By on May 21, 2008

vw-tdi-badge.jpg

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. 

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67 Comments on “VW’s TDI Prius Killer DOA...”


  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    Oh my goodness; those are NOT the numbers VW wanted. They were hoping for at least 10mpg higher.

    Bad, bad news.

  • avatar

    That is truly disappointing

  • avatar

    I wonder if we’ll see some tweaks to improve the mpgs on these (similar to what GM did to the Cobalts with five speed manuals). Was VW caught with its pants down on this? I thought that the manufacturers did the fuel economy testing and a random sample was verified by the EPA, but I might be wrong about that.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    ChrisHaak:I thought that the manufacturers did the fuel economy testing.

    The Republicans may have tried to kill the EPA years ago, and no, the EPA did not buy into Reagan’s “trust but verify” slogan. They run their own tests.

  • avatar
    Bytor

    If you check the 2006 fueleconomy.gov numbers for the Jetta diesel (now have adjusted EPA numbers) you will find they are very similar with the new car doing slightly better. It seems in line with “sane” expectations.

    Anyone expecting a bigger/heavier/more powerful car to get significantly better gas mileage is smoking something.

    Now EPA highway is not pure highway, it is a cycle. Near 60mpg may be possible if you fill up, get on a flat highway and drive the speed limit for 200 miles, get off, fill up again and calculate.

    But in normal usage, the Prius will still probably be ahead on mileage (as it is if you compare Edmunds long term tests) and way ahead on cost considering the fuel price differences.

    VW needs a smaller diesel engine, in a lighter, more aerodynamic package to be it’s mileage champ.

    Kind of like the POLO blue motion. Tweaked out smaller car with 1.4L diesel still only got 55mpg (imperial) in recent testing.

    No way in heck is the much bigger more powerful and untweaked Jetta going to get 60mpg, in anything but a hyper-miler highway run.

  • avatar
    SpacemanSpiff

    Wow,
    That’s not any better than the 2001 Golf TDI that we had. I just looked up the estimated New EPA MPG from fueleconomy.gov for the old TDI, the automatic was rated at 29 City, 40 Highway.
    No improvement in 8 years? Come on VW!

  • avatar
    Pch101

    No improvement in 8 years? Come on VW!

    If there is an improvement, it would be in acceleration, not fuel economy. The 1.9 TDi is a dog; the new car should have at least 140 hp, and get to 60 mph in under 10 seconds, something that the current car can’t do.

    Based upon the numbers, it should also be quicker than the Prius, so an apples-to-apples comparison isn’t quite possible here. If the Prius had better acceleration, it would suffer some loss of fuel economy.

  • avatar

    Dangit dangit dangit. I was really hoping this would help wake up the USA to the wonders and efficiencies of diesel, but with these numbers it’s going to be a no-go. I was even willing to overlook VWs atrocious reliability and maybe even the high cost of diesel if this thing could have given me something to work with! Now, it’ll just be overpriced and underdeliver, setting popular opinion even more against diesel.

  • avatar
    Kevin

    Good grief, if the current Prius pounds the new Jetta Diesel, the new & improved 2009 Prius is really going to beat the pants off it. (lederhosen?)

  • avatar

    bring back the old Civic VX

  • avatar

    What about the Lupo. Seems to me Automobile copared that, the Prius and something else x-country some years back and the Lupo did better than the Prius (obviously its driving where a diesel will have adv over hybrid).

  • avatar
    Jac

    Perhaps Ford should present the US with the German Kuga to tell VW how to do it. Avg is better than VW(take that Tiguan and Jetta), but still be under Prius. Ford diesel cars are on par.
    They (VW & Ford even GM) must have an advert presenting the impact of mining for battery metals on the environment, including shipping. Veggy may be cheaper than diesel soon lowering cost for annual operation.

  • avatar
    romanjetfighter

    Wow. So much hype and VW still can’t beat a car that was introduced in 2003. So much for German engineering! How the hell is VW going to take over Toyota again?

    The Tiguan? You must be joking.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Once again, the price discrepancy on diesel is a temporary thing. “RIP” is not applicable based on the price of the fuel.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    PCH101: Based upon the numbers, it should also be quicker than the Prius

    Don’t count on it. The Prius does 0-60 in 10 seconds. Next year’s Prius should improve on that substantially.

    Landcrusher: the price discrepancy on diesel is a temporary thing.

    Don’t count on that either. There is a serious global shortage of diesel refining capacity, and demand for diesel is growing faster than for gasoline. New international rules will force cargo ships to start burning diesel insted of bunker fuel. That alone is going to have a substantial impact on additional global demand.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Paul,

    Time will tell.

  • avatar
    ash78

    Wie sagt mann “Underpromise, overdeliver”?

    Count me among the high-hopers, especially after VW themselves put those expectations in writing.

    I’ll grant that the current EPA test cycle is utter bullsh*t. Any halfway decent driver could have achieved the old numbers, which were 10-20% more favorable. The EPA is pandering to leadfoots.

  • avatar
    Rday

    Since owning the prius, I have never understood the fascination with diesels. I have had 4 diesel cars in my life. They were Ok but the Prius beats the socks off of them. And I didn’t believe the figures VW was throwing around on mileage anyway. Glad that the truth finally came out. Diesel just doesn’t make much sense anymore except for heavy duty truck applications.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    This is the worst tasting crow I’ve ever had. VW – thanks for let down. Who from GM’s marketing dept did you hire that fumbled the ball this badly?

  • avatar
    ppellico

    OK. So Paul, you have the first "I told you so…" But relax…and hold on big guy… Is it me or does anybody else see there is something wrong here? Paul, why are even trying to suggest the Prius is a comparable car to the Jetta Sport Wagon? Are you suggesting the Prius has any other attributes other than commuting…and then with 4 people only? We all just read the report on TTAC that the damned Prius struggles with hills. Why is it you are trying so hard to do this? Why not next compare the Prius mileage to the Ford V10 diesel. Then shout out once again the diesel is dead!? This makes no sense. I cannot do the hauling or people and luggage with a Prius. Can you not see the difference between these two cars? Please…

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    The Prius is quite nice for driving four people and a bunch of stuff around. If the hills are short enough to rely on battery power, those aren’t a problem either. The interior looks nice too. Granted it’s hard plastic, but at least the switches don’t all fail a few months after purchase.

    I expect the TDI to be pretty expensive, too. Maybe not as much as a hybrid engine, but turbos don’t come cheap!

  • avatar
    Jac

    Every diesel version of the Focus in Europe does better than the Prius and holds 5. Long live diesel.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    ppellico: Paul, why are even trying to suggest the Prius is a comparable car to the Jetta

    The Jetta has 91 cubic feet of interior room, and is classified by the EPA as a “compact”.

    The Prius (which IS a five-seater) has 96 cubic feet of interior room, and is classified by the EPA as a “mid-size”.

    You’re right, ppellico, I really shoudn’t be comparing them. The Prius is a substantially roomier car.

  • avatar
    M1EK

    Jac, every diesel version of the Focus in Europe is smaller than the Prius, for one obvious difference.

    As usual, the diesel hype evaporates when it comes time for the proof.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    Jac: Every diesel version of the Focus in Europe does better than the Prius and holds 5. Long live diesel.

    I call your bluff. Show me the comparable numbers (apples-to-apples) from the same testing source.

  • avatar
    ppellico

    Apples to Watermelons…again. The Prius has 82 pounds of torque The Jetta has 235. Um…the luggage capacity is 66 CuFt. The Prius has 14.4. The Jetta can tow 2000 LB. Can the Prius tow anything? So, please, once again tell me why you are comparing the mileage of these two? One can't do what the other does. So why?????

  • avatar
    ppellico

    Paul…
    I am talking about the Jetta Sport Wagon…not the sedan.
    You see, one has both.

  • avatar
    ppellico

    5 more cubic feet…is that with the back dash?
    I mean, come on…5 cubic feet and thats without counting luggage capasity.

  • avatar
    improvement_needed

    wow, this just really sucks…

    ppellico:
    Unfortunately, it’s a fair comparison for the most part. People want high mileage. Period.

    Most miles driven have 1 or 2 or 3 people in the car with virtually no luggage. they are driven to/from work and the store, and maybe to grandma’s house…

    now, granted, they are different vehicles with different strengths, but most of the time, each vehicle would be able to perform the same tasks the owner will use them for…

  • avatar
    Jac

    Of course its smaller. No need for batteries to be strip mined from the planet and processed. I’m aware apple and orange, you were doing this earlier with the Jetta, but so was VW. The Focus will still have room to put things.

    As far as apples to apples 65.7 Prius, 65.6 Focus all UK numbers from the manufacturers, but out side the city the diesel wins.

    City folk and inner-city commuters, get a Prius.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    Count me amongst the disappointed. I was really hoping that clean diesel technology would be there for me in 3-5 years when we will likely be in the market for a replacement car. But, the skyrocketing diesel cost premium and numbers like this make it seem unlikely.

    In the US at least the Prius and Jetta Diesel will mostly be competing for the same customer, and few of those customers are going to be looking for maximum towing capacity.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Beware the “most cars” fallacies.

    Most cars are not driven with ONLY one, two, or three people in them. Most cars are not used as grocery getters. Most cars are not used as commuters. Most cars are used that way MOST OF THE TIME.

    The idea that people will EVER buy a car that meets 80% of their needs or meets their needs 80% of the time are simply pipe dreams. The cost and hassles of owning multiple cars, or renting for the other 20% are well beyond any savings of buying the lesser car. People want a vehicle that meets 97 or 99 or even 100 percent of their wants and needs. They are perfectly rational for doing so.

  • avatar
    ppellico

    No, not everybody wants the same thing. You see, some of us need luggage space. We actually need to do more than go to and from the office in traffic listening to our Al Gore speeches. We need to pack up the kids and go visit grandma. We need to pick up bas of salt for out water softners. We need to carry THINGS. Different things for different folks. THAT is why I am questioning the comparison. I am sure the Prius has more passenger space than many pick-ups with diesels… But Jesus, they do different things. Let's get real.

  • avatar

    I agree that these are completely different cars, and comparing them is loony.

    The reason why I drive a TDI Jetta (and my wife drives a CRD Liberty) is that I can, and DO make my own fuel. I don’t care about prices at the pump, because I don’t pay them. The next car I buy will also be a Diesel, I just wish that I could choose something OTHER than a Jetta.

    I don’t drag race my Jetta, and I bet not too many Prius owners drag race their cars either. Who cares how fast it does 0-60?? I DO drive my TDI at high two-figure, and occasional low three-figure sums in MPH though… and I know it is fine at those speeds. I track every gallon that goes into my car and the very worst fuel economy I’ve ever seen was 43.5 MPG… and that was going 80-95+MPH into a 40MPH gale. My very best was 69.7 MPG, and that was a week of hypermiling on my commute… so still some Seattle area traffic. My car has averaged dead-on 50 MPG for the past 6 years of driving. It has never had any mechanical issues, and I’ve done all my own maintenance (except for a timing belt change, for which I paid a local non-VW Stealer mechanic about $500. Since the tools for doing a TDI timing belt cost about $550, I figure I’m ahead.) The car has 126,000 trouble-free miles on it and I plan to drive the wheels off it.

    Do I care how it compares to a Prius? Hell no.

    Do I care what VW has in the pipeline? Not really. I suspect that when it comes time to replace this I’ll be able to buy a BMW or Audi Diesel… hopefully a TT or something fun.

    You Diesel haters can keep hating, but all I can say in reply is keep eating those french fries, I need the fuel!
    (and stop whining about gas prices already, you chose it, you’re stuck with it.)

    –chuck
    http://chuck.goolsbee.org

  • avatar
    serpico

    Is anyone surprised by this? Here we go again like we did in the 70’s.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Let’s wait and see what the world leader in internal combustion posts for their American diesel.

    Honda.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    SherbornSean:Let’s wait and see what the world leader in internal combustion posts for their American diesel: Honda.

    Get ready to be dissapointed, because the Honda diesels won’t be any better. In Europe, the Honda diesel is competititve, but no better or more economical than the rest. In fact, in most tests, the VW diesels are at or near the top.

    chuckgoolsbee:I agree that these are completely different cars, and comparing them is loony.

    You’re right. One is roomier (Prius), and gets 35% better mileage on 20% cheaper fuel. Unfair comparison.

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    Jac :
    May 21st, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    Every diesel version of the Focus in Europe does better than the Prius and holds 5. Long live diesel.

    The European test is easier than the American EPA’s.
    Plus, most European MPG figures use imperial gallons as opposed to standard US gallons. An imperial gallon is 20% larger than a US gallon, meaning that the results are over stated by 10%.
    Plus, American pollution laws (especially California’s) are stronger than Europe’s, meaning that to meet them, they have to install additional pollution controls to the diesel vehicles to make them meet even the weakest pollution standards (while the Prius gets the best pollution scores possible).

    If you Federalized the European Focus and ran it through the EPA’s testing cycle, it would get similar numbers to the TDI’s. (Plus the Prius is a bigger, faster vehicle that pollutes less.)

  • avatar
    menno

    Landcrusher, I have a car which meets 95% of my wants and needs, a 2008 Prius. What that car cannot do (tow), we also have a 2nd car which can pull our utility / canoe trailer OR pull our 1400 pound pop-up camper.

    I don’t need a pickup truck for a 3rd vehicle. I have the utility trailer and a car capable of towing.

    Most people COULD buy cars which meet 80% of their wants and needs, even if they have one car, and RENT A TRUCK for the few times they need to do hauling.

  • avatar
    menno

    By the way, am I the only person in our group who’s not surprised by these EPA figures?

    Remember last week in another diesel / Prius argument, where I commented that Consumer Reports tested a Canadian specification DIESEL engined SMART car (incapable of meeting Federal US emissions requirements, never mind California) and it got 42 miles per US gallon overall (and seats two with very little luggage area) vs. the Prius 50-state legal 4-5 seat and 16 cu.ft. luggage hatchback which obtained 44 mpg?

    Actually, I was kind of looking forward to the 2009 Jetta TDI vs. 2009 new Prius comparo….

    I’m disappointed for my diesel-loving friends. But look at the bright side – at least if you like diesels (and I used to want one SO BADLY – never managed to get one) and live in California emission states, you can once again indulge and buy the engine and car of choice using diesel fuel or even home-brew diesel as can our Chuck.

    Keep on fuelin’, Chuck.

    But then again, I have to wonder when the rest of us are going to start planting sugar beets and putting Butanol stills in our back yards…. (for drop-in 87 octane gasoline substitute).

    http://www.butanol.com

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Menno,

    Your first point is precisely correct. If you are a two driver family, then you likely have two cars, one of which can more easily be an 80% solution.

    Your second point though doesn’t hold up well. If you didn’t have a truck, how many times a year would you have to rent?

    I have been through this several times on this site, and IMO no one has ever been able to make a good argument for renting for more than a VERY few times a year. Well, 3 times a year is less than 1% of ones needs. So a 99% solution may work. 80%? NO FRIGGING WAY.

    Renting is not cheap, and there are dozens of ancillary costs to that activity. Gas is STILL cheap, and a quality SUV is still going to last longer than a cheap compact. Folks that do over 25k a year may have to do different math, but for us under 12k folks there is no way to make renting a truck every month or more work.

    My advice, if you do less than 12k a year, and you want a nice SUV, and you can afford a nice SUV, then buy a nice SUV because it will provide the best value by FAR. Especially right now.

  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    Don’t blame the engine, blame the car. VW’s so-called “compact” Jetta is about as big as a Passat used to be. The latest Jettas probably include 100 extra pounds of chrome trim! If BMW tried to build a Buick, this would be the result. Add in a bloated set of “features” to an admirably strong but massive bodyshell, and hop up the engine to attain that magic 10 sec. zero-sixty threshold, and you get — mediocre mileage.

    There will still be reasons to buy TDI, if you really want a Jetta. The diesel option will give significantly better mileage and more refined highway cruising than the standard, unloved 2.5 gas engine. I’ve owned two A4-series Golfs, first with the 2.0 gas, then the TDI. The TDI had a 30% fuel economy advantage, even with a less efficient automatic transmission. With a proper 5-speed, my NB TDI has a 40% mileage advantage over the 2.0 gas, which makes the 20% higher cost of diesel (vs regular) no more than an irritation. And at last. after owning a dozen VW-Audi cars, I’m not wishing for two more top gears to reduce the buzz at highway speeds.

    Of course VW needs to put the TDI in a smaller car. No, it’ll be a niche car, but it’s a big enough niche to expand their share of the US market. In the meantime, maybe we can stop some Mexican immigrant driving a VW Polo and convince them to sell it to a gringo?

  • avatar
    ppellico

    We need to be concerned with the epa numbers. However, I also think that something is wrong. We should ask VW for the answers. They simply cannot boast about 50 plus last week, down from the 60 plus in Europe, just to suddenly have 45. This, my friends, is a ridiculous drop. There must be people at VW asking these same questions and demanding answers.

  • avatar
    ppellico

    Prius LOVERS… Here is some good news for you. Since I don't have much going for me these days, I like to look around and read what others are saying. I found this nice feature from InsideLine comparing the top MPG cars of a few years back, the Prius being 2008. The bottom line is…don't always trust the EPA. Cars are different and people need different things from their cars. I need a wagon. I nned 25 to 30K per year driving, 75 percent at 50 and higher. If, however, my needs were more urban and commuting, the Prius seems the better. But I simply cannot trust the hybrid to do the hwy mileage I do. Can you trust it to give you 5 or more years and 200 to 250K? Don't give me the damn Canadian taxis crap. I am talking non-hwy and real-life work. Now knowing what I need, Paul N, Menno and the rest, would you really and faithfully advise the Prius as the car for me? Or will you be honest and tell me its really a diesel that best fits my needs. Tell the truth and enjoy this link: http://www.edmunds.com/advice/fueleconomy/articles/126370/article.html

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    ppellico, buy what suits you. But the Edmunds article makes it clear that total fuel costs are substantially lower in the Prius. That’s kinda the point about these cars.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Renting is not cheap, and there are dozens of ancillary costs to that activity. Gas is STILL cheap, and a quality SUV is still going to last longer than a cheap compact. Folks that do over 25k a year may have to do different math, but for us under 12k folks there is no way to make renting a truck every month or more work.

    My advice, if you do less than 12k a year, and you want a nice SUV, and you can afford a nice SUV, then buy a nice SUV because it will provide the best value by FAR. Especially right now.…

    Actually, while the logic may seem a bit convoluted, LC is correct. You can pick up a “nice SUV” pretty damn cheap today. So if you can hold your overall use of the SUV down and you need to rent a truck once a month you probably are better off with buying an SUV cheap. One downside is that if the SUV has a nice interior I wouldn’t want to use it for hauling stuff. If you don’t care about banging up the interior, well then even that issue goes away. Just keep that mileage down…I just spent $4.35 a gallon today…12K miles a year would put you past the tipping point…

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    Taxis don’t do non-freeway, real-world work? Not sure what else I can say then, if you can shoot down any piece of evidence that quickly. But don’t worry, I can assure you the Prius would be a bad car for you: you’d have a heart attack after driving for a week because you’d focus on everything you don’t like about it.

    After this test result, people aren’t going to buy the TDI to save on gas. They’ll but it for other reasons, but it’s not going to appeal to the “I want to spend less on fuel” crowd. I don’t think VW was counting on that.

  • avatar
    Bytor

    All the people slagging on the EPA because they don’t like VWs BS, need to check out Edmunds long term tests. Prius still beat diesels in the real world, not just EPA.

    Also what do you expect from a 3200+ pound beasty powered by a bigger, more powerful engine??

  • avatar

    # Paul Niedermeyer :
    May 21st, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    The Republicans may have tried to kill the EPA years ago, and no, the EPA did not buy into Reagan’s “trust but verify” slogan. They run their own tests.

    Sorry, but you’re wrong. It’s exactly as I had originally described it:
    http://fueleconomy.gov/feg/how_tested.shtml

    Manufacturers test their own vehicles—usually pre-production prototypes—and report the results to EPA. EPA reviews the results and confirms about 10-15 percent of them through their own tests at the National Vehicles and Fuel Emissions Laboratory.

    Ahem…

  • avatar
    ppellico

    Paul, thanks.
    But I must beg to differ.
    Do you LOVE cars?

    The whole point is NOT just about miles.
    Not even close.
    I didn’t dream at night as a boy about mileage!
    Look.
    For a long time I have been trying to tell anyone who will listen, there is a goal for any engineer/design team when it comes to building the perfect car.

    A car must have balance.

    1) Reliability.
    Cars must be expected to give you 200K.
    2) Economical.
    Cars should reach the minimum of 32 plus Hwy today. Soon this will be a city mpg.
    3) Beauty.
    You should want to stand in the garage at night and admire your catch.
    4) Strenght.
    You car must supply you with the horsepower needed to get you and your family when called…up hills, onto traffic safely.
    5) Safety.
    Today, no more with the safety options.
    The car needs to protect everybody…and not just as an option. Around turns, stopping or whatever.
    6) Fun.
    Yes. Your car should be something that makes you want to go out for a loaf of bread.
    7) Affordable.
    You see, anybody can build the car that nobody can afford. But can you build one that we average Joes can get into.

    OK.
    So you have your Prius.
    It gets you high mileage.
    But don’t tell me I then can’t bring my family and its suitcases to me grandma.
    Don’t tell me I can’t love my car.
    Don’t tell me to sacrifice the pure joy of driving hills and curves…because I have mileage. I can pretend I am somebody in my Mazda3.
    You cannot in the Prius.

    So, you see…it’s not just about the mileage.
    It’s about cars.

    So you have your Prius.
    It gets you high mileage.
    But don’t tell me I then can’t bring my family and its suitcases to me grandma.
    Don’t tell me I can’t love my car.
    Don’t tell me to sacrifice the pure joy of driving hills and curves…because I have mileage. I can pretend I am somebody in my Mazda3.
    You cannot in the Prius.

    So, you see…it’s not just about the mileage.
    It’s about cars.
    The love of cars.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    ChrisHaak: Sorry, but you’re wrong. It’s exactly as I had originally described it:

    I love it when someone proves me wrong. I had it coming today, because I was feeling cocky about the TDI EPA results.

    I knew they were due, and had been looking for them just a couple of days ago. And I knew they would be in this ball-park, based on what the ’06 Jetta got, when adjusted for the ’08 EPA tests.

    What I came across instead was VW’s ridiculous projections of “mid-40’s in the city, 60 on the highway”. The person who said that should be fired. As Chris Haak makes clear, manufacturers do their own EPA tests. VW knew months ago what the results would be. They didn’t run this test yesterday. And yet they shoot off a week or two ago with off-the-wall wishful-thinking. Classic case of the right hand (PR dept.) not knowing what the left hand (compliance engineering) was doing.

    VW has, and deserves major egg on their faces.

    Thanks, Chris, for keeping me honest. And thank you EPA, for keeping VW honest.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    “So, you see…it’s not just about the mileage.
    It’s about cars.
    The love of cars.”

    True for most enthusiasts, but not true for the majority of car owners.

  • avatar
    menno

    Hi ppellico, you know what? Buy what you’re happy with. Just understand that some of us who used to be diesel-freaks have moved on, okay? You don’t have to agree with us! It’s a free country, brother!

    My gas mileage on my Prius is suffering right now. I’m now down to one fuel distributor which doesn’t pollute their gasoline with 10% ethanol, and that is BP.

    I only got 59 mpg coming from the fuel station this morning (figuring the tank has 7-8% ethanol in it now). Last week, before the Marathon station started polluting their gasoline with ethanol, I managed over 78 mpg coming from the fuel station. It’s about 3 miles away, from the outskirts of town to the town center. Temperatures and traffic were broadly similar.

    I hate ethanol.

  • avatar

    Paul, you’re funny…thanks for being cool about acknowledging a mistake. I respect that in a man.

    WRT VW, yep, they totally blew it. The left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing is totally what happened here.

  • avatar

    wtf – old diesel VWs got 50-60 no problem.

  • avatar
    Jason Jackson

    Paul, if you’re like me, you’re a little tired of comments like, “with my car I get 70mpg”, or “the EPA doesn’t test the way people actually drive”. While there may be some truth in those things, I found something a little more conclusive, from the EPA themselves (pgs. 7-8). I honestly couldn’t decipher it entirely, but it seems that hybrids fall short of and diesels exceed their numbers.

    Those of us waiting for the new TDIs never really saw them as a “Prius-killer” anyway. Instead of getting the Prius’ poor performance, poor handling, and high price, you get performance and handling of a good gasser, but with better fuel efficiency and a price somewhere in between.

  • avatar
    Bytor

    The whole “Diesels are much better in the real world” spiel is not really accurate either.

    The Prius beat VW diesel beetle in Edmunds long term test as well. It doesn’t get much more real world than that. A multitude of drivers giving it a year+ spanking.

    Anecdotal 60MPG testimonials from hyper-mileing diesel fans don’t mean much.

  • avatar
    gfen

    Former VW TDI owner chiming in…So many people laud their 50+ MPG figures and promises of home brewed fuel made me do it.

    Ownership taught me that (automatic) TDI-PDs balk at biodiesel and returned ~35MPG in mixed driving wasn’t worth it when my fuel costs are about 25% or more higher than RUG.

    Sold it because I had to buy a car that better fit my family (why yes, its a CUV). I do miss the VW dynamic, I don’t miss the diesel. Next stop, a future hybrid Honda product. Das Auto? Auf wiedersehen VW, konnichiha Honda.

  • avatar
    gurr8

    when will the author print a retraction for this post?

    2009 Jetta TDI sets Guinness World Record:

    http://www.stockhouse.com/News/USReleasesDetail.aspx?n=7064494

    3rd party testing concludes that real-world driving produces 24% better fuel economy than EPA tests:

    “The Environmental Protection Agency estimates the Jetta TDI at an economical 29 mpg City and 40 mpg Highway. Volkswagen went a step further to evaluate the real world fuel economy of the Jetta TDI. Leading third-party certifier, AMCI, tested the Jetta TDI and found it performed 24 percent better in real world conditions, achieving 38 mpg in the City and 44 mpg on the Highway.”

    http://www.volkswagengroupamerica.com/media/2008/08/18_vw_wait_over.htm

  • avatar
    Bytor

    A hypermiling couple doesn’t prove squat.

    The reason for a standardized test is repeatability and comparability.

    The EPA numbers are much closer to these real world numbers at the Popular Science comparison with Prius.

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/automotive/new_cars/4284188.html?page=2&series=19

    The Jetta got 32mpg/45mpg. The Prius got 45mpg/45mpg. This is real world head to head without hypermiling.

    No need for any kind of retraction.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    Bytor,

    Thanks for the response; I couldn’t have said it any better.

    As I’ve said many times before, I’m not “anti-diesel” per se; the economics don’t pan out very well, bet it’s an excellent engine and it’s good that VW is offering it here. Meanwhile, diesel market share in Germany is plummeting.

  • avatar
    Bytor

    Same here I am not anti diesel and might even consider a Diesel Golf when it shows up. I am aiming for a 2010 purchase, so we will see what is available then.

    I will be looking for something with good mpg either hybrid or non, either gas or diesel. I am not a tech zealot about any particular solution, just results. But I want a manual transmission so maybe hybrid is out unless Honda gives us one in the insight (manual is compatible with Hondas IMA).

    I don’t need super mileage either, so I may end up with a new Mazda 3 with 2.0L direct injection if it gets and improvement over the current 2.0L.

  • avatar
    gurr8

    First of all, the Taylors were not hypermiling, they were driving normally but carefully – even going 60mph in some stretches.

    Secondly, you strangely didn’t address the AMCI real-world tests.

    I think we should all know better than to trust the EPA results by now.

  • avatar
    Bytor

    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.

  • avatar
    hawkeye54

    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.

  • avatar
    joeaverage

    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.

  • avatar
    gurr8

    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.

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