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Flash Drive: 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

Staffers at MSN Autos take a quick spin in the 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI.

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

by MSN Autos Editors April 2009

This Jetta TDI is the second great Volkswagen I’ve driven recently, following on the heels of the wonderful Volkswagen CC. The TDI is nimble and quick and feels light in corners, but it feels substantial and solid at all times. The seats are comfortable and offer real support. And the interior is among the best from Volkswagen. The diesel engine sounds mature and refined, but it can’t offer the "right now" acceleration that a gasoline engine can, which is to be expected. In mixed driving, the over-35-mpg fuel economy more than makes up for any tiny delay in acceleration when you push the "go" pedal. – Paul Hagger

If you’re looking for a ride that’s fuel-efficient but hasn’t given up its performance to achieve high mileage, look no further. The Jetta was already a good-looking car with a useful, comfortable interior and great handling. Now, Volkswagen has taken that package and installed the company’s latest clean-diesel technology. The Jetta TDI achieves the fuel efficiency equal to most hybrids, but does it in a car that takes off like a shot when you hit the accelerator. Aside from the small "TDI" label on the rear, this car gives none of the classic indications that it’s a diesel (truth be told, our test car was adorned with a very large TDI decal on the door). Sure, it makes a bit of clackity noise when started, but then it’s as quiet as a gasoline-powered model. There is no diesel smell, and when you accelerate you don’t obliterate the car behind you in a black cloud. I averaged around 32 mpg in town and have no reason to doubt the 40 mpg rating on the highway. I’d take this car over a hybrid in an instant. – Perry Stern

Volkswagen’s diesel Jetta TDI returns for 2009 with a powerful new direct-injection diesel engine that makes it a blast to drive while still delivering exceptional fuel economy. The big advantage of a diesel engine is loads of torque at very low rpm. The new TDI delivers 236 lb-ft of torque, which translates to quick acceleration and plenty of power at any speed while still reaching 40 mpg on the highway. When combined with the DSG automatic transmission, real-world combined fuel economy is in the mid to upper 30 mpg range. The Jetta TDI drives like a small sports sedan with the fuel economy of a compact, and it reinforces that modern diesel engines are clean, quiet and efficient. The TDI Loyal Edition comes in just over $23,000 with a 6-disc CD changer and heated seats. – Mike Meredith

Volkswagen just made the Jetta better by adding the new TDI clean-diesel powerplant. This new diesel engine is 50-state legal, 25 to 30 percent more efficient than a gas engine and very quiet, and easily delivers 35 mpg in mixed driving. If you drive carefully, 40 mpg is attainable. Besides the great fuel efficiency, the acceleration is lively due to the ample amount of torque. Inside, the Jetta is well-equipped with a nice stereo and an in-dash 6-disc CD player with an MP3 input. The seats are comfortable and there is room for two adults or two children in the rear. The rear seats can also split in a 60/40 format, so you can keep a child car seat in place while carrying longer items in the roomy trunk. The Jetta TDI is proof that a spirited car with great fuel economy exists, and creates a creditable alternative to a hybrid automobile. – Joe Chulick

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