2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDIPosted on July 30th, 2010
Turbo-diesel gives Volkswagen’s compact sedan power and fuel economy
By Nina Russin
Volkswagen’s newest compact sedan offers budget-conscious buyers a choice of two gasoline engines or two eco-friendly options. At the end of 2010, a turbocharged clean diesel Jetta arrives in US dealerships. A hybrid rolls out for the 2012 model year. The high-performance Jetta GLI arrives the first quarter of next year.
A value-priced base model starts under $16,000. The automaker hopes to conquest customers who couldn’t afford the more expensive outgoing car. Volkswagen simplifies the buying process by reducing build combinations from 148 to 14.
Powered by a two-liter 115-horsepower engine and five-speed manual transmission, the Jetta S comes standard with electronic stability control and complimentary scheduled maintenance for the first three years or 36,000 miles.
The volume-leading SE adds a more powerful 2.5-liter engine rated at 170-horsepower. The SE comes with 16-inch wheels as opposed to the 15-inch rims on the base model, upscale upholstery, cruise control, and a 60/40 split rear seat with a pass-through.
A fully-loaded SEL costs just under $25,000. Standard convenience features include keyless entry and start, 17-inch alloy wheels, driver’s seat lumbar adjustment, Bluetooth and iPod interface, a sunroof and navigation system.
A sport-package on SEL lowers the chassis ride height for better high-speed performance, adds sport seats, pedals and door sills.
The upscale model comes with four-wheel disc brakes as opposed to rear drums on the other two grades. Since drum brakes can fade and perform poorly in wet weather, I’d recommend the investment for those who can afford the premium.
Two green options
The most exciting news for environmentally-conscious drivers is the availability of both clean diesel and hybrid models. The Jetta TDI arrives a two months after the initial dealer rollout in October.
Base price is $22,995, not including a $770 destination charge. The optional navigation system brings the MSRP to $24,195. While buyers will have to fork out some extra cash for the TDI, the car’s power and performance are worth the money.
In addition to producing 42 mile-per-gallon highway fuel economy, the diesel engine has exceptional torque: up to 236 foot-pounds. The engine reaches peak torque at 1750 rpm, giving the driver exceptional low-end power for merging into traffic and climbing hills.
Test drive in the Bay area
Recently, I had a chance to test drive the 2011 Jetta TDI on the coastal highway north of San Francisco. The drive route took us through San Francisco’s hilly neighborhoods, over the Golden Gate bridge on the 101 freeway, and up to Bodega Bay on winding two-lane roads.
The narrow roads put the diesel‘s low-end power to the test. Those familiar with this part of the country know that the coastal roads are full of blind corners and off-camber hairpin turns: a challenge for the sedan‘s steering and suspension.
Engineers lengthened the wheelbase 2.9-inches compared to the outgoing model, to increase rear legroom and trunk space. Despite its larger size, the new Jetta is every bit as maneuverable as the car it replaces.
An independent front and semi-independent rear suspension is compliant enough to absorb some bumps in the road, but firm in the corners. The power steering system offers exceptional on-center response, helping the driver feel connected to the wheels.
The turbocharged diesel engine accelerates from zero-to-sixty in 8.7 seconds as opposed to 11 for the base gasoline engine, with ten mile-per-gallon better fuel economy on the highway. Since the engine reaches peak torque after throttle tip-off, it makes quick work of steep grades as well.
Engineers did an excellent job of isolating passengers from wind, road and engine noise. Passengers in the second row should have no problems conversing with those in the first.
The diesel model comes with a six-speed direct-shift gearbox. Unlike traditional automatic transmissions that have fluid coupling, the direct-shift design utilizes friction plates to yield performance comparable to manual gearboxes.
Shifting is quick and precise, even in the fully automatic mode. The driver who wants more aggressive performance can select gears manually.
Visibility around the car is quite good. I had no problems backing out of a parking space or parallel parking on the street. Side mirrors are easy to adjust for monitoring traffic in the adjacent lanes, and are small enough so as not to obstruct the driver’s forward view.
Sixteen-inch wheels on the TDI don’t have to footprint of the 17-inch rims on the SEL, but they are big enough to keep the chassis stable under challenging driving conditions.
Four-wheel disc brakes with four-channel antilock braking stop the car in a firm, linear fashion,
Upscale interior appeals to tech-savvy buyers
The Jetta’s spacious interior makes it ideal for buyers who commute to work with multiple office mates, as well as growing families. The amount of legroom in the second row is impressive for such as small car.
Designers carried the classic European lines on the Jetta’s exterior inside the car, with a driver-focused instrument panel, uncluttered center stack and attractive leatherette upholstery.
Both rows of passengers get 12-volt power points for recharging portable electronic devices, bottle holders in the doors and large cupholders in the center console and fold-down rear armrest.
The moonroof on the test car brings additional ambient light in back. Dual overhead reading lamps front and rear illuminate the car at night.
Graphics on the optional navigation system are easy to read. The system automatically zooms into intersections to minimize driver distraction.
Standard satellite radio gives commuters access to commercial-free programming on an audio system with above-average sound quality. A USB port in the center stack allows drivers to plug in music sticks.
The iPod interface in the glovebox keeps portable music devices concealed from prying eyes. The glovebox locks for additional security.
The Jetta’s spacious trunk can easily hold luggage or the weekly groceries. The rear seats fold flat to extend the cargo floor for long items such as skis or snowboards. Cyclists should opt for the Jetta Sportwagen with a larger, more versatile cargo area.
All models come with front, side and side curtain airbags, antilock braking, electronic stability and traction control. Automatic crash response unlocks the car doors, activates the hazard lights and shuts off the fuel pump if the airbags deploy.
The 2011 Jetta rolls out this October.
Likes: An affordable compact sedan with European styling, outstanding fuel economy and performance.
Dislike: S and SE grades come with rear drum brakes, which are harder to service than discs and can perform unevenly in wet weather. The SEL and TDI grades come with four-wheel disc brakes.
Model: Jetta TDI DSG
Base price: $22,995*
As tested: N/A
Horsepower: 140 Hp @ 4000 rpm
Torque: 236 lbs.-ft. @ 1750 rpm
Zero-to-sixty: 8.7 seconds
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: No
Fuel economy: 30/42 mpg city/highway
Comments: Base price does not include a $770 destination charge.
29 responses to “2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI”
Tony Badalamenti September 3rd, 2010 at 17:34
1.Will the 2011 sportwagon wheel base be increased?
2.What will the interior color options be for 2011 coupe and sportwagon?
3.How much will it cost to replace the carbon filter for the TDI and how often will it need to be replaced??
philip September 3rd, 2010 at 21:57
Please can you give me an accurate release date for the 2011 jetta TDI please? I have heard December 2010 and Janruary—February 2011,
I really want this vehicle and am willing to even pay a broker to get my hands on this car early, if at all possible. Thank you for your time!!!
I don’t have my notes from the media program handy, but my recollection is early next year. It’s a great car- worth the wait.
My understanding is that the Sportwagen is staying the same next year. You should be able to find the colors on the VW web site. Don’t have an answer to your maintenance question. Other than directing you to a dealership service department or the shop manual, I don’t have any suggestions on where to look either.
I’m curious what you mean by bicycle unfriendly. With a large trunk and fold down rear seats I’m assuming a bicycle – with the front wheel removed – will easily fit in the Jetta.
Outstanding piece of writing and actually assists with understanding the subject better.
Our bicycle friendly criterium means that you can put a bicycle inside the vehicle in less than a minute. While it is possible to put a road bike inside sedans such as the Jetta which have fold-down rear seats, it takes a little more time. The idea is to give cyclists an idea of which vehicles will be the easiest to live with. Typically these are cross and sport-utility vehicles with larger cargo areas. We also consider the Jetta Sportwagen bicycle friendly. Thanks for visiting the site and sending your comment.
Praveen September 18th, 2010 at 01:03
Nice article!!! Two questions:
1. The diesel is great, but any additional information on the new hybrid? HP and fuel efficiency is what I have in mind.
2. How is the navi? Real time traffic? Being in LA, it is a must here.
Thanks for writing. At the media program, the product specialists didn’t go into a lot of detail on the hybrid except that it’s slated for the 2012 model year. My guess is that we’ll start getting more information next spring. I didn’t spend a lot of time using the navigation system since we drive a pre-planned route: that’s the kind of thing I spend more time with when I have the car as part of a week-long loan. I can tell you however that the real-time traffic works quite well. Hope this helps.
hey everyone about the jetta tdi 2011
im getting mine the 23 september !!! cant wait
this is in canada these come from europe NOT mexico!!!
hey everyone i just bought TDI 2011.mine comes with 17″ standard n highline .multimedia no navi.not needed. they are only about 65mm shorter than the new body A4. amazing deal awsome buy.
Just bought a Jetta TD1 Diesel. Absolutely love this car.
Praveen September 29th, 2010 at 18:12
How do you compare the fit and finish of the 2010 model with the 2011 models. Is the reduced price accomplished through reduction in the quality of materials?
Howard Yu September 29th, 2010 at 22:56
1 Delete the ajustable center armrest, replace with cheap fixed one
2 Delete the power recliner, replaced with lever
3 Delete the lumbar support, no such a thing
4 Change the multi-control from steering wheel to side lever
5 Fitting and finish almost same. Door sounds a little different.
That is about Highline trim TDI, I have a 09 and thinking for 11, but these things annoying me big time, especially seat lumbar support and armrest, they are important for loyal VW fan, but they just want attract new buyers who won’t notice these things…
Can you folks please tell us where you’re getting the 2011 Jetta TDI’s?
I’ve called all over California and I can’t seem to find them. They keep telling me early next year.
Please help us out here.
kevin w October 1st, 2010 at 12:13
You can not get them in the USA until 2011…I just got mine yesterday but I’m up in Vancouver, Canada!
And to who ever said they come from europe…they are actually made in mexico. all jettas are made there…every other VW is overseas.
Russell November 3rd, 2010 at 17:17
Yes you can get them in the USA, I am in the process of buying one right now.
WHATS THE STORY ON THE VW POLO DIESEL. I HERE IT GETS 70+ MPH. IS IT COMING TO THE USA AND WHEN.
Steven November 9th, 2010 at 21:57
Just bought a TDI Sportwagen and it is awesome. I have never owned a diesel car before but after reading all the reviews I could I decided to jump in and get one. I bought mine in Spokane, WA.
Fit and finish is awesome. On par with my Mercedes. The car is quiet on the inside and super smooth to drive. The automatic transmission is really smooth and I cannot feel it shifting but can see the tach when it does shift (honestly, even when flooring it). The smoothness of the auto is why I bought it over the 6 spd manual. I test drove both and both are great.
The navigation is nice and so is the panoramic sunroof. I wish the car came with HID’s but honestly the projectors work great. Interior is comfortable and my center arm rest adjusts up and down. Heated seats and mirrors are nice too. I think these are standard.
The seats are comfortable for me. Lever raises and lowers, lever slides forward and back. Knob adjusts some lumbar/back support and electronic powered seat back leans forward and back. This is the same for both driver and passenger (not sure if base model is the same).
I wish I could get some factory fog lamps but am not sure they are an option. Otherwise, the car drives great, runs smoothly and the best thing that VW engineers did is make a diesel car that feels like a regular gas car. Oh, the electric assist steering is really nice too. It gives really good feedback so the steering is not light like driving a Japanese car. Even with just 140 HP, with all the torque, the Sportwagen really gets up and goes. Passing on the interstate and merging is a breeze.
Comes with a 3 year/36,000 mile warranty which includes roadside assistance and towing. I also got 6 months of Sirrius with my car. Overall an excellent car. I’m looking forward to the upcoming 2200 mile drive to Texas!
I highly recommend this car and no, I don’t work for VW
Myra Smith February 13th, 2011 at 16:56
I just bought a 2011 Jetta TDI….I love, love, love this car. I decided to go with the TDI model because of the MPG. I put about a hundred or so miles a day on traveling to and from work. I have the 6 in dash CD, Nav, Sunroof and so on. The only thing I don’t like about the car is there is no power seats. Oh well, still LOVE it.
mario March 3rd, 2011 at 18:01
hey everyone just got mine ab a week ago ,, replaced my 4 cyl 09 fuell efficent malibu ( lol up to 25 higway ) love the car but what happend to power seats and dual ac ? lol lots of power and excellent gas over 30 in heavy city and over 50 on interstate with only 600 miles
The concept of a green automobile is an oxymoron, and the greenest modes of transportation include walking, cycling and public transportation. But if you wish to drive a car, how can you minimise the impact?
In 2001 the Toyota Prius was first introduced to North America.In 1997, Volkswagen reintroduced a clean diesel version of a top seller; namely the VW Jetta TDI. Which car is greener and how can we make reasonable comparisons between consumer products that perform the same function yet do so differently?
sloane blackthorne March 17th, 2011 at 12:26
Bought my fully loaded TDI a week ago after spend a month looking at BMW 3 series & Mercedes C class sport models. While this car lacks the luxury characteristics of the C class, this is a nice little car for the money. The fuel efficiency won me over. I’m getting 40.7 mpg in a combination of city and California freeway driving. It’s also fast and maneuverable in even the wettest road conditions (haven’t tried snow yet). It’s reasonably comfortable and quiet, and its exterior looks like a much more expensive car. I like the bluetooth in the steering wheel and the sound system.
All in all, I’m pleased with my choice…
Just bought my brand new TDI. What an amazing car. Looks like the Audi A4. Same equipment but without the high sticker price. Sweeeeeeet!
Sébastien Aubry April 21st, 2011 at 19:36
I got a Jetta 2004 paid 2000$ at 270 000 km and neveu had a problem whit it . Really worth high réparation cost(Canada) i CAN wait for m’y 2011 tdi . Im sûre it worth the prive even if wv got electric problem sometime… I still got m’y car and he has 310 000 km and still run like a charm take care and buy vw tdi. Dont Forget the high resell value of the car take care evry one.
For franchie which i am haha… Acheter la Jetta tdi de mon père a 270 000 km a été mon meilleur investisment. J’ai eu des problem mineur mais du a l’usure (qc= neige et sel) ce qui donne la rouille donc j’ai du remplacer les braquette de fenetre coter conducteur et ma serrure du même coter sinon il roule comme un neuf je le recomende même usager a n’importe qui même si les réparation son plus cher que la normale . Mécanique a1 rester tdi jvais tuer mon char et acheter un 2011 uses bientôt et regarder la valeur de revente incroiyable . Tdi all the way ya baby.
Dennis May 1st, 2011 at 15:22
I am very interested in the 211 VW sedan TDI, however I have read some negative comments mainly the generic interior. My main concern is good mileage, longevity to the motor, cost of maintenance and overall durabilty of the vehicle. In addition I read the leatherette seats are cheap looking and hot. I live in Florida. Hope you can answer these questions.
Thanks for writing in. I can vouch for the car’s good mileage: typically diesels get about 25-30 percent better mileage than gasoline engine cars. Longevity to the motor is something that I cannot address, since the car is relatively new. I drove the car in San Francisco which is much cooler than where you live. But I do know that any kind of leather is going to be warmer than cloth in the summer. Hope this helps.
Dennis June 22nd, 2011 at 06:07
I’m told that the navigation system of the 2011 VW Jetta TDI cannot take an address with an address like W23455 N8219 Anyroad St. Even my cheap GPS can do that. Why wasn’t I told this when I ordered it. It can’t even do an address like N8323 Anyroad St.
kevin lee October 6th, 2011 at 23:06
I got it three months ago. Mad mpg, wow, you will never get disappointed with the performance and fuel economy. I am really surprised. With the worst condition, you can expect around 35 mpg in a heavy traffic city but almost upto 50 mpg in highway. Interior is bit disappointing since this German car has to compete with cheap matrialized Japapense and Korean cars. Thus, the interior matrial quality is pretty much getting worse. Yet, in terms of a practical point of view, regarding engine performance only with fuel economy concern, this car is a slick deal and mad choice!
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