Eight Ward's editors collectively logged more than 400 miles (644 km) in the all-new '11 Volkswagen Jetta TDI for 10 days in early November as part of this year's 10 Best Engines competition.
Always eager to explore an engine's broadest capabilities, the judges experienced the upper and lower limits of the tachometer.
With each successive driver, the reported fuel economy on the car's log sheet actually improved. By the time we were done with the Jetta's 2.0L turbodiesel — and its excellent 6-speed dual-clutch transmission — the bottom line was a remarkable 35.3 mpg (6.7 L/100 km).
That number easily trumped some of the hybrid-electric vehicles we evaluated this year, and it did so without much time on the highway, the Jetta TDI's favorite place. Get on the open road, and the car runs like the pony express.
This engine earns its third straight Ward's award for being so efficient, quiet, powerful and an utter joy to drive.
Even after three years in the market, VW's TDI remains an outstanding value, with a starting price of $22,995 for the new Jetta. Yes, the TDI carries a premium of about $2,000, but most of it can be offset by a $1,300 income-tax credit
“For the money, it's the best diesel out there,” says Ward's Dealer Business Editor Steve Finlay.
DISPLACEMENT (CC): 1,968
BLOCK/HEAD MATERIAL: CAST IRON/ALUMINUM
BORE × STROKE (MM): 81 × 95.5
HORSEPOWER (SAE NET): 140 @ 4,000 RPM
TORQUE: 236 LB.-FT. (320 NM) @ 1,700 — 2,500 RPM
SPECIFIC OUTPUT: 70 HP/L
SPECIFIC OUTPUT: 16.5:1
ASSEMBLY SITE: SALZGITTER, GERMANY
APPLICATION TESTED: '11 VW JETTA TDI
EPA CITY/HIGHWAY: 30/42