Would driving the Jetta SportWagen for principally short distances have any detrimental effect to the diesels reliability or longevity
I live on a small island where the distances are just not that great. Upon going to the mainland the driving will be mostly on freeways.
as long as you take it up to operating temperature and keep it there a spell, you'll be alright....can get clobbered up if making a bunch of short trips, but haven't personally had this trouble with my once a day two mile voyage to my post office....hardly gets to hot, only recourse is to listen to the radio a while with the engine and a/c on~
I don't see where it would be an issue either and a tank of fuel will last you about 500 miles. Not sure I would spend the extra $$$ for the TDI if you are not driving a lot. The extra cost payback will never be obtained.
you're right...an air cooled old fashioned VW bug would be the right choice...easy to find parts...and cheap~