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VW Jetta Sportswagen - petrol or diesel?

VW Jetta Sportswagen - petrol or diesel?

Old Aug 19th 2011, 7:59 am
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Question VW Jetta Sportswagen - petrol or diesel?

As we need to ditch our crappy old Focus and we now have the 7-month old Sproutlet on board, Mrs tonrob and I have been looking at small-ish cars with good luggage space. We already have a Jeep Grand Cherokee, so are really looking at something smaller and more economical, but still want to be able to whack the stroller in and maybe a suitcase or a boatload of shopping.

We've pretty much decided on the Jetta Sportswagen - has great reviews, we enjoyed our test drive and it's got excellent boot space. We'll be buying new and paying cash, but right now are torn between the basic petrol 'S' version ($20K) or the TDI with slightly posher interior ($25K). We want manual transmission, so this rules out the middle-of-the-range SE model.

Diesel fuel seems to be about 10% dearer at the pump, but report say that the diesel Jetta uses about 30% less fuel than the petrol one. By my calculations we'd need to drive over 200,000 miles in the thing to make it worth the extra expense for the diesel model so really can't see the point. Am I missing anything - are there any other factors that make a diesel cheaper to own (especially now the tax benefits seem to have ended)? We could stretch to buy the more expensive model with add-ons but value for money is the most important driver for us right now among the choices that are available.

Also are there any other Jetta wagen owners out there that have any pearls of wisdom to share?

Ta muchly.

Last edited by tonrob; Aug 19th 2011 at 8:01 am.
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Old Aug 19th 2011, 10:20 am
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Default Re: VW Jetta Sportswagen - petrol or diesel?

Originally Posted by tonrob View Post
As we need to ditch our crappy old Focus and we now have the 7-month old Sproutlet on board, Mrs tonrob and I have been looking at small-ish cars with good luggage space. We already have a Jeep Grand Cherokee, so are really looking at something smaller and more economical, but still want to be able to whack the stroller in and maybe a suitcase or a boatload of shopping.

We've pretty much decided on the Jetta Sportswagen - has great reviews, we enjoyed our test drive and it's got excellent boot space. We'll be buying new and paying cash, but right now are torn between the basic petrol 'S' version ($20K) or the TDI with slightly posher interior ($25K). We want manual transmission, so this rules out the middle-of-the-range SE model.

Diesel fuel seems to be about 10% dearer at the pump, but report say that the diesel Jetta uses about 30% less fuel than the petrol one. By my calculations we'd need to drive over 200,000 miles in the thing to make it worth the extra expense for the diesel model so really can't see the point. Am I missing anything - are there any other factors that make a diesel cheaper to own (especially now the tax benefits seem to have ended)? We could stretch to buy the more expensive model with add-ons but value for money is the most important driver for us right now among the choices that are available.

Also are there any other Jetta wagen owners out there that have any pearls of wisdom to share?

Ta muchly.
Diesel in MA in the winter.......hmmm.
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Old Aug 19th 2011, 10:24 am
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Default Re: VW Jetta Sportswagen - petrol or diesel?

Originally Posted by cindyabs View Post
Diesel in MA in the winter.......hmmm.
Ok Mrs cryptic - care to expand? Obviously something to do with the temperature, but I should point out that I'm a complete fuckwit when it comes to cars. The diesels seem to outnumber the petrol ones on the lot at a ratio of at least 4:1 so I'm assuming they must sell...
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Old Aug 19th 2011, 10:59 am
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Default Re: VW Jetta Sportswagen - petrol or diesel?

Originally Posted by tonrob View Post
Ok Mrs cryptic - care to expand? Obviously something to do with the temperature, but I should point out that I'm a complete fuckwit when it comes to cars. The diesels seem to outnumber the petrol ones on the lot at a ratio of at least 4:1 so I'm assuming they must sell...
No, just a pause on that thought for no other reason than the temps. I still remember my Dad's 18 wheelers having to be babied in the winter.

Diesel engines are supposed to last longer than gas powered ones, that's all I know on that.

PS I wouldn't be a true New Englander if I weren't cryptic,
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Old Aug 19th 2011, 12:35 pm
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Default Re: VW Jetta Sportswagen - petrol or diesel?

Motortrend appears to give the S a $2000 advantage over 5 years for things like servicing, depreciation, etc.

Are there ample gas stations that carry diesel around your normal driving area?

You could also read up a bit on VWVortex to see what people are actually getting in the way of fuel consumption etc?
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Old Aug 19th 2011, 1:31 pm
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Default Re: VW Jetta Sportswagen - petrol or diesel?

No experience with VWs, but one of the reasons I ended up going with a gas motor in my truck was because repairs on the Cummins diesel can get up into the thousands of $ pretty quick.
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Old Aug 19th 2011, 3:15 pm
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Default Re: VW Jetta Sportswagen - petrol or diesel?

Here is an interesting link from the TDI club in Canada. I note that the copyright is from 2002.

The problem with winter operation of diesels is in the fuel. With winterized fuel and giving the glow plugs some time to do their thing, it should be no problem. However, I remember an article from Consumers Reports in the early 80's. If I recall correctly, a Mercedes 240D stopped running in a severe cold snap because the fuel would flow due to gelling.

A good friend drives a 2001 Jetta TDI. One cold January morning, she drove to Lancaster CA for a court hearing. In wintertime, unlike Los Angeles, it often gets below freezing. When she came out three hours later, her car would not start. It would not take a jump start. So she had the car towed 70 miles to her mechanic in Santa Monica. Car started perfectly. It seems that the fuel had frozen -- she uses veggie oil for fuel and it has a relatively high water content.

addendum: I have driven manual transmission turbo diesels outside of the US [a Skoda Octavia TDI and a Mitsubishi Nativa [Montero in the US] Turbo Diesel. The comment on the ease of driving manual is well taken.

Last edited by S Folinsky; Aug 19th 2011 at 3:20 pm.
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Old Aug 19th 2011, 3:49 pm
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Default Re: VW Jetta Sportswagen - petrol or diesel?

If you have to hit 200,000 miles to gain any advantage go with the petrol, as metioned diesel repairs can be very expensive. If you have to pass emissions after 100,000 miles you may need new or echange injectors and maybe a fuel pump and that is not cheap. The new diesels do tend to start easily in cold weather much better than say 20 years ago.
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Old Aug 19th 2011, 4:39 pm
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Default Re: VW Jetta Sportswagen - petrol or diesel?

Originally Posted by tonrob View Post
As we need to ditch our crappy old Focus and we now have the 7-month old Sproutlet on board, Mrs tonrob and I have been looking at small-ish cars with good luggage space. We already have a Jeep Grand Cherokee, so are really looking at something smaller and more economical, but still want to be able to whack the stroller in and maybe a suitcase or a boatload of shopping.

We've pretty much decided on the Jetta Sportswagen - has great reviews, we enjoyed our test drive and it's got excellent boot space. We'll be buying new and paying cash, but right now are torn between the basic petrol 'S' version ($20K) or the TDI with slightly posher interior ($25K). We want manual transmission, so this rules out the middle-of-the-range SE model.

Diesel fuel seems to be about 10% dearer at the pump, but report say that the diesel Jetta uses about 30% less fuel than the petrol one. By my calculations we'd need to drive over 200,000 miles in the thing to make it worth the extra expense for the diesel model so really can't see the point. Am I missing anything - are there any other factors that make a diesel cheaper to own (especially now the tax benefits seem to have ended)? We could stretch to buy the more expensive model with add-ons but value for money is the most important driver for us right now among the choices that are available.

Also are there any other Jetta wagen owners out there that have any pearls of wisdom to share?

Ta muchly.
Did you look at the Subaru Outback? Base model is in your price range and benefits I'd see for your situation are AWD, good fuel efficiency and plenty of room in the back - nice big rear seat that'll take any size kid seat.
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Old Aug 19th 2011, 7:08 pm
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Default Re: VW Jetta Sportswagen - petrol or diesel?

Originally Posted by Macca67 View Post
Did you look at the Subaru Outback? Base model is in your price range and benefits I'd see for your situation are AWD, good fuel efficiency and plenty of room in the back - nice big rear seat that'll take any size kid seat.
Thanks - I'll take a closer look. Mrs tonrob is German and is quite wedded to the VW idea though... Maybe I can convince her that Subaru are an old firm from Frankfurt.
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Old Aug 19th 2011, 7:09 pm
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Default Re: VW Jetta Sportswagen - petrol or diesel?

Originally Posted by rallybug View Post
Motortrend appears to give the S a $2000 advantage over 5 years for things like servicing, depreciation, etc.

Are there ample gas stations that carry diesel around your normal driving area?

You could also read up a bit on VWVortex to see what people are actually getting in the way of fuel consumption etc?
Interesting comparison - thanks.

In fact thanks to all who have waded in do far. I think I'm leaning towards the petrol model, especially as it will also allow us to keep a few grand extra in the bank.
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Old Aug 19th 2011, 7:41 pm
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Default Re: VW Jetta Sportswagen - petrol or diesel?

Originally Posted by tonrob View Post
Interesting comparison - thanks.

In fact thanks to all who have waded in do far. I think I'm leaning towards the petrol model, especially as it will also allow us to keep a few grand extra in the bank.
My daughter's had 2 Jettas (petrol) and has had no problems with them. Had a nasty bump in the new one and walked away unharmed. Hubby bought a new Merc last fall...almost went for a diesel but decided against it in the end. We hope to go on an extended across country road trip and didn't want to run out of gas stations who sold diesel. Although I like to support UK or US goods...you can't beat German cars. Yeah I know the Jetta is built in Mexico.
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Old Aug 19th 2011, 7:48 pm
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Default Re: VW Jetta Sportswagen - petrol or diesel?

Originally Posted by tonrob View Post
Ok Mrs cryptic - care to expand? Obviously something to do with the temperature, but I should point out that I'm a complete fuckwit when it comes to cars. The diesels seem to outnumber the petrol ones on the lot at a ratio of at least 4:1 so I'm assuming they must sell...
You're out in the boonies of cold land...it can sludge, mess up the engine and not start very well...especially with the dodgy diesel they sell out this way.

Also, check to see if the local garages will do an inspection on it...not many will in MA, which is partly why they're hard to come by...because most garages didn't want to upgrade their systems when everything got centralised and plugged into the DMV.

And yes, they are much more pricier to get serviced out here, unless you're in a bigger city where a garage is more likely to have experience with them....
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Old Aug 19th 2011, 7:54 pm
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Default Re: VW Jetta Sportswagen - petrol or diesel?

Originally Posted by Jerseygirl View Post
My daughter's had 2 Jettas (petrol) and has had no problems with them. Had a nasty bump in the new one and walked away unharmed. Hubby bought a new Merc last fall...almost went for a diesel but decided against it in the end. We hope to go on an extended across country road trip and didn't want to run out of gas stations who sold diesel. Although I like to support UK or US goods...you can't beat German cars. Yeah I know the Jetta is built in Mexico.
Everywhere round us sells diesel - in fact I hadn't ever realized that some garages might not.

The shitty Focus was built in Mexico. But probably by nasty illegal immigrants who had snuck in from the US. I expect the Jetta will be built by honest-to-goodness, law-abiding, God-fearing, sombrero-wearing Mexicans, so no problems there. Unless there's a kilo of coke hidden in the boot somewhere. Is there a law regarding how much German beer you should drink before you stop posting on BE? I'm sat on a balcony overlooking the Rhine if this helps.
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Old Aug 19th 2011, 9:35 pm
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Default Re: VW Jetta Sportswagen - petrol or diesel?

No offense people, but your concerns are misguided or misinformed.

I have a TDI Jetta, great car. I have the Pumpe Duse engine, but yours will be the new Common Rail engine.
Buying a diesel is a win-win. Depreciation is negligible. I bought mine just before the last oil spike. One year later, with 15,000 miles on it, it was actually worth more than what I paid for it.

The diesel in the cold thing is so easy to manage - it really isn't an issue. First, you buy winterized diesel. Second, even if you can't, you put in four ounces of Power Service and this will prevent the fuel gelling down to -40C, and boosts your cetane level. Mine has driven in the mountains to the ski resorts and I've never had a problem with gelling, or starting.

You should check out tdiclub.com - amazing forum. Yours will be A6 model.
There was a problem with the high pressure fuel pump (HPFP) but that has been fixed.

Buying a diesel is a no-brainer, and you'll be glad you did. Especially when you can get biodiesel for 70 cents a gallon, and your car has a range of 700 miles per tank.
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