Will VW TDI drivers be “dancing the oily polka?”

Posted By on December 26, 2007

Although Car and Driver teases TDI drivers with a few MPG one-liners, the fever to get a new TDI is growing. Check out the list of 10 in December’s Car and Driver article:

2008 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
31 mpg city/39 mpg highway (est)
Jetta TDIVee-Dub diesel die-hards, particularly those who live in the states tied to California emissions standards, are dancing an oily polka, because their diesel messiah returns in the form of the 50 state legal, state-of-the-art Jetta TDI. The rest of us are just excited about a car that should regularly return more than 50 mpg. Official fuel-economy figures aren’t out yet, but we expect to see something like low 30s in the city and high 30s on the highway from normal use, although we’re sure diesel-huffing fanboys (and -girls)—the sort of people who debate the optimal drafting distances for differently shaped “tow vehicles”—will employ their favorite mileage-stretching strategies to crush the Prius’s 45-mpg highway figure.

An expected jog to 60 mph in 8.0 to 8.5 seconds, although not embarrassing, does fail to express how well this car will dispatch day-to-day driving duties. With torque available from idle to redline, the stress of sphincter-clenching maneuvers such as country-road passing and sprints across busy intersections is much mitigated.

The federal mandate for ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel, long available in other parts of the world, facilitates the use of emissions-control technologies developed with Mercedes and others under the BlueTec label, although Volkswagen will continue to use its TDI moniker. Unlike the Mercedes-Benz E320, the Jetta TDI makes do without urea injection, instead employing a storage catalyst that traps nitrogen oxides until enough have built up to be burned off. No word yet on the rumored Grateful Dead–edition TDI equipped with an NOx-to-nitrous-oxide converter with dashboard-mounted balloon inflator.


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