Better World Club

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Only Thing Germans Love More than David Hasselhoff are Fuel-Efficient Diesels

Well, We Get the Diesel Thing -- Especially When it Relates to the 2009 Jetta SportWagen

Back in August of 2008 we reviewed the Volkswagen Passat Wagon, prompting several of our members to comment that the VW Jetta SportWagen was actually much more fuel efficient. As usual, our members were correct, and to prove that we do (occasionally) listen, we've decided to review the Jetta version of the VW station wagon.

One of the exciting things about the Jetta SportWagen TDI is that it runs on diesel, which means you can also run it on biodiesel. Biodiesel is exciting because it offers improved mileage over gasoline, lessens our dependence on foreign oil, and burns cleaner than petroleum diesel.

Jetta SportWagen Quick Stats

MPG: 30/41/34 (city/hwy/combined)
Cost to Drive 25 Miles: $1.67
Fuel to Drive 25 Miles: 0.74 gal
Cost of a Fill-up: $29.62
Miles on a Tank: 444 miles
Tank Size: 14.5 gal
Annual Fuel Cost*: $1001

[*Based on 45% highway, 55% city driving, 15000 annual miles and a fuel price of $2.27 per gallon]

Things People Like About the Jetta SportWagen

- Easy to park in narrow places, but still has cargo capacity similar to many SUVs
- Limited blind spots
- The diesel engine provides lots of torque

Things People Don’t Like About the Jetta SportWagen

- Rear end is not as well designed as it could be (though the same could be said about a lot of people)
- Rear seat is a bit cramped

Ka-Ching! Tax Incentives!

Up to $1300. Learn more about it here.


None yet. This is a good thing.

NHTSA* Crash-Test Safety Ratings

Front Driver: 4 Stars
Front Passenger: 4 Stars
Side Driver: 5 Stars
Side Rear Passenger: 5 Stars
Rollover: 4 Stars

[*The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) rates vehicles of all makes and models to determine their crash and rollover safety. Their ratings are created with data gathered during controlled crash and rollover tests. Vehicles with the highest ratings receive a 5-Star Rating.]

Standard Features

- Vehicle Anti-Theft Via Alarm and Engine Immobilizer
- Child Safety Door Locks Located On Rear Doors
- Programmable Power Door Locks With Automatic Locking
- Valet Lockout
- Radio Anti-Theft
- Selective Locking/Unlocking Via Key and Remote
- Limited Slip Differential
- Brake Assistance
- Electronic Brake Force Distribution
- Electronic Locking Differential
- 4-Wheel Anti-Lock Brakes
- Front Power 288-mm X 25-mm Vented Disc and Rear Power 260-mm X 12-mm Solid Disc Brakes
- Electronic Stabilization Program Vehicle Stability Control System Operated Via Engine - Power Reduction, ABS and Transmission Control
- 12-Volt, 60-Amp/Hour Battery
- 1 Cargo Area Power Outlet
- Turbocharged Diesel 2.0-Liter, I4, 16-Valve, SOHC, SEFI Engine; Front/Transverse Mounted With Horsepower Of 140@4000, Torque Of 236@1750, Cast Iron Block and Alloy Cylinder Head
- Free Scheduled Maintenance For 36 Months or 36000 Miles
- Diversity In-Glass Radio Antenna
- Premium AM/FM Radio With 10 Speakers Total; 6-Disc CD Changer; MP3 Player; Sirius(TM) Satellite Radio (Includes 3 Months Of Service, Unavailable In Hawaii and Alaska)
- Front Auxiliary Audio Input Jack
- Daytime Running Lights
- Halogen Headlights
- Metallic Paint (If Selected)
- Front and Rear Body Color Bumpers
- TDI Badge
- Front Air Dam
- Manual Air Conditioning
- Rear HVAC Ducts
- Interior Pollen Air Filter
- Trip Computer With Average Speed, Average Fuel Consumption, Miles To Empty, Instantaneous Fuel Consumption, Stop Watch and Trip Odometer
- Tire Pressure Monitor
- Tachometer
- Exterior Temperature Gauge
- Digital Clock
- Audible Warnings Include Headlights-On and Seatbelts Unfastened
- Service Interval Indicator For Brake Wear
- Cruise Control
- Compass
- Front Dual Reading Lights
- Delayed Courtesy Light
- Illuminated Entry
- Trunk Light
- Rear Carpeted Floor Mats
- Carpet Located In Passenger Cabin and Trunk
- Leatherette Located On Center Floor Console and Doors
- Front Carpeted Floor Mats
- Remote Trunk Release Located Inside Vehicle
- Keyless Entry Operated Via Key Fob
- Multi-Function Remote Operate Anti-Theft and Door Lock/Unlock
- Driver Airbag
- Automatic Locking Retractors
- Passenger Airbag
- Front and Rear 3-Point Seatbelts
- Front Crumple Zones
- Side Guard Door Beams
- Passenger Airbag Cutoff Sensor Activated By Seatbelt Engagement
- Front Active Head Restraints
- Front Pretensioners With Force Limiters
- Front Seatbelt Height Adjusters
- Front Side Airbags With Head Protection
- Rear 3-Point Center Seatbelt
- Side Curtain Protection(R) Side Head Curtain Airbags
- Trunk Anti-Trap Device
- Rear Seat Pass Through
- Front Dual Reclining Bucket Seats Manually Adjusts 8-Ways Total With Adjustable Seat Height and Adjustable Headrests
- Rear 60/40 Split Folding Bench Seat With Adjustable Headrests and Fold-Down Center Armrest
- Front Dual Manual Lumbar Support
- V-TEX Leatherette Seats
- Tilt Steering Column
- Telescopic Steering Column
- Power Speed Sensing Rack and Pinion Variable Assisted Steering
- Front Door Mounted Storage
- Rear Armrest Storage
- Cargo Area Cover
- Front Dual Seatback Storage Pockets
- Cargo Area Tiedowns
- Lockable Glovebox
- Covered Lower Console Storage Located On Floor
- 2 Front and 2 Rear; 4 Cupholders Total
- Exterior Rails
- Rear Stabilizer Bar
- Independent Multi-Link Rear Suspension With Coil Springs and Gas Charged Shock Absorbers
- Independent MacPherson Strut Front Suspension With Coil Springs and Gas Charged Shock Absorbers
- Front Stabilizer Bar
- 6-Speed Manual Transmission With Overdrive
- Temporary Full-Size Spare Tire
- Alloy Wheels, 16-In. X 6.5-In.
- SBRP205/55HR16, All-Season Tires
- Variable Intermittent Windshield Wipers
- Rear Window Defroster
- Dual Body Color Power Adjustable Heated Signaling Exterior Rearview Mirrors
- Front Dual Illuminated Vanity Mirrors
- Front Dual Sunvisors
- Rear Window Intermittent Wiper/Washer
- Green Tinted Glass
- Power Windows With Driver Side One-Touch Up, One-Touch Down and Pinch Protection
- Heated Washer System
- Power Window Lockout/Override

Not-So-Quick Stats

Standard Engine: 2.0L I4
Standard Transmission: 6 Speed Manual
Cylinders: 4
Horsepower @RPM: 140@4000
EPA Class: Compact
Number of Valves: 16
Fuel Type System: Diesel Engine / Electronic Fuel Injected
Turbo: Yes
Overdrive Transmission: Yes
Compression: 16.5:1
Displacement: 1968 / 120
Bore X Stroke: 3.19x3.74
Final Drive Gear Ratio Opt: 2.76
Power to Weight Ratio: 23.1
Final Drive Ratio: Yes
Valves Configuration: Single Overhead Cam
Supercharged: No
Cargo Volume: 33 cubic ft.
Passenger Volume: 92 cubic ft.
Brakes: Disc
Driveline: Front Wheel Drive
Steering: Rack & Pinion
Steering Diameter: 35.8
Suspension: Independent
Tire Type: Passenger
Tire Width: 205 mm
Tire Aspect Ratio: 55
Tire Construction: Radial
Tire wheel Diameter: 16 in.
Seating: 5
Headroom (Front): 38.4
Headroom (Row 2): 38.1
Legroom (Front): 41.1
Legroom (Row 2): 35.5
Shoulder Room (Front): 54.8
Shoulder Room (Row 2): 53.1
Curb Weight MT: 3230
Curb Weight AT: 3285
Ground Clearance: 5.4
Height: 57.2
Length: 179.4
Top Type: Hard Fixed
Track (Front): 60.7
Track (Rear): 59.6
Wheelbase: 101.5
Width: 70.1
Doors: 4

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  • And something even better than processed biodiesel is that once your warranty is done you can convert your engine to run on waste vegetable oil. Very little diesel used at all, just enough to warm the engine.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At August 1, 2009 at 3:16 PM  

  • Better World Club, meet The Green Car Company (

    In the Green Car Company's latest newsletter, they included an article discussing the new fuel injection system Volkswagon installed in 2007.5+ diesel engines called "late post-injection" to meet new stricter EPA standards. This process injects a smal amount of fuel into the engine post-combustion. With regular dino diesel that works fine due to a lower flashpoint than biodiesel. Biodiesel's (generally) higher flashpoint means that a little bit of biodiesel may still be left, leading to oil dilution, which can lead to engine damage or failure.

    However, if Volkswagon implemented a process called "exhaust stream" injection, rather than using late post-injection it would accomplish the same goal (reducing emissions) but would also allow for the use of Biodiesel without the damaging effects.

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