Last post on Nov 17, 2013 at 8:38 AM
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Volkswagen Jetta, Biodiesel, Diesel, Sedan
#1849 of 4777 Test Drove '09 TDI Today
Jul 01, 2008 (4:47 pm)
Well, I finally got my test drive of the TDI sedan today, and it was quite enjoyable, but not terribly long. The demos shipped early to dealers seem to all be equipped with the 6-speed DSG transmission, as opposed to the six-speed manual that will be available as the base model TDI in August. Therefor I can't compare the two, but I can say it is a quicker, smoother shifting tranny than the standard Tiptronic auto on the 2.5 Jetta and most other VW's. If you have ever tested a 2.0T gasser in some VWs or an Audi, you may already have driven a DSG transmission. I think it's great. I love a straight drive, but find them tedious in stop/go traffic. But if you still prefer a regular clutch and stick model, you'll save $1100 without the DSG. But I don't think you can shift more quickly than the DSG.
As for power/acceleration, the 2.0 TDI is vastly superior and much more fun to drive than the 1.9 liter diesel featured on the Jettas in '05 and '06. Great passing and hill power, perfectly adequate acceleration for all conceivable normal driving situations. Needless to say, you won't be winning many 1/4 milers against gassers of equivalent or greater displacement, but the torque sure gives a thrill. I can't offer you a 0-60 time, but I suspect it is under 9 seconds, significantly better than the 1.9 was. You can definitely feel the 40 extra HP (50 more, if compared to earlier 1.9s) and the additional torque over previous TDI Jettas.
If you owned or drove one of the rare Passat 2.0 TDIs from late 2005, you will have appreciated the difference in the performance over a 1.9. With the similar 2.0 engine matched to the smaller, lighter Jetta, the improved power:weight ratio makes it feel even better than it did in the Passat.
I found the seating to be quite comfortable ( but again, it was a short ride). Both front seats have manually adjustable height and lumbar support. Seat back angle on the driver side is the only power adjustment. The upholstery appears to be high quality perforated vinyl. Front seats are adjustably heated for wintertime.
The air conditioning is manual--you turn on the fan and adjust the speed by a four position knob. The temperature control is a continuously adjustable knob from "65" to "80", but is not what I would call climate control of any kind. Still, it cooled more than adequately on a day in the upper 80s. I didn't fiddle with the radio much, but it comes with a three-month free subscription to Sirius satellite, and has a 6-CD changer plus aux input. Volume, mode and channel can be controlled from the steering wheel, which I consider a big safety feature
In addition to the 3yr/36,000 bumper to bumper and 5/60,000 power-train warranties, routine maintenance as scheduled in the owner's manual is covered for 3yrs/36,000 miles.
Overall I found the car to drive and handle in a very satisfying manner, feeling more German (good road feel) than Japanese (like my Accord, which is a great car). I know this mini-review will not be adequate for the more technically inclined among you--I'm not an engineer or a motor-head. That's why I rely on the rest of you guys to explain the finer points. But I highly recommend getting behind the wheel yourself and sharing your experience. I think this car has great potential.
#1850 of 4777 Re: Test Drove '09 TDI Today [obie]
Jul 02, 2008 (9:59 am)
I, too, test drove the Jetta TDI Sedan that my local dealer had on the lot. He's had it for about a week and we took it for about a 15 minute test drive. The first thing I noticed was the quiet nature of the engine. The ride was smooth and the road noise inside the car was minimal. I'd never driven a VW before, much less a TDI, and I couldn't believe the torque and the power it had. It was also a step or two (or three) above the Honda Civic in feel of quality. It just felt like you were in a better environment (i.e. interior quality).
I would second every point that obie made about the car as I very much enjoyed driving it. I particularly enjoyed the fact that I could essentially choose between a manual and an automatic. In the "D" position, you can slide the shifter to the right and have access to all six gears and drive it like a manual.
I did notice one thing that I found interesting. When you let off the accelerator of a gasoline-engine, the car slows (of course). When I let off the accelerator of the TDI, the car slowed more quickly than my gas cars do. I'm guessing that the transmission gear ratios are different, perhaps.
I'm interested in buying myself a Jetta TDI SportWagon and I'm waiting to hear from the local dealer about when I can order one. I don't want to plunk down a deposit on a car that doesn't exist or that is not what I want. He says that I can order one now, but I'm waiting to hear from him about what that means. It could mean anything from "leave me $1000 ... I'll get back to you when a car comes in, and you can take it or leave it" to "$1000 guarantees the car you want, the color, and the options."
I saw a gasoline version of the Jetta SportWagon on the lot and we took a look at it. It has a panoramic sunroof. The vast majority of the car's ceiling is glass! Some might love that, but I found it distracting. The cover wasn't completely opaque, so no matter what, I found myself driving with the sun in my eyes and it was very uncomfortable. I'd rather have a traditional sunroof, but I am not sure that is available on the SportWagon. So, if I can get a SportWagon TDI without a sunroof, I'll be very happy.
I'm hoping that these new generation diesels will be a step above those of the past. Like, obie, I highly recommend that you take a test drive at your dealership. Even at MSRP, and even with the diesel prices, you'll save money on the long run over most gasoline-engine cars (at least according to my calculations!)
#1851 of 4777 Re: Test Drove '09 TDI Today [nwjeffor]
Jul 02, 2008 (10:04 am)
We do take orders on the TDI's, ETA delivery for a sold order - September.
We are in SF area.
#1852 of 4777 Re: Test Drove '09 TDI Today [micosilver]
Jul 02, 2008 (10:10 am)
Can we order exactly what we want, or will the first shipments be whatever comes off the line?
#1853 of 4777 Re: Test Drove '09 TDI Today [nwjeffor]
Jul 02, 2008 (12:33 pm)
I believe the increased slowing of the TDI over the gas engine is because of the higher compression ratio of the diesel.
#1854 of 4777 Re: Test Drove '09 TDI Today [nwjeffor]
Jul 02, 2008 (6:01 pm)
I took the demo out on Monday. The dealer was well informed on the new model. He confirmed mid to late August availability with details available in 2 weeks. The first allocation will be all DSG equipped $24,190 like posted previously. I found the power to be more than adequate. The engine was very quite. I listened with the hood open and couldn't really tell it was a diesel. Inside I noticed the air conditioning fan more than engine noise. The trip computer displayed 33.5 MPG average. Not bad considering this car had less than 200 miles on it and the demo miles are probably mostly city.
I placed a refundable deposit to take 10th place on the waiting list. I'm hedging my bet to hold a place in line while waiting for more reviews and actual mileage numbers to be posted. I'm expecting this model to be very popular if actual mileage numbers are 15%-20% than EPA rating.
#1855 of 4777 Re: Test Drove '09 TDI Today [jkinzel]
Jul 02, 2008 (6:09 pm)
"I believe the increased slowing of the TDI over the gas engine is because of the higher compression ratio of the diesel. "
Actually, diesel engines have much LESS decelleration than a gasoline engine. I know that the increased compression would make one think there would be more decelleration.... but that is not the key factor here.
A diesel engine DOES NOT HAVE A THROTTLEBODY because the engine speed is controled solely by how much fuel is injected.
A gasoline engine has a "butterfly valve" in the throttlebody and when it is closed (idle) the engine has to work very hard to "suck" againsed it. This causes the decelleration of a gasoline engine.
This difference is also one of the 2 main reasons that a diesel engine has much better econemy than a gasoline engine. The diesel is allowed to "breathe" as much air as it wants at all times while the gasoline engine is constantly "choked" with the throttleplate.
I will let the readers think about what the second main reason a diesel engine has better econemy than a gasser... 8-)
#1856 of 4777 Re: Test Drove '09 TDI Today [bpeebles]
Jul 02, 2008 (7:17 pm)
Thank you, that is good info.
My theory was a quick assumption on my part. All of my diesel experience has been on tug boats over the past 35 years.
When I test drove a Jetta TDI about 18 months ago the first time I let off the throttle I was amazed at how quick the deceleration was and I just assumed…… and we all know what “assume” means.
In this case it just applies to me.
#1857 of 4777 Re: Test Drove '09 TDI Today [jkinzel]
Jul 02, 2008 (8:04 pm)
I was amazed at how quick the deceleration was and I just assumed
When I test drove the GL320 CDI I noticed that quick deceleration when I would take my foot off the accelerator. It sounded to me like the transmission was down shifting. I mentioned it to the salesman. It was his first ride in a diesel Mercedes and did not have a clue. I like to let my foot off the accelerator and coast as far as possible to a stop. Sounds like I need to do more test driving with the TDI. My Passat TDI with TipTronic did not act like that.
#1858 of 4777 Re: Test Drove '09 TDI Today [nwjeffor]
Jul 02, 2008 (8:46 pm)
It is wicked quiet, isn't it? And certainly quick enough for any reasonable driving, don't you think?.
I'm pretty confident you can easily get the Sportwagen without the Sunroof. Interesting point you make about the non-opaque sunroof cover. I've noticed that in the new MINI and wondered if it would bother me. I had an '02 Mercedes 230 sports coupe which had one of the first 'panoramic' sunroofs, but it had a traditional solid cover for the front portion, where the driver would be affected.
As for the TDI slowing more quickly when you let up on the pedal than on traditional automatics, I think this is because on the DSG transmission there is no hydraulic torque converter, but rather a real clutch plate (two actually) that engages the engine to the transmission. There's just no clutch pedal, as a 'traditional' manual would have. So when you let up on the accelerator in the DSG, you experience some engine braking effect, just as you would 'coasting' to a stop if you didn't depress the clutch pedal in a regular straight drive. At least that's my theory. Anyone one out there who understands it better, please feel free to correct me.
I'm still contemplating whether this should be the next car for me. Very tempting.