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Are you thinking about buying a hybrid car, but don’t want to shell out around $20,000 to $30,000 for a new one? Fortunately, you have an alternative option in the form of a used diesel car, specifically a Volkswagen Jetta TDI. We know, there’s a stigma attached to it, but hear us out. Buying one of these cars could save you a lot of money.

What Volkswagen scandal?

By now, we’re sure you have heard of the infamous Volkswagen “dieselgate” scandal that happened back in 2015. Simply put, the German automaker was caught using devices to cheat emissions tests on their diesel vehicles at the time. When they got caught, it tarnished their name and the allure of buying oil-burning cars altogether.

In the aftermath, Volkswagen was forced to either buy back or fix some of the 590,000 diesel vehicles, according to Autoblog. And it did. In fact, there are plenty of Volkswagen Jetta, Golf, and Jetta Sportwagen TDI models that have been fixed to fully comply with emission standards and are now for sale. That means if you can get over the fact that the diesel car you’re buying once cheated on a test, then you could get a better deal than you could imagine.

Pros for buying a Volkswagen Jetta TDI

2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI | Volkswagen

The Volkswagen Jetta TDI was produced from the early 2000s up to 2015 and came in a few different varieties. If you prefer sedans, then you can opt for a Jetta TDI and if you like hatchbacks, then a Gold TDI is available as well. However, if you want more room, or have a family, then the Jetta TDI Sportwagen could fit the bill.

Some of the main benefits when it comes to buying one of these cars include:

  • You’ll be able to easily drive 500 miles between fill-ups
  • Diesel engines typically last at least 200,000 to 300,000 miles
  • Volkswagen diesel cars offer a solid build quality at a low price
  • Diesel engines provide far more torque than most hybrid and gas cars

On the last note, every Volkswagen diesel car was powered by the same turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel engine. While it was revised throughout the years, the last iteration of it produced 150 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, according to Edmunds. What made it even better (especially at the time) was that it was able to achieve up to an EPA estimated 31 mpg in the city and 43 mpg on the highway.

Cons of buying a Volkswagen diesel

2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI | Volkswagen

According to, that type of fuel economy should save you around $1,500 per year in fuel costs alone. However, keep in mind that diesel fuel can cost a little more than regular gas and you may need to get over the slight smell of diesel fuel, but you’ll get used to it over time.

How much does a Jetta TDI cost now?

If you happen to decide that a Volkswagen Jetta or Golf TDI could work well for your everyday life, then you’ll be happy to know that the 2015 models sell for anywhere between $5,000 to $10,000 nationwide. Sure, you can buy an equivalent Toyota Prius for around the same amount, but those cars tend to have well over 200,000 miles on the odometer and could need hybrid battery replacements in the near future.

A good, used Jetta TDI, on the other hand, will easily last much longer and won’t cost too much when repairs are needed. Repair Pal gave the Volkswagen Jetta a four out of five when it comes to reliability and estimates an average annual repair cost of $609. That’s not too bad, and considering the money you’ll save between fill-ups, a Volkswagen Jetta TDI could be a good alternative to a hybrid car.


Is Buying a Diesel Car Worth it?