By on March 17, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI brownTo say the 2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI isn’t about fuel savings is to miss the point. But to say it’s about all-around money-saving is to tell a lie.

If your only mission was to spend less money on personal transportation in the new vehicle realm, jaw-dropping highway mileage generated by a 2.0L turbocharged diesel is not necessarily the ticket to personal financial freedom.


• USD Price As Tested: $30,020

• Horsepower: 150 @ 3500 rpm

• Torque: 236 @ 1750 rpm

• Observed Fuel Economy: 44.4 mpg


There are much less costly ways of getting around town than in a highbrow Jetta like our test example, with its leather seating, navigation, upgraded audio, and Volkswagen’s dual-clutch direct-shift gearbox.

So why can’t the two objectives comingle? I’d argue that they can, that a new car buyer can enjoy the benefits of an upgraded, torquey, semi-luxurious, and spacious German compact car – and spend the money that’s required to do so – while also enjoying weeks of fuel tank range.

However, it’s not as easy for me to say that as it was in the past. After years of local parity or even diesel-favouring prices, diesel now costs significantly more than regular gas in Nova Scotia. The new turbocharged 1.8L four-cylinder gas-fired engine I experienced in the Mk7 Golf also eats into the TDI’s efficiency advantage in ways the old 2.5L five-cylinder never dreamt of doing. And the CAD $2300 premium for the TDI over that flexible 1.8T is frightening, at least before resale value is taken into account.

2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Highline brownThe TDI isn’t quite on the same level as a Tesla Model S, whose owner who can afford the initial outlay and enjoys the combination of electrified transportation and ridiculous performance. Nor can a direct comparison be drawn with a Chevrolet Volt owner who accepts the higher price of the car because he finds satisfaction in lengthy periods of electric-only driving without the penalty of limited range. Nevertheless, in a similar manner, the up-front cost and premium at the pump won’t hinder a TDI owner from sourcing pleasure in her car’s real-world pace and its aversion to fuel consumption.

See, just because a new car consumer purchases or leases a car with clear fuel saving intent doesn’t mean the consumer must showcase frugal tendencies across the board. They can still drive the car they want. And strangely enough, despite forgettable styling, a lack of auto headlights, not quite Golf-like steering, some wind whistle around the A-pillar, an antiquated infotainment unit, and one of the less effective DSG pairings, the Jetta TDI is, in fact, desirable.

Granted, I’d argue that it’s less desirable as the equipment level rises. The Highline-trim car loaned to us by Volkswagen Canada creeps deep into Passat territory. Yes, the Jetta is very roomy considering its exterior dimensions – at 182.2 inches long, it’s only two inches longer than a Mazda 3 sedan. But the Passat’s interior is utterly massive.

In the U.S., diesel-powered Jettas start at $22,460. The 6-speed dual-clutch automatic adds $1100. A Jetta SEL TDI with the DSG and the $1690 Driver Assistance package (forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, etc.) tops out at $30,020, including the $1750 diesel option. A mid-level Passat TDI costs $29,945.

2015 Volkswagen Jetta Highline interiorBut remember, the 2015 Jetta is not like the 2014 Jetta. Independent rear suspension aids ride quality, which really is quite serene. The upgraded interior, aside from the laggy touch screen system with its poor graphics, never once let me down in terms of material quality or ergonomics. Jetta steering still lacks the Golf’s sharpness, and the DSG’s lack of instantaneous response works with the comfort-minded chassis to steer you away from aggressive driving on twisty back roads. The Jetta’s overall on-road behaviour, however, provides a mature ambience, leaving me the with the feeling that the Jetta is perhaps better at taking the fight to midsize sedans as a slightly downsized alternative rather than challenging compacts with its upper-crust price tag.

Also updated for 2015 was the powerplant. The diesel is still a 2.0L with 236 lb-ft of torque, but it’s not the same 2.0L diesel of old. It’s quieter, smoother, and just a little bit happier to rev, and it’s also more efficient. The EPA highway rating moved up from 42 mpg to 45. In a week of driving around the city and its suburbs, the 44.4 mpg this Jetta registered was simply astonishing. With temperatures below freezing and a heavy right foot, the test example easily outperformed its city and combined ratings and very nearly matched the official highway figure.

Question the wisdom of spending $30K+ on a fuel miser if you must, but 44 mpg in city driving is the kind of mileage that engenders diesel loyalty. I just wish the 2015 Jetta still looked like the fourth-gen model, handled like the GLI, and could be filled up with fuel that didn’t cost an extra $0.47/gallon.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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70 Comments on “Capsule Review: 2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI...”


  • avatar
    sproc

    Nice review. I’m a little surprised by the DSG responsiveness, given how sharp it is in the gas powered Audis/VWs I’ve tried it in. Just a more economy-minded tune, I suppose.

    It also made me really want to give the GTD a try when it gets here.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      I’m not putting much faith in the GTD making its way to North America, regardless of VW’s overtures. The GTI, while a good value for what you get, is already pushing the boundaries in its price range – especially when you’re talking about an Autobahn spec’d car in the $34k range.

      Slap on a diesel premium of ~$2,000 and you’re really pushing the limits, especially considering that the GTI is already a pretty frugal cruiser. VW’s new profitability plan also puts a NA GTD into doubt, considering that they’re looking to kill off a bunch of niche powertrains, options and models in general.

      • 0 avatar
        devmike

        Just did my first oil change at 4250 miles on my brand new 2015 Jetta TDI. Although, I need to know a good place to get new oil filters, here’s the old.

        ‘ https://www.dropbox.com/sc/q75hzqtssk96fwp/
        AABAuHi3mbT0pH0UpmOq1fXja ‘

        The car is clean and fast. I spend about $33.80 US to fillup the 14 gallon tank that takes me 640-680(719mi roll in) miles, highway cruise set to 65-75 with a thumb.

        As far as 0-60.. someone said 9+ seconds? I hit 60 and pass it in less than 8.0s gotta be careful not to peel out more than putting along. I enjoy the car as well as the satellite radio / bluetooth phone synch, whatever is on the radio I choose it with freedom.

        5% APR from a US dealer, if I hold the 72-mo contract is $29,500; sticker was $25,550 with 29 miles after my test drive (14 mi maybe?).

        She’s clean, fast and economical. The ‘moron’ comment [whereever it] is just jealousy of my numb ass after driving 640 miles on a single tank.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    In the US, TDI models are not available with the teaser 0%/.9%/1.9% financing offered on the gas models (through VW Financial, anyways, YMMV with your credit union), dealers want to finance at 5% or so. That’s another big difference in TCO.

  • avatar
    hreardon

    The MQB based Golf and Passat are lightyears ahead of their predecessors and VW is doing its best to keep the Jetta at least somewhat competitive until its move to MQB around 2017-2018.

  • avatar
    slance66

    I have never understood the suggestion that fuel economy was in any way related to a desire to drive the cheapest transportation possible. I don’t know anyone who purchases cars on that basis.

    The truth is that given their higher upfront costs and the price of diesel fuel in the United States, in the U.S. a diesel will likely never be the most cost effective vehicle. I find that many who drive very high mileage cars are not poor, but rather either (1) get mileage reimbursements for work travel or (2) want to reduce the use of carbon based fuels for non-economic reasons. A super high mileage car is a personal statement, just like a Jeep Wrangler or Mustang GT is.

    • 0 avatar
      FractureCritical

      Every time I see a TDI, I feel like I see a moron. You have to spend sometimes thousands more for the same car that gets a little better fuel economy on a more expensive fuel. As a former moron, er… TDI owner, I can attest to this.

      and yeah, off the line torque is great in a world where you don’t drive faster than 20 mph. For the rest of us, the TDI cars are mind numbingly slow to 60, and YES that matters in a northeast state where the substandard short highway on ramps mean you get trampled.

      • 0 avatar
        Jgwag1985

        Yes but, you have to admit the 600 miles between fill ups is pretty nice.

      • 0 avatar
        Whatnext

        In Canada diesel is more expensive in the winter but cheaper in the summer. If you plan to keep your car for a long time and do a lot of highway driving a TDI makes sense.

      • 0 avatar
        Jimal

        I’ve never had a problem keeping up – or keeping ahead – of traffic in any of the TDIs I’ve owned.

      • 0 avatar
        Frownsworth

        Long commutes in Canada (longer on average than the U.S., for example food transportation average distance is twice that of the U.S.) and cottages in lots of places combined with okay diesel prices means a lot of diesel update, comparatively.

      • 0 avatar
        JuniperBug

        A former girlfriend’s ’86 Jetta non-turbo diesel with 300k+ miles was definitely slow, but even driving that didn’t feel like I was getting trampled, and that thing had 52 hp when it was new. If you can’t get out of your own way with about double that, you’re doing something wrong. My ’92 gasser Jetta had 100 hp (at 5,200 RPM), and my biggest problem in it was that there was always someone slower merging in front of me. Chances are, I’m norther than your idea of “Northeast,” on roads that are older and crappier, and highways with possibly more traffic.

        I’ll never understand how people here in North America can think that they need a million horsepower to get around safely, especially after seeing how people drive in places like Germany, where a 2.0L is often considered a big engine, and people actually regularly drive much faster than 80 MPH.

        • 0 avatar
          Chan

          Americans want a ton of power without stepping on the gas pedal.

          A car is “unsafe” because you have to actually put in effort to accelerate.

          That’s why they drive beat-up Ford Explorers with V8s, where all of the torque is at the bottom.

          It’s funny when I out-accelerate my oblivious countrymen in my wife’s 1.4L Fiat.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Really, 8-9 seconds to 60 is mind-numbingly slow? You evidently live in a different world than I do, because here in the Northeast where I live most people are lucky to break 30 seconds 0-60, even on short onramps. It’s also the same performance as every mid-size 4cyl automatic beigemobile. And faster than most of the compacts.

      • 0 avatar
        frozenman

        One aspect of diesel cars is the miserable re-fueling aspect of owning one. You can end up in long lineups for the pump while commercial vehicles and brodozers are sucking the stations tanks dry, and when you finally get there the pumps and area around it are covered in spilled fuel. This means shoes and hands that stink and this leads to floor mats, pedals, steering wheel and shifter that also stink. No diesel for me ever again! The issue of fuel additives you need to buy to make sure it keeps running in adverse weather is for another rant. Oh yes, in cold conditions a plug in is also not optional.

        • 0 avatar
          Jimal

          If you go to a station where the tanks are being constantly drained by construction vehicles or bro trucks, you’re almost guaranteed fresh (good) Diesel with little to no water in it. I’ve owned VW Diesels for more than 10 years now; never used an additive (I don’t count DEF) and I’ve never plugged one in.

        • 0 avatar
          TCragg

          Don’t know where you live, or what kind of diesels you drove, but as an owner of five VW TDIs over the past 15 years, I’ve rarely experienced what you describe. My local fuel outlets have dedicated car diesel pumps, which are clean and not surrounded by puddles of spilled fuel. If you buy decent fuel from a reputable retailer, additives are not really necessary, and when I used a block heater, it was out of convenience, not necessity. It’s nice to have instant heat on a cold morning, but if I forgot to plug in the car, it never stopped it from starting.

        • 0 avatar
          an innocent man

          >One aspect of diesel cars is the miserable re-fueling aspect of owning one.<

          If you're not filling up at a truck stop I don't see this as a problem. Around here, everywhere that sells diesel, which is everywhere, it's just another hose on the same pump as RU. So if it's messy it's going to be messy regardless.

          • 0 avatar
            joeaverage

            +1 – as long as I got to the suburban gas stations here the pumps and the ground is clean (enough). Now down along the interstate where the big trucks do their fillups – yeah – its a mess. With a 600 mile range I’d like get to be very choosy about where I refueled.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree. I read somewhere that 90% of Jetta SportWagen owners go for the diesel. I didn’t really get it to save fuel; I just liked the torque and the general way it drove, and so considered it to be a premium engine option—in the same way that a V6 in an Accord is a premium option. It so happens that I since took a job with a 30-something-mile highway commute, and the car is ideally suited for that. But no, even with the better highway mileage and higher resale value, I did not go into the purchase expecting to get my money back for the TDI.

      Also, my TDI seems to take a bit of a mileage dip at higher highway speeds. 60-65 MPH seems like the sweet spot.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Well – I do consider fuel economy when I purchase a vehicle. My 16 year old CUV was purchased b/c it did what we wanted a vehicle to do – and continues to get the job done at ~25 mpg. 25 mpg was much better than some of the competition back then. Still not terrible.

      I don’t see the point of riding around getting 15 mpg when some adjustments to what I choose to drive can get me twice that or more. Anything less feels wasteful to me. You drive what you want to. Free choice is good with me. ;)

      It feels pretty good every few years when fuel prices spike and I can afford to continue doing what I do every week (commute, Dad taxi, etc) while everyone else moans about how it costs $80 to fill up their rides.

      When we get around to replacing our current car (the sedan, not likely the CUV because I still like it alot all these years later) it’ll probably get replaced by a VW TDI wagon 6MT. Again it’ll haul us and our stuff and get good fuel economy.

      I don’t see any reason to judge the TDI any differently than someone that buys a larger vehicle that they don’t NEED or buys a luxury vehicle when a plain jane would get it done too or buys new when a used car would do just as fine. A TDI is as much about torque as about fuel economy for me.

  • avatar
    Jgwag1985

    I had a 2006 Jetta TDI, Great mileage, the last of the good looking Jetta’s. The bland styling of the current Jetta (and Passat) did help improve sales, but at the cost of alienating long time VW customers (decontenting did not help either).

    My Jetta did have an oil leak on the pumpe deuse. A second dealer had to fix the original leak, and the leak the first dealer made worse.

    The fresh air intake always pulled in fumes from the diesel. If I sprayed windshield with washer fluid I could smell the washer fluid (and my sense of smell is pretty bad, definitely not sensitive).

    Kept it 4 years and 93k miles. Overall, diesel not worth it over a gas car (that would get in the 30’s). More expensive to operate per mile. The only way Jetta TDI would be worth it is if I considered a gas version of the Jetta for economy. That mpg was terrible. Gas versions were lucky to get the EPA figures, while my TDI consistently did better than EPA numbers.

    For the $30k this Jetta reviewed cost, I would look to Mazda, or after these last couple of winters Subaru.

    • 0 avatar

      No, the 2.5-liter I-5 that was the volume engine in the Jetta up until recently wasn’t particularly economical. Fortunately, the replacement 1.8-liter TSI is both more fun and more economical, and is the better choice for most people. That said, those who remember the 1.8-liter of the Mk.4 days (completely different engine, I know) might just be scared off…

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    Tim, an excellent review. There are many reasons to buy a VW diesel. I loved my 2012 Golf TDI with DSG, and might have gotten another instead of the 2015 GTI I eventually did were it not for the TDI’s current solid rear axle. I loved the torque of the diesel that makes the car feel extremely fast under normal driving conditions. Fuel efficiency is a pleasure unto itself as is great driving range before refueling. My only objection to the TDI was that it warmed up very slowly in the winter and so you had a cold car for a while at startup.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I was at a VW store for work a couple of weeks ago and they had a Passat diesel with a 6MT and I was thinking to myself that would be a fun car to drive. Lots of room, gobs of torque and the DIY trans with econo car mpg or better.

    I have had three VWs and did not have any of the issues that are spoken of here in this site, but find that the horror stories here keep me from a fourth. 2 Jetta TDI and a Rabbit in college. The latter most likely doesn’t count as I paid little for it and drive it for my last eight months of poverty..er college.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    With diesel prices where they are, buying a TDI is not a rational decision. That’s OK. Decisions don’t need to be rational. If you do all your driving on the highway and like to never fill up, more power to you.

    Where the diesels really don’t make sense, though, is in the city where I do 90% of my driving. They have a similar price and weight premium to hybrids, without the insanely good city fuel mileage or the ability to run silently at low speeds. Personally, for my driving, I’d buy a hybrid before I’d consider a diesel.

    • 0 avatar
      Jgwag1985

      When I bought mine, diesel cost less than regular unleaded. City mpg was great, and not with a light foot, but not with a heavy foot either, just keep up with traffic. Hybrids were at a premium and most people I talked to were not happy with the mpg for their premium hybrid.

      Maybe diesel will come down, and before ANY of you comment on that, ask yourself did you predict you would ever see $2 a gallon gas again in the USA?

  • avatar
    1998redwagon

    good lord people if you want a particular option when car shopping what do you do? you look for it. sometimes you refuse to purchase a car because it does not have that option. consider the tdi engine an ‘option’ that costs $1500-$2000. some have to have a sunroof, or leather seats, or a camera, etc. some cannot live without their favorite option, others want no part of it. personally i wanted no part of a sunroof in northern mn, i wanted a manual trans, i wanted to try a diesel and yes i do drive long distances at highway speed 5 months out of the year for work. (so some of that driving is reimbursable) the long time between fillups is nice in wintry mn. i do not care if i am saving money right now over a gasoline engine.

  • avatar
    mjal

    Dal20402 – the author writes that he achieved 44mpg in city and suburban driving.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I’d guess that was suburban. People who don’t live in older cities often think of anything with traffic lights as “city.”

      A Jetta TDI should get about 30 mpg in actual city driving, maybe a bit more if driven with an extremely light foot. That’s good, but if you factor in the additional cost of diesel it’s not that different from compact four-cylinder gas cars. Meanwhile compact hybrids can do over 50 mpg (better than they can do on the highway) in that sort of driving.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      I must say 44mpg combined in Canadian winter conditions is absolutely remarkable. If I do the calculations using EPA estimates a TDI doesn’t seem to make sense over the gas version, but the real world advantage seems to be larger than the EPA estimates suggest. I’ve noticed that when I check places like fuelly.com as well, but I thought there may be some selective reporting going on there.

  • avatar
    Cabriolet

    I had a 2009 Jetta TDI that i purchased new. I was still working and drove into NYC everyday. My main reason for buying the car was to do some long road trips in Canada and the USA when i retired. Driving back and forth to work in NYC my mileage was approx 36-38 MPG. Loved the car because of the Torque and never felt the car was slow. Instant starting but in the winter took longer to warm up. The car did have an electric heater built in to the heater system that was turned on by turning the temp knob to max. Worked great and turned off when the engine warmed up. I understand this was standard equipment for Canada but the USA cars also received it but VW never mentioned it in the owners manual. I came across it on the TDI forum. After i retired we took a few trips in Canada and in the USA and the car was dirt cheap to tour in. A buddy of mine that i worked with in my business worked for U.S. Customs and ran the welfare fund in NYC. To fill out his group tours overseas he needed a certain no of people to get good rates and asked me if i would be interested. I said yes and that ended my touring in the USA. Did some great trips to Israel, Egypt, Russia and other destinations. I was at my dealer having the oil changed when my salesman offered me a deal i could not refuse. I purchased a new VW GTI and traded the TDI in. The TDI 4 years old with 40,000 miles ended up only costing me approx $3,000.00. The TDI hold their value very well. Bottom line is if you do a lot of driving and take many trips this is a great car to have. A good buddy of mine purchased a 2015 TDI Golf loaded and he loves it. His wife passed away a few years ago and being retired he visits his 4 kids on a daily basis thruout the USA. Bottom line is if you do local driving stick with the gas model.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    The financial argument for TDI falls apart when you factor in maintenance costs for 20k fuel filter replacement, 40k DSG fluid change. I always added a shot of additive to replace the missing lubricity in ULSD – not a big expense but still. A DPF replacement costs more than a battery pack in a hybrid.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      On the other hand, the resale should balance that out fairly easily. I did a fairly rudimentary Canadian Black Book search (identical diesel and 2.5 Jettas), and the TDI was worth about $4k more on trade.

    • 0 avatar
      hybridkiller

      “The financial argument for TDI falls apart when you factor in maintenance costs for 20k fuel filter replacement, 40k DSG fluid change.”

      Not all TDIs have the DSG trans; and not all DSG-equipped VWs are TDIs. TDI refers to the engine, not the whole powertrain.

      As to the fuel filter, if you can change your own air filter you can change your own fuel filter for ~$30 – it’s really pretty easy.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      How hard is the fuel filter? The filter itself is ~$30 in the aftermarket. Its a simple top loading thing and takes 15 minutes. You have to prime the fuel filter with simple VCDS OBD tool. Watch the videos on YouTube. No big deal.

      I’d avoid the DSG like the plague unless you are someone that trades up on cars before 100K miles. That is one expensive transmission repair if you are reliant on a dealer. Just go for the manual transmission and be happy for 300K+ miles.

      Looked up the DPF prices at an online VW dealer: ~$2500. One aftermarket price was $850. Not complicated to install though though you’d need to be a mechanic with some experience with exhaust systems (baked bolts).

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    “the DSG’s lack of instantaneous response works with the comfort-minded chassis to steer you away from aggressive driving on twisty back roads.”

    Then what, to be frank, the hell is the purpose of pairing the DSG with the economy-minded diesel rather than the 6 speed conventional auto? This has always seemed like an odd combination to me. The DSG is balky during casual driving but comes alive during aggressive driving. Why is it paired to this diesel? To further erode the economic argument of the TDI by saddling the owner with high maintenance costs?

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Doctor

      The six-speed Tiptronic that was offered with the Mk5 and 6 Jetta/Golf used a torque converter. It’s still offered in the lower trim levels of the Passat and Jetta.

      The DSG, while more fragile and maintenance intensive does represent many years of R&D, tooling, and manufacturing costs. The big problems with it is that the mechatronics that “predict” when to shift up and down aren’t perfect, so you get that “jerking” sensation. At least it’s not as bad as a Nissan CVT.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        We have a Nissan CVT. I’d rather have that than the DSG for a non-sporting car. The torque converter 6 speed VW uses in the 1.8 Jetta and Golf is a far better transmission than either.

      • 0 avatar
        hybridkiller

        “The DSG, while more fragile…”

        The 6sp DSG actually has a higher maximum torque rating than the 6MT, so I’m not sure what about it you think is “fragile”.
        I have one, and mine doesn’t exhibit this “jerking” you refer to. You can definitely feel the shifts because there is no torque converter slippage – it rather feels like a perfectly shifted manual transmission, which mechanically it essentially is. Nothing to do with mechatronics being not perfect or whatever you were trying to say.

        • 0 avatar
          joeaverage

          How long do the clutches last in a DSG? The technology really interests me but the long term ownership of something which I can not maintain myself makes me apprehensive. (I do all my own maintenance and repairs).

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Other than the MPG and the benefits of highway driving a diesel gives…what ever happened to longevity?
    Wasn’t the diesel engine supposed to the engine that doesn’t get broken in until 50K?
    If so, isn’t THAT a pretty good reason to buy one?
    If you are a person that doesn’t get rid of the car every few years, and that silly depreciation factor used when trying to justify a five year “real” cost of ownership doesn’t figure in…then a car or motor that will give you an easy 150 to 200K miles is a good thing.
    Right?
    Or perhaps these newer diesels are not as bullet proof as the older versions that the reputation was built upon.

    If they are solid…then 200K plus high highway MPG seems like a solid thought process behind the purchase of the diesel car.

    • 0 avatar
      hybridkiller

      Modern engines in general are capable of much longer service without a rebuild – better metallurgy, better designs, and computer-controlled fuel injection which eliminates lean-mixture conditions that used to eat valves rather quickly with carbureted engines – this has all leveled the playing field between light-duty diesel and gas engines. A properly maintained gasser can easily go well past 200K without a rebuild these days.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        Wouldn’t all things be equal here? The updated modern engine would/should include all diesel parts , IMO.

        • 0 avatar
          hybridkiller

          Diesel engines never suffered the kind of damaging effects of lean mixture conditions that carbureted gas engines were prone to. Computer-controlled fuel injection was a huge leap forward for gassers vis-a-vis longevity and long-term maintenance. Diesels OTOH are essentially the same except for common rail direct injection which improves power and efficiency, but not longevity.

          Some will argue that emissions components like the DPF have made light-duty diesels LESS robust, but that’s not necessarily relevant when broadly comparing the theoretical longevity of gas vs diesel engines – a TDI will run just fine with the DPF deleted.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      My limited understanding is that these newer TDIs are far more complex than the old diesels that earned the unkillable reputation. I’m not sure I yet trust VW to do “complex” reliably for 200K miles, and I own a VW myself (though not as a complex of one).

      The dramatic and extremely expensive (although relatively rare) high pressure fuel pump failures of TDIs around 2009/2010 completely sealed my decision to buy a 5 cylinder gas VW rather than the diesel.

      TrueDelta shows a generally higher repair frequency for TDI vs gas engines for a given year & model. Given that data, I frankly believe the 5 cylinder will run longer and cheaper.

      • 0 avatar
        Carrera

        The new engines EA288 designation use DEF fluid. Just like the passat, these engine shouldn’t have any problems with the HPFP. Only the previous generation Golf and Jetta had that. The EPA mandated pollution controls are a PITA for diesels in colder areas. Often times, the def fluid can freeze, the def fluid heater can’t keep up with it and fails. Not too many things on the DEF system are serviceable and changing it is very expensive. In a warmer area, in the South I wouldn’t worry too much if any. Also mpg will not be affected by winter diesel. As for the dearly departed in line 5 cyl gasser…never liked that antique engine. The mileage was pretty abysmal with that one and it wasn’t the smoothest engine ever built.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          “As for the dearly departed in line 5 cyl gasser…never liked that antique engine. The mileage was pretty abysmal with that one and it wasn’t the smoothest engine ever built.”

          Keep in mind the Jetta with this engine started out at ~$18K and there’s only so much you can ask at that price. I have no trouble hitting the EPA estimated 30mpg highway, which is underperforming but not abysmal. If it achieved the 28 mpg combined you’d expect out of a 2.5L pulling 3200lbs instead of the 25 mpg it does get, you’re looking at 17 bucks a month for 1000 miles at $4/gal.

          At that point I shrug my shoulders and say no biggie. And I like the unique grumble of the 5.

      • 0 avatar
        hybridkiller

        There’s no hard data on the early MK6 HPFP failure rate, but the best estimates I’ve seen are in the ~1% range – pretty small risk, plus it’s unknown how many of those were actually caused by misfueling (putting gasoline in the tank).

        The other high-profile issue is the DPF, and again the failure/replacement rate on those seems to be rather low.

        As usual, complaints on web forums tend to drastically blow these things out of proportion – VW has no trouble selling TDIs, as evidenced by the relative lack of incentives vs their gasser models.

        • 0 avatar
          Carrera

          Yeah you are right hybrid killer. I’ve been on those pesky Tdi forums for the past two years since the Tdi is on my very short list for the next car. Hard to tell what exactly is the failure rate of the HPFP but I think where’s smoke, there’s a bit of fire as well. In that case, I think it is more of a problem with our crappy diesel fuel with lower cetane than the Bosch fuel pump. Now, the blown turbos on the Passats did get VWs attention and they are warrantying the turbos to 100k and have a software upgrade. The jury is out on the cause of blown turbos but an aggressive warm up due to EPA requirements, cold oil, cold weather, poor metallurgy seem to be the culprits.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          “As usual, complaints on web forums tend to drastically blow these things out of proportion ”

          I don’t doubt that at all, and afterwards it became evident that it was a very low occurrence problem. But it shows the reputation hurdle VW has to overcome with risk-averse buyers like me. This is my first VW and I had to convince myself the data showed a real improvement over the MkIV years. If there had been any flare-ups like that about the 5 cyl gas model I wouldn’t own a VW at all.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            There is data that shows VW spends a much higher amount on warranty per vehicle than other mainstream manufacturers. While the focus of 3rd party data is usually number of repairs per x amount of vehicles over a certain period, they don’t often account of which types of repairs occurred and how much they cost. I’ll take a car with a couple squeaks and rattles over a car with a single major powertrain component failure any day.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            A rating system showing repair costs in addition to frequency would indeed be interesting. I’m pleased that my VW hasn’t been driving the brand’s per vehicle warranty costs up.

            The bumper to bumper is long gone and the powertrain warranty is about to expire so we’ll see what the future holds.

  • avatar
    Carrera

    This is more of a value proposition in the S trim. Doesn’t have too many toys but for about 20-21k not bad at all. Of course, in 6 sp trim, no DSG so one doesn’t have to worry about that pesky 40k fluid change. Find yourself a TDI guru, stay away from dealerships and the Tdi trim is not too shabby. In the summer, diesel prices come down to earth a bit more and they are on par with premium or even a bit lower.
    My next commute will be about 90 miles round trip. Even with a gas miser like a mazda 6, I will get sick of fueling every 3-4 days. My list will be very short…mazda 6, passat Tdi and accord sport 4 doors. The Accord gets me a bit miffed since the manual only comes in black and a depressing grey. What in the world, black in Florida?

    • 0 avatar
      SWA737

      The Accord EX can be had in Silver with a 6MT. At least it could when I bought mine in ’14 I drove the Sport and the EX. For my mosly highway driving, the EX’s softer ride was worth giving up the Sports slightly sharper handling. Plus I just didn’t like the way the 18″ wheels on the sport looked.

  • avatar
    hybridkiller

    I never cease to be amused by these “TDIs aren’t worth it” rants, when the same argument can easily be made against buying 90% of the vehicles on dealer lots.

    And yes – when VWs/TDIs break out of warranty they can be very expensive to fix. If that possibility causes you to lose sleep at night then I will be the first one to recommend buying something else.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I wouldn’t consider the Jetta until it’s MQB based and the wagon. But I’ve been looking at Golf recently in the TDi SE trim.

    At ~27k with the auto, light pkg and sunroof, it’s not inexpensive. But there’s a lot of car and equipment for the money. And right now, it seems diesels are hard to move because gas is so much cheaper, so there are better deals to be had than usual. VW NEVER used to run low APR specials on TDi cars and deals could be tough. There’s a lease deal too right now.

    I’ve found that driving with the hills and design of the roads near me, nothing gas powered gets rated mileage. I’ve always seen at least a 2 mpg drop from the lowest EPA rating. ( The test is flawed to be sure, but I’ve never gotten outside the predicted range of figures with any car)

    And the move to turbo everything doesn’t lead me to believe that will improve. Sure, on paper, the 1.8 powered Golf does pretty good on fuel at 25/36. But it’s not the diesel 31/43. And I feel I have a better chance at attaining the rated city mileage with the diesel as opposed to the gas turbo.

    The EPA site, comparing the cars and personalized for me at 10,000 miles a year and diesel at 3.30/gal, says that a diesel will cost me $250 more a year to run over the 1.8. But, that’s if the gas engine achieves the average according to the EPA, not the 2-3 mpg drop I usually see. I don’t think the diesel will get the rated mileage, but I think it would be closer. My brother has a ’12 TDi Jetta wagon and his mostly highway driving is averaging over 42 mpg with the 6 spd manual.

    Plus, the resale on the diesel cars, deserved or not, is much higher than the gas cars. When I sold my 04 Jetta Wagon with the 1.8 gas, it was valued at least $4000 under what an identical TDi car would have been.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    It’s just kind of a lot of money to pay for a Jetta. I’ve been in Jettas and I know what they’re like inside. And I can tell from the photo that there’s lots of hard plastic in there.

    I have seen a couple GLI’s around, and they catch the eye with their styling.

    “I’d argue that they can, that a new car buyer can enjoy the benefits of an upgraded, torquey, semi-luxurious, and spacious German compact car – and spend the money that’s required to do so – while also enjoying weeks of fuel tank range.”

    Agree – shorten your commute! :)

  • avatar
    stuki

    The Big3 should be selling re brands of this car. To the legions of buyers whose other “car” is an HD diesel pickup. Those guys are already well versed in the “diesel way” of doing things ( driving around at idle rpms, donning gloves to fill the tank and walking around with shoe soles smelling diesel…), but are mostly too vested in buyin’ ‘Murican to ever look at a VW.

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