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I "exchanged" my 2007 BMW 328XI for a new 2009 Jetta TDI last April (my trade was worth $300 more than the price of the TDI, so I like to think of it as an "exchange" rather than a trade). I am very happy with my decision. I have just turned 11,000 miles and belatedly am doing a 10,0000 mile review.

RIDE/HANDLING - A fine combination of ride and handling that pleases both my wife and myself. It is not as sports car like as our BMW was, but we prefer the Jetta. The BMW ride, partly due to the run flat tires, was getting quite harsh with a real jarring over potholes. If I were to take the car to the track I would prefer the BMW's handling, but on the road at normal speeds the Jetta is excellent and I like its precise steering even more than the BMW.

ENGINE/DRIVETRAIN - I love the torque from the diesel and its mileage is fantastic. The engine is very smooth right up to redline. There is a bit of vibration at low RPMs when you are near lugging the engine. I expect that is due to the high torque. Overall, I don't think it is as smooth as the BMW was, but it is smooth for a diesel and compares favorably with the the gasoline engines I have had. As I remember it, my 1999 Audi A4 2.8 had more vibration when idling. Cruising the diesel seems exceptionally smooth to me.
The DSG in automatic mode is as good as an automatic gets. I also love to drive it in manual mode. Of course, it is not as fast as the BMW, but the surge is still exciting when accelerating on entrance ramps. I also like that bit of diesel rattle when the engine is cold. It reminds me that I'm driving something different.

COMFORT/FEATURES - I find the seats very comfortable and the driving position is excellent. The controls are clear and well laid out. The mixture of power/manual seats is a little strange, but does not bother me. Here are some little things I especially like, which helps makes owning the Jetta such a pleasure.

1. Analog heater controls allow you to stop midway.

2. Struts on trunk are out of the way so there is no need to worry when closing and full of luggage.

3. Key fob has trunk unlock in middle. My BMW had it on the end of the key and I would occasionally accidentally open the trunk when putting it in the ignition. After starting the car and getting underway the open trunk lid warning light would come on.

4. It has a real spare tire (albeit a 15 inch when the the other wheels are 16).

5. The dash has a seat belt light for the passenger , as well as the driver. My BMW had no seat belt warning light for the passenger and the chime was so irritating that I wanted to smash something whenever it came on.

6. The hanger in the trunk for bags.

The only nit I have is that with the Jetta the headlights do not go off when you shut off the ignition and get out f the car. Not a big deal.

STYLING - Styling - I love the styling. It is a little generic, but from my point of view, better executed than with other cars. I love the subdued elegance of the interior.

BUILD QUALITY - This has been a very pleasant surprise. After owning a number of "upscale" cars I find that the Jetta competes well with them in terms of its build quality and overall solidness. I think this is amazing in view of its reasonable price.

RELIABILITY - So far it has been good, but not perfect. At around 4,000 miles the glow plug light came on. I stopped and shut off the engine. When I restarted, the light did not come on again. I drove it to my dealer and they checked and found that the turbo pressure was a little low. They asked that I bring it in and leave it for a day so they could fully check it out. I did so (they gave me a loaner) and they could not reproduce the problem. They talked to VW and concluded that maybe there was a crimped vacuum tube line and when they went over it it was corrected. In any case, I have not had a repeat of this "problem" and it is running fine.

The DSG in manual mode when slowing almost to a stop and then accelerating in 2nd gear will sometimes shift down on its own to 1st. When I then shift to 2nd sometimes the shift is harsh (once or twice very harsh). Lately the harsh shifts are becoming very rare, especially if I wait a bit before I shift up to 2nd. I am still deciding whether I will try and get my dealer and/VW to correct it.

Overall, I have never been happier with a new car!

Regards,
Frank B
 

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Thanks for the review, I'm surprised that the Jetta could compare to a BMW 3 series and other upscale cars.

Coming from the BMW engine I'm also surprised that you say the Jetta engine is smooth - BMWs are supposed to have among the smoothest engines out there.

Good to hear a satisfied owner, on help forums you typically only hear the complaints!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the review, I'm surprised that the Jetta could compare to a BMW 3 series and other upscale cars.

Coming from the BMW engine I'm also surprised that you say the Jetta engine is smooth - BMWs are supposed to have among the smoothest engines out there.

Good to hear a satisfied owner, on help forums you typically only hear the complaints!
I find the diesel is very smooth and although my Jetta does not have all the luxury touches that the "upscale" cars do I do (e.g. leather, rains sensing windshield wipers, etc.) I don't feel deprived, when compared to my previous cars, which also included an Audi A4 and a Mercedes C Class. Of course each of those cars was more powerful than the Jetta, but I am very satisfied with the Jetta's power.

Hopefully I won't be back with complaints. :)
 

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15 inch spare? why not 16

Is it true the full size spare is on a 15 inch wheel? Why? Chitty is this the case on the 2010?
 

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Isn't the XI AWD? I agree, the Jetta interior is one of the best things about the car. Everyone says handling is great but I think it's too soft. It's still better than the older Jettas.
 

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Is it true the full size spare is on a 15 inch wheel? Why? Chitty is this the case on the 2010?
Don't know.

If it's a 15 it's because it's cheaper and is the minimum size to clear the brakes. It costs a lot of money to put an extra wheel in the trunk. Tires are pretty reliable nowadays too but road hazards are still the same.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Is it true the full size spare is on a 15 inch wheel? Why? Chitty is this the case on the 2010?

The 2009 spare tire is definitely 15 inch. I will have to check to see if the rolling diameter is the same as for the 16 inch. I hope so, so that I can put it on the front if I get a front wheel flat tire.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Isn't the XI AWD? I agree, the Jetta interior is one of the best things about the car. Everyone says handling is great but I think it's too soft. It's still better than the older Jettas.
The XI is all wheel drive. I may miss that this winter. The handling is softer than the BMW's was, but still has that "German" feel and I like it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the review, I'm surprised that the Jetta could compare to a BMW 3 series and other upscale cars.

Coming from the BMW engine I'm also surprised that you say the Jetta engine is smooth - BMWs are supposed to have among the smoothest engines out there.

Good to hear a satisfied owner, on help forums you typically only hear the complaints!
I have been paying closer attention to the engine and there is a bit of vibration at low RPMs when you are near lugging the engine. I expect that is partly due to the high torque. Overall, I don't think it is as smooth as the BMW, but it is very smooth for a diesel and compares favorably with many of the the gasoline engines I have had. As I remember it, my 1999 Audi A4 2.8 had more vibration when idling. Cruising the diesel seems exceptionally smooth to me and is good/excellent as I rev up to redline.
 

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If you told me 15 years ago that the Jetta could compare to a BMW I wouldn't believe it. Today I do believe it! VW has class leading interiors and they're really done a good job with the car. BMW has really expanded too but VW is at or near the #1 biggest carmaker for a reason. Hopefully they won't implode and shed like GM.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
If you told me 15 years ago that the Jetta could compare to a BMW I wouldn't believe it. Today I do believe it! VW has class leading interiors and they're really done a good job with the car. BMW has really expanded too but VW is at or near the #1 biggest carmaker for a reason. Hopefully they won't implode and shed like GM.

I agree., with VW aiming to become the largest auto manufacturer in the world there is a danger of becoming too bland. I hope at least the VW brand resist.
 
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