Yes I know I can go to VWvortex but I prefer hearing stuff from you guys because I know how people here think.
I am considering a new car.
The irresponsible 24 year old in me is saying "**** it, buy a sporty car". The responsible 24 year old in me is saying "you have to consider the future and why you really need a car".
Sadly, or not sadly, I am leaning toward responsibility, and deciding I need a ultra reliable, good gas mileage, totally practical utilitarian mode of transport.
I really like the Jetta. I played around with TonyV's Jetta and thought it was pretty awesome, especially the front leg room which is easily the most important factor for when buying a car because of my shoddy knees(yes I drive a miata, funny how that happened).
I am also highly considering spending just a bit more and going with the TDI Sport Wagon. Diesel fuel economy, wagon practicality. Kinda torn between the DSG and the 6spd.
However. I dont know much about the VW diesel, or how the current generation Jetta is as a car especially if I plan to keep it for a while.
What can you guys tell me that I should know and consider? Im also open to other suggestions for a similar car in a similar price range that offers similar benefits.
The miata is a stick, its fine in the city. However, I am most likely going to move out to Jersey which makes the stick/auto decision from a driving standpoint, moot. I am more concerned about everything beyond that.
I don't know much about it, if I had a diesel I'd make it into a greasecar though.
I was told by my VW tech brother-in-law that the injectors are mechanical and that modulation is achieved by varying the rail pressure. Has nothing to do with anything, I just thought that was interesting.
Are the injectors mechanical? A friend of mine bought a used Jetta TDI recently and I'm 98% sure the injectors are electric. In fact I think they're piezoelectric, so maybe there is some mechanical actuation. I'm more familiar with older diesels.
Anyhoo my thoughts:
1. Auto/manual is your decision and I can offer no advice. Either has advantages/disadvantages.
2. Diesels are cool.
3. No, really, diesels are cool. Old mechanical injection units are cool for their simplicity and reliability, and the fact that you can take them off road and not have to worry about an ignition system or any electronics getting messed up with the injection system. And old indirect injection units are cool for the fact that they can burn almost anything pretty easily. Modern direct injection, variable geometry turbo'd units are cool for the amount of tech that's crammed into them.
4. The fuel cost savings of a diesel depend heavily upon the price of diesel. Now it's cheaper than premium in my area, but more expensive than regular. The "dollars per mile" figure currently favors diesels. But over the summer regular gasoline could return significantly lower MPG figures and still ultimately be the same price/cheaper than diesel, because of the price difference.
Of course trying to forecast these things will drive you insane. So you'll likely consider veggie oil. Which brings us to...
5. Some cars take to veggie oil better than others. Remember the indirect injection I mentioned earlier? That's what makes old Benz models and pickups from the pre-90s more attractive to the veggie oil burning community.
You're in NY, so you have a pretty cold winter to deal with. And in the city, with short trips, you need to give serious consideration to whether you'd actually heat the veggie oil up enough to get it flowing. Trying to run too cold veggie oil is a great way to blow up a diesel, the oil doesn't spray but streams out of the injectors, and you start burning holes in pistons and whatnot. It's kind of cool to tear down these fubar'd motors, less fun to be the one with the fubar'd motor. This is all the more critical with direct injection units.
Filtration, and, most importantly, dewatering, of veggie oil, is critical. The tolerances in an injection pump are ridiculously tiny, and reliant upon a very, very, very, very, very, very thin layer of fuel for lubrication. Water would instantly turn to steam, and metal would meet metal, and the injection pump would be destroyed in short order. And injection pumps are expensive. Really expensive.
Of course, there are plenty of ways to get veggie oil filtered and dewatered, but the only one I'd trust is a centrifuge. Not cheap, but not expensive, at least compared to a new injection pump. You also need a way to haul and a place to process the oil.
Then there's the option of just buying the damn oil at Costco in bulk and burning it. I've heard that this can bring the price down to $2-$3 per gallon, the cost effectiveness of which obviously depends upon the price of diesel.
There are some uber-awesome veggie oil kits out there for newer cars. Of course you can always DIY, but some of the new ones will heat the oil for you, and automatically switch over when it's sufficiently warmed. The only thing you have to do is manually switch back to diesel to purge the lines for a mile or so before you shut down, so that the next start can be on diesel. Of course this is only really important when you're going to leave the car sitting. If you're just running into a store to pick up something real fast, and the car won't cool down, don't worry about it.
6. Diesels are cool.
I know you didn't ask about veggie oil, but somebody brought it up, so I figured I'd talk about it. Deal with it.
Last I heard the Jetta's had some serious quaility issues. This was thier late 90's cars though. I had a couple friends that had them and had a lot of problems. Same thing VW has been fighting since the Mexico and Brazil plants. Not sure if it still holds true.
^ Heard about this as well but it was more common with the previous generations.
I know everything there is to know about SVO conversions, I almost went that route before buying the miata. However, I wont be doing that. I need my car to run, period. I dont want to futz around with collecting and processing SVO. One day, but not now.
Last I heard the Jetta's had some serious quaility issues. This was thier late 90's cars though.
Yeah, my sister had a Mexican-built '98. The drivetrain was rock-solid, but everything else was ****. The fender liners would literally fall off as you were driving, the interior rattled like hell, the brake calipers all wore out, causing the pistons to seize, causing the rotors to warp, the electronics were flakey as hell, the steering was vague, the power windows locked up and the power locks didn't... It was almost laughable what a horrid car it was.
All to, what? Save a couple hundred bucks a year? I've got better things to do. If the SVO people would spend as much time working for money as they do on SVO, they could afford gas...
Sorry, I just don't get it. But, I drive a 15 mpg truck when I'm not driving the Miata, so what do I know.
If I had a diesel right now, at this very second I'd spend $0.55/gallon for SVO processed Bio Diesel. Very good friend of mine processes and sells BioDiesel on the retail market for $1.25/gallon. His cost, $0.55/gallon. Couple hundred dollars a year? Not even close, when you consider Diesel right now is 2.60/gallon here and last summer was 4.99 - 5.20 most places I went.
****, I saw more than one GASOLINE powered old pickup blow $100 on half tanks of fuel..
A friend of mine has a 2005 Jetta TDI. It spent over 6 months of the first two years he had it at the dealer for various electronics issues. I had to meet him in busy intersections at least 3 three times to push the damn thing out of traffic. It's been running well for the last year or so, however. And the mileage is amazing.