Today, the Green Car Journal gave its 2009 Green Car of the Year award to the Volkswagen Jetta TDI at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The 2009 Jetta TDI is a quiet-running, diesel-powered car. It beat out hybrids and mini-cars to take the title. The Jetta uses a technology called "clean diesel" which actually lives up its name pretty well. It has a very clean tailpipe, and an EPA estimated 41 mpg highway fuel economy.
The Jetta has a diesel particulate filter to further reduce particulate emissions, and it has uses a NOx-storage catalyst, which is basically a reservoir that temporarily holds the noxious emissions, like a particulate filter, until they can be burned off during one of the engine cycles. Because of this, it is one of the first cars to qualify a Tier II Bin 5 vehicle (equivalent to California's LEV II rating), therefore allowing it to be sold in all 50 U.S. states.
The Jetta TDI has a 2.0-liter engine with a common-rail fuel injection system, instead of VW’s traditional mechanical system, that uses piezoelectric fuel injectors. This technology permits higher injection pressures, which better atomize the fuel and make it easier to control pollution. The car gets 38 mpg in the city, and 44 mgh on the highway. Many drivers report that they get 50 mpg regularly in the this car.
When I test drove the new Jetta, I found that it responded well in the city and on the highway too.
The 2009 Jetta TDI is eligible for the $1300 Advanced Lean Burn Technology Motor Vehicle Federal Income Tax Credit. It sells for $21,990 and up.
Link: Jetta TDI