A Buyer’s Guide to the 2012 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

The 2012 Volkswagen Jetta TDI is a great choice for any car enthusiast who needs a practical but fun car for everyday driving. The Jetta TDI (which stands for turbocharged direct injection) has a whole host of features to attract buyers, and it’s priced to attract compact car buyers who would ordinarily be looking at lower end models, like the Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic.

Key Features

The 2.0-liter TDI diesel engine has a special shutter on the grille to help warm up the engine faster on cold days and to decrease drag and increase fuel efficiency. Between details like this, the 2012 Volkswagen Jetta TDI’s great fuel economy (42 MPG on the highway), and its DSG (Direct Shift Gearbox – allows you to shift from the steering wheel without a manual clutch), this is one of the most fun cars on the road today.

Changes for 2012

For 2012, Volkswagen brought back the GLI model of the Jetta TDI, along with a lot of upgrades to the headlights and taillights, as well as a chrome-accented interior and a more modern dash display.

What We Like

The TDI is not only fuel efficient, but it’s also fast and responsive. While you might look like you’re driving a practical sedan, you’ll feel as though you’re driving a race car.

What Concerns Us

Many people have complained that the new design of the Jetta feels a bit like a European Corolla. That’s not the case for the TDI, but we fear that it might hurt resale values, a factor that’s good if you’re considering a used 2012 Volkswagen Jetta TDI to buy now, but not so good when you want to sell it later.

Available Models

With plenty of horsepower and torque to spare, the 2012 Volkswagen Jetta TDI has a lot going for it in the specs department:

  • Engine – 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder turbo-charged diesel
  • Power – 140 HP at 4000 RPM
  • Torque – 236 lb-ft at 1750-2000 RPM
  • Fuel economy (MPG city/highway) – 30/42 (manual or automatic)

Major Recalls

Only one recall has affected the 2012 Volkswagen Jetta TDI. In some models, the pulsing in the fuel injection line can resonate at a certain frequency and cause stress and strain on the fuel system.

Common Issues

The most common problems reported for the 2012 Volkswagen Jetta TDI include some issues shifting for high-mileage vehicles with automatic transmissions. Loss of power may also occur due to oil and carbon build-up over time.

volkswagen jetta tdi 2012 interior


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19 years of experience
Cadillac SRX V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Edison, New Jersey
Attila was great! Very knowledgeable and actually detected a fault during a pre-purchase inspection that would have cost me later.
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Chevrolet Impala V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Lansdale, Pennsylvania
Shawn was prompt, professional, and delivered the promised service as expected. This was a used vehicle pre-purchase inspection. Shawn also had to drive to multiple locations to perform the inspection, as the address listed that I provided him with was not accurate, but he still made it to the correct location within his time window and completed the inspection.
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Honda HR-V L4-1.8L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Warren, New Jersey
Luis was great. He showed up on time, acted professionally, and gave me confidence with a pre-purchase car inspection.
Acura RDX - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - South Hackensack, New Jersey
Luis did a thorough pre-purchase inspection for me, and found several major issues that made me pass on buying the car. Had I purchased the car, I almost certainly would have ended up paying thousands in repairs down the road. Thanks Luis!

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Hyundai Elantra L4-2.0L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Englewood, Colorado
He did a pre-purchase inspection for me. He was knowledgeable and fast, and knew what he was looking for. I really appreciate all the pictures and documentation he took of the state of the car before purchase. He noted potential issues with the car that I wouldn't have been able to notice. Would recommend.
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I trust Robert. He gave me a list and we will take care of it the week of June 29. I will know then that my vehicle is ready for the winter and is safe to drive. I look forward to getting things ready for another winter of careful driving.

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