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My wife and I have about 650 miles on our 2011 Jetta Sportwagen (DSG, Premium pack, rear side airbags). This site in particular provided a huge amount of detailed information that eased the purchase process considerably--thanks, CCBB!

Now that we've got the car, I have a couple of basic questions:

First, the mileage thus far is worse than I expected.
  • Since we took delivery, we've averaged 28.0 MPG per the on-board computer. In city driving, I typically get 27-29 MPG. I did an 80-mile, out-and-back highway drive to characterize highway mileage. With the cruise control set to 73 MPH, we averaged 41.1 MPG on a flat interstate.
  • We've had the AC on the entire time we've had the car--we live in Phoenix, AZ, and we routinely see highs of 113F-118F. I realize the AC and the hot ambient temps both reduce observed mileage. I'm also aware that VW's TDI engines generally deliver improved mileage as they break in.
  • Does anyone think our mileage is unreasonably low given the extreme conditions?
Second, we're already well on our way to what may be an awful experience with VW service:
  • We bought our car from a dealer in San Francisco; the JSW arrived at our house on a transporter. On our first drive, it became clear that the steering wheel is cocked about five degrees counterclockwise when traveling straight.
  • The car doesn't pull to either side; after searching various threads, it seems that this is somewhat common for new Puebla-built VWs. I have a strong hunch that a bit of tie rod twiddling would center the wheel.
  • I have a service appointment with a local dealer. The service guy I made the appointment with claimed that this was an alignment issue, and that alignments are not covered by the warranty. He expects to put the car on the alignment rack for ~2.5 hours, which will run (according to my own SWAG) ~$450. I asked whether, if it turned out to just be a tie-rod adjustment, we'd still be looking at an alignment. He said yes.
  • Trying mightily to contain my irritation, I called VW USA. They agreed that (a) this was likely an alignment issue and (b) it wasn't covered by the warranty. The VW CSR said "that's something the dealer takes care of before delivery." Well, obviously the dealer didn't take care of it before delivery. I pointed this out to the CSR, asking (in a relatively polite way) why VW USA thought it was OK to deliver new cars with crooked steering wheels.
  • The CSR made soothing noises ("I understand why you'd be frustrated," etc.) and suggested that, if the dealer wanted to charge us for an alignment, VW's regional service rep "might be able to reimburse you for some of that cost." At this point, I thanked the CSR and ended the phone call.
  • I'm not angry yet--depending on what the dealer's service department does, this may be much ado about nothing. But I'm pretty icked out that VW suggested they might reimburse me for some of the cost. If the dealer wants to charge me for an alignment, the car will come off the lift and I'll go home. Frankly, I'd rather have a crooked steering wheel to point to when I tell my friends and family that not only are the VW quality-control horror stories true, but that VW USA isn't particularly troubled by them. "In fact," I'll say, gesturing to the wheel, "they were quite happy to deliver this car with a crooked steering wheel--see?"
  • I don't think it's unreasonable that alignments aren't covered; if I drove my new car home from the dealership and plowed into a curb, I might well need an alignment. If so, it would be my fault and not the dealer's or VW's. But the car was delivered this way, and no one is taking ownership of that.
  • I know I sound bitter, but mostly I'm just worried that this is pretty much SOP for VW warranty claims.
  • My actual question: Has anyone else had a crooked steering wheel on delivery? If so, was it resolved? How?
Finally, the MDI cable fits very loosely in my iPhone 4. If I put my phone in the center console upside down (with the 30-pin port facing up), the MDI cable often comes out. Is this universal, or do you think I might be able to get a new cable under warranty?

I'm not too worried about the mileage thus far. Aside from the things listed above, we're very happy with our car.

Here are a couple of random first impressions:
  • I'm a manual guy, but my wife prefers automatic transmissions. Dual-clutch transmissions are a great compromise for us. My only disappointment is that I miss steering wheel paddles more than I thought I would.
  • The Bluetooth speakerphone works much better than I expected it to. I despise being "on speaker," as they say, so I thought I'd never use this feature. But a number of people have said that I didn't sound like I was on a speakerphone. One even said I sounded clearer than I do using my fancy noise-canceling Bluetooth headset.
  • I'm really, really happy with the SD slot on the stereo. I bought a 4 gigabyte SD card (for ~$12) and filled it up with MP3s and AACs. I just select "mix all" and drive off. I only wish it could accept 16 gigabyte cards.
  • I bought a sunroof reflector from heatshieldstore.com. The reflector's white underside looks a little crinkly, but once installed it looks extremely clean with the shade closed. It's quite well designed; suction cups keep it in place, and it never gets caught in the motorized shade. I'm very happy with it, especially for $35. (I learned about it from a thread on this board--again, thanks, guys! It's part number 1307T, but you have to place your order over the phone; that part isn't listed on the vendor's web site).
I'd love to hear any feedback on the mileage, steering wheel and MDI cable questions.

Thanks in advance,

Jason
 

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You can add the paddle shifters, see the FAQ for details.

Alignment: http://www.myturbodiesel.com/forum/f19/steering-wheel-not-centered-road-crown-7298/

One thing about VW is that they have never had good customer service in general because they don't get much support and training from central VW compared to the gold standard, Lexus. So dealer quality is highly variable. If they want to grow as they've stated in press releases, they need to fix this.
 

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Mine had an offset steering wheel as well. The dealer (Oakland VW) corrected the problem by pulling the steering wheel and moving it a spline. Not sure that this was the best way to solve the problem, but that's what they did...at no charge.
 

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I think your mileage is correct given the information you provided and based on what I have seen with our Sportswagen. A selling dealer would normally correct the steering wheel issue thru alignment adjustment. This was probably a factory issue. Your car will get a little better milage as it breaks in.

Mert Cheney
 

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I'd look at driving habits and tire pressures...the mileage does seem a little low, but I don't see any cause for concern.
 

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Thanks for the replies, everybody.

With regard to the mileage, it seems as if ours is within one sigma (AKA "standard deviation") of the median. I'm going to reserve judgement until roughly November, which is the first reliably cool month here in Phoenix. No A/C plus denser air plus a broken-in engine may well yield improved mileage. Again, thanks for all the input.

chittychittybangbang, the thread you linked to was part of the reason I concluded that this is not an unusual problem. Still, it was helpful to re-read it. When we get in for service, I'll be sure to ask the tech to check the power steering data...if the steering angle sensor returns a non-zero steering angle while going straight, I'll insist on a no-charge alignment.

Also, it's very helpful to learn that many people have (a) had this exact problem and (b) had it fixed via an alignment at no cost to themselves. As far as I can tell, no one has had this problem and not had it fixed. All fixes have been via a no-cost alignment (with the single exception of Dangrass, whose dealer rotated his steering wheel by one spline). These data are invaluable.

As far as I can tell, delivering dealers address this kind of problem. Since we bought our car from a dealer in California, local dealers (in Arizona) have no incentive to fix the CA dealer's mistake. However, VW ultimately pays the bills for defects in workmanship, and they haven't stepped up thus far.

To be blunt, I suspect the CA dealer didn't perform the pre-delivery checks carefully--if it performed them at all--because they knew I wouldn't show up at their doorstep. IMHO (and I'm definitely not a lawyer) this is negligent at best and fraudulent at worst. If this isn't resolved post haste, I'll be tempted to name names.

Dangrass, thanks for your response. FWIW, the only way I'd accept the rotate-the-steering-wheel-by-one-spline solution is if the alignment notches on the steering wheel and column line up when the PS sensor records 0 degrees of steering angle input while the car is going straight and the as-delivered alignment is flawless. I wouldn't be able to say that if it weren't for threads like this one, as alluded to by CCBB:

http://www.myturbodiesel.com/1000q/a5/paddle-shifter-steering-wheel-swap.htm

I'll keep everyone posted as this develops. Again, it could be a non-issue if anyone--the local dealer, the CA dealer and/or VW USA--steps up.

Thanks, everyone.

Jason
 

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Chitty,do you see any issues with the dealer having rotated the steering wheel a spline as opposed to adjusting the tie rod lengths?
 

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No as long as the steering wheel angle sensor is reset. But of course the steering rack should be correct first. I also prefer the techs to stay outside of the car since I've had a damaged steering wheel. Some tech had dirty hands and got some kind of chemical on it which melted the leather where his hand was. I still have no idea exactly how it happened except that the tech had dirty hands.
 

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I assumed when I brought the car in that they would adjust the tie rod ends, but I guess this was an easier way of solving the problem given that the alignment appeared to be fine. In reading the work order they say that they reset the airbag, but no mention of having reset the steering angle sensor. Is the process to point the wheels straight ahead, center the wheel and do the reset? Assuming they never put the car on an alignment rack, would it even have been possible to reset the SAS? If they didn't reset the SAS, what are the implications?

Absolutely agree with your opinion of having the tech doing stuff inside the car, but sadly, I wasn't consulted, and fortunately there was no apparent damage done.
 

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Just like yours

Wow - I had a very similar experience! My wagon had a crooked steering wheel as well - infuriating. Dealer dopes said they would remove the steering wheel and move it over a notch. After hearing that absurd suggestion for invasive surgery on a brand new vehicle I opted for a quick trip to Big O tires for a good old alignment check. It was fixed perfectly after an alignment - 20 minutes. Now I paid $54 for the alignment. Perhaps I could have cajoled it out of the dealer, but really alignment isn't covered and half of those "service writers" are mechanical morons anyway. So I'm happy.

I'm getting 35.4 mpg on the tracker after 3K miles. Not as good as my 2010 tdi jetta manual got. Perhaps the DSG?

I love the wagon. Not long after this episode I got hammered in a hailstorm - so we got a nice repair by the painless ding guys (1 800 ding guy) highly recommended in C-springs by the way.
 
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