2006 Volkswagen Jetta TDI – Test Drive and New Car Review – 2006 Volkswagen Jetta TDI – VW Jetta TDI

4 Dec 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on 2006 Volkswagen Jetta TDI – Test Drive and New Car Review – 2006 Volkswagen Jetta TDI – VW Jetta TDI

Who needs hybrids?

This is the way Europe drives. Compact, manoeuverable, roomy enough for the average small family and. it’s a diesel. More than half the new cars sold in Europe are diesels including luxury vehicles and sports sedans better known for flat-out performance. While the Jetta TDI is neither of those it shares their outstanding fuel economy and deep-down torque.

The current model Jetta was launched last spring but the TDI is a late arrival. Starts at $21,605; EPA mileage 35/42 mpg city/highway.

First Glance

The Volkswagen Jetta TDI doesn’t chatter at idle. It doesn’t emit clouds of black smoke. It doesn’t crawl like a wounded snail when you put your foot into the throttle.

In fact the Jetta TDI utterly destroys any negative images diesel conjures up. It is clean, acceptably quiet, and quick enough to run with the traffic. Fuel economy is better than some hybrids and mechanical complexity is far less.

The Jetta TDI doesn’t even have spark plugs, for heavens sake! But even without those advantages the Jetta TDI would appeal, offering as it does a spacious interior with handling qualities that make it fun to drive.

I’ve heard criticisms suggesting that the styling looks Japanese and I suppose there’s some truth in that. Perhaps generic is a better word, though it’s almost impossible to avoid product similarities when you’re designing an affordable sedan for the mass market. On the other hand, VW has cleverly created distinction for the Jetta with a unique and handsome front end, one that returns chrome to its rightful place in automotive decor.

It shares this look with other sedans in the Volkswagen family for a common identity. Or to put it more succinctly, this is a face I’d be happy to see when I first step out in the morning.

In the Driver’s Seat

Jetta’s controls are refreshingly simple and straightforward

#169; Philip Powell

If you’re looking for visible reminders of German precision in the VW Jetta TDI, the interior’s where you’ll find it. Reminiscent of industrial modern, it is sleek, functional, well-organised. A light touch of chrome and brushed aluminum is just enough to warm up what might otherwise be, for some tastes, a bit too plain.

I thought it was elegant, yet elegantly simple in its controls and overall layout.

You can add my name to a growing list of critics annoyed by the excess of knobs, buttons, and computerised operations in many new cars. After testing the Jetta TDI I hopped into another manufacturer’s media car and while sitting in the lineup waiting to board a BC Ferry back to Vancouver Island and with nothing else to do, I counted the buttons and switches in the driver’s compartment.

I was up to 48 and not finished when the attendant waved us on board. The Jetta, on the other hand, placed the vital sound and air controls at my fingertips. Not on the steering wheel but on the panel where they belong, with traditional round knobs that I could operate instinctively.

The same cannot be said for the storage space under the armrest; it’s so far back that I woudn’t even think of accessing it without pulling off the road.

On the Road

Check the Jetta TDI’s horsepower output (100 @ 4000 RPM) and you may think it’s going to provide canal-barge performance. But barges today are not drawn by horses and diesels are motivated by torque, which they possess in massive numbers; 177 lbs/ft at 1800 rpm in the Jetta’s case. It’s not a matter of 0-60 stoplight drags; at 11 seconds the Jetta’s no racer.

What’s more important is acceleration when you really need it plus the ability to merge with traffic entering the expressway and to pass those vehicles once up to speed.

My test car came with the base 5-speed manual and it’s a slick piece of work aside from pedal heights, which make the lost art of heel-and-toe impossible. The automatic is a better choice, suited to a diesel engine’s low-rpm performance.

Jetta steering is responsive though it could be a tad quicker; perhaps it’s been tuned down for lazy Americans (not you or me, of course). No complaints with the handling which I’d earlier enjoyed in San Diego’s canyons during the Jetta press preview ; canyon carving is a pleasure, even when said canyons are in Manhattan where agility counts as much as it does in Germany’s Black Forest. Adjust your driving style slightly and prepare to discover diesel’s advantage.

Journey’s End

Jetta: Meet the new face of diesel

#169; Philip Powell

Everything I’ve noted about the Jetta TDI so far seems aimed at enthusiast drivers while ignoring the needs of About’s largely female audience. Without intention, ladies! Merely wanted to assure the leadfoots in our audience that a Jetta diesel is not a soggy shoe.

But I suspect you care more about family needs and therefore may be curious to know what diesel can do for you. Read on.

It can save money in fuel costs. New-generation diesels like the Jetta TDI are clean-running. It’s the oil companies, not the automakers, who must rid themselves of high-sulfur diesel fuel.

Of equal importance, in everyday use the Jetta TDI offers sightlines better than some competitors and makes the driver feel confident when placing the car in tight quarters.

The Jetta TDI can accommodate two adults and three smaller children and when all are not aboard the rear seat folds for added cargo space. As mentioned it is quieter than traditional diesels but to be frank, the TDI emits a drone that disappears at highway speeds. I found it soothing but you may find it annoying. As always, try before you buy.

I recommend the Jetta TDI to anyone who doesn’t need the carrying capacity of a small bus and would prefer to save their wallet and the environment.

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