First Drive: Volkswagen Jetta TDI

By Jonathan Spira on 23 November 2009
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On a round-trip to Philadelphia from New York City for a meeting, the Jetta averaged 43 mpg on the highway (with speeds ranging from 55 to 80 mph).  09JettaTDI_03_hrThe Jetta provided a steady supply of power with just a hint of turbo lag and its torque made passing easy.

The easiest thing about the Jetta is its price: $22,000 for a 40-plus-mpg non-hybrid.  It’s nicely equipped at that price, too, with comfortable, heated seats and high-quality materials in the cabin.


2009 VW Jetta TDI
Base price/price-as-tested $21,990/$25,200
Drivetrain Front engine, front-wheel drive
Engine 2.0-liter inline 4 cylinder turbo
Max hp 140
Max torque (pound-feet) 236
Curb weight


Wheelbase (inches) 101.5
Length x width x height (inches) 179.3 x 70.1 x 57.4
0-60 mph (seconds) 8.0
Maximum speed (mph) 130
EPA city/highway fuel economy (mpg) 30/41 (manual)

29/40 (automatic)