The 2009 Jetta TDI: A Clean Diesel Car

by Justin Thomas •

The new 2009 Jetta TDI is an efficient vehicle– this quiet-running, diesel-powered car has a cleaner tailpipe than most cars on the road.

The Jetta uses a technology called “clean diesel” which actually lives up its name pretty well. While test driving this car, I found out that 97% of highway diesel fuel pumps are now dispensing Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) — this greatly reduces the particulate matter emissions from diesel engines. This diesel burns 98.5% cleaner than vehicles in the 1970s, and thus produces 97% less sulfur.

The Jetta has a diesel particulate filter to further reduce particulate emissions, and it has uses a NOx-storage catalyst, which is basically a reservoir that temporarily holds the noxious emissions, like a particulate filter, until they can be burned off during one of the engine cycles. Because of this, it is one of the first cars to qualify a Tier II Bin 5 vehicle (equivalent to California’s LEV II rating), therefore allowing it to be sold in all 50 U.S. states.

The Jetta TDI has a 2.0-liter engine with a common-rail fuel injection system, instead of VW’s traditional mechanical system, that uses piezoelectric fuel injectors. This technology permits higher injection pressures, which better atomize the fuel and make it easier to control pollution. The car gets 38 mpg in the city, and 44 mgh on the highway. Many drivers report that they get 50 mpg regularly in the this car.

I’m not a car enthusiast, but during my test drive, I found that this direct-injected car responded well in the city and on the highway too — it accelerated quickly, and I certainly couldn’t tell I was driving a diesel-powered vehicle.

The 2009 Jetta TDI is eligible for the $1300 Advanced Lean Burn Technology Motor Vehicle Federal Income Tax Credit. It has a starting price of $21,990.

I’m a strong advocate for car-free living, but there are circumstances where cars can be useful like in rural areas, so I am interested in reviewing the most efficient cars currently available.

Link: Jetta TDI

Comments 15

  1. Jetta tdi clean diesel comes with a catalytic converter with a particulate filter and a nitrous oxide storage catalyst. These technologies are quite new on diesels and ensure that these modern engines are quite minimally polluting. As a cyclist myself, i tend to think that bad drivers are unfortunately still deadlier to cyclsits than clean diesel or regular car emissions ;-(

  2. Clean diesel is okay on CO2, but is still horrible for health. The problem is the amount of airborne particulate matter. It’s not good for the environment to poison cyclists.

  3. Not really – the Wagon is probably more aerodynamic than the Sedan.

    There was a racing circuit a few years back where Ford Tarus wagon body shells were used rather than the sedan – for the same reason – they were more aero (and thus faster around the closed track.)

  4. Wait. . . doesn’t anybody find it weird that the smaller Sedan TDI gets less MPG than the Wagon version TDI?

    29/40 for Sedan
    30/41 for Wagon

  5. Both my wife and I drive 2005 VW TDI’s. She a Jetta Wagon and I a Golf. As far as we are concerned the TDI diesel is VW’s best kept secret. She averages 47 mpg and I get 45 mpg.

    Peppy, fun to drive, great mileage and other than the first startup of the day I never smell diesel.

    Soon I’m going to to start using biodiesel made locally. No mods needed! Can’t wait to drive the diesel hybrid. I hope it’s a plug in.

  6. Here in India it would help if DPF diesel particulate filters were made mandatory as in the Jetta .
    Bosch already has manufacture capability in Bangalore.
    Most people buy diesel cars in India because diesel fuel is cheaper than petrol.

  7. Now that’s what I’m talking about — eco-friendly AND sporty looking!

    The National Wildlife Federation recently finished a send-a-letter-to-the-EPA widget and Facebook application that sends an official message to the Environmental Protection Agency urging them to recognize the impact greenhouse gases are having on our planet. We’re trying to drum-up up some support for their cause. If you’re so inclined, we’d appreciate a link to either application or simply spread the word! Thanks so much!

    Widget: http://www.clearspring.com/widgets/48dd4c8e92491714

    Facebook Application: http://apps.new.facebook.com/speakupforwildlife/

  8. And not only emits less CO2 but it gives me an average of 55 MPG.

    The max I have gotten is 63MPG on a 300 mile trip.

    A TDI hybrid which is due in 2010, gives over 100MPG. The Citroen diesel hybrid available now gives 110MPG.

    Wake up to the new era of Clean Diesel. Ethanol is not the answer at all and Gasoline hybrids is not the solution either.

  9. Not true at all. “Clean” diesels like this Jetta emit very low levels of CO2 as well, lower or equal to gasoline-powered cars of similar size and engine displacement.

  10. Clean diesel is only clean compared to diesel. This is still probably twice as bad as a typical gasoline powered car.

  11. Rumors are that a TDI hybrid is on the drawing table….sounds like a killer combination. Get at it, VW!

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