After spending the first half of December up in the San Fernando Vallery with Drew Phillips, our long-term Jetta TDI made its way back into my care for a holiday road trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Old Blue saw some great American icons on the trip, such as Alcatraz, Muir Woods, Sonoma Valley and the Golden Gate Bridge. Come to think of it, the Jetta and I have seen a lot of the country's splendor together. After all, my last run with the Volkswagen involved driving it 2,000 miles from Detroit to LA.

Since that long road trip in the Jetta this past summer, the interior seems to be more broken-in, though it isn't showing any noticeable signs of wear. That said, it still isn't a very pleasant place to be. I didn't love it on my cross-country journey a few months ago, and while it's more comfortable now that more butts have been in the driver's seat, there simply isn't anything to rave about.

Fuel economy, however, is as great as ever – I commonly see numbers over 40 mpg. The car's much-disliked gearbox is still tricky, and we broke a sweat trying not to stall while starting out on some of those steep San Francisco hills (especially when cars were behind us). But with some serious concentration, we managed with minimal problems.

All-in-all, the Jetta TDI continues to get the job done, though never quite in the refined manner that we're looking for. I've put thousands of miles on this Jetta TDI myself, but have yet to completely bond with it.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 35 Comments
      Denster
      • 2 Years Ago
      I have a 2010 VW Golf TDI with the 6-speed manual and had the same issue with stalling. However, about 6 months ago VW issued a TSB for reprogramming the ECU to address this problem. After having this completed, I've no longer been able to stall the vehicle. This problem had something to do with the throttle mapping, when the engine dropped below 800 rpm, the ECU would just shut off the engine. To anyone with a 2010-2011 VW model with the TDI, I would advise you to contact your dealer. This was not a recall and may only be brought to your attention during a service visit.
      Sack
      • 2 Years Ago
      I found the review sounding very sincere. But to be fair, I'd need to drive the car before passing final judgement. Frugality is fine, and diesel is one way, but currently diesel fuel is priced almost 20% more than regular gas. If overall savings are in mind then there are things to think about.
        Jon Anderson
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Sack
        Bro, diesel is only %14 higher in cost, and in terms of real world mileage a TDI Jetta does about %30 better than a Corolla. I feel like it pays for itself... http://fuelgaugereport.aaa.com/?redirectto=http://fuelgaugereport.opisnet.com/index.asp
      rocketmoose
      • 2 Years Ago
      The styling is growing on me.
      oceansand007
      • 2 Years Ago
      BEWARE! VW DOES NOT HONOR THEIR WARRANTIES! I HAVE A DIESEL VW STILL UNDER WARRANTY WITH A 7 YEAR ZERO DEDUCTIBLE PLATINUM PLAN WARRANTY,SOLD TO ME BY VW AND STATES THAT IT COVERS EVERYTHING WITHOUT ANY PROBLEMS ,FOR 7 YEARS AND 100,000 MILES ! VW SAYS IT IS THEIR BEST AND THEY TAKE YOUR MONEY AND WHEN A PART COVERED BREAKS DOWN THEY SEND YOU TO A 2ND PARTY HIRED GUN ENFORCER CALLED FIDELITY WARRANTY SERVICES IN FLORIDA ! FIDELITY TELLS YOU THAT THE PART IS not going to be replaced,AND WITH ANOTHER 3RD HIRED GUN FOR FIDELITY, WHICH THEY HIRE AND YOU ARE STUCK WITH EITHER A BROKEN CAR OR A 1900 DOLLAR BILL OR A 1800 DOLLAR BILL OR MORE ! AND THEY TELL YOU TAKE US TO COURT! TO BELIEVE THIS GO TO KEYWORD AND TYPE VW WARRANTY PROBLEMS AND GO TO EIGHTH STORY ON PAGE AND SEE HOW MANY PEOPLE WERE DEFRAUDED OUT OF THEIR MONEY TAKEN BY VW WITH THEIR SHREWD ACCOMPLICES ACTIONS! BEWARE DO NOT BUY A VW!
        ZOZ
        • 2 Years Ago
        @oceansand007
        Did your laptop came with a crappy warranty too? One of those that even doesn't cover repairing a broken Capslock key.
        IBx27
        • 2 Years Ago
        @oceansand007
        Serves you right for buying a vw. You didn't think it would break?
        Speed3cam
        • 2 Years Ago
        @oceansand007
        really? VW USA or VW GmbH sold you a 3rd party warranty? Or the dealer sold you a crappy 3rd party warranty and you fell for a verbal "everything covered" line?
      RodRAEG
      • 2 Years Ago
      Having driven my parent's Jetta TDI, I think it's a pretty entertaining car to drive. Clutch uptake is a but on-off but, to me, the shifter feels reminescent of the shifters I've played with in an Audi A4 and a Porsche Cayman S. I thought the seats were very well bolstered and did a good job of holding me in place while zipping around. Then again, my car's an '02 M Coupe and the seats aren't the best for long drives.
      opengl128
      • 2 Years Ago
      "I commonly see numbers over 40 mpg. The car's much-disliked gearbox is still tricky, and we broke a sweat trying not to stall while starting out on some of those steep San Francisco hills (especially when cars were behind us). But with some serious concentration, we managed with minimal problems." "I" or "we". Pick one.
      redgpgtp97
      • 2 Years Ago
      VW has been putting manuals in there cars since day 1, I highly doubt its a tranny problem.
        Mdriftda
        • 2 Years Ago
        @redgpgtp97
        its more difficult because its a turbo diesel, not because its a VW. dont get your fanboy panties all in a bunch
        PaulyC
        • 2 Years Ago
        @redgpgtp97
        VW manual transmissions aren't exactly known for their outstanding reliability (referring to the reverse gear issue every tranny shop is familiar with)
          fastalan
          • 2 Years Ago
          @PaulyC
          Are you sure "every" tranny shop is familiar with VW tranny issue? Does every engine shop end up rebuilding toyota engine due to oil sludge issue? redgpgtp97 is stating a VW TDI fact and your comment is what?
          thundabaaay
          • 2 Years Ago
          @PaulyC
          i can agree. had a 1994 jetta with the 5speed. reverse clunked, made horrible noises from the start (bought at only 98,000 kilometers) and by 120,000km reverse was completely gone.
      Maxximtl
      • 2 Years Ago
      Considering AB pulled 34mpg combined and high 40's during a highway stint in the Cruze Eco, I just expect better than low 40's from a small diesel sedan. Granted, the driving dynamics are likely better in the Jetta, but I'd say most TDI buyers are in it for the fuel economy. Considering a car like the Cruze Eco is over $5k less and arguably a nicer car in certain respects, losing a few MPG doesn't seem like a bad trade off. VW needs to hit the magic 50mpg to make the TDI a viable option in a GDI laden marketplace.
        Denster
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Maxximtl
        I easily average 40mpg and consistently hit 50mpg on long highway trips in my 2010 Golf TDI. As far as comparing to a Cruze Eco, the specs are anemic in comparison to the Golf. The TDI engine @236 ft-lbs of torque, is nearly 100 more than the Cruze. Throw in the Golf's GTI grade sport suspension and sport seats, and you have a car with great economy that is also an absolute blast to drive. The Cruze is not a driver's car, but merrily an appliance.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      PeterScott
      • 2 Years Ago
      VW can't build a decent Manual Transmission?
        Robdaemon
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PeterScott
        The manual transmission in the Golf TDI is just fine. The Golf even has hill-hold, which is great in San Francisco and here in Seattle.
        BG
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PeterScott
        The 6-speed manual in our 2009 GTI is great.
        fastalan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PeterScott
        More like some first time owners of these new gen TDI not knowing how to drive a manual. I had problem with my 2010 Golf Wagon's 6 speed manual when I first pick up the car, just do a few practice you get use to it after a while. Maybe the clutch need to break in as well.
      LordVader
      • 2 Years Ago
      I am not sure many people "connect" with a car that cost less than $40k. That seems to be where the passion starts showing up...Audi A4's, 3-Series, etc. The TDI, and the Jetta in general is a "higher-end" economy car. I have an 09' TDI w/DSG, and I absolutely love it. It's built better than any American car I have ever had. Passionate about it? no. I can't be passionate about 130hp, no.... I am passionate about a Ferrari 458. I think my snowmobile has that much hp, but its that turbo and torque that are AWESOME. Add in the 40+ MPG and you have a winner.
        graphikzking
        • 2 Years Ago
        @LordVader
        I somewhat agree... but I connect with the prius. I love the bluetooth, satellite radio and nice comfy quiet cabin. I also like the smooth ride and 50+ mpg. I had a 350z roadster when they first came out, while I loved the car I never did connect with it. People connect with different things. I think the problem with the tdi is it's not class leading in anything. Space NOPE; Practicality NOPE; Diesel More expensive in many states so not the cheapest. Gas milage NOPE. Acceleration Nope. Just don't have a single WOW factor. At least the prius is the best at what it's meant for.
      jossytolindo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Manual transmission is for people that like to have the control of the car. If not just stick with autistic.
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