A friend of mine just got a Jetta SW TDI. She says she burns bio-diesel and gets 40-48 MPG. Consumer Reports don’t give very good marks to the VWs. Does anyone have any recommendations on this car. I do a lot of highway driving.


Depends on the year.

Most of VW’s reliablity issues were in the late 80’s to the mid 90’s. They usually get fairly average reliability ratings, it’s just that they’re so stinkin’ expensive to fix. I’m under the impression (and other board members will correct me if I’m wrong) that VW’s lackluster reliability reputation was mostly with the gas models. This is probably because the overwhelming majority of VW’s sold in Europe are diesels, so more R&D goes their direction. Diesels in general tend to be more reliable as well, due to fuel lubricity and (historically, not sure with the TDI) having fewer moving parts. Depending on your region, it may also be harder to find a good diesel mechanic.

Also, on older diesels, biodiesel can cause fuel system problems, but ones made in this century are designed for it.

If you do a lot of highway driving, you can’t beat a diesel VW for fuel mileage. Many in Europe consider cars like the Prius gas-guzzlers when compared to the small diesel cars you can get there!


Also, on older diesels, biodiesel can cause fuel system problems, but ones made in this century are designed for it.

Check with the manufacturer, there may be warrantee issues. I’m not sure about VW, but benz does not endorse using anything above B5 (5% bio-diesel) in their cars.

I know a couple of folks who are happy with their TDIs and report 40+ mpg, but I’ve never owned one. You may want to check with these folks:


I wouldn’t pay to much attention to consumer reports (unless your shopping for a toaster).

  1. Reliability is not the top of the pack these days, but it is also not at the bottom. I would not worry about it. Actually I don’t, I own one.

  2. BioDiesel should not be considered a plug and play. There are a few issues with it. I suggest you stop by the TDIClub.com and read up on what you might need for the car you might have and what you want to do. It appears there are well known answers to any known problems.

  3. I believe VW does not like over 5% but I seem to recall that there have been few or no related problems at 20% or less.

  4. Bio will give you a little lower mileage. I don’t use Bio and I get low 50’s city upper 50’s or low 60’s highway.


There is a very good reason Consumer Reports does not give late-model VWs very good reliability ratings. They have not been very reliable. Yes, the diesel engine can deliver amazing fuel mileage, regardless of whether you use bio-diesel or regular diesel fuel, but if the rest of the car gives you trouble what’s the point?

I’m a former VW owner and fan, but the lack of reliability and high repair costs of the more recent vehicles, and my personal experience with some of them, has turned me off. No more VWs for me.

It’s possible that VW has finally started to turn the corner on their reliability problems, but only time will tell. Keep an eye on your friend’s Jetta and see how it goes.


What about the GSl injections models?


Adjusted for the standards of the times, VW has never made a car better than the original Beetle. Today’s models are plagued by electrical problems that have nothing to do with the engine. There are better choices.