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Discussion Starter #1
In the March, 2010 issue: http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/car/10q1/2009_volkswagen_jetta_tdi_diesel-long-term_road_test.

This review still leaves me conflicted about the wisdom of purchasing the car. I am mostly concerned with the choppy nature of the DSG and the lack of the 'fun factor' due to the turbo lag and lowish hp. Overall I think I will wait until the DSG issue becomes clarified further, and wait to see if the Golf TDI can get here with 170hp, or when decent hp boosters are available for the TDI (are they now available here?).
 

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C&D is usually quite good, but I don't think they put their best effort into this article. Testing a more "mainstream" car they would have researched the DSG issue and acknowledged that there are various related issues.

My understanding is that there are two issues: some DSGs are defective and don't engage the clutch from a dead stop rapidly enough, leaving you with white knuckles if you are trying to turn left across traffic. This is supposedly repairable. Then there are owners who report a sort of clunky drag as they slow to a stop. Some say this is normal for what is after all a manual transmission with electric clutches; others say it is a design flaw -- you would need to drive and decide for yourself.

But the real head scratcher for me was the mention of turbo lag. What turbo lag? My 200 HP Audi A3 had more lag than my JSW does (and it wasn't much).

As for HP, again that has to be your call. But bear in mind the old saying that people buy horsepower, but drive torque.

-dan
 

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There are performance chips out there but the biggest thing holding more people from getting them are: they're still pretty new and although I believe that they should not affect reliability, by definition because they're new there's no long term testing. Some people are also waiting for the car warranty to run out. As the tunes mature I'm sure they'll get better too.

This is representative of many opinions...or maybe they just wanted to create a more dramatic article.
the 2009 Jetta TDI is the first VW diesel we’ve put through a long-term test.
In the past, we shied away from them because many of the old VW diesels made less than 100 horsepower (and some less than 60). Their engines sacrificed horsepower at the altar of economy. And aside from their ability to stretch a gallon of fuel, those diesels qualified as noisy, dirty, and slow automotive hair shirts.
How would they know they're that bad if they've only done short tests?

I would be concerned about the hesitation from a stop. If the car refuses to move from a stop even at full throttle, that's a DSG problem not a turbo lag problem and certainly worse than most report.

Their US spec TDI is equipped with the electric cabin heater, they are confusing it with the coolant heater. I wouldn't call it warm air either, it's more just not frigid air.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
As long as there's engouh HP, torque is what gives that seat of the pants push.
Yes, I can see that at 0-30mph, but what about passing at 60-70mph? Is there any push left at those RPMs? OK I'll drop it down a gear, problem solved. But there were several reviewers who have expressed the opinion voiced by Dave Vanderwerp at C&D on Jetta TDI: "...not much speaks to the enthusiast".

As always, I am also concerned that the ever-present VW rattles and electrical gremlins will not have been eliminated in this car--and there is some evidence in this article to support that.
 

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Obviously I voted with my wallet, but I'm not an uncritical fanboi [g], so I'll agree with the review to the extent that if you're looking for a "sports car" the JSW or sedan is probably the wrong choice.

Having traded my Audi A3 2.0T, which meets most people's definition of a sports car to a T, I will also say that the JSW meets my needs for more space and economy without making me horribly miss the handling and acceleration of the Audi.

If you want a car that keeps pulling harder the higher you go on the tach, do not buy a Diesel. If you want one with low-end grunt (low = rpm, not road speed), then a Diesel is a good choice and offers a very "peppy" feel in many driving situations.

Obviously these are all subjective impressions, including C&D's, so your own seat of the pants experience should be the final determinant. As an enthusiast who wanted a small station wagon, it works for me, but I also admit that when I want to go carve turns and feel strong acceleration I can swing a leg over my motorcycle.

As for rattles and gremlins, VWs definitely suffer these more than some other brands. But having owned a bunch of them over many years, I'd say they are getting much better on this score and offer a lot of other benefits that can offset the minor irritations. And some of the brands that have historically been very good about rattles and gremlins are now showing other unfortunate, well-publicized problems (does the "You asked for it, you got it" ad jingle ring any bells [g]?).

-dan
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks, danham, that's a fair and balanced review that provides a valuable perspective about this car. I guess when the time comes I will climb into the driver's seat and judge for myself. I'm hoping that VW/Audi has some stiff competition in the diesel category a few years hence when I will be looking to buy.
 
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