Jetta TDI Preview – Washington D.C. Auto Show: Volkswagen has sold TDIs on and off in the U.S. for the past several years, and with the 2008 Jetta TDI, it’s on again. Thanks to a better particle scrubbing system, nitrogen oxide reducing technology and new low-sulfur clean diesel fuel that debuted last October, the new Jetta TDI will meet strict Tier 2/Bin 5 emission requirements, meaning that Volkswagen’s latest TDI diesels are a far cry from the smoke-belching Rabbits of the ‘70s. The 2008 Jetta TDI, in fact, is expected to be 50-state legal for the first time since five states adopted tough California Air Resource Board (CARB) emissions standards.
Carmakers and consumers are searching for alternative energy sources that achieve high fuel economy and reduce emissions. For American and Japanese manufacturers, hybrids are the answer, but Volkswagen is hoping the 2008 VW Jetta TDI will yield comparable mileage while remaining cost-effective. VW isn’t new to diesels, and says that when they’re available about 20 percent of its U.S. sales are diesel models. Beyond that, the Jetta TDI is part of a new generation of European diesels charged with changing the image of diesels as stinky and underperforming to clean, modern and high-performance powerplants desirable in their own right, not just as a fuel-conscious stopgap solution.
The 2.0-liter four-cylinder under the 2008 VW Jetta TDI’s hood produces an estimated 140 horsepower and a whopping 235 lb.-ft. of torque. Getting it to burn diesel cleanly requires some sophisticated technology, and a key component to the system is a nitrogen oxide (NOx) reservoir catalytic converter. This device extracts approximately 90 percent of NOx emissions into a sponge-like network before exhaust exits the vehicle. The engine periodically switches modes, burning off the NOx into harmless nitrogen and water. The exhaust is further filtered by a particulate trap, which reduces soot content. Unlike the AdBlue technology used by other manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz, VW’s emissions equipment is self-sustaining and does not require a urea additive.
When the 2008 Volkswagen Jetta TDI goes on sale in the spring of 2008, it won’t look much different from the current Jetta lineup. The BlueTec badges signal VW’s collaboration with DaimlerChrysler’s Mercedes-Benz and Audi in developing the clean diesel technology, signifying that the Tier 2/Bin 5 emissions standards have been attained. This leaves the rest of the Jetta’s styling to speak for itself, which is largely a good thing. The most striking styling element of current small Volkswagens is the large grille that extends into the lower bumper. Tasteful applications of chrome signal the Jetta’s upscale aspirations.
If the 2008 Jetta TDI’s exterior is familiar, the interior is virtually identical to the standard car. A host of convenience and safety equipment carries over as standard equipment: air conditioning, a single-CD audio system, cruise control, eight-way adjustable front seats, a tilt and telescope steering wheel, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and traction control. Dual front, front seat side impact and curtain airbags provide a network of coverage in all Jetta models, and rear seat passengers benefit further from the optional rear side-impact thorax protecting airbags. Sedan models offer 16 cubic feet of cargo room. Jetta GLI interior shown.
VW emphasizes that 2008 Jetta TDI is meant to solidify BlueTec as the future of clean, fuel-efficient diesel vehicle propulsion for all 50 states. According to Volkswagen: “The Jetta TDI is one of the first products of the BlueTec offensive initiated jointly by Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen. The goal of this partnership is to establish the concept of BlueTec as a uniform label for clean and highly fuel efficient diesel-powered cars and SUVs with 50-state compliant engines. BlueTec denotes diesel power plants that comply with the strictest emissions regulations of the US market. The technologies individually developed by each manufacturer serve to reduce NOx in particular – an exhaust element more prevalent in a diesel engine.” 2006 Jetta 2.5 shown
The all-new 2008 VW Jetta TDI’s arrival will surely be welcomed by customers currently considering a diesel vehicle, as it fulfills the world’s most stringent exhaust thresholds. Volkswagen is already established in the United States as a diesel pioneer, having sold some 800,000 in the U.S. over the years. While there are still some examples of the last-generation TDI on dealer lots, it’s worth waiting until next year when the new diesels are available. The engines are more powerful, burn cleaner, and will be smoother. Prices are estimated to be in the $23,000 to $25,000 range, which sounds high for a Jetta, but is right in line with other alternative vehicles like the Toyota Prius or Honda Civic Hybrid. 2006 Jetta shown