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2009 VW Jetta TDI: The little engine that could

The 2009 Jetta TDI's engine represents a great balance of driver-friendliness and eco-friendliness. We just wish the rest of the vehicle lived up to its prestige.

Antuan Goodwin Reviews Editor / Cars
Antuan Goodwin gained his automotive knowledge the old fashioned way, by turning wrenches in a driveway and picking up speeding tickets. From drivetrain tech and electrification to car audio installs and cabin tech, if it's on wheels, Antuan is knowledgeable.
Expertise Reviewing cars and car technology since 2008 focusing on electrification, driver assistance and infotainment Credentials
  • North American Car, Truck and SUV of the Year (NACTOY) Awards Juror
Antuan Goodwin

2009 Volkwagen Jetta TDI
Click the image to view the full 2009 Volkwagen Jetta TDI review. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

If we were rating the Volkswagen Jetta TDI purely on the merit of its engine, it would be a shoe-in for our Editors' Choice award.

With great torque, fuel economy, and clean emissions, the 2-liter turbocharged diesel engine represents a fantastic blend of fun and frugal. We could go on talking about how much we love this engine.

Unfortunately, we don't drive engines; we drive cars.

The Jetta TDI must be looked at as a whole vehicle, and viewed as such the Jetta just doesn't shine. The cabin doesn't look like it was designed, so much as calculated. The lackluster cabin tech package is punctuated by an even more mediocre stereo.

Our biggest complaint about the Jetta TDI is that it doesn't really take any chances and, to the exception of that jewel of an engine, doesn't really excel.

Read the full 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI review.