage from a gas car is pretty hard, but I don't try at all and I get nearly 40mpg with my TDI commuting. Running 80mph I got over 45mpg on a trip which beats EPA hwy by 4mpg. What's the point? It's a fun car that gets kick-ass mileage and saves me money. And, I don't want to shoot myself every time I have to drive it.
        ctsmith1066
        • 3 Years Ago
        You're assuming fuel costs are the only concern.
        BG
        • 3 Years Ago
        In my wife's 2009 GTI with manual trans., we get about 32 mpg in freeway driving. It is improving slightly as the engine breaks-in. So the 36 is not all that much better. Even my 2002 BMW 530i gets about 30 mpg on the freeway, and that is a heavy car with 10-year-old technology. A lot depends on the type of tires you use, keeping the inflation pressure high, using manual trans, and avoiding jerk driving (no violent acceleration and braking).
      Paulevalence
      • 3 Years Ago
      advertisement much..?
        NC1
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Paulevalence
        Yeah, that was pretty sad.
      Maverick
      • 3 Years Ago
      It pulls confidentially. No matter how much you pull, it'll never tell. Shhh.
      Hailey Martin
      • 3 Years Ago
      How is 140-hp from a 2.0 TDI "not impressive"? This is an economy car. If somebody wants something quick and fast then they should go somewhere else. Does Autoblog need to be reminded of this constantly? VW Jetta = ECONOMY CAR, not a PERFORMANCE CAR. Or they should move to Europe where there is a 170-hp 2.0 TDI version of the same engine which is geared towards those who seek a bit more thrill while still getting good gas mileage.
        Keith
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Hailey Martin
        When I was in college, a friend had a 1989(?) Honda Prelude with a 2 liter, non-turbo motor that generated a very impressive 140 hp. Anything else of that era would need a turbo to get that much power, and my parents' GM 5 liter V8's also put out ~140 hp. What is 'not impressive' to an automotive journalist is 'plenty' for most of us, imho.
        ctsmith1066
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Hailey Martin
        AB is full of horsepower junkies. They tend to look at the numbers rather than the feel of the performance.
        johnbravo6
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Hailey Martin
        Or buy the $499 Revo chip? Even still, it does a 16.5 stock!
      djrroar1
      • 3 Years Ago
      Things are so bad at VW that they cannot build enough vehicles including TDI's! Lots of opinions on this blog but the facts are that VW has outsold it's capacity to build vehicles, in the U.S. we need to remember that we are a very small market for VW. The new Passatt is a U.S. only vehicle, they ship all others to markets where the vehicle sell the quickest for the most money, can't blame them for doing so. roar
      Ak74
      • 3 Years Ago
      looks like blue turd.
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