Volkswagen Jetta TDI Value Edition Offsets Higher Cost of Diesel

J.D. Power and Associates

Nationally, during the first week of January in 2014, the average price of diesel fuel was $3.90, according to TruckMiles.com. That's 60 cents higher than what GasBuddy.com claims is the average price of regular unleaded fuel during the same time period. Given that diesel is so much more expensive than unleaded, it comes as no surprise that Volkswagen is looking for ways to keep its popular but pricey diesel-burning Jetta TDI model appealing to consumers.

Starting this month, compact car buyers who want to get as much as 42 mpg on the highway can choose the new 2014 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Value Edition model, with a starting price of $21,295* with a 6-speed manual transmission or $22,395* with a 6-speed Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG).

The Jetta TDI still commands a premium, in this case $4,575 more than a standard Jetta S, but does offer upgrades in the form of a better steering system, larger wheels and tires, cruise control, heated front seats, an iPod connection, satellite radio, and extra stereo speakers. Beyond these factors, the Jetta TDI Value Edition is also much more powerful than a standard Jetta S, and is rated to get 34 mpg in combined driving compared with the less powerful Jetta S at 25-26 mpg.

The thing to remember, though, is that the 2014 Jetta SE, with a 170-horsepower, 1.8-liter, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and a combined fuel-economy rating of 29-30 mpg, can be had for thousands of dollars less than the new TDI Value Edition. Not only that, but if you're willing to stretch the budget by an additional $770 over the most basic of Jetta TDI models, you can get a loaded Jetta SE with a power sunroof, keyless access with push-button starting, touch-screen audio system with HD Radio and premium speakers, Car-Net telematics system, Bluetooth connectivity, and aluminum wheels.

Therefore, despite the price drop for the Jetta TDI in the form of the new Value Edition model, buyers must really want a diesel engine to make it worthwhile in terms of value.

*Prices do not include a destination charge of $820.

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