Thoughts on VW Jetta TDI? MotorWeek's Best

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Frisco, Feb 14, 2009.

  1. Frisco macrumors 68020

    Sep 24, 2002
    Won MotorWeek's best car of the year.

    This is the diesel version. Great reviews everywhere, including MSN Autos and Edmunds.

    Upscale quality vs cheap Japs imports like Honda and Toyota. Fun to drive unlike the Japs garbage.

    But #1 it's a diesel and I know diesels are superior but if they aren't commonplace maybe hard to get fuel or service.

    #2 VW parts and labor are exorbitant. This is the thing that distracts me most--the cost of labor and parts.

    #3 VWs have a poor reliability record in the US lately. Have things changed? Was the poor reliability only from cars made in Mexico?

  2. ErikCLDR macrumors 68000

    Jan 14, 2007
    I think if the Jetta TDI is a great car. Great price, great resale value, great gas mileage, and a german interior.

    We have an 05 Touareg. Its extremely unreliable and expensive to fix. If you want something very reliable and cheap to fix, buy the Honda or Toyota. VW's engines seem to run forever but what seams to wear out is everything else. Our touareg has 60,000 miles and has had everything from door locks to the CD player repaired. Air suspension parts. CV joints at 30,000 miles. Even though it has a very nice interior the rubber on the inside door handles is starting to peel off. The headliner had to be fixed not too long ago too. Oil changes are expensive. Any repair is a nightmare (and lengthy) because the cars are built as intricately as possible. Nothing is a simple task. It goes through lightbulbs faster than you could imagine. Friends and Family members have owned VW's, mostly Passats and have hated them because of reliability and repair issues.

    In terms of everyday life, you'd probably be more happy with the Jetta. For everytime it breaks you'll wish you had the Honda/Toyota. Just don't get a hybrid, its a waste.
  3. Frisco thread starter macrumors 68020

    Sep 24, 2002
    Thanks for your honest review--I appreciate it. Yeah I understand hybrids are a waste with having to replace the battery and the battery being extremely toxic to the environment. I guess that's why I was considering a diesel, but I guess VW diesel is not the way to go.

    Thanks again!
  4. yg17 macrumors G5


    Aug 1, 2004
    St. Louis, MO
    I have a VW GTI and it's a great car. Other than my satellite radio receiver crapping out (and it's not just a VW thing, my dad has a Mazda and the same happened to him, the hardware is probably made by the same company for all cars), which the dealer replaced, I haven't had any problems with it at all. It's a fun car and the build quality seems rock solid.
  5. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    For the price the Ford Fusion Hybrid seems to be a good alternate choice if you want a 40mpg sedan.

    The extra 60 cents a gallon for diesel sort of puts the TDI in a hole, though the Fusion premium likely would pay for quite a bit of diesel.

    Now the Polo TDI in the US at 16-17k would be a winner.
  6. quagmire macrumors 603


    Apr 19, 2004
    The diesel also wouldn't have that toxic battery pack either of hybrids. ;)
  7. aquajet macrumors 68020

    Feb 12, 2005
    I have personally owned three volkswagens, two jettas and currently a beetle. In my experience, while they are not the most reliable of vehicles (certainly not as reliable as my mother's Lexus ES300 with 220k miles), I would not characterize any of my VWs as "extremely unreliable" or nightmarish, expensive or lengthy to fix. I change the oil myself, but if I paid someone else to do it, it wouldn't be expensive. If the above poster has suffered from nightmarish, expensive, lengthy repairs and expensive oil changes, then perhaps you should consider another mechanic.

    My beetle is a '99 which my father purchased new. I bought it from him in 2005 and have driven it since, although these days I spend much more time on my bicycle. It currently has about 200k miles on the original 2.0L motor and 4 speed auto transmission. Seems to run fine, trans still shifts smoothly and it doesn't burn any oil or blow any smoke. How much longer will it go is anybody's guess I suppose...
  8. jknight8907 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 14, 2004
    Hudson Valley NY
  9. SteveMobs macrumors 6502


    Dec 10, 2008
    Washington D.C.
  10. MonksMac macrumors 6502a


    Dec 5, 2005
    I've never owned a VW, but I'm a fan of their cars, etc.
    Apparently the newer cars (06 and up) are supposed to be a lot more reliable than the older models. It also seems that the Diesel models tend to be among VW's most reliable models. However don't listen to me, it's your decision and purchase, so do what's right for you. :apple:
  11. adk macrumors 68000


    Nov 11, 2005
    Stuck in the middle with you
    A few things with VW diesels in general:

    1. I see you're from New Jersey. If you test drive one, ask the salesman to walk out there with you so you can start a cold engine. Diesel engines have glow plugs that have to warm up before you can start the engine. You'll want to see if you're willing to wait in the cold for your car to start up.

    2. Ask about oil changes. in 2005 Jetta TDIs, oil changes had to be performed by a VW dealer (with expensive synthetic oil) to keep the warranty valid.

    If you can find a dealer that will give you a loaner when you need warranty work done, go for it. VWs are a lot of fun to drive.
  12. ILBandit macrumors regular

    Sep 7, 2008
    I have had 3 Jetta TDI's, currently have 2 right now.
    All have been spectacular cars, the '98 I just got rid of got a consistant 47-50 mpg. It had 250,000 miles on it when we got rid of it.
    Currently have a 2006 , and a 2009. Bot TDI's the mileage isn't as good as the older one. (get around 39-41 mpg with the newer ones), but they are alot bigger car, and VERY nice. Me & the wife wouldn't own anything else!!

    As far as cold weather goes, I've never had any problems with mine starting, Even in 20 below zero weather, I have never had to wait more than about 5-10 seconds for the glow plugs. The car is very well built, quiet, (it doesn't clatter like you would think a diesel would), and you would be amazed at how fast they are for just being a little 1.9 turbo.

    As far as the oil changes go, you do NOT have to take it to the dealer to get it changed, as long as you use an approved oil, (yes it's full synthetic) you can change the oil & filter yourself without voiding the warranty. I have changed my own for years. There are several full synthetic oils on the market that you can pick up at Auto Zone, that meet the VW standards.

    I've never had any major engine problems, the only thing I have ever done is had new glow plugs installed in the '98 when it was around 8 yrs old. (had over 200,000 miles on it.

    I was a little nervous about the availability of diesel at gas stations also, but really haven't had any trouble finding it. It's not that big of an issue. Especially when you can go 400 - 500 miles on 1 tank of fuel, you have plenty of time to find a station that has it. LOL

    IMO.. you can't go wrong if you get one, they are great cars, built well, and blow away the mileage of most "Hybrid" cars out there. Test drive one! You'll see what I mean.

    Edit --- Cold weather isn't a problem!! LOL :)
  13. ButtUglyJeff macrumors 6502a


    Mar 9, 2008
    New York. The state, not the toilet.
    I have an 06' and I'm glad i have it. I get 45mpg in the summer, and 39mpg in the winter. Cold starting isn't an issue, you just click the key into the prestart position and wait 15 seconds, then turn the car over.

    Parts are pricey, and service is difficult to find, outside of dealerships.

    The oil is expensive, being a special synthetic, but you do go 10,000 miles between changes, which I feel offsets the costs of conventional changes at the usual 3000-5000 miles.
  14. Gelfin macrumors 68020


    Sep 18, 2001
    Denver, CO
    I drove a New Beetle for about five years. Worst car I ever owned, by far. I've known multiple people driving Jettas with similar results.

    Electrical system is a disaster. Interior build quality is abysmal. Parts that leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere were made de facto "consumables" to increase parts sales. I went through four different brake pedal switches, which control whether the brake lights come on when you touch the pedal (should it go out while you're driving), and also whether you can put the car into gear (should it go out while you're stopped). My Jetta-owning friends roll their eyes and nod knowingly when I tell them of the brake switch fiasco. On the Beetle there's some vital piece of the turbo system that can be critically damaged just by running up on a curb a bit during diagonal parking, to the tune of hundreds of dollars.

    I have owned ten year old Chevys that cost me less in maintenance than a brand new VW. As soon as it was practical I got rid of that piece of junk and went right back to a fine product of the Honda Corporation. I swore I would never own a VW again, and would warn others appropriately. So there you are.
  15. NightFlight macrumors 6502


    Feb 25, 2007
    Northern Virginia

    This is a lot more in line with the experiences that I have heard. Who cares how well they drive if you can't drive them 100% of the time.

    FOUR people who I work with have had their VW products LEMONED !!! Two Touaregs, a Jetta, and an A4. I can't tell you how many threads I have responded to with this exact response. For ever one positive thing I hear about VWs I hear 10 negative stories.

    This isn't limited to just their older products. The two Touaregs that were lemoned were newer and I have two friends who own a MKV Jetta and a MKV GTI and they both are problematic.
  16. ErikCLDR macrumors 68000

    Jan 14, 2007
    Today our Touareg was in the shop because of two issues- the "Handbrake On" alarm kept popping up even though it was not engaged and the rear brakes needed to be replaced. One of the license plate lights was burnt out again for the 200th time. The back breaks were $700 and the brake switch was a couple hundred (under warranty).

    We had a brand new (79 miles on it) Jetta S 2.5 as a loaner car. The quality was certainly there, good build quality. My dad drove it since I am not 21 and said it was just ok. We both noticed every little bump, dip, and tweak in the road was felt. It has the tight european suspension but the ride was not desirable. If you went over a big bump the car didn't thump too hard, just the little stuff was felt constantly. Driving down a highway with a lot of bumps would seem like it would get very annoying if that was your commute. We've had passats as loaners and they float much more nicely down the road while being agile.

    Like a said before, VW does make very well put together cars, and like any nice european car (BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Porsche, Land Rover, Jaguar, etc) they are great to drive, until they break frequently and you get slapped with a huge repair bill.
  17. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    The Jetta TDI was nominated for "North American Car of the Year" and "Canadian Car Of The Year" (they Hyundai Genesis actually won the award). It just be a good car to drive, and the interior must be excellent. I don't know if these things were ever the problem with their cars. The problem has always been reliability.

    Do you want a great driver's car that has a higher probability of breaking down, or do you want a more reliable car that may not be as good for the same price?

    I like the Golf and GTI ("Rabbit"....whatever) very much. I believe the VWs from the past 2 or 3 years have become much better than before. However, there was nowhere to go but up, so I don't now how much they truly improved. :confused:

    I know I was no help, but anyway......
  18. Salavat23 macrumors 6502

    Feb 7, 2008
    I have a 2005 VW Passat TDI and its a great car.

    Not a Jetta, but the quality seems very good, and overall I have been very happy with the car.

    I wouldn't buy anything else right now other than another TDI car from VW!:)
  19. acurafan macrumors 6502a

    Sep 16, 2008
    i love how the OP lambasted honda as 'jap' and cheap garbage. :rolleyes:

    amongst my family i have driven nearly every European brand (except saab and fiat) and owned Audi a4, vw passat, and BMW 328xi, along with my 93 acura integra gsr and s2000 and while there are NO perfect car makers - the cars i still love and own with 218,000 miles is my 'teg. and s2000.

    while the TDI jetta has bullet proof engine, the Europeans still cannot figure out how to build a reliable car. there is all sorts of nagging issues and dealership visits that it is just disgusting annoying. own a jetta past 5 years and the car will self-destruct and fall apart right in front of your face.

    with the fuel price disparity between the petro and diesel in this country, it's not even worth buying even w/TDI's mpg advantage. and i don't believe in hybrids either.
  20. mactastic macrumors 68040


    Apr 24, 2003
    IIRC, there is a decent tax incentive on the new Jetta TDIs that will greatly offset the diesel premium.

    Just to clarify, hybrids are not the panacea they were heralded as, but neither are the always "a waste". If you do most of your driving in the city at low speed (think taxis or in-city delivery fleet cars) they make a lot of sense. If you do most of your driving on the open highway, they are a waste.

    So far I've been pretty impressed with the '09 Jetta TDIs. A friend has one, and aside from getting significantly less mileage than advertised, he's very happy with it.
  21. blackfox macrumors 65816


    Feb 18, 2003
    Just as an option, I've heard Honda is releasing a new version of their hybrid Insight (remember that car?). Not bad-looking, new hybrid tech and will be priced under the Civic Hybrids (ie in high teens).


    Personally, I've been partial to minis - especially the Clubman. Decent MPG - and so cool. I am currently sticking with Saab, but they may not be long for this world...
  22. sikkinixx macrumors 68020


    Jul 10, 2005
    Rocketing through the sky!
    My buddy has a 09 TDI. He loves the thing to bits. Lots of torque for a family kinda car and 1100KM per $40 tank of diesel is pretty crazy, and awesome for him since he is a salesman so he is always on the road. Personally, I wanna wait for the Golf's to have the TDI in them :p Sedans are meh.
  23. pdpfilms macrumors 68020


    Jun 29, 2004
    +1 for the 09 TDIs.

    I've got one (a wagon), and I'm loving it. It's pretty impressive for the price- quite fancy-pantsy. The giant sunroof, the heated seats, the premium sound, sporty suspension and power... I feel it's well worth it.

    And for anyone making the "diesel's cheaper than gas" argument, the Jetta (and most all diesels) are better dollar/mile than an equivalent gas vehicle. Additionally, if you're even the least bit eco-inclined, the new clean diesels have lower emissions than the average gasoline vehicle and don't have the environmental nightmare of heavy-metal batteries.

    Do yourself a favor and just pay a visit to your local VW dealer, hop in one. You'll enjoy it, I guarantee.

    EDIT: BTW, Rabbit TDI's are set to arrive in October. Get on a wait list now, or you'll be waiting for 6-12 months if it's anything like the Jetta's release.

Share This Page