By on July 2, 2012

Hybrid or diesel? For peak fuel economy in a $30,000 midsize sedan you need one or the other. The Toyota Camry is the most efficient of the five available hybrids (until the 2013 Ford Fusion arrives). If you live in Europe, the diesel world is your oyster. In North America, you have one option for an oil-burning mid-size sedan, the Volkswagen Passat. Which would you pick?

Neither sedan’s design would have blazed any trails even a decade ago. But the Passat’s styling, both inside and out, is cleaner and more harmonious. Toyota’s designers can’t seem to step back far enough from the trees to envision a forest. The Camry Hybrid XLE’s interior, with some materials a little better and others a little worse than those in the Passat TDI SEL Premium, has too much going on stylistically. The upper doors halfheartedly attempt to flow into the instrument panel, while lacking the latter’s stitching. The “stitching” molded into the center stack trim is similarly counterproductive, as it actually cheapens the interior. Of course, many people (including the one I’m married to) don’t notice such things. Though both cars have seats trimmed in faux suede, and the Passat additionally includes faux timber, they’ll likely find the ambiance warmer inside the Camry.

Both interiors have been designed to maximize perceived room with fairly flat door panels that meet the instrument panel at a right angle. The previous-generation Camry’s interior, with curvier panels, feels much tighter. Both cars have broad, supportive front seats that provide little in the way of lateral support, though the Passat’s cushions are firmer and the Camry’s headrests jut forward to an uncomfortable degree. There’s plenty of room for adults in the back of the Camry. The Passat, with another inch of combined legroom that somehow seems like three inches, invites limo comparisons…until you notice that, unlike in the Toyota, there are no rear air vents.

Then there’s cargo hauling. Both cars are offered only as sedans. By working in shifts to compact the Camry’s hybrid bits, Toyota engineers bumped trunk volume 2.5 cubic feet, to 13.1. A worthwhile increase, but still not close to the Passat’s 15.9. Both trunks can be expanded by folding the rear seat, but you only have a mail slot on the right side in the Camry.

Though the new Camry Hybrid is more firmly suspended than the previous one, and the Americanized Passat is softer than the typical German sedan, the two cars haven’t met in the middle. The Camry remains a considerably softer, cushier, quieter car, with some float and bobble through rough curves, while the Passat provides more nuanced feedback (through the seat of the pants much more than the electrically assisted steering) and has more tightly controlled body motions. Your ears will only report that the VW is a diesel at idle, and then only if you’re paying attention. The additional noise inside its cabin mostly comes from the wind and the road.

Unlike some smaller fuel sippers, both cars have more than enough power for scooting about the ‘burbs or popping onto the freeway. Both feel torquey at low-to-moderate engine speeds, the Camry because of the assist provided by its electric motor, the Passat because it’s a diesel. With far more peak horsepower, 200 vs. 140, the Camry Hybrid’s powertrain can get you to sixty sooner. But it’s not a joy to wind out, so this advantage isn’t large in the real world. If you have a lead foot, neither car is your best bet.

The EPA MPG numbers—43 city, 39 highway for the Camry and 30 city, 40 highway for the Passat—rightly suggest that the two cars excel in different types of driving. But the EPA shortchanges both cars. Judging from its trip computer (which I initially doubted, but owners report similar numbers), the Passat TDI can manage high 30s in suburban driving and low 50s on the highway without too much effort. In straight highway driving, the Camry cannot match it, checking in around 45. A hybrid’s additional fuel efficiency is derived from its ability to recoup energy while decelerating. If there’s no deceleration, the hybrid powertrain not only provides no benefit but, through its additional mass, actually becomes a disadvantage. Off the highway the tables are turned. The more stops per mile, the better the Camry becomes, especially if you factor in the higher cost per gallon of diesel.

It also helps if one does not drive the Camry “normally.” My wife managed 38 miles-per-gallon in the Camry Hybrid, about the same as I observed in the Passat TDI when driving with the flow of traffic. But when I was behind the wheel, the trip computer regularly reported averages in the low 50s and as high as 63 on my standard suburban route. The hybrid’s operation makes a very casual driving style feel “right,” and I personally enjoy the experience. But many people simply don’t want to drive with a light enough foot to achieve these numbers. For them, the TDI is the better way to go, as its efficiency varies much less with driving style.

Load both cars up, and the Camry stickers for a couple grand more, $35,330 vs. $33,090. But, based on the car price comparison tool, the Toyota includes about $900 in additional features, cutting the difference to $1,300. Also note that Toyota dealers enjoy wider margins. Compare invoices, and the VW has only a $554 advantage before adjusting for feature differences, and a $300 disadvantage afterwards. Since invoice prices often better reflect what people actually pay, price isn’t likely to be the deciding factor between these two cars.

Consumers are likely to decide between the two based on styling, ride, handling, amenities, driving conditions, driving style, and the reputation of each brand. After a rough start, the 2012 Passat has improved so that it’s not far from the average in TrueDelta’s car reliability survey, but it’s very early. If you had to choose between the two, which would you buy?

Camry Hybrid provided with fuel and insurance by Toyota.

Passat TDI provided by Dan Kelley, Suburban VW in Farmington Hills, MI, 248-741-7903

Michael Karesh operates TrueDelta, an online source of automotive pricing and reliability data.

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164 Comments on “Toyota Camry Hybrid vs. Volkswagen Passat TDI: Which Would You Buy?...”


  • avatar

    With all due respect to Mike’s database, the problems are going to crop up at 50k miles. So much was made out of made-for-America, decontented WVs, that I’m not willing to take the bet.

    • 0 avatar

      As noted, it’s very early.

      • 0 avatar
        Volt 230

        just based on reliability and the high cost of diesel, I’ll take the Camry, thanks. The Passat doesn’t even handle like it used to.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I trust VW’s reliability, durability, freedom from incredibly expensive and headache riddled repairs and parts post warranty about as far as I can throw the Passat.

        Not a single millimeter.

        Toyota may be boring (although the Passat isn’t exactly exciting), but at a certain point in one’s life having a car that just needs basic maintenance to run well and consistently, complaining not a peep, as it logs the years and miles, is a luxury in and of itself.

      • 0 avatar
        bkmurph

        +1 @Volt230 @DeadWeight

        I’ll take Toyota’s likely reliability over Volkswagen’s uncertain reliability. I’ve driven diesels, I love what they can do, but I’ll take the hybrid this time.

    • 0 avatar
      forraymond

      When did VW become relevant enough for comparisons to Toyota?

      Combined, VW and Audi don’t sell as many cars as the Camry, do they?

      • 0 avatar

        As part of its plan to become the world’s largest auto maker, VW is now intent on becoming a major player in North America. They designed a new Jetta and a new Passat specifically for the North American market, and built a new factory in Tennessee to assemble the latter. They have a lot of money to spend on advertising and promotion, and seem very willing to spend it.

        So far they appear to be succeeding. In the first five months of 2012 VW + Audi sold 223,903 cars, compared to 172,204 in the first five months of 2011. In May alone they sold over 10,000 Passats and over 15,000 Jettas. Toyota sold 181,796 Camrys in the first five months of 2012, including nearly 40,000 in May.

      • 0 avatar
        vvk

        On the contrary, VW is best selling in many countries, where Toyota is a pretty minor player.

      • 0 avatar
        Jasper22

        Actually, Volkswagen is likely to become the world’s largest car manufacturer in 2013, including Audi and Porsche sales. There is truth to the relative reliability of Toyota’s–just like my Fridgidaire refrigerator. And Toyotas don’t steer as well as my fridge, either. As the years wear on, you almost wish your Toyota would wear out. Passats are not 3 series BMWs but they are in a different universe in the handling department from Camrys.

      • 0 avatar
        Jasper22

        Actually, yes, VW is very relevant. They own Audi, Bentley, and a few other niche luxury cars. But VW itself is a very large manufacturer. They expect to be the worlds LARGEST car manufacturer by 2015. They are on target to that goal.

    • 0 avatar
      jimmyy

      I never owned a VW. But, I know people that have had or have them. In fact, the guy living across the street from me has a Passat wagon. Less than a year old. The tow truck has pick that thing up twice. Both times fuel injectors ( I think ). I would be out of my mind if that was my car.

      His other car is a 80s Camry. Hundreds of thousands of miles. Rust bucket. But, starts every day. Never a tow truck.

    • 0 avatar
      rgil627il

      agreed

  • avatar
    Robstar

    Being a mostly highway driver (commute is 80% highway) and having just rented a 2012 camry for a long trip (1780 miles in 5 days), I averaged 32mpg in 70mph territory (eastern states speed limit). I returned the car to the shop after my commute (rental center is next to my work) and for that one trip to work got 41mpg & change in the CONVENTIONAL.

    I’d skip the hybrid (unless you are doing mostly city driving) and just grab the normal one at 22k if I had to make a choice. My Uncle has the hybrid (an 08 maybe?) and his trunk space is SIGNIFICANTLY smaller than the 2012 standard one.

    I’ve never met a VW owner (and I know 1/2 a dozen) who hasn’t had some major failure in under 100k miles, sometimes under warranty, sometimes not, so I wouldn’t touch one with a 10-foot pole.

    • 0 avatar
      mcarr

      This is the “truth”. I doubt you’d ever make up the $10-13k difference in the base Camry and the Hybrid in fuel savings. I love the idea of the Passat, but I could never buy one the way they’re currently made. I hope we find out that these things are dead reliable up to 150,000 miles, but right now there’s no way I’d drop that much money on a VAG product.

      • 0 avatar

        The difference between the regular Camry XLE and the Hybrid XLE is actually “only” $2,600. People who do most of their driving in the city or suburbs (or in traffic on the highway) would recoup the difference in three to six years.

        The TDI premium is similar, $2,300 over the 2.5.

      • 0 avatar
        Thinkin...

        @ Michael – I was about to say the same. The pricing is pretty close, and nevermind the fuel savings, the difference in price is instantly made up in resale value if you ever sell, especially if you do so when gas prices are on the rise.

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      You can’t really make blanket recommendations to be honest. My drive to work involves stoplight to stoplight driving in which you’d get about 20mpg in a standard Camry and that’s with really restrained driving whereas your 1780mile trip automatically gives a conventional car the best case scenario.

      For a city commute the Hybrid is going to slaughter the conventional in fuel economy, it’s very realistic to use 1/2 the amount of fuel. And the newer hybrid has a much less terrible trunk than the old one. Now it’s “acceptable” though admittedly not massive.

      • 0 avatar
        Robstar

        I didn’t make blanket recommendations (I assume you are directing this at me since you mention the 1780 mile trip). Don’t forget this caveat in my statement: “(unless you are doing mostly city driving)”

        I don’t do mostly city driving. I actually left a major city to avoid stoplight to stoplight commutes….

        Also: I think a conventional car in top gear @ just above idle would be best case scenario, not 70mph….

    • 0 avatar
      jeffzekas

      I met a lady the other day who has owned THREE VW’s and has had no problems (or, so she claimed). I told her: “You ought to play the tables in Vegas!” because that has NOT been my experience (2003 Vanagon, 1995 Jetta).

  • avatar
    Signal11

    Wow.

    A choice between the class leading exciting driving dynamics and styling of the Toyota versus VW’s legendary quality control and dealer experience. I simply can’t decide!

    There’s simply no effin’ way I’d pay low-to-mid 30s to get behind the wheel of one of these vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      slance66

      That’s my take as well. There are much better options out there. I don’t see any benefit in these over a similar car with a normal 4cyl gas engine, unless your annual mileage is massive. Even then, depreciation will kill you.

      I wish we had some additional diesel options. I think they are a great fit for the American market, even more so than Europe.

      • 0 avatar

        What at the choices? I had a Fusion for weeklong rental, returned just a few days ago. At 35k the left door trim was falling apart. I suppose it’s not a big deal, compared to previous vacation where the right main bearing was falling apart on a rental GM-mobile. The only choice seems to be Sonata, and that thing is pretty gruff, if well put together. Accord is nice, but HUGE. Maxima? I heard it was not cheap, and I’m not sure it’s much better. It’s just a class of automobiles with which we have to put up.

        Update: Just remembered about Galant. Yeah. Well, there’s also Kizashi, but try to find a dealer.

  • avatar

    Does the Camry drink top shelf or can it get by on the well drinks? That matters as the difference in fuel price between the low end and diesel is a lot. I like the look of the VW, but the Camry seems better suited to what my daily drive is made up of. Plus, I just don’t trust VW to not start having electrical problems after a couple years of ownership.

    • 0 avatar

      The Camry drinks regular.

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      The only thing that matters is cost per mile. Some cars will cost less per mile when running 93 vs 87 and others will be cheaper with 87. But I guess there are psychological issues at the pump and it can be hard to get over the cost per gallon difference.

      Regardless, you can get a pretty good idea of TCO when looking at the Chicago taxi market. Unlike NYC, you can put a medallion on almost any type of vehicle and are allowed to truly run a taxi into the ground before replacing it.

      The new Camry hybrid is proving to be very popular. I have been in one a few times and it is definitely better than the previous Camry hybrid. I have never seen a VW product as a taxi here, which is probably a good indicator that the actual running/maintenance costs are far too high.

      You see NEW taxi vehicles dominated by Ford CNG and Toyota hybrid. Even the minivan segment is starting to move towards the VPG MV-1 CNG.

      • 0 avatar
        dts187

        I just rode in a Camry Hybrid taxi in Chicago this weekend. I was actually surprised how cheap the interior felt. I’m usually not one to complain of such things but it felt downright fragile. It showed some major wear as well. I’d say the quality was on par with or below my girlfriend’s Corolla. I much preferred the Crown Vic I had on the way back to the airport. . .

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        @ Chicago Dude – The free-for-all since the discontinuation of the Crown Vic has been fascinating, hasn’t it? I feel like the Scion xB and the Altima Hybrid are coming to the fore. I’ll say this for the xB: Given a few rides crazier drivers have given me, it’s a much faster car than one would expect.

        @ dts187 – Did this car have a stock interior? In my experience, the majority of Chicago cabs do not have a stock interior. They differ from their showroom counterparts in the following ways:
        - a partition (required by law for all non-independent cabs)
        - heavy-duty vinyl upholstery
        - flat rear seat cushions and seatbacks to allow for easier three-across seating
        I would expect any stock interior, regardless of manufacturer, to get beaten up pretty quickly in cab service.

        Somewhat on-topic: Royal 3 CCC sucks – by far the worst drivers in a city full of dangerous cab drivers.

      • 0 avatar
        Jasper22

        87 vs 93 octane (if you can find it) is around 45 cents a gallon less. Mileage is not dependant on octane. 87 and 93 octane (with the same amount of ethanol) have the same energy content. The only reason to burn hi test is because your car won’t run right on regular. Period. My car, a 2012 VW CC 2.0L TSI, requires 91 octane. That’s what it was designed to burn. You can definitely tell the car doesn’t like regular… it tunes itself down and doesn’t have as much power. Mileage is the same either way.

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    The Passat. Little things like the lack of clutter on the IP. The road feel at highway speed. The focus of highway vs city. Just works for me.

    BTW diesel’s cheaper right now around here.

  • avatar
    Rday

    Interesting comparison. But there is no doubt where the author’s preferences are. I have had several oil burners from Volkswagen and one from Toyota. I had many problems with the Volkswagens and none with the Toyota. I also owned a Prius and it was the best car I have ever owned. My daughter-in-law now drives it and loves it. The cars may be somewhat comparable but the companies are not. I just cannot even bring myself to consider any Volkswagen products based upon all the years of problems with their products and their dealers. I guess I am just getting old and don’t like to take my car in to any dealer for problems. So for me, Toyota wins hands down.

    • 0 avatar

      Interesting that my preferences are clear to you, as they’re not clear to me! Both cars have their pros and cons, making for a complicated decision.

      It’s becoming quite clear that VW, like Detroit, has a large number of ex-owners who won’t consider another of its cars any time soon. Could VW even be ahead of Detroit in this area? Or perhaps the size of the anti-VW group seems large on an enthusiast site, but remains small as a percentage of the total car buying population?

      • 0 avatar
        wpaulson

        I used to think that posts in on-line forums were anecdotal, and not worthy of drawing any conclusions concerning reliability. But over the years, I have changed my mind. When you see recurrent complaints about the same problem in forums, it usually means there really is a significant problem. These posts generally match results of Consumer Reports. I need to check out your reliability data also.

      • 0 avatar

        I think the combination of reliability stats AND forum posts can be very helpful. Forum posts alone can give you some idea of the types of problems people are having, but not the frequency. Stats give the frequency, but generally lack detail (though we fill this in a little by posting all the repair descriptions people provide).

      • 0 avatar
        jeffzekas

        Fool me once: shame on you. Fool me twice: shame on me… former VW owner and fanatic; now the owner of a Ford and a Subaru.

  • avatar
    peteinsonj

    My girlfriend and I test drove both of these, to replace her ’07 TL, albeit the VW wasn’t available in diesel to test.

    The Camry hybrid feels very refined and the interior is better than an Acura of just a few years back. Very impressive car. Biggest downside is that the trunk is almost unacceptably small. (My GF regularly drives 5+ hours to beach house with LOTS of stuff)

    The VW, which we only drove with gas engine in a lower line trim version, is a darned cheap feeling vehicle. The plastics, upholstery, etc — are awful. Why the dealer stuck us in that car is beyond me. The only upper trim level Passat they had was on the showroom floor, looks worlds better, and is priced to match.

    The deal killer on the Passat was that we couldn’t actually drive a diesel (the dealer offered to let us drive a Jetta TDI instead — really?!?!?), and that the Passat is not available with a back up camera. Dealer offered to get something aftermarket (My GF is partially paralyzed, so this is an absolute must), but that would probably be too kludgy.

    In writing this, though, I realize again that the Toyota dealer was great, the VW dealer, they were the stereo typical lousy dealer from years ago.

    Anyway, GF put off her decision until the 2013s come out, to see the options then.

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      A backup camera is supposed to be on the 2013 Passat SEL. I guess it wasn’t offered in 2012 because of a shortage due to the Tsunami. They’re also including rear vents and two (count ‘em, two!) hinge covers for the trunk hinges. Dealers seem to have a few TDIs on the lots now, at least the two I’ve visited recently in Maine did. Sounds like you got a moron of a salesman trying to tell you a Jetta TDI would be the same…

      http://askavwsalesguy.com/blog/2012/06/06/2013-passat-list-of-upgrades-and-updates.html

    • 0 avatar
      svan

      Here in Toronto, it was impossible to test-drive a nice TDI. I found out it’s because the dealers could sell every single one they got, and if they were going to have to unload one as a tester, it was going to be the base model.

      I don’t expect, as long as diesel is roughly cheaper than regular (which it is here), that VW is going to be any easier to buy a TDI from.

  • avatar
    Thinkin...

    Wow – that interior shot of the Camry makes it look like a hot mess. I had no idea that interior designs had gotten that bad! (I can’t decide which is worse – the steering wheel or the center console abomination…) As most owners of these cars will only own them for 3-5 years, I’s day the safe money is on the Passat, so long as the owner either A) isn’t in it for the $ savings or B) lives in one of the few places where diesel is more cheap and readily accessible.

    That said, the Prius is classed as midsize, though it’s not technically a sedan, it is the obvious answer for drivers looking for fuel economy in this segment. (Unless their primary use of the car is hauling 4-5 adults, in which case the amazing rear seat room of the VW will be much appreciated.)

  • avatar
    Oelmotor

    I`ll take the Camry, because of the abysmal VW quality and dealer service.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      …and who was No. 1 in recalls in 2010?

      • 0 avatar
        Oelmotor

        Look who is stronger than before…2010 was a lesson learned.

        My opinion is based on my last TDI experience and it was a horror story. The pump decided “to take a leak” all over the motor compartment within the 1st week, rust developed within 6 months, etc…then the car proceeded to develop the normal VAG problems.

      • 0 avatar
        Rada

        If VW operated with Toyota standards of quality, all VWs would be recalled. They don’t fix common simple design mistakes, such as crappy ignition coils, for years and years.

      • 0 avatar
        Thinkin...

        Typical Toyota Recall: “We’ll remove the floor mats, because some people might install them wrong” or “We’ll replace the gas pedals because people think they’re sticking – even though they don’t seem to be.”

        Typical GM Recall: “We’ll install brake pads in your car. Because we forgot to install them at the factory. Oops.” or “The steering wheel may fall off as while you’re driving, so we’d like to inspect it.”

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        IIRC the ‘headline recall’ had to do with the floormats and unintended acceleration but there were something like a dozen plus recalls on Toyota between late ’09 and ’10 for various other reasons. Granted this is par for the course compared to the domestics over the years, but these facts shatter the myth of Toyota invincibility. The 80s/90s ‘fat Toyotas’ are gone and are never coming back. This doesn’t mean Toyota puts out a bad product, but it doesn’t automatically mean its superior, at least anymore. I forsee a peak in their quality, expect years of additional recalls and a meh product portfolio. They have hooked you in and are in a position to let themselves go vis/vis twenty years ago.

    • 0 avatar
      Jasper22

      Odd that VW is setting sales records right and left and is poised to be the world’s largest car manufacturer in 2013. The observed fit and finish of VW’s is at least as good as Toyota. The cars drive like cars and not refrigerators. Warranty on VW is very comperable to Toyota’s (50K and 5 years and 60K and 5 years on drive train, 30K and 3 years vs 36K and 3 years on nearly everything else). If VW cars self destruct as they are driven out of the showroom as some posts here imply, then how can they afford to fix them all? They cost somewhat more than comparable Toyota, models, so why are VW sales growing so much faster? Much is made of VW’s being made in Mexico. Are Mexicans less trainable than Americans? BMW also makes cars in Mexico and the US. Quality is comparable on cars made in either location.

      Service issues are dealer related. In my market VWs are sold by dealers who also own Toyota franchises. I have had cars from VW and Toyota dealerships owned by the same company. My observation is that good dealers trump bad dealers in service. I have to say service on my VW has been every bit as good as on my Toyotas. I had an Avalon a few years back and the leather upholstery started falling apart after one year of gentle use. The dealer stood by me, but Toyota wanted a fight. Toyotas break too.

  • avatar
    340-4

    Having had 3(!) VW’s in the family, met/known others who ownED them, and learned my lesson(S!)…

    Camry.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    The hybrids don’t achieve the fuel economy when your traveling 90% highway 600 miles weekly. I suspect like most manufacturers with turbos, diesel or gasoline, that some performance is left on the table and the VW just needs an aftermarket ECU tune to expose it. Is there more performance left in the Camry?

    A performance tune brought out an additional 2 mpg on my Saab 9-5 bringing it well into the 40 mpg range at 60 mph highway cruise. I also have horsepower along with torque which will run rings around these two from highway merging speeds on up where you need it. So no replacement for the Saab 9-5 yet.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    The hybrids don’t achieve the fuel economy when your traveling 90% highway 600 miles weekly. I suspect like most manufacturers with turbos, diesel or gasoline, that some performance is left on the table and the VW just needs an aftermarket ECU tune to expose it. Is there more performance left in the Camry?

    A performance tune brought out an additional 2 mpg on my Saab 9-5 bringing it well into the 40 mpg range at 60 mph highway cruise. I also have horsepower along with torque which will run rings around these two from highway merging speeds on up where you need it. So no replacement for the Saab 9-5 yet.

    Of course records in Passat of 84 mpg set by some hypermilers looks tempting. There is added cost of Diesel compared to gasoline.

    http://www.autoblog.com/2012/05/09/high-mpg-taylors-drive-a-volkswagen-passat-1-626-miles-on-one-ta/

    • 0 avatar
      FromaBuick6

      You just cannot help yourself, can you?

      If you really got over 40 MPG in a rickety old Saab turbo, then I really got the 30 MPG the trip computer in my old 4Runner once read.

      • 0 avatar
        DaveDFW

        Norm continually spouts these 40mpg claims on saabnet.com too. No one believes him there either.

        http://www.saabnet.com/tsn/bb/general/index.html?bID=260904

        Four-cylinder Saab turbos barely manage mid-teens in typical city driving. They might deliver low-30s at steady-state and low highway speeds.

        To see 40, you’d probably have to have a combination of an unreliable SID, imperial gallons, and the engine running so lean you’re about to lose a piston or valve.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I’ve also seen these fantastic mpg claims crop up alteast 4-5 times now in random threads, usually in posts about Japanese cars, namely Toyotas.

        Another bizarre and totally false claim perpetuated here in TTAC by Norm is the supposed propensity towards rust that Toyota Camrys have, particularly in relation to (supposedly) superior domestics. I’m in Central New York (just south of Syracuse, one of the saltiest snowiest places in the US) and can assure you that the 90s Camrys (92+) are just about the most rust resistant cars you can buy, next to Volvos. Long after similar vintage Luminas and Malibus have rotted fist sized holes in their rear quarter panels and there is nothing left of the rocker panels on Cavaliers, the Camries are only beginning to show some ‘freckles’ on their fender edges.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      My stock 04 Saab 9-5 wagon just got 36.5 mpg for 100 miles with AC blasting @ 57 mph(some construction). The AC accounts for about 2 mpg deficit. Once I have the ECU tuned(jzw) I should see another 2 mpg like I saw on another car. My sedan, lighter and more efficient manual, see 4-5 mpg than the wagon.

      I see quite a few late 90′s Camry’s running around Cleveland area bleeding red from the window seams and trunk lids. Domestics cars from the 1990′s will see it around the rear fender area, but not rust through.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    I’ve owned nearly a dozen diesels and only three hybrids.

    The answer boils down to three questions.

    1) Which one of these cars has the better styling?

    2) What type of driving do I usually do?

    3) Am I willing to reduce my ‘quality quotient’ for a better feel of the road?

    The Camry hybrid is a better choice for most folks. However, I like to experiment with unique technologies and the Passat would better satisfy my DIY orientation.

    The choice isn’t that simple for those of us who like to fiddle around with cars. But then again, I doubt if either of these vehicles would make an enthusiast’s list.

    I dealt with an issue similar to this when I was buying a car for my mom… but obviously the exact opposite.

    I bought her a 4-cylinder Camry, that replaced her 4-cylinder Camry she bought ten years ago, which was given to one of my brothers who was also driving a Camry.

    I would have preferred my mom to not buy the vehicle at all. However it’s her retirement and if she wants to buy hot fudge sundaes, that’s her right. I just have to protect her from the predators.

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      Glad you mentioned DIY. Although I own an ’09 Jetta TDI and have had zero problems in 64k miles, I also do my own maintenance. The TDI demands more and is probably less forgiving of neglect. There are 2 retail options for its special VW507 spec motor oil, the dealer and Pep Boys. (The dealer is actually cheaper, no bargains to be had on the web.) The fuel filter must be changed every 20k, not sure if many Camry drivers ever change theirs. The DSG trans in the TDI demands a fluid change every 40k. This requires an adapter for the tranny drain, the purchase/fabrication of a filling device (it fills from the drain), and a VAG-COM connection with software (although the cheap USB eBay adapter and software do fine) so one can read the trans temperature to verify correct fluid level. The DSG fluid is $20/liter and you need 6. Or I could pay the dealer $400 to do it. Once again, I bet the majority of Camrys go their entire life on the factory fill.
      And then of course is the timing belt/pulleys/water pump job I know is waiting for me at 100k.
      However, I detest Prii, and the Camry offers me no driving satisfaction. I’m happy to accept my 36mpg “bad commute” / 44mpg “good commute” and do the maintenance for a car I find truly enjoyable.

      • 0 avatar
        Felix Hoenikker

        Great info. You just talked me out of a TDI. Way too much fussy, and expensive maintenance for my tastes. It looks like you quickly give back any fuel savings to increased operating costs compared to an efficient 4 cylinder gasoline engine.

      • 0 avatar
        Jasper22

        VW’s newer engines, including TDI’s and TSI’s use timing chains which do not require maintenance. DSG fluid replacement is 80,000 miles. DSG’s are essentially dual manual transmission/dual clutch/eletronically controlled devices. They do not use automatic transmission fluid–they use transmission OIL. Standard (non DSG) automatic fluid is changed at 40,000 miles. The newer VW’s all have DSG transmissions. VW spec oil is available at Walmart (Mobile 1 EP 0W-40) for $6.50/qt. Drive train (engine, tranny, all associated parts are warranted 5 years or 50,000 miles.

  • avatar
    Gannet

    Neither one. They’re both hideous to look at, and the premise is stupid. If you’re looking to drive cheap, buying a new car at $33k isn’t how you do it. If you’re not looking to drive cheap, fuel economy shouldn’t be at, or probably even near, the top of the list of considerations.

    But that’s just me.

  • avatar
    Ralph SS

    As you allude to in your review, picking one of these two would depend mostly on the kind of driving you expect to do, esp. if you commute. Mostly moving freeways and country roads? the Passat is the better choice. Doing the freeway creep in LA? The Camry wins. Have we compared the Camry to the Fusion Hybrid?

  • avatar
    Dawnrazor

    Camry, hands down. VW is more desirable and “premium” feeling overall (though less “premium” than it used to be) but will require more frequent and more expensive “regular” maintenance, and will almost certainly start causing reliability headaches at 60-70K, something you don’t really want to be bothered with in a commuter car.

    In addition to solid reliability well into six-figure mileages, the Camry will tolerate some neglect of regular maintenance with no negative consequences. Basically, an appliance (which is exactly what you want when you actually depend upon the vehicle).

  • avatar
    grzydj

    I wouldn’t buy a VW, but I might lease one. As far as the comparo is concerned, I’d probably pick the Camry if I was writing the check to buy one and keep it for 10 + years.

    One thing you are forgetting in the fuel economy equation is DPF additive for the Passa, which becomes very expensive over time and probably does a lot to offset the potential fuel savings over the hybrid.

    But I guess you already realize that.

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/01/the-truth-about-clean-diesels-adblue-is-freaking-expensive/

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      You can buy BlueDEF at Napa, Advance Auto Parts, Autozone, and even Walmart. You can do the re-fill yourself, and Advance sells 2.5 gallons for $13. So yeah, it’s *really* expensive.

      If I was in the market for an Americanized sedan (which I never will be) I’d personally buy the Passat because I think I’d fall asleep in the Camry. I also like to tinker with my cars, and I don’t think the Camry is tinkerable. You can do a chip tune on the Passat for an extra 20 hp/62 ft-lbs for $499. Then there are LED lighting upgrades, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        grzydj

        Even if you’re buying it at Wally World for $13 a gallon, that’s still expensive.

        The DPF systems on VWs are notoriously unreliable and extremely expensive to replace. One could argue that the DPF system in the VW is more complicated than the simple hybrid system in the Camry. That and the newer VW DPF systems don’t like biodiesel either.

        • 0 avatar
          dddwww

          Gotta love people who:

          1) Think 2.5 gallons for $13 means $13/gallon
          2) Ignore that the cost is $0 for the first 36mo/36k miles
          3) Think that adding $26 every 10k miles (WORST case) is expensive

          Since grzydj is math challenge, over 10k miles at 35mpg with fuel at $4/gal you will spend $1142 on fuel and $26 on AdBlue.

          Yep, that’s REALLY expensive. So expensive you’ll have to skip a Starbucks every other month to be able to afford it.

          It is also amusing to hear someone suggest that a pretty simply DPF system is allegedly more complex than a hybrid system (which consists of batteries, motors and controllers). Please, whether you love the VW or Camry or hate them, fine, just don’t make up stupid stuff to support your position.

          Lastly, sorry that the new VW’s won’t run off cooking oil and the Camry won’t run off AA batteries. If either of those are important to you then absolutely find another vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        I don’t think the Camry runs on AAA batteries, either. In other words, both biodiesel and AAA are outside the manufacturer specs and irrelevant to most drivers.

        As for the urea refill, even if it uses as much as the GL320 in the referenced story (which is unlikely) it’s only $0.0025 per mile when purchased at the VW dealer parts department.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    IF I knew that the VW was going to be dead solid reliable (which for me means 300,000 miles with just maintenance items) I would take the VW. But that’s a pretty big IF.

    Personally I’d choose a 300hp V6 family sedan and put up with lower fuel economy for much more fun.

  • avatar
    bziko98

    Neither. All new 3rd generation global (read unamericanized, thank you!) Mazda6 will be introduced in September and goes on sale early next year with its skyactiv-“d” for diesel engine. It will be best of both worlds, fun to drive and economical. Recently a wagon version
    was spied

    http://s1.aecdn.com/images/news/spyshots-mazda6-estate-wagon-46682_1.jpg

    on US highway so I keep my fingers crossed for a 6 speed manual.

  • avatar
    SMIA1948

    When you do a weekend self-discovery course called “The Landmark Forum”, you learn what your three “Strong Suits” are. You then realize that everything in your life is consistent with your Strong Suits, including the car you drive. It is your Strong Suits that select your car, your house, your spouse, your job, etc.

    My Strong Suits are that I am logical, I am unconventional, and I am persistent. My Strong Suits would choose the Passat, because it is the unconventional choice. I would never, never own a Camry, which is the most conventional car on the market.

    I am in fact at this moment considering ordering a VW Passat diesel–with the six-speed manual transmission, of course.

    • 0 avatar

      FWIW, I somehow sensed that the course you mention is the latest iteration of Werner Erhard’s est. My father went through est back in the late 70s / early 80s, and I attended the “Forum” that replaced it back in 1989. Seems they keep reinventing and repackaging the program. It has gotten less hardcore with each cycle.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Is it logical to buy a basic transportation car from a company that routinely builds many of the worst cars on the market? Perhaps logical and unconventional aren’t actually compatible qualities.

      • 0 avatar
        SMIA1948

        Your Strong Suits will always fill your head with “good reasons” for doing whatever they impel you to do. In my case, I can (logically) argue that VWs feel better to drive than competing Toyotas, and that reliability isn’t everything, especially if you are a two-person family with 6 cars.

        Two of them are VWs (a 2007 Eos and a 2009 Tiguan) and yes, they are not nearly as trouble-free as my 2009 Honda Fit. In fact, both of them recently had to have their entire A/C systems replaced because of self-destructing compressors. The Tiguan (20,000 miles) was still under warranty, and VW agreed to pay the cost of fixing the Eos (30,000 miles), even though the warranty had expired. I was impressed by that, and the service experience at West Houston VW has been terrific. So, maybe VW has changed its evil ways.

        I sold my 2004 Mercedes SL55 AMG when the warranty was up, and it was a good thing I did. That car was in the shop for something expensive almost every week. Interestingly enough, I actually like driving the Eos better than the SL. It’s more fun.

      • 0 avatar

        One thing we keep repeating here at TTAC, but that many people don’t realize until they personally experience it, is that a smaller, lighter car is generally more fun than a larger, heavier one, even if the latter is more powerful.

    • 0 avatar
      jeffzekas

      my wife and I are unconventional, but we like our cars to be reliable… hence, no Volkswagens!

  • avatar
    jberger

    The XLE should have had rear AC vents, that’s one of the differences between the LE and XLE Camry.

    I’m not sure there will be any real comparison in the long term ownership areas.

    The Camry should be far less expensive to operate over it’s lifespan. It’s got a engine with all electric accessories, so no belts to deal with. A dead simple transmission design that is rock solid. The regen braking means extraordinarily long brake and rotor life.

    Given the number of cars that Toyota is using this same hybrid package, (TCH, Prius, ES350h, Avalon) they must have confidence in the design and really rung out the costs of the build. Warranty is 8 years/100,000 miles on the hybrid components.

    For those who are comparing the TCH with the 4cyl Camry, when comparing similarly equipped models, the hybrid portion is just not a lot of money. The Hybrid comes with a lot more standard features in addition to a lower maintenance design.

    • 0 avatar

      The Camry had the vents. The Passat did not. I tested the Camry XLE most recently, but somehow ended up without an interior shot. So I used an interior photo from a Hybrid LE I drove a while back. The LE lacked nav (with its attendant large display) and had cloth instead of leather/suede, but otherwise looked the same inside.

      As noted in an earlier reply, Toyota charges about $2,600 for the hybrid bits.

      The Prius has a similar powertrain in a smaller size. Toyota’s hybrid powertrains have been highly reliable, though there have been recalls for the inverter cooling pumps.

  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    Michael’s comment about the Camry’s uncomfortable headrests gave me an objective reason for preferring the Passat, (though I don’t really like VW’s latest offerings. The rental Jetta I used last month was a big downgrade, with only a limited, notched seat recline adjustment instead of the infinitely variable rotary adjuster that’s graced VW’s since the Beetle era). Today’s aggressive headrests make most contemporary cars an ordeal for me to sit in. You need to do a full story on this issue, how exaggerating a single safety factor leads to cars that can’t fit normal humans sitting relatively upright.

    And the Toyota’s interior is an aesthetic disaster, with far too many strong, clashing shapes and needless brightwork. Can’t you just imagine the designer’s bosses saying, “not busy enough, add more bling, again.” Somebody evidently thinks that dashboards need to provide “excitement.” Maybe that’s a useful sales tool in the quiet confines of an indoor showroom, but once you’ve bought the car and take it out into the perils of traffic, all I ask of a dash is that it doesn’t get in the way of the really important views, like that pedestrian or truck heading my way.

    I wish you had an automated filter to weed out the guys who always inject the reliability issue into any discussion of VW. It’s getting old, and never was very interesting. My VWs have been reliable, by my standards. Things wear out, but I’ve driven most of my VWs well past 100K miles. But that’s just anecdotal, of no interest to anyone else. If the story is about reliability, tell your tale. If not, and this one is not, please sit on your hands and let someone else have a chance, for a change.

    • 0 avatar
      Rada

      Reliability is the #1 factor for many people who purchase these kinds of vehicles, because poor reliability costs a lot.

      • 0 avatar
        Jasper22

        Consumer Reports is where you get reliable information on “reliability,” not anecdotal information which has little if any value beyond entertainment. VW sells a LOT of cars world wide. If you build 2.2 million cars and 50,000 turn out to have problems, which ones will write comments on Internet reviews? Happy car owners generally tell their friends. Unhappy ones tell the world.

    • 0 avatar

      I almost added “for me” to the headrest comment. My neck is more vertical than most–the average person might not notice the headrest issue. Also, some manufacturers either include (and rely heavily on) active headrests to provide sufficient protection, or trade off a few safety points to provide a headrest that is comfortable for everyone.

      The Hyundai Genesis Coupe is an example of the latter. Its headrests are manually adjustable fore-and-aft, a rarity these days.

      • 0 avatar
        Wheatridger

        Posture plays a key role in this issue. If you lay your seat back at a 45-degree angle, like you’re driving a recliner, with your chin on your chest, you probably need headrests that jut aggressively forward. Sit the same seat up straight, as in the traditional Euro-sedan style, with a headrest designed for the other posture, and you’re in for trouble. Maybe we need self-adjusting headrests that bend forward as the seat reclines, and back when the seat’s upright? Or perhaps we need to stop calling them “headrests” at all. I hate to rest my head there– every road shock is transmitted to the spatial sensing mechanisms in my head, and I’m less free to turn my head and look around. For me, they’re “head restraints,” sitting back there like catcher’s mitts to cushion my noggin if hit from behind.

        I’ve tried the Hyundai head restraints; they didn’t adjust backwards far enough. After sitting in two dozen vehicles at the auto show, I found that, ironically, the only cars with unobtrusive headrests were several VWs and the Subie Forester. That’s the same pair that sits in my driveway right now.

  • avatar
    Brian P

    I’d take the Passat in a second. My 2006 Jetta TDI has been good (and currently has 382,000 km on it) and it’s known that the TDI engine in the Passat has a fix for one of the issues plaguing the Golf/Jetta TDI (intercooler freezing up – the Passat uses air-to-water and so will the next generation Golf) and the Passat has a different fuel injection system that operates at a slightly lower pressure, which appears to be less susceptible to the other problem plaguing Golf/Jetta TDI … high-pressure fuel pump failures.

    The Jetta and Passat TDI engines might outwardly look similar, but they’re different enough in a couple of important areas to make the Passat the model of choice. And my pick would be a Highline TDI with 6MT (a combination not available in the USA).

    The Camry doesn’t interest me in the slightest.

    I don’t need a car the size of the Passat and I’m more likely to actually wait for the next-generation TDI engine (with the fixes to the intercooler and HPFP) to make it into a Golf, and get that.

  • avatar
    BryanC

    I still find the MPG comparisons between diesel and gasoline to be misguided, especially as the volumetric energy density of gasoline declines due to increased ethanol blending. A liter of E15 gasoline contains only 87.5% of the energy of a liter of diesel. 40 MPG on diesel is the same as 35 MPG on E15, if you’re evaluating efficiency based on km/MJ, or equivalently km/gCO2. km/$ is another important metric, albeit one influenced by politics more than engineering. But km/l is just nonsense, it doesn’t measure anything useful.

    • 0 avatar

      I’d prefer to compare miles per dollar, but pump prices vary a lot by area and over time. In some places diesel is much more expensive than gas, in others it’s about the same or even a little less. So I go with MPG and let readers make the adjustment based on their local prices.

      • 0 avatar
        grzydj

        Yet you fail to enter the price of DPF for the VW in overall operating costs. It adds up quickly.

      • 0 avatar

        I assume you mean DEF (diesel exhaust fluid) and not DPF (diesel particulate filter). It doesn’t add up quickly. As another commenter noted, the fluid is now available for a few dollars a gallon. A gallon lasts about 3,000 miles and the first few fills are covered by the free maintenance program.

      • 0 avatar
        grzydj

        $13.00 a gallon isn’t a few dollars, and that is if VW lets you use some off the shelf DEF, which considering how finicky these systems are, might not be the best route and it may even void your warranty. I’d check with the owners manual to see what it says about other kinds of DEF additives can be used first.

        Yes, I did mean DEF, but people call it all sorts of stuff. GEP (General (motors) Expensive Pee) DFA (Diesel Filter Additive) and so on and so forth.

        Mopar branded DEF for Cummins engine is about $20.00 a gallon.

      • 0 avatar
        Ubermensch

        It’s $13 for 2.5 gals so it is about $5 a gal. I would say that is “a few” dollars a gallon.

      • 0 avatar
        grzydj

        @Ubermensch

        Ok, but that still doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be added to the overall cost of ownership metric.

      • 0 avatar

        It adds about one-sixth of a cent per mile, less than rounding error.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Having previously owned a VW I would have to take the Camry, but not the hybrid. I found the SE to be frugal enough but with better handling and great seats.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Same here – I owned a Passat before… great car for the first 3-4 years of its life, after that nothing but constant problems. Its a shame because the VeeDub is the better car (nicer interior, better handling, etc) since the Camry is a bland machine. Personally I’d buy neither and look for something else, even if that means giving up a few MPG.

      • 0 avatar
        jimmyy

        I own a 12 Camry LE Hybrid, and I made the mistake of not taking the dealer up on switching the OEM tires. The dealer told me the OEM Michelin Energy “Green X” tires were good for mileage, but bad for handling. I thought he was trying to soak hundred of dollars out of me. Then, I drove a friends Toyota that had Pirelli tires installed on it. It drove like a completely different car. What a difference. If you buy a Camry, get rid of the fuel saving tires before it leaves the lot. I wish I had done this …

  • avatar
    rubix560

    Weird how many are choosing the Toyota. Knowing a good amount of people how own Tdi vws they all have over 250k with no problems. I met one guy who had 400k miles and it ran like a champ. Vw diesels are known to run forever especially a manual. Plus they are more American made and have nicer interiors. Seems like a no brainer to me. I get vw reliability is hit or miss but tdis are usually great

    • 0 avatar
      Robstar

      @rubix560: Not sure what you mean by more American. Both my uncles manufacturing stamp on his hybrid & the one on my rental said they were made in Kentucky.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      I may be wrong, but I believe the current generation of TDIs (from 2006 onward?) are much more complex than the old 1.9liter diesels that have the tank-like reputation. I think the verdict is still out on the new ones until more have been on the road for a lot of miles.

      And keep in mind that there is a lot more on a car to fail than the engine. Lousy electronics can reportedly make life hell for a car owner.

    • 0 avatar
      jeffzekas

      After having a diesel Golf sitting in my front yard for a year with a cracked head (150,000 miles)… I vote for ANY car, as long as it is reliable… and VW has not proven itself- which will need to be done ALL OVER AGAIN… not to mention that VW has the rudest, worst dealer network in North America!

  • avatar
    PintoFan

    Isn’t 2013 Fusion Hybrid the real answer to this question?

    • 0 avatar

      Could be. We’ll find out in a few months.

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      That was going to be my post but someone else beat me to it. I’d say the chances are good that Ford will follow the previous Fusion Hybrid in a competent manner and retain their leadership position for this class vehicle, i.e., mid-size sedan mpg champ.

      Anyone interested in the virtues of either the Camry Hybrid or Passat TDI would do well to wait for the Fusion.

      • 0 avatar
        jimmyy

        The Ford Fusion hype machine will be active in 3 … 2 … 1 …

        Of course, Ford will advertise best in class mileage … hype hype

        Sometimes, car reviews have been unable to validate the best in class mileage claim. Did you see the Motor Trend review of the current Hybrid Fusion?

        I own a 12 Camry Hybrid LE. It actually delivers the EPA mileage on the sticker. No hype needed at Toyota.

  • avatar
    punkybrewstershubby

    I have to go ‘Yota on this one. My many years of VW nightmares have taught me one thing. Reliability and security over looks. Toyota has this one won.

  • avatar
    Mrb00st

    I’d go for the Camry. The diesel is cool but Toyota’s latest HSD setup is just way smoother to drive. If we’re talking commuter cars, my priority lies on smoothness, comfort, quietness, and dependability.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    5-6 year maximum ownership period? Passat hands down. I prefer the styling, interior design, and instantaneous torque of the TDI. Doesn’t matter if the Camry is much faster, I don’t like the feel of hybrid powertrains.

    Longer than 5-6 years? The Camry starts looking a bit better.

  • avatar
    gglockster

    But you are missing the description of the full experience. The surly mechanics with the included VW service plan. Having to visit the dealership yearly for inevitable recall campaigns. Strange miscellaneous ailments, like the sunroof drains clogging while on vacation, turning the VW into a water park. Expensive parts even from the aftermarket.

    Yet, I so want VW’s diesel cars to be good. I get over 40 mpg highway in my 05 Jetta TDi. I calculated that as long as diesel is less than 115 percent the price of regular gas that I am still ahead on the cost of fuel. The joys of working turbo lag to blast diesel soot into a tailgater. I have over 120K on the clock and I am sure it is good for 200K plus, if only all of the the overpriced “discontented” parts in the rest of car do not fall apart first.

    If VW wants to succeed in the USA long term they either need to improve their dealer and dealer service department BBB ratings or else make it cheaper and easier for shade tree mechanics to make affordable repairs. As far as I know Toyota’s are still less expensive to repair.

  • avatar
    blppt

    TDI no question. Unlike many, I don’t hate the Camry, but I’ve driven the TDI before in other applications (09 Jetta, 11 Golf) and now that they have the DSG well sorted out (it behaved oddly in the 09 Jetta, much much better in the 11 Golf), I love the pull of the diesel. Its one of the few cars anymore that can maintain speeds up good grades in the Northeast in 6th/top gear. In the interest of fuel economy, all manufacturers have taller and taller top gears in their automatics, meaning pretty much every time you hit a moderate grade at 65mph, its downshifting time, which is beyond annoying.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Neither one inspires blithering lust so do I have to?

  • avatar
    rhears

    I recently made this very decision, although i looked at several other cars as well. I’m 60 and a long time fan of German metal, esp high powered AMG types, but an M3 snuck in there somewhere, a Camaro SS, C4S, etc so understandably the Passat and Golf diesels were strong contenders as daily drivers. However, my wife is also driving the car and we intend to keep it for a very long time. My experience with German cars has proven that they are expensive to maintain, in comparison to Japanese cars, and the reliability/longevity prize has to go to the Camry. Surprising, the Camry goes like hell – you’ll be surprised if you haven’t driven one, so the ability to pass others on a two-lane is not entirely compromised. The Camry is very comfortable and quiet, the headrests are not a problem for me or my wife, and the new trunk has been more than adequate for our needs. Being used to filling up the E63 i find the remarkable fuel economy of the camry to be DEE lightful, we’re averaging 37. so for a long term daily driver with great fuel economy i think the Camry is at the head of the class, at least until the Ford shows up.

  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    This discussion has proven once again that the car “enthusiast” blogs are populated by owners of boring but reliable cars who enjoy scoffing at anyone reckless and daring enough to own a European exotic like — Volkswagen? Most of TTAC’s readers would be better employed at a Consumer Reports forum where they could analyze and argue over real reliability stats.

    • 0 avatar
      SMIA1948

      Yes, but “the truth about cars” in 2012 is that they aren’t as much fun as they used to be. We are completing the 4th year of this grinding recession, and hard economic times forces people to be more “practical” when it comes to expensive purchases.

    • 0 avatar
      jimmyy

      Educated folks do not care about cars anymore. Most people are beyond cars. The world has changed.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Well you could wander over to the “enthusiast” blogs at Motor Trend and Car and Driver and take a peak at the circus freaks over there. True enthusiasts, they are, scoffing at anyone who has practical reasons for preferring a certain car. The consumer reports crowd looks pretty good in comparison.

      TTAC has a diverse & thoughtful commentariat. With that comes people who do want their family sedan–horrors!–to be reliable–double horrors! Not everyone likes cars for the same reasons, and we should be OK with that. A non-family sedan blog post will be up shortly, I’m sure.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      “Most of TTAC’s readers would be better employed at a Consumer Reports forum where they could analyze and argue over real reliability stats.”

      Ha-ha! Tis true and sad to say the least. Seems like everything is compartmentalize for easy digesting today. Poor souls can’t think for themselves if their life depended on it.

      Either that or everyone is getting too old here!

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Everything is compartmentalized? You mean like bringing up 40mpg Saab 9-5 claims and the superiority of 90s GM rust protection in every post you can possibly squeeze them into?

    • 0 avatar
      jeffzekas

      Owners of “boring” cars “scoff” because they ALREADY have owned their share of Jaguars and MG’s and Alfas… and LEARNED A HARD LESSON! ps: I drove an Alfa Romeo every day for 6 months, and it was really fun to race around town in… but AAA only gives 4 free tows a year… and it really sucks having a break-down, on a regular basis, when you are trying to get to work or school!

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    When carrying passengers and luggage the Diesel will be better because of the vastly better torque. If your commute is short and / or involves stop start driving you are better off with a smaller car so if you want to save gas on freeway commutes again the diesel wins. The better handling / body control of the Passat also means a safer car, think emergency maneuvering. The added mass of batteries, electric and gas engines in the hybrid will also negatively affect breaking and handling.
    It seems to me that if the cost of ownership is more with the VW, you do get quite a bit more for your money so for me I vote for the Passat.

    • 0 avatar

      The Camry Hybrid’s electric motor produces 199 pound-feet of torque, not far off the TDI’s 236. So the TCH’s gas+hybrid combo likely out-twists the TDI at low rpm (Toyota doesn’t release a combined peak torque figure).

      Both cars also weigh about 3,400 pounds despite the penalties imposed by their powertrains. The Camry’s handling is no more penalized by its hybrid bits than the VW is by its heavy diesel engine. In fact, the opposite is the case. The TCH handles much like the regular Camry, while the TDI feels considerably less agile than the Passat 2.5.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      “When carrying passengers and luggage the Diesel will be better because of the vastly better torque.”

      I’ve owned a Jetta TDI, and I couldn’t agree more.

      However, your statement implicitly assumes the TDI is running. During the year I owned my TDI, it only ran about half the time I owned it.

      Even if you think my experience is an outlier, or overblown, we need to compare it to owning a Prius. You can apply whatever handicap you like, and the point will likely stand.

      Over 8 years of Prius ownership, though, the Prius didn’t have any memorable downtime, except when my now-wife was rear-ended by a taxicab. I think that’s the only overnight service we’ve ever had on the vehicle.

      I love driving diesel cars. The low-end torque is pleasant, and my Jetta flattened mountains and straightened turns. When it ran. I’d love to own a diesel again, but it will not be from Volkswagen.

  • avatar
    84Cressida

    I’ll take my Camry in Cosmic Gray Mica, please.

    • 0 avatar
      jimmyy

      I like that color, except in Boston, the roads are already flooded with 12 Camrys in Cosmic Gray Mica. The other color everywhere is Magnetic Gray. Silver seems to be popping up also. I bought White. So far, not too many in that color. In New York City, the 12 Hybrid Camry as taxis are like ants.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    When I opened the hood of my 12 Camry Hybrid LE, I found Japanese everywhere. Makes me think the entire drivetrain was made in Japan then bolted in at a US Factory. I wish Toyota would have more of the Hybrid parts made in US factories.

  • avatar
    daveainchina

    I don’t like hybrids, I think they are too complicated. On the other hand Toyota has proven the technology at this time.

    Normally I’d go with a diesel, but considering it’s a VW, and the long-term reliability and cost of maintenance issues, I’ll go with the Toyota Camry.

    When it comes time to replace that battery, I’m sure I won’t be happy with the bill though.

  • avatar
    FromaBuick6

    I actually like both of these cars (although not necessarily for myself). I’m a good candidate for a diesel (long highway commute), but I’m not quite willing to pull the trigger on one, mostly because of the upfront price premium and unpredictable fuel prices.

    Hybrids? I’ve found myself warming to the Toyotas. They’ve really got the formula down, and the price premium on the Camry is pretty nominal at this point. However, it’s not nominal enough to justify it over the standard four given the way I drive. Plus the Camry (and Prius, etc) is the appliance car poster child.

    The Passat also looks like a much nicer, more impressive car. Volkswagens, despite the decontenting, feel a little more special than a Camcord (well, maybe not the rental-grade Two.Slow Jettas).

    Let me put it this way: I’d much rather have the VW. If my GLI comes anywhere within a country mile of “reliable,” I’ll get another VW, maybe a Passat and/or a TDI. If my GLI spits its turbo out the exhaust when the warranty’s up…I’ll get a Camry SE.

  • avatar
    Bryce

    I drive a diesel so Id stick with that but not a VW Ill stay with a PSA product they at least know how to build diesels, thats where Ford and BMW shop.

  • avatar

    I spend about 1% of my driving these days on the interstate and the other 99% either in town or on back roads. With that in mind, my head would say the Camry, which would pay dividends in both everyday slow&go driving and reliability. But my heart is with VW. Maybe I’m the 1 in 1,000,000, but I’m on my second Golf TDI and haven’t had any earth-shattering issues with either that could chalked up to reliability problems. The ’05 I have now is having some transmission issues, and a window won’t roll down, and the sunroof doesn’t like to close once opened on a hot day… But my god, at 285,000 miles I don’t expect perfection.

    What I do expect is a car company that fixes long-term reliability issues, and that’s something that VW seems to fail at on an ongoing basis. They also have shoddy dealers in general. A car with average reliability can be more easily dealt with when the service center isn’t trying to screw the owner on a regular basis and VW USA has NOT gotten this through their thick skulls yet.

    I’d recommend the TDI in any model, despite the potential problems, as long as the owner can find a reputable independent mechanic to work on it, or doesn’t mind tackling routine maintenance themselves. And only if the owner is open to the adventure that is owning a car with less-than-stellar reliability can be. I’d also steer anyone and everyone away from the DSG simply because of the added costs over a typical slushbox.

    Want a car that’s like a toaster, in that it just works but leaves you feeling slightly bored and empty? Then the Camry is a no-brainer, and I don’t disrespect anyone who just wants It to work.

    Frankly, I am one of the many with the unfulfilled wish: an interesting, fun to drive hybrid OR a reliable, solid diesel. (With a manual, in a wagon to complete the internet car enthusiast trifecta.)

    One last thing: have VW ripped that hideous cheap Cracker Jack prize clock off the dashboard yet? *shudder*

  • avatar
    jaje

    I do mostly highway driving so would pick a diesel over a gasoline hybrid which has the advantage at constant speed (no hybrid propulsion benefit).

  • avatar
    Luke42

    I’ve owned a Volkswagen Jetta TDI and a Prius.

    Prius Wins, hands down.

    The Jetta was a competitive with the Prius paper, and it looks like it would be the better highway car — and it was, when it ran. The Jetta is also wonderfully fun to drive. However, mine was out-of-warranty and the repair costs made my wallet hurt — I spent almost $7k to maintain it over one year. Like most Toyotas, the Prius has been a steadfastly reliable car over the 8 years and 145k miles we’ve owned it.

    So, while this is an argument by analogy, there’s probably nothing wrong with the Camry Hybrid. If my experience owning a Volkswagen is any indication, Passat is a ticking time bomb.

    If you do decide on the Passat, please, oh please, make sure that the vehicle is under warranty and that you live within a convenient distance of a competent Volkswagen dealer.

  • avatar
    otaku

    A friend of mine was seriously considering the Ford Fusion Hybrid a couple years back when he was in the market for a new car. We compared it to both the Toyota Prius and Camry Hybrids. The Ford really impressed us on the test drive. In fact, the only reason he didn’t close the deal right there and then was due to the high cost of entry, which at the time was somewhere in the $28k range.

    I recently saw an ad in my local paper for a new 2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid with a $23,000 sale price. I think some dealers may be lowering the price on remaining Fusion inventory to clear space for the upcoming new model. I’m not currently in the market for a hybrid, but if it were my money I would much rather own the Fusion (and pocket the difference) than either one of these overpriced snooze-mobiles. From where I stand, it’s not even much of a decision.

  • avatar
    bd2

    The “new” Camry is still as vanilla as it gets.

    The Passat drives better, looks better (inside and out) – so Passat for me.

  • avatar
    fli317

    I wouldn’t choose either one of these snooze mobiles (good description). Neither one of them are interesting enough. I do expect reliability, but I don’t want an appliance. I guess I have not moved past cars. I still enjoy cars and am interested in them. I am fairly well educated, however. Does that make me unconventional? It is amazing to me how many camrys are sold, so I guess they are what people want. I find them uninteresting and no fun to drive. That must be a strange concept to many.
    I did recently rent a std camry. The interior was far to cheap for what I expect. I would not want the VW with such reliability issues. The TDI is tempting however. Toyota won’t do it, but if Mazda, Nissan or Honda decided to make a diesel, I think they would do quite well.

  • avatar

    I recently drove a late model Camry, gas version. It was clear why it sells-for a cheap car (30k or not) it was decently designed, holds 4 comfortably. No power, no handling, brakes OK. Budweiser sells well too, but is also not memorable or good on a world level.

    I’ve had a bunch of VW products. One Gen 1 Scirocco, a GTi 16v, two diesel rabbits. VW is a euro car, designed for folks who open the hood. Compare to a Belgian beer. (yes, I know InBev owns bud) If you don’t “do” hoods, then VW is not your car.

    I have a very hard time with the “Americanized” VW offerings. They get Aveo quality plastics, solid rear axles, and minimalist interiors. If you actually drive, that solid axle is a deal killer. TopGear ran a solid axle Mustang around their track and compared to an IRS Mustang, and the IRS car won. I rented a Lancer recently, and you can feel the lack of IRS once you push the car. If you never push the car, then you won’t care…and you also probably aren’t a VW person.

    The only VW I’d currently buy is the TDi Golf, as it is made in Germany, and you can tell the difference. (We had German and Mexican Jetta/Golf. Germany wins)

    For non car folks, the Camry will win…it’s a “Toyota”, they won’t visit the service department much, and they will never notice the lack of handling.

    This was flamebait for the B and B, right ? (and i bit !)

    • 0 avatar
      swilliams41

      Just bought my son a GTI, also made in Germany. We considered the new Jetta GLI but passed because the German GTI had better detailing. Most Americans do not care about that sort of thing. Funny how VW has to dumb down their cars for America. Toyota’s are reliable (I loved my Lexus RX)but they are not drivers cars. BTW the RX was exactly what I wanted in a crossover, QUIET, smooth, WELL CONSTRUCTED with major attention to detail (LEXUS) and fairly roomy. It was great to operate and very reliable. My current VW and BMW are lots of fun, like expensive girlfriends.

    • 0 avatar

      Are the US TDI Golfs being made in Germany again? My 00 Golf TDI came from Germany but my 05 Golf TDI was from Brazil and the quality difference of the interior is noticeably, er, noticeable.

      What makes my head explode about all this is that the Americanized, decontented and blandified VW offers are selling like hotcakes. The Passat factory can’t even keep up with demand!

      I can understand the logic of buying a basic white refrigerator like the Camry because it’s tried and true and nothing can really go wrong. But to do that with a brand of VW’s reputation (somewhat undeserved, IMHO) is odd.

    • 0 avatar
      Jasper22

      You can also buy the CC in the US (known as the Passat CC in Euope) which is nearly 100% German/Hungarian (engine). It is assembled in Germany. You have a choice of a 2.0L Turbo TSI or a normally asperate V6–both fine engines. I like the CC. In fact I own two of them. I had the ECU tuned and it puts out a massive 265 HP and 270 ft-lb of torque. Equipped with the DSG transmission, I get 35 + mpg cruising at 70-75 mpg and around 26 mpg combined city/sububan driving. 0-60 in 6 seconds flat if that matters to you. Quiet, comfortable, and…it’s German and drives like it.

  • avatar
    blautens

    I’d probably like to drive the Passat more than the Camry, but after driving a 4 cylinder 2012 Camry LE rental whilst my car is in the middle of month long transmission replacement #2, even though the Camry said “appliance” with every turn, stop, and start, it also whispered “I’ll always be here for you”. And it returned 32mpg mixed driving if I drove lightly, and 29 mpg when I didn’t. I checked out the car online – about $25k, decently optioned as I had it. That’s a lot of car for the money, and a lot of MPG. I can buy a lot of gas for the $8k more I’d spend on the hybrid. And more importantly, it is more likely to not be the source of all my rental needs going forward. Even as I pined for the torquey German.

  • avatar
    28-cars-later

    TDI all day long over any model Camry. There’s something about diesel…

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Can I put the TDI in the Camry?

  • avatar
    DIYer

    The Camry will have less problems over its life than the VW, so I would say Camry. Maybe I would consider the VW on a lease, but not long term – more expensive to repair/maintain.

  • avatar
    Thabo

    I think we all agree that a Toyota is going to be more reliable than a VW but if you’re into cars why would you ever want to drive a Camry? Much more exciting options out there and find a good mechanic and you’re golden. I have no idea why anyone who is even remotely into cars would want to ride around in a toaster – why are they even reading a website about cars ???? Off to consumer reports you go……

    But I’ve often though about the “how it makes you feel” argument, someone loves the VW bug, a rubbish car in my opinion but if you feel good driving it then so be it but perhaps some people feel good driving a Camry (every mile I’m saving a dollar over that VW I almost bought) ??

    Having said that most VWs of the 90s were crap, my first real car was a Golf 2 GTI (leaded gas), wonderful, after that it was downhill for all golfs and now the Americanized Jetta’s have been stripped bare.

    We did have a Toyota one a Corona, one of these http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:1973_Toyota_Corona_01.jpg – it was a great car I remember not sure it ever came to the states and we drove to Victoria Fall’s in a little Datsun 1200 another great little car – oh the good old day …….

    • 0 avatar
      84Cressida

      Maybe because there are car enthusiasts out there who don’t consider the Camry to be a “toaster”? Did that ever occur to you?

      • 0 avatar
        Thabo

        No. The latest model is a little sporty but come on, can you honestly say the previous models were nothing more that machines to get you from A to B as my dad who doesn’t give a shite about cars always reminded me? As someone else commented here, have we been infiltrated by some Consumer Reports members ???? Come on, it’s like the Vicar browsing the porn site, they shouldn’t be on this site, sorry.

  • avatar
    Dragophire

    I prefer the VW, however I will just wait for the Mazda 6 Skyactiv-D.
    If they perform the whole treatment on it it will be worth the wait.

  • avatar
    M1EK

    Two problematic statements:

    1. “The EPA MPG numbers—43 city, 39 highway for the Camry and 30 city, 40 highway for the Passat—rightly suggest that the two cars excel in different types of driving.”

    No, it suggests that they both excel on the highway, and only the Camry excels in the city.

    2. “A hybrid’s additional fuel efficiency is derived from its ability to recoup energy while decelerating. If there’s no deceleration, the hybrid powertrain not only provides no benefit but, through its additional mass, actually becomes a disadvantage.”

    No, the hybrid powertrain helps on the highway too. It means you can get away with a much smaller gas engine – imagine trying to accelerate to 70 with JUST the gas engine in the Camry Hybrid. The hybrid system also evens out the peaks and valleys on the highway somewhat – meaning the gas engine gets to operate more efficiently than it would if it was the only power source.

  • avatar
    danwat1234

    I think you should mention the 2013 Ford Fusion hybrid, which beats both the TDI and the Camry hybrid.

    47 City, 44 hwy.

  • avatar
    Brock_Landers

    At highway speeds car’s weight becomes irrelevant. Statement that weight of the hybrid batteries increases highway fuel consumption is false. quote: In fact rolling resistance only makes a major difference to vehicle dynamics at very low speeds (under 60 mph or so) and means that heavy cars use more power and therefore have poor fuel consumption at low speeds. At higher speeds the air resistance becomes paramount and so even heavy cars can show good fuel consumption if they are well streamlined.)

  • avatar
    darrelld

    I already made this choice with my Passat TDI SEL. Previously owned a 2006 Lexus IS350 and was suckered into the Toyota quality myth.

    My VW’s, my first but I now own 2, have been more reliable than my previous Toyota.

    My Lexus was in the shop more than any vehicle I ever owned. Things like the both outside rear view mirrors going bad. Fixed under warranty but $500.00 each without.

    More Lexus issues, Cam shafts grinding on start, oil starvation recall. Broke valve spring recall. Nav system displaying your position a full block off. HID headlights failing with every hard rain. Leaking high pressure fuel pump, 2 recalls. Brake problems, eventual recall.

    As I was taking my Lexus to Carmax to sell it the outside rear view mirror tilted down and froze, another failure.

    I am begining to believe that Toyota owners simply do not report problems. I never pass an opportunity to share my Lexus experience with others.

    Did I get a lemon, if so why all the recalls for that model that affected all owners? Still Consumer Reports rates the Lexus IS as reliable?

    • 0 avatar

      I am no Toyopolgist (it’s an old word I just made up) but it sounds like you got a lemon.

      Lexus aren’t as bulletproof as some people think they are but that pattern of issues is way out of the ordinary for just about any car.

  • avatar
    Pugpal

    Both cars on on my short list (and the only cars) as a replacement for my aging Frank Tanks (86-87 vintage Peugeot 505s that have served me faithfully for more than a quarter of a century) – should the froggymobiles ever die. (Of 10 that I’ve owned, only one has had to be put out to pasture and not for mechanical reasons, but the ravages of upstate NY salt.)

    The comments on this thread are straight up and down what my due diligence to date has been telling me. If you can stand the boredom, go Camry. If you like taking risks, take the TDI. Not willing to be bored or take risks for the $30-40k price of admission, I will pay a few dollars to keep the 505s going for another 5 years and hope that a worthy replacement can be found in the meantime.

    FWIW, the 505 was an exceptional vehicle; not perfect but nonetheless blessed with outstanding engineering and a pleasure to drive under any conditions. Despite an obvious surface similarity, the wagon is completely different from the sedan from the firewall aft. The new 508 (not available in North America) is getting excellent reviews, but has lost some of the endearing features of the 505 – notably superb visibility and, in the wagon, the space to load 38 bankers boxes.

  • avatar
    BlackDynamiteOnline

    The Toyota is slightly faster, noticeably more durable, with better resale, and uses 87 gas. Maybe in the real-world, they will get similar MPG, but diesel will always cost you a pretty premium, and many gas stations don’t even have a diesel pump!

    In my area, diesel is 60-70 cents more than regular. We’re talking 20-25% more expensive than regular.

    I like the bigger trunk, and wood trim on the Passat (These aren’t the base models), but the exterior makes the Camry look stylish. Passat is going for the anti-style, and they nailed it.

    If you drive more highways than normal, maybe the Passat is the right choice, but for most, the Camry is the way to go.

    Camry Hybrid starts at $25990. Passat TDI SE starts at $26225
    BD

  • avatar
    BeechnutC23

    Well we just bought our 6th VW last month, 2013 Golf TDI wagon for my wife (manual). We also have a 2011 Golf TDI hatch (mine, manual), and a 2005 Passat TDI (automatic). Prior to that, a 2007 Passat 2.0T wagon (manual) which I put 160,000 km on before trading it on the 2011 Golf, and prior to that a 2004 Jetta TDI wagon that my wife totaled at 110,000 km. Our 2005 Passat has 250,000 km on it and was trouble-free for the first 160k km (100k miles). The 2007 wagon was equally dependable, never let me down. The only VW that gave me any kind of serious grief was a 99 TDI, first-year Mk IV Jetta. That one taught me to never by a car in the first year of a new model.

    Since 99% of my driving is highway, it’s pretty clear that I’d pick the VW over the Toyota. I’ve driven quite a few Toyotas as rentals and hated every one. Last Camry I drove (previous generation) had a serious pull to the left. Oddly on the same business trip a colleague also rented a Camry and complained of the same problem. A friend has a 2007 RAV4 and has spent thousands on out-of-warranty repairs (rear diff, steering column, airbag controller, etc.), and vows to never buy another Toyota. Toyota’s also had sludging problems with their V6.

    I do think VWs require more owner involvement. You can’t neglect maintenance on them. But other than that they’re so much more engaging to drive that I can’t see myself ever buying a Toyota (I’d go Honda before Toyota).

    • 0 avatar
      BlackDynamiteOnline

      That’s cute that you’re trying to start the rumor that VWs are reliable and Toyotas aren’t, as Camry sales approach 4 to 1 ratio over Passat sales.

      Good luck with that…..
      BD

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    It funny Motorweek had a comparison of sedans and the latest Camry finished last in field. Other car magazines have similar results.

    What kind of fuel economy are you seeing year around in the tdi’s?

    • 0 avatar
      BlackDynamiteOnline

      Magazines and TV shows don’t buy cars. People do. The media has run down the Camry for eons. Doesn’t matter.

      People buy certain cars (Camrys/Accord/Corolla/Civic) for two reasons.
      Personal experience with older models. Recommendations/referrals from friends and family.

      The media can like whatever car they want. Some people need to be told what to buy. Some people are grown, and can figure it out for themselves. I’m sure nobody actually buys a car they don’t like or want, unless they are pretty stupid.

      Consumer Reports tore apart the 2012 Civic in their review early last year. Sales went UP, passing the Toyota Corolla for #1 compact in the US.

      The media doesn’t buy cars, or sell cars. People do…..
      BD

    • 0 avatar
      BeechnutC23

      2011 Golf Hatch: around 4.8 L/100 km summer (mostly highway); about 5.5 in the winter (let’s see, that’s 49 mpg summer, 43 mpg winter), with winter being dependent on how severe the winter is. Best ever on a single drive, 4.1 L/100 km (57 mpg).

      2013 Golf wagon: no summer numbers yet, acquired Dec. 4; larger 16″ snow tires (15″ on the 2011), so far has been running about 6.0 L/100 km with only 2300 km on the car (39 mpg).

      2005 Passat: around 6.3 L/100 km summer (37 mpg), 7.0 winter (33 mpg). Best ever on a single drive, 5.4 L/100 km (44 mpg)

      Caveats: I drive at the 100 km/h speed limit when I commute (62 mph) and my driving mix is over 90% highway. I also use other tricks like timing lights, coasting to a stop in gear as much as possible, no tailgating, etc.

  • avatar
    darrelld

    The Camry did poorly in the new tougher IIHS crash test.

    The Passat qualified for the highest rated TSP+, no Toyota tested so far has made that rating.

    About half of all passenger vehicle occupants killed on U.S. roads die in frontal crashes. Major strides have been made in frontal crash protection, thanks in large part to the crash test program the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began in the late 1970s and the crashworthiness evaluations the Institute began in 1995.

    http://www.iihs.org/ratings/rating.aspx?id=1751&seriesid=291

    • 0 avatar
      BlackDynamiteOnline

      That’s great, but so what?

      Do you really want to get into a contest of what the Camry has done well vs what the Passat has done well?
      Is that wise?

      That one test doesn’t make the Camry, or any other car that failed it “unsafe”. Only a fool couldn’t see that. It’s like a staright A student failing French one semester. Stuff happens. The Camry has been one of the safest family sedans for over 20 years. Aced every test up until last month.

      And if that type of accident really happened very often in the real world, would they have waited until Thanksgiving 2012 to actually test for it? They’ve been doing offset crash tests for 15 years. Why start doing this variation now? Why not 15 years ago? Think about it.

      The IIHS has to make up new tests periodically to remain relevant. And their tests help us all. Any car that failed the test will be reinforced and become designed to handle that test within a year or two.
      BD

  • avatar
    Diabroker

    When doing a comparison… please consider the fact that at about 120,000 (sooner if mostly city driving), you will be shelling out $2500+ for a DPI (Diesel Particulate Filter) as well as the scheduled $1500 for timing belt and routine services…. a total of $4000 to get that 43mpg……and if your dealer doesn’t use the correct oil… or you go to Jiffy and they don’t use the 507.000 stuff… it will trash the filter even faster………. and let’s not forget the $90 fuel filter every 20k either……. so consider it.

    But also consider the diesel torque, drivability and other high points. I love mine, but being on a budget I would have loved to been informed of the costs BEFORE being an owner……

  • avatar
    darrelld

    Anyone like to wager that BlackDynamineOnline is on Toyotas payroll? But I digress, the real question is whether employed by their ad agency or some Toyota dealership.


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