VW's TDI Prius Killer DOA

Paul Niedermeyer
by Paul Niedermeyer

Expectations for VW's 2009 "60mpg" TDI Jetta "Prius killer" ran high. And VW threw plenty of (diesel) fuel on the heated passions of oil burner fans. Press materials just a few weeks ago predicted EPA city mileage numbers "in the 40's" and highway mileage "as high as 60mpg." The EPA has released the numbers and they…suck. We're talking 29/40 for the DSG version; 30/40 for the stick. Combined mileage: 34 mpg. The Prius' 46mpg combined mileage is a whopping 35 percent higher. Diesel fuel is running 20 percent higher than unleaded. Annual fuel costs for the two (15k miles): Jetta TDI: $2010; Prius: $1,240. Don't say I didn't tell you so. But I'll repeat the key part: to comply with US emissions regs, diesels lose five percentage points off their efficiency advantage over gas engines. Throw in a global diesel fuel shortage, and its diesel RIP. No word yet on how much VW will charge for the TDI option.

Paul Niedermeyer
Paul Niedermeyer

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  • Bytor Bytor on Oct 29, 2008

    Not hypermiling??? EPA Highway: 40MPG. Pop Mechanics Highway: 45MPG. AMCI Highway: 44MPG. These are essentially all in the same ballpark, that is why I didn't comment on AMCIs results that VW paid for. Taylors: 59MPG across America. Clearly this is hypermiling. It is what the Taylors do. They have 36 world records for fuel economy! They are the most successful hypermilers of all time. They have actually made a career of it. Call it careful driving if it makes you feel better, but this has no bearing on what normal people will achieve, in which case EPA is actually much closer to accurate than the taylors results. Check out their other records here is one that is intersting: Shell / VW Golf 2.0 Litre Petrol Driving 3,800 km’s using only 3 tanks of fuel, averaging 4.3 L/100 km They got 54 MPG in golf 2.0L gas engine, which is not considered a very economical engine at all. If you go by the Taylors results. The new Diesel is only slightly better than the old 2.0L gas engine.

  • Hawkeye54 Hawkeye54 on Jul 02, 2009

    I previously owned a Jetta TDI which did get very close to 50mpg on the highway. I would be very surprised if the new one lost 20% performance. Also, I just completed a 2 week vacation driving my Dodge Ram Diesel. Your numbers for fuel comparisons have changed. While in some areas diesel is more expensive than regular gas, in most areas I drove through diesel has returned to being equal to or less than regular. I drove nearly 3000 miles so this wasn't an isolated sample.

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Jul 02, 2009

    Talked to a couple who bought a brand new diesel Jetta wagon with the six speed. 46.9 mpg they reported at interstate speeds with the a/c on. Diesel is currently the same price as gasoline around here so they did pretty well in my book. Doubt a Prius does as well on the interstate. If I was doing mostly city driving I'd look at a Prius. If I did mostly interstate driving I'd get a Jetta wagon. Or - in our family's case a Prius for me (ugh) and a Jetta wagon for her (ugh) b/c I have the short commute and she doesn't. The better fit would be the reverse of those vehicles taste wise. ;) The Jetta TDI wagon will be on my short list when I get around to shopping for another car.

  • Gurr8 Gurr8 on Jul 03, 2009

    2009 GREEN CAR OF THE YEAR http://www.greencar.com/articles/vw-jetta-clean-diesel-wins-2009-green-car-year.php Edit: Sorry it's not a Toyota, Paul.