Me and My Jetta: How VW Broke My Heart
Posted by Richard Conniff on September 25, 2015
THE day I went to pick up my new Volkswagen Jetta TDI in March 2009, the salesman had me sit in the driver’s seat while he introduced the car’s various features. The engine was softly idling, and as I reached to shut it off, he told me not to bother. The minimal amount of fuel this car burned — sipped, in the automotive argot — was its great selling point. That, and the almost complete removal of hazardous exhaust that had made earlier diesel vehicles notorious.
This was that new thing in the world, “clean diesel,” using ingenious German technology to keep nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions out of kids’ lungs, and low enough to meet even California’s stringent pollution standards. A committee of jurors, including the executive director of the Sierra Club and the president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, had just called it the “Green Car of the Year.” A review in this newspaper described the Jetta TDI, persuasively, as “easy on money, fuel and the planet.”
It was quiet, too. The salesman told me to rev the engine, to hear just how quiet, and I hesitated. I am not … Read the full story in the New York Times.