Most U.S. customers have largely ignored VW diesels. Early examples had their quirks, including an engine rattle that sounded like a Peterbilt and the propensity to puff out black smoke like a coal miner. Still, they could go twice as far on a tank of diesel compared to gas-powered cars and their engines lasted for hundreds of thousands of miles. A cult following has kept them going and many have been converted to run on vegetable oil and other bio-fuel blends.
It will be years before we know if the new 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine powering the Jetta TDI is as bulletproof as its predecessors, but we can tell you that its fuel efficiency is as impressive as ever. The EPA has rated the car at 30 miles-per-gallon in the city and 41 mpg on the highway. VW felt the EPA test cycle wasn’t accurate and hired an independent company called AMCI to run more real world tests that yielded even better results: 38 mpg city/ 44 mpg highway.