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Hi all!

Currently living in IL, moving out west to follow a job soon.

Long story short, I had a Civic, loved it, thought I was moving one place, sold it because I wouldn't need it (or the payments), got shifted elsewhere where I *do* need a car, and need to replace it for the drive out & daily living.

After looking around, the only semi-reasonable new cars that get 40-50+ MPG on highway runs and won't put me to sleep driving are the VW TDIs (Golf or Sportwagen). I am, however, concerned about cold-weather/starting issues and the somewhat infamous VW reliability. Any help/advice would be appreciated.

I'll be looking at the FAQs and what not, but how has their cars treated everybody? On a Scale of 1 (60s/70s Detroit mechanics special crossed with a big-rig in cold weather) to 10 (made of gold, pumps its own gas, and DPF ensures neither the diesel nor your personal exhaust stink), how would you rate yours? Also, any personal recommendations for break-in on the 2010-2011s?

Thanks!
 

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Take a look in the FAQ for some tips on engine break in. It's really no different than any other engine except the warm up times are a little longer.

You will have no problem in cold weather starting in Chicago. The only conditions which create hard starting are high altitude + cold weather + DSG transmission. Basically, since the engine runs off compression, combined with cold weather, combined with thick transmission fluid, has a hard time cranking.

VW reliability is better than ever but there are some sticking points. Take a look through the FAQ's buying guides for some common problem areas. Everyone I've met in person is very happy with their 2009+ models but there are forum posts with problems since that's the nature of a forum.

Also, post moved to the mk6 section since it's specific to that and title edited to be more descriptive.
 

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Hi all!

Currently living in IL, moving out west to follow a job soon.

Long story short, I had a Civic, loved it, thought I was moving one place, sold it because I wouldn't need it (or the payments), got shifted elsewhere where I *do* need a car, and need to replace it for the drive out & daily living.
!
I had a Civic (07 Coupe EX) and loved the car except for one very important thing, it was too loud to drive on my commute. My commute is 26 miles one way, no interstate. However I do have a good dose of tar snakes and some patches of annoying road that do make for a loud ride in some cars. The Civic was annoying in that regard.

So I took a Golf out and it was very quiet compared to the Honda. The Honda was nearly as loud as driving my Miata with the top up. So I get great mileage and a fairly quiet and smooth ride; fwiw my parents have a Fusion and that car is really really quiet - just not so frugal on gas.
 

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We have a 2010 Jetta Sportwagen TDI with a manual transmission. We have had nothing but positive experiences with it. We would rate it a 9.99. We are long time VW owners and also race VW's in Sports Car Club of America sanctioned road racing. This is our first TDI powered VW.
Treat it right and do the maintenance when scheduled and it will treat you right.

Happy Motoring!

dave parker
 

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My 2003 Jetta TDI was awesome with regards to reliability, the only thing that stopped it was Hurricane Wilma when she flooded my house and the Jetta floated away. As a side note, when a Jetta starts to float all of the doors unlock automatically, all of the windows open automatically, and the trunk pops open. Great if you crash your car into the water, but not so great during a hurricane.

The only warranty claim on my2003 Jetta TDI was an air bag sensor in the seat (an accelerometer), which set off a warning light on the instrument cluster but did NOT deploy the air bag.

I spent 2-years in New Hampshire with my 2003 Jetta TDI. My lowest temperature start was minus 14 deg F - with no block heater. It soaked at minus 10 deg F for more than 24-hours. I waited for the glow plug sequence to complete and it started on the first crank. The TDI thermal efficienty is upwards of 40% or better, with a gas engine down about 19 to 21%, so it takes much longer to warm up the TDI, so I would recommend getting the factory seat warmers so that you will have instant heat following start up.

I can't speak for the cold weather, non block heater, starting ability of the "clean diesel" TDIs with the piezoelectric injectors, but the reports are that the cold starting ability is even lower than the earlier models.

My 2003 TDI was the mileage king, with a lifetime average, before her death, of 52-MPG - I kept a log of every tank, kind of fanatically. My 2011 JSW TDI, clean diesel, looks like the fuel mileage is going to top out about 42-MPG. However, the 2011 JSW TDI has far more power and acceleration.

I would rate my 2003 TDI at a 9. I don't have a long enough run on my 2011 TDI to make a valid rating on it.
 

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The TDI thermal efficienty is upwards of 40% or better, with a gas engine down about 19 to 21%, so it takes much longer to warm up the TDI, so I would recommend getting the factory seat warmers so that you will have instant heat following start up.
My 2010 Golf has an electric assist to the heating system, as in I can get warm air in minutes after starting the car. I am not sure if that is in the Jetta/SW/Passat yet. It is a nice feature even down here in Georgia
 

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The longer I own my Golf, the more I love it. Everything you interact with feels like it was engineered by people who like driving. The interior is great, and the seats are fantastic. Even the steering wheel is a pleasure to hold and look at. The shifter (manual trans, of course) is smooth and precise. It even has a particularly intoxicating "new car" smell.

And then there's the way it drives. The diesel has mountains of torque, and with about 5500 miles on my car, it's starting to feel more willing to rev. The chassis is rock solid, and it's truly entertaining to fling around corners, though the stability control is pretty aggressive and can't be turned off.

I gained a new appreciation for the car during a recent 1100 mile round trip from Chicago to Kansas City. Like any VW these days (and for years past), it gobbles up highway miles with unusual ease for its size. On the return trip from KC, it rained steady and hard for 6 out of the 8 hours it took to make the trip. But the TDI felt invincible, right down to the crisp interior lighting and brilliant wipers that can hang on and wipe properly at 80+ MPH.

I've never had a problem with cold starting during this past Chicago winter. It helps to let the glow plugs warm for about 2 seconds before turning the key all the way. And while the engine takes ages to warm up, the upper vents have electric heating elements, so you've got warm air in about 30 seconds.

My car's only 8 months and 5500 miles old, so I can't speak to reliability. I've got an annoying rattle in the passenger front door that I'll be taking the car in for, and if that's all that goes wrong in the coming years, that's fine with me. But you never know.
 

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I've owned my Golf TDI since Feb. 2010. I've got 19,000 miles in it so far. No problems at all along the way. I highway commute 15 miles each way Mon. to Fri. We have also been on a few long road trips too. Talk about frugal mileage. It goes easily more than 500 miles on a tank!
I look forward to getting in my car each time. It is frugal, quiet, and fun.

The Southeast is not a cold weather climate but I do enjoy my heated seats in the winter.

Speaking of Hondas...One morning, at a red light, I was next to a S2000. Nice car, right? Probably pretty fun to commute in. Well, I had seen this drivers behavior on previous mornings. He likes to have fun and launch from the traffic light to put everyone way behind him before the highway on-ramp. Well, a slight change of plan. Green light! Then I saw him in my right hand mirror frantically trying to keep up with my 5-door diesel. As his image in my mirror got smaller and smaller, I think he gave up hope. Coincidentally, the very next morning, he wanted a do-over. The Golf is 2-0 against this S2000.

So, to answer your question about fun, I say, the Golf TDI can be pretty fun for a 'sleeper' :D
 

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I own a 2011 Golf TDI, picked up at the very end of December in Cleveland, Ohio. We have had a particularly brutal and cold winter, followed up by what is literally the wettest spring on record...all while I've averaged 70 miles a day in the thing. I just recently passed 10,000 miles.

I had some slight worries with cold starting, as my 2001 Jetta 1.8T would sometimes have to crank four or five revolutions before starting in our unheated garage, but the Golf never needed more than four. Once started it never stalled on me, and I always would shift out of neutral and drive right away (manual transmission) rather than run idle a few minutes. It has essentially functioned no differently from a non-diesel in the winter for me.

It definitely has electronic assist heat - if you listen to it, you an hear the click of the heating element after turning it on. The heater was always warm before I hit the highway, so within five minutes. The heated seats are noticeable within seconds of turning them on.

I honestly may have driven over 1,000 miles in the rain. I have never hydroplaned or even slipped while braking hard/suddenly. The wipers are of very high quality and nearly silent, though I'm pretty convinced that after I switched to 18 inch wheels I can feel the directional downforce through the steering wheel when they swipe while I'm travelling at highway speeds...I'm fully willing to admit that this is in my head, but if it I'm NOT in fact going insane I want to say that it is a little distracting. I've only needed to use their fastest setting two or three times, and each time it was more than enough to keep up with the downpour. Really though, if its raining hard enough to need that setting no one on the highway is going to be doing more than 40.

In the few dry, sunny days we've had so far, the car has been an absolute blast to drive. While my Jetta was rated something like ten or twenty horses over this Golf, the Golf feels more powerful and (more maneuverable even though it weighs very slightly MORE than the Jetta!) in every way - the torque and suspension and lower center of gravity make all the difference in the world. The suspension is fantastic and has always kept all wheels planted when doing spirited driving, and the ride remains quite comfortable. Putting 18" wheels on it changed ride feel significantly, to the point where if you do not like a very stiff, almost bouncy suspension I cannot recommend going beyond the 17" OEM shoes. I, myself, have been all smiles since the upgrade!

OEM stereo (not the Dynaudio system) has been satisfactory; I hook up my Android phone to the car via USB to trickle charge, and stream Internet radio via Bluetooth to the car stereo almost *daily.* Sirius audio quality and compression artifacts, especially the lack of detail in high frequencies, has not changed a bit since the last time I heard it nearly a decade ago, so they did not get any of my money when my 90-day trial expired.

If I'm going to have any complaints, it will probably be that it doesn't look like there is much I can do to get more power while keeping my warranty and staying legal. I kind of view the car as a high-tech hi-miler, rather than an easily modifiable tuner machine. Hopefully I'll be proven wrong by the more knowledgeable members here.

I hope my wall of text there was helpful.
 

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I sold VW's 40 years ago or more when they first imported diesels, my first purchase was a 88 jetta GLI 16v great car sold it with 140k on it then a 96 Jetta GLX VR6 great car traded for a 99 GLX VR6 last of the mk4 I think traded with 170k for a pair of Volvo XC70's '02 and '07. Now I am back to VW with a '11 Jetta Sportwagen with DSG, I have only driven it 900 miles (1week) but it is great the whole package is very well done, from it's structure to it's creature comforts. Great handling great performance great mileage (38mpg) first two tanks, the advanced engineering is very impressive, engine and transmission work very well in concert with each other. I look forward to posting more views as they popup I drive 40k/year so they will come fast.
Regards,KD
 

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I've owned my Golf TDI since Feb. 2010. I've got 19,000 miles in it so far. No problems at all along the way. I highway commute 15 miles each way Mon. to Fri. We have also been on a few long road trips too. Talk about frugal mileage. It goes easily more than 500 miles on a tank!
I look forward to getting in my car each time. It is frugal, quiet, and fun.

The Southeast is not a cold weather climate but I do enjoy my heated seats in the winter.

Speaking of Hondas...One morning, at a red light, I was next to a S2000. Nice car, right? Probably pretty fun to commute in. Well, I had seen this drivers behavior on previous mornings. He likes to have fun and launch from the traffic light to put everyone way behind him before the highway on-ramp. Well, a slight change of plan. Green light! Then I saw him in my right hand mirror frantically trying to keep up with my 5-door diesel. As his image in my mirror got smaller and smaller, I think he gave up hope. Coincidentally, the very next morning, he wanted a do-over. The Golf is 2-0 against this S2000.

So, to answer your question about fun, I say, the Golf TDI can be pretty fun for a 'sleeper' :D
This is what amazes me about my 2010 Golf TDI with 6M. I expected high fuel mileage (44 last tank around town), but as I've noted here before the car is very fast--exceeding my expectations. I have to watch myself to not break the speed limit and risk a ticket. I've had no problems. Robert
 

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Like the driving position/drivers ergonomics, hate the climate controls hard to decipher at speed and at night. A friend just bought a 2011 tdi sedan and the climate control panel in his is far superior. The markings are on the dial faces, I am nitpicking I realize, absolutely great Bluetooth interface with my iPhone calls music messages all seamless and very user friendly. I have not reset my trip computer so my car has 1850 miles since it left the factory and has averaged 35.9 mpg thru this time frame. Even that is a 75% increase over my XC70 I am spending half the $ on fuel that I used too even at the slightly higher diesel price.
 

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2011 VW Jetta TDI

My wife and I just bought a 2011 VW Jetta TDI. We love the fuel mileage we get out of it, but I have to say I'm not a fan of the DSG transmission.

When driving the car at low speeds, it always feels like the transmission can't figure out what gear it should be in and has a "jerky" feel to it.

Also, when accelerating from a stop, there is a significant delay between pressing the accelerator to the car actually moving. It takes some getting used to to say the least. When you press the accelerator, your brain is expecting the car to move forward, and when the car doesn't move, your immediate reaction is to press the accelerator more. Therefore, when the car does decide to go, it takes off like a rocket, sometimes spinning the wheels in the process.

Also, when coming to a stop, the DSG transmission downshifts which creates an "engine braking" effect, and when you combine that with actually braking, it sometimes feels like you are slamming on the brakes.

I have also noticed that it takes the TDI engine quite a while to warm up. If I start the car on a cool morning, say in 50 degree weather or so, I usually wait at least a few minutes before driving off, so oil can pump through the motor. However, the diesel engine "chatters" like a semi-truck when I accelerate down the road. This isn't necessarily a problem, but since I'm new to diesel motors, I'm not sure if that is normal or not. Since I live in Wisconsin, the car is really going to be exposed to much colder conditions that 50 degrees, so when it chatters like that, my first thought is "how is the car going to react to -20 to -30 degree conditions that we sometimes get up here.
 

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I love my 2011 Golf TDI.
I was used to driving an Audi A6 but the Golf is so much smaller and easier to maneuver. It's also great for parking in the compact spots...got into a little fender bender trying to park into one of those with the Audi :eek: ...I know I should have known it wouldn't fit, but it was my 3rd day driving.
It's also great that I can't notice when I'm going 75.

My husband likes driving the car too since he can easily zip around the highway.
 

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Does anyone know if the 2011 golf tdi has the electric heating elements this poster has mentioned ?
 

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The cabin heater? Yes. It's not warm but it's not ice cold which makes all the difference when it's 15F out.
Actually, in my experience, the supplemental heating element in the upper vents gets quite hot. True, for the first minute or so, it's merely "not cold" air blowing through the vents. But after that, it's a toasty breeze that warms my hands and the cabin very effectively, and a good 10 minutes before the main heater core can even think about beginning to warm up.
 

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Thanks to both of you for the replies. Makes me feel better knowing it has the supplement. I researched the car pretty heavily and don't remember any mention of this in my reading or by the dealer, who spent a lot of time educating me about the car and was quite knowegable. John
 

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Previously owned five Hondas, three of which were Civics. Honda's reputation for reliability is well deserved. However, despite the Civic being efficient and reliable, it's unfortunately quite boring. Hence my decision to step up to the Golf TDI.

So far, quite happy with my Golf. I'll echo the comments from djtleek about the quirky DSG and the occasional delayed acceleration. I've learned to be especially careful when turning left across traffic.

I've started my Golf in temps as low as 20F with no problems. Other than a tape weight that fell off one tire, I've had no maintenance issues so far.
 
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