What makes the Volkswagen Jetta TDI® so special? That would be an advanced turbocharged, clean-diesel engine capable of a 42 mpg leap into the next generation.
Redesigned just a year ago to be larger, even more affordable and flat-out feature-packed, the Jetta TDI (starting MSRP $22,525) enters 2012 on a high note. Sophisticated and expressive styling is brilliantly refined with laser welded seams and an underlying, but still quite visible sportiness. Jetta TDI trims – TDI, TDI Premium and TDI with Navigation – feature available halogen headlamps
and foglamps, a chrome grille, heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals and a set of 16-inch Sedona alloys. Premium and Navigation trims get a power sunroof as well.
The draw of the Jetta TDI is, as it has been since its inception, the 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder TDI® Clean Diesel engine, which features the added pop of a turbocharger. With a standard six-speed manual transmission, or the available six-speed DSG® automatic, the Jetta makes a respectable 140 hp, but the true beauty of the TDI is its heavy torque output: A best in class 236 lb/ft. That means the Jetta packs some serious midrange punch to accompany an outstanding 30 mpg city/42 mpg highway fuel efficiency rating (for both transmissions). That’s over 600 miles on a single tank.
The drive in the Jetta TDI is surprisingly smooth and quiet, due largely to a combination of considerate engineering and an advanced suspension. The Jetta TDI has electromechanical power steering, along with standard Electronic Stability Control, both of which cooperate to ensure precise, controlled handling and a ride that’s actually fun (a far cry from the class-standard of generally serviceable). Power-assisted antilock brakes with Hydraulic Brake Assist and Electronic Brake-Pressure Distribution come standard.
Last year’s redesign gave the Jetta TDI substantially more interior space. In fact, for 2012, rear passengers enjoy more than three feet of class-topping legroom, which is more than most bigger sedans. With those rear seats folded down, the Jetta sports 15.7 cubic feet of cargo space. Top TDI trims get heated seats, along with sleek, matte-chrome interior trim and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shiftknob, all combining to create a clean, modern cabin that reflects the contemporary nature of the newest Jetta.
The cockpit is impeccably designed and incorporates much of the advanced technology you’d expect from a next-generation Volkswagen. The center stack on the standard Jetta TDI houses a six-speaker sound system, Bluetooth® hands-free phone, SIRIUS Satellite Radio (free for three months) and an iPod capable Media Device Interface (MDI) cable. TDI Premium models upgrade to a touchscreen controlled Fender® Premium Audio System while TDI with Navigation models get, you guessed it, an integrated navigation system. Jettas equipped with the available DSG automatic transmission feature not only a multi-functional, button-loaded steering wheel, but also a dynamic set of sporty paddleshifters as well.
The solid body construction of the newest Jetta TDI delivers an added layer of safety to the five-passenger sedan. Made from fully galvanized sheet metal, the Jetta TDI has a specially reinforced, crash-optimized front end. Inside, VW engineers gave the Jetta six airbags – including side-curtain protection – as well as rear headrests, a tire-pressure monitor and an Intelligent Crash Response System, which automatically unlocks the doors, turns on the hazard lights and kills the fuel pump in the event of an accident.
As with all Volkswagen models, the Jetta TDI comes standard with a no-charge Volkswagen Carefree Maintenance Package that takes care of factory scheduled maintenance for the first three years or 36,000 miles.
What it lacks in carbon footprint it more than makes up for in overall impact. The advanced 2012 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Clean Diesel packs a punch beneath the hood, but a soft touch at the pump.