LA Auto Show: 2009 VW Jetta TDI Wins Green Car of the Year

la auto show 2009 vw jetta tdi wins green car of the year

Last year’s Green Car of the Year award was a cynic’s dream come true. Bestowing the annual eco-accolades upon the ginormous, environmentally challenged Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid could persuade even the most optimistic tree hugger to hang up his Birkenstocks for good. (Full disclosure: I do not now own, nor have I ever owned, a pair of Birkenstocks.) The current roster includes nominees that are both more credible and more diverse than the last. The 2007 event provided the choice of a hybrid, a hybrid, a hybrid, a hybrid or a hybrid. Now we have a couple of oil burners (BMW 335d, VW Jetta TDi) and something that could fit inside a duffel bag (smart fortwo), as well as a pair of the customary gas-electric hybrids (Ford Fusion Hybrid, Saturn Vue 2). Drum roll, please: congratulations go to the VW Jetta TDi.

This new-for-America 2.0 liter model has finally discovered something that the red, white and blue version of the car has long been missing: power. Ponies have been bumped upward to 140hp. According to VW, you get 236 lb ft of torque, an MSRP starting at $21,990, and a low carbon footprint. According to the EPA, you can expect fuel economy of 30 city/ 41 highway if you choose a six-speed manual; shave 1 mpg from both figures if you’d rather remain shiftless.

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  • RedStapler RedStapler on Nov 20, 2008

    The between emissions regulations and the new US sulfur standards making our diesel attractive for export to the EU the value proposition for Diesel small cars is DOA. For any sort of towing or hauling its still there however. Tow a 10k lbs trailer with a gas and diesel pickup and the diesel wins by a big margin. Long term reliability and longevity with the higher operating temps required to meet the new standard has yet to be proven.

  • RedStapler RedStapler on Nov 20, 2008

    The between emissions regulations and the new US sulfur standards making our diesel attractive for export to the EU the value proposition for Diesel small cars is DOA. For any sort of towing or hauling its still there however. Tow a 10k lbs trailer with a gas and diesel pickup and the diesel wins by a big margin. Long term reliability and longevity with the higher operating temps required to meet the new standard has yet to be proven. That being said the torque-rich nature of a diesel makes for a distinct and more enjoyable driving experience.

  • Dooglas Dooglas on Nov 20, 2008

    As usual, the nay sayers have their facts a little slanted. Right now diesel is about 20% higher around here and how long does anyone think gas will be down around $2 per gallon. My diesel TDI gets nearly 40% better mileage than the similar gasser it replaced. You do the math. The IRS rebate wipes out most of the price differential for purchasing a TDI. Kelly Bluebook says the resale on a TDI is several thousand more than a comparable gasser. TDI VWs have consistently been more reliable than comparable gassers according to Consumer Reports. Diesels look pretty good in terms of greenhouse emissions and even better when you acknowledge they burn less fuel. To each his own, but lets not rule out diesels for phoney reasons.

  • B0gman B0gman on Dec 03, 2008
    Thats awesome im glad you are doing your part to save our environment. However your comments about diesels being dirtier than conventional gasoline engines illustrates a fundamental ignorance of modern diesel engine technology. The new TDI recieved basically the same air polution score as the 2.5 I5 gas model. Check the EPA website to verify that if got a 6 of 10. In addition you must factor in the long term impact of a hybrid your several hundred pound heavy metal battery wont turn into a tree after 150k miles it hits a landfill and your pocket for $3799 source McGeorge Toyota in Richmond VA. Now about 3 years ago the EPA tested a Passat TDI running B100( 100% biodiesel for you hybrid folks ) its only exhaust emmision was the equivalent of 35g/100km of CO2 which no hybrid can touch and elemental carbon there were no carcinogens or other undesirables. There are no hydrids on the market except the Tahoe that can run on E85 which doesnt help that much as alcohol emits significant amounts of CO2 when burned. My TDI returns well over 50 mpg in combined driving almost 60 on the interstate. Now to be fair my vehicle is not stock I have computer turbo and injector enhancements as well as a taller 5th gear which allows my motor to turn at 1600 doing 70mph. My jetta has almost 250k on the clock. I have changed my timing belt 2x getting ready for a 3rd at a total of 750 a pop. Bottom line is both technologies diesel and HEVs are important to helping reduce or impact on this planet. However one thing I have noticed is hybrid owners tend to bash diesels with no basis in fact and while themselves being either ignorant or disengenious about the ultimate effect that their HEV has they never consider what happens to the batteries they lug around every day when their usefull life is gone and they almost never go and look at the emission ratings that many newer diesel get or consider the environmental benefits of alternative fuels that diesels are uniquely positioned to use. None of us should say anything about a competing technology unless we actually understand it. Both technologies have merit HEVs are better for stop and go traffic diesels are better for moderate to high speed long distance commutes according to KBB diesels tend to hold their value longer if you are someone that holds on to a vehicle for a while. Hybrids hold their value better than diesels in the short term (2 years or less) than diesels after that they depreciate much more quickly.

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