Author Topic: Buying a used Jetta TDI - what is the best year? (Read 26709 times)

Soundstache

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Buying a used Jetta TDI - what is the best year?
« on: September 01, 2014, 10:10:23 AM »
I am selling my old gas guzzler and looking to get a used Jetta TDI for the gas mileage. I am looking for 60 - 120k mileage and cheap as possible - I am guessing my years would be between 2000 and 2010 maybe. Any Jetta owners out there with and advice is much appreciated.

Tetsuya Hondo

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Re: Buying a used Jetta TDI - what is the best year?
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2014, 10:20:11 AM »
Check out two sources for the answer:
  • True Delta - You can sign up for free to see complete reliability reports or see a partial listing without signing up.
  • Consumer Reports - Pull the latest new car buying guide from your local library or the Car Issue (usually December of each year, I think).

DarinC

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Re: Buying a used Jetta TDI - what is the best year?
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2014, 11:24:23 AM »
I think the cars with the older 1.9L tended to get better mileage than those with the newer 2L, especially in the city, and I think they're pretty reliable too. Just make sure to change the timing belt/tensioners/etc religiously since they are interference engines. If you drive a lot of city, a used Prius would get better mileage, but on the highway an older TDI and a Prius are pretty much the same.


mrsggrowsveg

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Re: Buying a used Jetta TDI - what is the best year?
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2014, 08:13:15 AM »
I have a 2003 Jetta TDI and average about 48 combined city and highway. I never drive over 63 and occasionally coast in neutral (manual). Ours has over 300,000 miles, but I see some selling with 150K-200K for very cheap all of the time. As far as the timing belts, find a really good mechanic with some experience with TDI's. My husband occasionally lurks on the TDI forums and there are some great suggestions for mechanics on there. We just did our 300,000 timing belt replacement and it was about $500. The local non specialist mechanic quoted us $1500. Some people say the oil is more difficult to change, but I did not find that to be true at all. I love this car and plan to buy a second one in the future.
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Mother Fussbudget

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Re: Buying a used Jetta TDI - what is the best year?
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2014, 11:50:44 AM »
I think the cars with the older 1.9L tended to get better mileage than those with the newer 2L, especially in the city, and I think they're pretty reliable too. Just make sure to change the timing belt/tensioners/etc religiously since they are interference engines. If you drive a lot of city, a used Prius would get better mileage, but on the highway an older TDI and a Prius are pretty much the same.

I second this. I owned a 2003 Jetta TDI using mostly biodiesel - averaged 43/50mpg (city/hwy). Drove it until a rock punctured the oil pan & totalled it. Bought a 2003 PRIUS, and got 45/50mpg. Gave it to my son, and bought a 2nd used 2010 Prius - getting 48/53mpg.

The TDI's produce carcinogenic particulates no matter how clean the fuel. For me that was the deal changer - I saw biodiesel as a bridge fuel to an electric car economy. I'm planning to add a plug-in-hybrid upgrade to the Prius. So far this is the best car ever IMHO.



Jack

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Re: Buying a used Jetta TDI - what is the best year?
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2014, 10:52:41 AM »
First, go do lots of reading on tdiclub.com, including the forums.

My ranking of Jetta TDIs from best to worst is as follows:
  • 2002-2003 'ALH' engine code with manual transmission
  • 1999.5-2002 'ALH' with manual transmission
  • 2004-2005.5 'BEW' (Mk4 chassis) with manual transmission
  • 2006 'BRM' (Mk5 chassis) with manual transmission
  • 2004-2005.5 'BEW' (Mk4 chassis) with automatic transmission
  • 2006 'BRM' (Mk5 chassis) with automatic transmission
  • 1998 and older with manual transmission
  • 2002-2003 'ALH' engine code with automatic transmission (plan to swap to manual when the auto dies)
  • 1999.5-2002 'ALH' with automatic transmission (plan to swap to manual when the auto dies)
  • 2009 and newer (yes, I am saying the newest ones are worst!)
(Note: there were no 2007-2008 Jetta TDIs in the US due to emissions regulations.)

By the way, feel free to get a Golf or even a New Beetle; they're almost the same car. The only differences are passenger/cargo space and drag coefficients (Jetta is best, Beetle is worst). The list above would be almost the same, except ALH Beetles started in 1998 instead of 1999.5, and BEW Beetles and Golfs lasted through 2006 instead of 2005.5.

andru365

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Re: Buying a used Jetta TDI - what is the best year?
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2014, 12:44:16 PM »
Jack's post above is very informative indeed!

I drive a 2006 Jetta with the BRM motor and DSG tranny. I have averaged 43 mpgs since I started tracking fuel consumption. Car has 202k kms on it and drives like new.

A word of warning:

A TDi VW is not an economy car. They are entry level euro sport sedans that just happen to get good mileage. The maintenance and repairs on these cars will quickly eat into the fuel cost savings, especially if you don't do your own wrenching.

If you want reliability, cheap maintenance, and pretty good fuel economy then stick to Civic/Corrolla/Mazda 3

Jack

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Re: Buying a used Jetta TDI - what is the best year?
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2014, 03:42:11 PM »
A TDi VW is not an economy car. They are entry level euro sport sedans that just happen to get good mileage. The maintenance and repairs on these cars will quickly eat into the fuel cost savings, especially if you don't do your own wrenching.

Quoted for truth. My Beetle TDI is much more fun to drive than any economy car, and after I remapped the ECU and upgraded the injector nozzles it's at least as fast as a MK4 1.8T while still getting 40-50 MPG. Or it would be, if it weren't up on blocks in my driveway mid-transmission-swap...

You do need to either be mechanically-inclined yourself, or have friends who are, to successfully own a TDI. You also need to be the kind of person who understands that if the spec says to use "type X" oil, then "type Y" isn't "close enough." However, parts themselves are not excessively expensive, and the car can be pretty reliable if you don't neglect it.

The bottom line is that if you care about what you drive then it's easily worth it. VWs are for enthusiasts, not people who see cars as appliances.