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I have two TDIs: a 2009 Jetta DSG Sedan and a 2009 Jetta DSG Sportwagen. They are identically equipped, except the sedan has 17" wheels and the JSW has 16". After 25k miles each, it seems they behave pretty much the same way. I commute 50 miles roundtrip every day, but I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and cover about 2k feet vertical drop, up and down each way. I use AC year round. I keep the tires at 35 psi and I average 35 mpg mixed city and highway. Diesel here is typically the same as regular. But California gasoline costs more than it does in other states, whereas diesel #2 is the same or less, so the difference is not as pronounced as it is elsewhere. I drove down I 5 earlier this year (flat as Kansas) and found I could average 55 mpg at 55 mph, no problem. 65 mph brought it down to 49 mpg. 75 reduced it to about 44 and 85 brought it down to about 39 mpg. But the fun starts as you take it well past 100 mph, which we California dwellers frequently do (in Nevada).

Now that I'm getting decent mileage I don't obsess over it (at least not as much as I did driving a Chevy Blazer during the $4/gal days back in '07). Over the last 30 or so years I've driven various Japanese and American cars, good and bad, but the Jetta is my first European (well, Mexican) car. I have heard that the MK V is the largest and best equipped Jetta in that car's evolution. For sure this pair of '09 TDIs are better built and better designed than the American or Japanese cars I've owned, and those have included Chevys, Chryslers, Fords, Hondas, Mazdas and Toyotas (and like many of us I've rented just about everything else when I had the chance, including well put together Lexus', BMWs, Mercedes and the occasional exotic car). There is nothing cheap about the materials or workmanship in the '09 Jetta TDI. Both cars handle extremely well, and like many upscale cars the faster you drive the better (and safer) they feel. So the TDI handles impeccably and feels just fabulous at 135 mph. Not skittish. Not dangerous. Which is one reason I find it difficult to get 55 mpg by driving 55 mph. It's just too much fun to drive fast on the highway. I tried the Fit, the Insight, the Civic and the Prius before I decided on the Jetta. They are all very nice cars. And I was looking for great mileage. But none if them will do 85 - 90 mph comfortably, let alone 135. Though they are all peppy and quick leaving a stoplight, none of them will accelerate adequately to make passing on two lane highways even remotely safe (the Insight is quite remarkable in it's all-out struggle to merge into fast-moving highway traffic). All of them will sooner cause you to lose control and leave the road at high speed due to jittery and unpredictable short-wheelbase response to driving surface irregularities. There is no question that the Jetta's electric steering assist is so much better than hydraulic power steering I now have a hard time feeling good driving cars without it. The Jetta simply feels more roadworthy and there's no getting around it. I don't know if I'll still be singing it's praises in a year or two but chances seem good that if I treat it well I will continue to enjoy it's better qualities and it will last a lot longer than any other car I've owned. Bottom line is that this a high mpg, high mileage car for people who like to drive long distances, or who just love to drive. Oh and one more curious thing about the clean diesel and dsg combo (my first time for both technologies). On a good long incline (like the ones in Nevada that will subtly take you up 5000 feet before you know it), well I haven't found any gasoline powered vehicle yet that I couldn't pass, barely caressing the pedal, at 2000 rpm. This car has so much low rpm torque it does not need to scream at 5000 rpm to get you moving. It glides by effortlessly. And economically. If you want high mpg and a great ride for a tough daily highway commute, this is your car.
 

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I have two TDIs: a 2009 Jetta DSG Sedan and a 2009 Jetta DSG Sportwagen. They are identically equipped, except the sedan has 17" wheels and the JSW has 16". After 25k miles each, it seems they behave pretty much the same way. I commute 50 miles roundtrip every day, but I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and cover about 2k feet vertical drop, up and down each way. I use AC year round. I keep the tires at 35 psi and I average 35 mpg mixed city and highway. Diesel here is typically the same as regular. But California gasoline costs more than it does in other states, whereas diesel #2 is the same or less, so the difference is not as pronounced as it is elsewhere. I drove down I 5 earlier this year (flat as Kansas) and found I could average 55 mpg at 55 mph, no problem. 65 mph brought it down to 49 mpg. 75 reduced it to about 44 and 85 brought it down to about 39 mpg. But the fun starts as you take it well past 100 mph, which we California dwellers frequently do (in Nevada).

Now that I'm getting decent mileage I don't obsess over it (at least not as much as I did driving a Chevy Blazer during the $4/gal days back in '07). Over the last 30 or so years I've driven various Japanese and American cars, good and bad, but the Jetta is my first European (well, Mexican) car. I have heard that the MK V is the largest and best equipped Jetta in that car's evolution. For sure this pair of '09 TDIs are better built and better designed than the American or Japanese cars I've owned, and those have included Chevys, Chryslers, Fords, Hondas, Mazdas and Toyotas (and like many of us I've rented just about everything else when I had the chance, including well put together Lexus', BMWs, Mercedes and the occasional exotic car). There is nothing cheap about the materials or workmanship in the '09 Jetta TDI. Both cars handle extremely well, and like many upscale cars the faster you drive the better (and safer) they feel. So the TDI handles impeccably and feels just fabulous at 135 mph. Not skittish. Not dangerous. Which is one reason I find it difficult to get 55 mpg by driving 55 mph. It's just too much fun to drive fast on the highway. I tried the Fit, the Insight, the Civic and the Prius before I decided on the Jetta. They are all very nice cars. And I was looking for great mileage. But none if them will do 85 - 90 mph comfortably, let alone 135. Though they are all peppy and quick leaving a stoplight, none of them will accelerate adequately to make passing on two lane highways even remotely safe (the Insight is quite remarkable in it's all-out struggle to merge into fast-moving highway traffic). All of them will sooner cause you to lose control and leave the road at high speed due to jittery and unpredictable short-wheelbase response to driving surface irregularities. There is no question that the Jetta's electric steering assist is so much better than hydraulic power steering I now have a hard time feeling good driving cars without it. The Jetta simply feels more roadworthy and there's no getting around it. I don't know if I'll still be singing it's praises in a year or two but chances seem good that if I treat it well I will continue to enjoy it's better qualities and it will last a lot longer than any other car I've owned. Bottom line is that this a high mpg, high mileage car for people who like to drive long distances, or who just love to drive. Oh and one more curious thing about the clean diesel and dsg combo (my first time for both technologies). On a good long incline (like the ones in Nevada that will subtly take you up 5000 feet before you know it), well I haven't found any gasoline powered vehicle yet that I couldn't pass, barely caressing the pedal, at 2000 rpm. This car has so much low rpm torque it does not need to scream at 5000 rpm to get you moving. It glides by effortlessly. And economically. If you want high mpg and a great ride for a tough daily highway commute, this is your car.
Wow, excellent post!

I know that we are biased here, but I had a similar experience with my first exposure to Volkswagen cars. At the time I had an '88 Hyundai Excel and borrowed a friend's '86 Golf and wow, what a difference! And with TDI, the experience is even more so as you have detailed. I have since owned many VW's, with a few other brands mixed in, but have recently come back to the TDI JSW 6MT. In addition to your points about the Jetta being superior to the competition, another area I would add is safety. VW is consistently on top of the industry and a pioneer in new technology in this area. Compare the reinforcements, air bags and roll cage in the Jetta to any of those other ones you mentioned and it's not even close.

I typically travel 38 miles each way to work and mostly highway at about 75 MPH. I typically average 42-43 MPG. I have only had the car for less than 3K miles and I have about 38 combined for total driving, but oh what fun the driving is! Mileage gets better with age, as I can attest was the case with my '02 1.9L TDI Beetle.

I am not a mechanic, but have one caveat to the OP I have gathered from sources far more knowledgeable than I. If you go TDI you want to properly break the engine in by seating the rings. This will maximize compression pressure for the life of the car. This means that you want to use 2500-3500 RPMs, especially climbing hills for the first 10K miles or so. And no cruise. This will obviously be a chore since the car does do so well at lower RPMs, as jharcourt here pointed out.
 

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Couldn't agree more about the safety factors. When my daughters started driving (just before the Jettas) I got them both used gas Volvos since I've always heard that was a best bet for teenage daughters. But they love the TDIs so much more and frankly I feel even more confident in the VWs where safety is concerned. And regarding your assertion about seating the rings, I have heard opinions for and against but I did it anyway...figured it wouldn't hurt and I'm looking forward to many years of great compression and improving mpg!
 

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Really? What models of vehicle did they test? I would think it is heavily dependent on the particular vehicle. While A/C is super efficient these days and requires almost no load from the engine the cars themselves have gotten even more aerodynamic. That aerodynamic property often doesn't work very well with windows down as they expect people to have them up. This is especially evident when just the back windows are down on newer cars. Notice the hardcore wind buffeting at high speeds?
 

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The economy comparison test that R&T did a few months ago (Prius, Fiesta, Golf TDI) included a back to back 30-mile freeway run, once with A/C off (windows up), and once with A/C running. I don't cave the article in front of me now, but I recall the A/C penalty being ~2 MPG for the Golf. They did not do a windows down test.
 

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I have two TDIs: a 2009 Jetta DSG Sedan and a 2009 Jetta DSG Sportwagen. They are identically equipped, except the sedan has 17" wheels and the JSW has 16". After 25k miles each, it seems they behave pretty much the same way. I commute 50 miles roundtrip every day, but I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and cover about 2k feet vertical drop, up and down each way. I use AC year round. I keep the tires at 35 psi and I average 35 mpg mixed city and highway. Diesel here is typically the same as regular. But California gasoline costs more than it does in other states, whereas diesel #2 is the same or less, so the difference is not as pronounced as it is elsewhere. I drove down I 5 earlier this year (flat as Kansas) and found I could average 55 mpg at 55 mph, no problem. 65 mph brought it down to 49 mpg. 75 reduced it to about 44 and 85 brought it down to about 39 mpg. But the fun starts as you take it well past 100 mph, which we California dwellers frequently do (in Nevada).

Now that I'm getting decent mileage I don't obsess over it (at least not as much as I did driving a Chevy Blazer during the $4/gal days back in '07). Over the last 30 or so years I've driven various Japanese and American cars, good and bad, but the Jetta is my first European (well, Mexican) car. I have heard that the MK V is the largest and best equipped Jetta in that car's evolution. For sure this pair of '09 TDIs are better built and better designed than the American or Japanese cars I've owned, and those have included Chevys, Chryslers, Fords, Hondas, Mazdas and Toyotas (and like many of us I've rented just about everything else when I had the chance, including well put together Lexus', BMWs, Mercedes and the occasional exotic car). There is nothing cheap about the materials or workmanship in the '09 Jetta TDI. Both cars handle extremely well, and like many upscale cars the faster you drive the better (and safer) they feel. So the TDI handles impeccably and feels just fabulous at 135 mph. Not skittish. Not dangerous. Which is one reason I find it difficult to get 55 mpg by driving 55 mph. It's just too much fun to drive fast on the highway. I tried the Fit, the Insight, the Civic and the Prius before I decided on the Jetta. They are all very nice cars. And I was looking for great mileage. But none if them will do 85 - 90 mph comfortably, let alone 135. Though they are all peppy and quick leaving a stoplight, none of them will accelerate adequately to make passing on two lane highways even remotely safe (the Insight is quite remarkable in it's all-out struggle to merge into fast-moving highway traffic). All of them will sooner cause you to lose control and leave the road at high speed due to jittery and unpredictable short-wheelbase response to driving surface irregularities. There is no question that the Jetta's electric steering assist is so much better than hydraulic power steering I now have a hard time feeling good driving cars without it. The Jetta simply feels more roadworthy and there's no getting around it. I don't know if I'll still be singing it's praises in a year or two but chances seem good that if I treat it well I will continue to enjoy it's better qualities and it will last a lot longer than any other car I've owned. Bottom line is that this a high mpg, high mileage car for people who like to drive long distances, or who just love to drive. Oh and one more curious thing about the clean diesel and dsg combo (my first time for both technologies). On a good long incline (like the ones in Nevada that will subtly take you up 5000 feet before you know it), well I haven't found any gasoline powered vehicle yet that I couldn't pass, barely caressing the pedal, at 2000 rpm. This car has so much low rpm torque it does not need to scream at 5000 rpm to get you moving. It glides by effortlessly. And economically. If you want high mpg and a great ride for a tough daily highway commute, this is your car.
YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES RIGHT ON THE DOT. I HAVE REACHED 120MPH [couldnt go faster, electroniclly controlled] AND THE CAR WAS AS STEADY AS GOING WITH 60MPH . :bowdown
 

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I just picked up my car. The dealer I chose is about a 2 hr ride from me ( no local VW delaers ). I also had a friend go with me to drive the other car home when I picked up the new car and I had to drive him home afterwards. I drove about 300 miles on my first day total, I reset the trip computer and I averaged 39mpg from when I drove off the lot. The vast majority was 75-80 MPH interstate driving in flat sunny florida with the AC on.
 

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Last week I did a road trip New York to South Carolina, on the stretches 80mph was my number, I did make several stops as I had my dog with me. My average both ways was during (according to MFD) and after (by hand calc) was abt 46mpg plus or minus. I didnt kill myself to get that number either. The best I've done on my 60 mile commute has been 52 but thats really trying and the grades are mostly in my favor coming home. My car doesnt even have 4000miles on it yet and I have the manual trans, so as the engine loosens and I get better at this finicky clutch (which I've grown to LOVE after much hate) this number will probably improve some. Trust me, this car is worth every penny whether its gas mileage, amenities, possible mods, solid (and fun!) handling in spirited driving, hauling things, etc! BTW the headlights are excellent, and I dont even have the Xenons!
 

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With my 2006 jetta tdi i drive 90 miles each way. (180 total per day) my first half hr of driving is back roads and the 80 mph the last hr to work. I consistantly get 550 to 600 miles to 13 gals of fuel. On 1 trip south last yr I drove 620 miles on 12.4 gals. (Mich to souther part of VA.)
 

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I drive a Golf TDi, basically the same as the Jetta, maybe worse aerodynamics.

On my drive to and from school I set my cruise for 82 mph. The instantaneous fuel mileage reader fluctuates between about 35-45 mpg. The average MPG reader always says about 34-36 mpg. I also live in FL so the biggest climbs are the overpasses. I'm disappointed that I'm only getting this for my mileage. Also if it matters I've got about 3000 miles on the car.

To see if what the dealer said was true on the other hand; I tried a mile or so cruise will the speed down to about 75 mph. The fuel mileage did improve, so that kind of contradicts the idea of an autobahn cruiser. Yes I know that most cars would be getting way worse at autobahn speeds, but that fact that I haven't consistently averaged even the EPA's highway mileage is depressing.
 

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...but that fact that I haven't consistently averaged even the EPA's highway mileage is depressing.
The EPA test cycle assumes that you are obeying the speed limits. I get 45+ at 70 MPH with mine.
 

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The EPA test cycle assumes that you are obeying the speed limits....
Not really as one cycle of the test is at 80 mph. Texas is the only state I know of that has an 80 mph speed limit.:D

The new EPA estimates (after 2007) are derived from 5 test cycles including an 80 mph cycle or simulations of the the three additional cycles added post 2007.

Here's some test data for mpg vs speed and the graph below.
[
 

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The EPA test cycle assumes that you are obeying the speed limits.
Not really as one cycle of the test is at 80 mph.
I stand corrected. But a quick burst to 80 in a short drive (10 minute, ave. speed 48) that is still only a part of the test is not going to deliver the same less than stellar mileage as steady cruising at 80+ will.
 

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s the idea of an autobahn cruiser.
Autobahn cruiser has nothing to do with gas mileage... Even though there are unlimited speed sections on the autobahn, much of it is limited to 100 or 120 kph (55-65mph). Even in the unlimited sections, they recommend driving at 120kph.

Autobahn cruiser has to do with handling and feel at higher speeds. Clean_Diesel mentioned earlier on this post that driving at 120mph feels as smooth as 60mph. And I can attest to that. I've accidentally hit 110 and didn't notice because it was smooth. That's the definition of an autobahn cruiser.


To get back on topic, I did a trip to New Orleans soon after I got my car, and consistently did 80-85 on the way down and I think I got somewhere in 33-35 mpg range. However, if I just go 65, I get 50mpg. I normally keep my MFD on range and I love seeing my total range (computer + tripmeter) go over 600 miles :thumbsup
 

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i cruise at 75 to and from school 3 night a week, 50 miles each way. below freezing i get between 36-39 mpg...the colder it is the worse the mileage gets. above freezing it jumps to 43 mpg. I cant wait to see what i get when it is actually warm.
 
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