It went on for years. Every time one passed I’d sigh. That soft clatter of the little diesel, faint but distinct, would turn my head every time. Back in high school my mom drove one of the earliest models, a diesel-powered Rabbit, and I recall the car’s ability to run forever on minimal fuel. Years later I’d acquired an ’82 Volvo wagon with a manual transmission, and while the car was painfully slow and sounded like an old garbage truck I was very fond of the 30+ mpg it gave me on local driving. Sadly, underbody rust took its toll and the Volvo was retired in the end. Volvo was no longer building diesels and VW, at the time, wasn’t importing any to the States. We opted for the Mercury Sable which served us well, but after 11 years and 124,000 miles it was getting tired. And this time around, I knew VW was offering an ultra-clean 50 state certified turbo-diesel, not only in the Golf and Jetta, but in a Jetta Sportwagen (the Golf Variant overseas) as well. Even better, the model features a satin-smooth six-speed manual transmission, which makes driving immeasurably more fun for me.
Over the last few days I’ve logged over 185 miles on the odometer, and the fuel gauge still hangs well between 3/4 and 1/2 tank. A little ‘consumption’ meter on the dash reports I’m getting 30 mpg in local driving, sometimes more, and on highway rush hour driving I’ve seen consistent 43 mpg. The turbo diesel is zippy and responsive, the steering agile and fun. This car makes me so happy!
There’s some interesting videos here and more information:
And here’s the TDI forum…