2009 TDI: The Jetta That Does Not Stink

When you say diesel-powered cars, auto shoppers will equate it with soot-spewing and stinking vehicles. But that was a thing of the past. If you can still remember Oldsmobile lineup in the 1980s, you will agree that diesel cars do stink.

Volkswagen of America is on a mission to wipe that notion away. The company earlier unveiled a next step in the company’s U.S. diesel strategy at the Washington, D.C. auto show, showing a Jetta TDI that utilizes an all-new 2.0-liter, common-rail diesel engine that is designed to meet emissions requirements in all 50 states when it rolls out by 2008.

While the Jetta carries the Bluetec badge, mirroring Volkswagen AG and Audi AG’s alliance with DaimlerChrysler AG on diesel emissions technology, the car will not use the AdBlue liquid urea additive to comply with federal standards. Why?

That is because the engine is smaller than the 3.0-liter V6 diesel engine that the company will install in the Touareg SUV in 2008, which will employ AdBlue, said Norbert Krause, the director of VOA’s engineering and environmental office.

According to the esteemed maker of the Volkswagen Rabbit radiator, Bluetec refers only to the vehicle’s ability to meet federal Tier II bin 5 emissions standards. That means the car will not only be available in states that are governed by national standards, but also in the five states that follow California emissions rules. The four Northeastern states and California that have separate, tighter requirements, account for 40 percent of VW’s U.S. sales, Krause said.

“The new engine abandons VW’s old mechanical fuel injection system in favor of a common-rail system using piezoelectric fuel injectors. This technology permits higher injection pressures, which better atomize the fuel and makes it easier to control pollution,” Krause added.

To note, diesel engines struggle specifically with oxides of nitrogen (NOx) pollution, and the Tier II bin 5 standard allows only 0.05 grams per mile. The German automaker will use a NOx trap and two oxidation catalysts to clean the Jetta TDI’s emission.

The new engine is smoother, quieter, more powerful and more efficient than the old Jetta TDI, said Volkswagen. But the automaker said that it would not cost more. Fuel economy should be better, in the 45 mpg range, while the engine produces 140 horsepower and 235 pound-feet of torque, according to Krause.

Jetta TDI production is set to begin in January of 2008, with U.S. availability scheduled for May of next year, at a starting price of about $23,000 and a typically equipped car listing for $25,000, which is in line with the outgoing model, according to spokesman Keith Price.

The automaker has prepared a traveling road show called the Dieselution Tour. Into a couple of tractor-trailers, Volkswagen has packed interactive displays exalting the virtues of diesels. On display are a Touareg TDI, a 1977 Rabbit diesel (the oldest Volkswagen diesel in America) and the 2009 Jetta TDI. The tour will make stops at environmental events, various universities, the Super Bowl, and more.

About the Author:
Anthony Fontanelle is a 35-year-old automotive buff who grew up in the Windy City. He does freelance work for an automotive magazine when he is not busy customizing cars in his shop.

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One Response to “2009 TDI: The Jetta That Does Not Stink”

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