2011 Volkswagen Jetta SE 2.5L 4dr SportWagen

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wagner
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2011 Volkswagen Jetta SE 2.5L 4dr SportWagen

Post by wagner » Tue Jul 05, 2011 5:53 pm

I recently bought a SportWagen. Yes, I'm apparently one of the few people who didn't get the diesel version. I'm pretty satisfied, but for me it's a major upgrade as my former car was an ancient 4-speed manual Mazda GLC econobox with very few of the features you see in most cars today.

In my Owner's Manual (a piece of crap that describes features of all models, many of which mine doesn't have), it states that for "efficient driving style", "the rule of thumb for most vehicles" is to drive in 3rd gear at 20 mph, 4th gear at 25 mph, and 5th gear at 30 mph. It seems to work (I favor slow starts over jackrabbit starts), but those speeds seem low to me. I don't feel ready to shift into 5th until I reach 40 mph, and in addition, because I've been driving a 4 speed for decades, I sometimes forget entirely.
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Re: 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SE 2.5L 4dr SportWagen

Post by theholycow » Tue Jul 05, 2011 6:48 pm

Welcome!

My 2008 Rabbit had the same 2.5L engine and I was in 5th by 30mph most of the time, sometimes by 25mph. The Sportwagen weighs almost the same as my Rabbit did and I bet it has the same or better coefficient of drag. OTOH, it looks like they've finally done something about that excessively short gearing that I had, your 5th is a nice tall .66 and your final drive is a decent 3.39...my gears were way shorter.

If you prefer to wait until 40 to enter 5th, then enjoy your preference. You're the driver, it's your choice.
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wagner
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Re: 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SE 2.5L 4dr SportWagen

Post by wagner » Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:31 pm

theholycow wrote:If you prefer to wait until 40 to enter 5th, then enjoy your preference. You're the driver, it's your choice.
But it's more efficient in terms of mileage, right? Is there any downside?
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Re: 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SE 2.5L 4dr SportWagen

Post by theholycow » Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:57 pm

Generally (but not always), lower RPM produces better fuel economy.

Specific to your engine (unless they've made some backwards changes since 2008), lower RPM does always produce better fuel economy. The VW 2.5 operates favorably at low RPM and wide open throttle. Your RPM isn't too low as long as it doesn't sound weird (growling sound). Keeping RPM as low as possible and using all of the gas pedal* was a major part of how I got great fuel economy from my VW.

*: Actually, at low RPM VW's drive-by-wire (DBW) throttle will go wide open anyway, even if you're only using part of the accelerator pedal's travel. Don't believe me? Hook up a ScanGauge II or an UltraGauge (both are great investments, especially if you're interested in fuel economy; the UG is a new product at a fraction of the price of the venerable SGII) and watch the TPS reading maximize with a minor press of the pedal in 5th at 30mph.
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Re: 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SE 2.5L 4dr SportWagen

Post by theholycow » Tue Jul 05, 2011 9:05 pm

Oh, and you asked about downsides of low RPM driving too. Here's a few...

- You must shift often to keep your RPM as low as possible with changing road speed. I personally see this as an advantage because I enjoy shifting, but some people dislike shifting more often.

- If you have a reason to accelerate suddenly, you'll have to downshift immediately. You won't get hyper acceleration if you're in 5th gear at 1200RPM. Some people believe that this is a safety issue; I hope those people never drive any kind of truck, economy car, or vintage car, and I believe they are not qualified to drive any manual transmission.

- If you depend on engine braking, you will have to remember to use the brake pedal like everyone else (and like you do when driving an automatic).

- If you get excited by high-RPM engine noise, you will be bored.

- If you do not downshift when it makes the distinctive growling noise of RPM being too low for the current load and gear, you may theoretically be putting extra wear on internal engine components such as bearings, crankshaft, and valve lifters. I have never heard of any experience of actual consequences, and you certainly shouldn't panic when it growls for a couple seconds or wonder if you've damaged anything...it's fine, just downshift if it's not going to improve and remember that for next time.
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Re: 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SE 2.5L 4dr SportWagen

Post by tankinbeans » Tue Sep 27, 2011 3:43 pm

theholycow wrote:Oh, and you asked about downsides of low RPM driving too. Here's a few...

- You must shift often to keep your RPM as low as possible with changing road speed. I personally see this as an advantage because I enjoy shifting, but some people dislike shifting more often.

- If you have a reason to accelerate suddenly, you'll have to downshift immediately. You won't get hyper acceleration if you're in 5th gear at 1200RPM. Some people believe that this is a safety issue; I hope those people never drive any kind of truck, economy car, or vintage car, and I believe they are not qualified to drive any manual transmission.

- If you depend on engine braking, you will have to remember to use the brake pedal like everyone else (and like you do when driving an automatic).

- If you get excited by high-RPM engine noise, you will be bored.

- If you do not downshift when it makes the distinctive growling noise of RPM being too low for the current load and gear, you may theoretically be putting extra wear on internal engine components such as bearings, crankshaft, and valve lifters. I have never heard of any experience of actual consequences, and you certainly shouldn't panic when it growls for a couple seconds or wonder if you've damaged anything...it's fine, just downshift if it's not going to improve and remember that for next time.
First, let me say welcome.

Mr. Cow, this topic brings up something that I wanted to ask too (apologies for the threadjack - I'm kinda good at that) and I know you've mentioned that I can use 6th whenever I want, as long as my car doesn't produce symptoms of being angry. My question is that, if running at 45 mph in 6th, it's a problem if periodically the car will surge slightly. It almost feels like it's missing, but nothing bad occurs. Is this the car telling me to stay at 2k rpm? It doesn't seem like my mileage differs one much one way or the other, at least not in any measurable way. Perhaps I'm still too inconsistent with my starts/shifting?
Last edited by tankinbeans on Tue Sep 27, 2011 3:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SE 2.5L 4dr SportWagen

Post by tankinbeans » Tue Sep 27, 2011 3:45 pm

Again, let me say welcome. My friend recently got himself a 2.5 SE (non-Sportwagen), on Saturday, his parents bought the same car, in white, on Monday. I drove it and it was fun, even though the clutch vibrates a little upon shifting. Enjoy the new ride.
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Re: 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SE 2.5L 4dr SportWagen

Post by theholycow » Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:15 pm

tankinbeans wrote:if running at 45 mph in 6th, it's a problem if periodically the car will surge slightly. It almost feels like it's missing, but nothing bad occurs. Is this the car telling me to stay at 2k rpm? It doesn't seem like my mileage differs one much one way or the other, at least not in any measurable way. Perhaps I'm still too inconsistent with my starts/shifting?
I can't imagine why it would surge. So in 5th you'd be at 2000 and in 6th your RPM is somewhere south of that?

How often does it happen?

I don't suppose you have a ScanGauge or UltraGauge and can view any live data while it happens...

That would probably discourage me from using that gear at that speed.
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Re: 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SE 2.5L 4dr SportWagen

Post by tankinbeans » Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:32 pm

theholycow wrote:
tankinbeans wrote:if running at 45 mph in 6th, it's a problem if periodically the car will surge slightly. It almost feels like it's missing, but nothing bad occurs. Is this the car telling me to stay at 2k rpm? It doesn't seem like my mileage differs one much one way or the other, at least not in any measurable way. Perhaps I'm still too inconsistent with my starts/shifting?
I can't imagine why it would surge. So in 5th you'd be at 2000 and in 6th your RPM is somewhere south of that?

How often does it happen?

I don't suppose you have a ScanGauge or UltraGauge and can view any live data while it happens...

That would probably discourage me from using that gear at that speed.
Maybe surging isn't the right word, but I feel it through my seat, kinda like a mistimed shift. It almost feels like delayed throttle response where you hit the gas and it has to think for a second and then say, "oh you wanted me to do something?" And then it goes about its business.

It's not a constant thing, maybe once every mile or so. The only weird part is that I keep my foot steady when it happens. On level ground at 1500 rpm, in 6th, I still have a fair bit of pulling power (not blistering acceleration, but I can get up to 60 without downshifting if I'm not in a hurry.)
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Re: 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SE 2.5L 4dr SportWagen

Post by theholycow » Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:49 pm

Yeah, with the same fuel economy and that symptom I'd just use 5th instead. It's probably harmless but it's hard to tell without figuring out what it is.
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Re: 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SE 2.5L 4dr SportWagen

Post by IMBoring25 » Tue Sep 27, 2011 7:00 pm

The 'Vette will happily go into sixth steady state on level ground in the high 30s but requires about 45-50mph before I can use most/all of the throttle in sixth without a periodic miss that I attribute to lugging. You may be having the same issue.

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Re: 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SE 2.5L 4dr SportWagen

Post by tankinbeans » Tue Sep 27, 2011 8:56 pm

theholycow wrote:Yeah, with the same fuel economy and that symptom I'd just use 5th instead. It's probably harmless but it's hard to tell without figuring out what it is.
Could this have anything to do with fuel grade? I noticed today that my car didn't do anything untoward. I've been running on regular unleaded for about two weeks. Before I had been using unleaded plus because I had a discount that made unleaded plus cheaper than regular unleaded.

IMBoring25 wrote:The 'Vette will happily go into sixth steady state on level ground in the high 30s but requires about 45-50mph before I can use most/all of the throttle in sixth without a periodic miss that I attribute to lugging. You may be having the same issue.
So this probably isn't a problem, especially if a big sporty car can take it, and is probably designed to be run in 6th at low speeds to conserve fuel?

EDIT: Now looking at the last post before mine, I kind of feel a little dumb for waking up a sleeping thread. I didn't realize that the last post was a couple months ago.
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Re: 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SE 2.5L 4dr SportWagen

Post by IMBoring25 » Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:05 pm

Just to be clear, I do hold lower gears to avoid the miss because I don't believe it's good for it.

The Forte is a regular-fuel engine, so that shouldn't affect it adversely. If the Plus was non-ethanol and the Regular is ethanol, that might make more difference.

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Re: 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SE 2.5L 4dr SportWagen

Post by tankinbeans » Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:14 pm

IMBoring25 wrote:Just to be clear, I do hold lower gears to avoid the miss because I don't believe it's good for it.

The Forte is a regular-fuel engine, so that shouldn't affect it adversely. If the Plus was non-ethanol and the Regular is ethanol, that might make more difference.
I guess I'll have to keep toying around with it. :)

My state, MN, has mandated 10% ethanol in everything for as long as I can remember. We can get non-ethanol at a couple stations, but I don't bother.
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Re: 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SE 2.5L 4dr SportWagen

Post by theholycow » Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:50 pm

The higher octane fuel would have zero effect on your car. My ancientmobile would knock if I drove it like that on 87 but does not knock if I do that while on 91 or higher.
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