Piston Slap: Go Blue, Wither the Long Range Cruiser?
Rick writes:

Hi Sajeev:

With the demise of diesel cars and 21 gallon fuel tanks, I am on the hunt for a true long-range cruiser. The “old” diesel cars were big, comfortable and had a freeway range of over 800 miles. Not that I would actually drive 800+ miles in one sitting.

But, with highway construction and traffic delays being what they are nowadays, an 800 mile range boils down to a usable 500 or 600 miles or so of real range-free worries. And yes, I have been known to do a single day 1,000+ mile trip. So, a sedan or coupe (van maybe?), comfortable on a long trip, and reasonably reliable. I do a lot of overnight driving.

And, no “add a fuel tank.” Lets keep it stock. Suggestions?

Read more
Oil Crash: Audi, Volkswagen Discounting Old 3.0-liter TDI Models

Volkswagen’s 3.0-liter diesel V6 isn’t returning to the U.S. anytime soon. After forking over roughly $25 billion in the wake of its diesel deception, the company’s not exactly enthused about getting back into the compression ignition game. But that doesn’t mean buyers aren’t.

Europhiles with a penchant for low-end torque can still get their hands on a diesel Volkswagen or Audi SUV that meets federal emissions standards. And, thanks to new discounts, they’ll stand to save some money.

Read more
Piston Slap: Is VW's Emissions Scandal Saving or Killing TDI Culture?

TTAC regular David Holzman writes:

My brother and several of my friends are wondering what to do about their TDIs. There are probably hundreds of thousands more like them! Some issues with keeping them:

  1. Will they actually be forced to clean up the emissions? (I think this may depend on which state they’re in, but I’m not sure.)
  2. How much will the fix affect gas mileage and performance?
  3. Will the fix be a PITA after it’s installed? If so, how so?
  4. After all the above is considered, what’s the cost/benefit of keeping the TDI vs taking the money and getting a new car?
  5. Is there any reason not to simply wait and see how the fix works out and not rushing to take the buy out?

For my brother, sportiness is not a priority, but having a wagon is. As is reliability and having a very similar car so that his wife, who does not adapt easily to different cars and drives the TDI exclusively, will be happy. But I think VW has discontinued Jetta wagons, and the latest generation of Golf (which has a wagon) gets lousy marks for reliability from CR. In particular, they consider some fuel system problems to be “fairly serious.”

All the best,
David

Read more
Syncro-Nined: An Ennead of Surprising All-Wheel-Drive Golfs That Predate the R32

The recent news that Volkswagen is pondering an all-wheel-drive Golf for U.S. customers surprised many.

“All-wheel drive is now part of the Volkswagen DNA,” commented Dr. Hendrik Muth of Volkswagen at the U.S. launch of the Alltrack.

That means Volkswagen will be taking on Subaru, the reigning king of all-wheel drive for the masses in the U.S. And since the Golf is already fairly dear in price, adding an all-wheel-drive option to the hatch will make Volkswagen’s compact a near-luxury item. At that price, why wouldn’t you just buy an Audi? It’s the brand with the all-wheel-drive expertise in the VAG clan.

But the reality of an all-wheel-drive Golf is now 20 years old.

Let’s take a look back at nine of the more interesting pre-Alltrack, pre-4Motion versions of the Golf that most U.S. customers have never even heard of.

Read more
Volkswagen Needs A Hot Passat - Once Again

Is there anybody left in this country who gives a single damn about Volkswagen? If so… why?

This is a company that has spent the past 40 years treating their American customer base with the kind of contemptuous disdain that most of us associate with the wait staff at Le Bernardin. The thousand injuries of Wolfsburg we have borne as best we could — from the Westmoreland Rabbits to the 8-valve Mk2 GTI to every single aspect of the Phaeton ownership experience — but when the company ventured upon insult to the very air we breathe, that should have been enough for all of us to abandon the brand permanently.

The problem is that some of us just can’t let go. Maybe it’s misplaced loyalty. Maybe it’s dim memories of the Corrado VR6. Maybe it’s just a certain delight in the way that Volkswagens feel when you’re driving them. Whatever the reason, there’s still some goodwill left in the United States on which the company can capitalize. One of the ideas being floated is a “hot Passat”, or at least a slightly sportier Passat. Our own Steph Willems made the case earlier in the week that such a car would be a waste of time.

I disagree, and I’ll tell you why.

Read more
Volkswagen's Diesel Fix Actually Makes Emissions Worse, Consumer Group Claims

A software fix designed to bring sidelined 2.0-liter diesel Volkswagen models into compliance just made the vehicle dirtier, a European consumer group claims.

According to Reuters, the Italian consumer group Altroconsumo tested an Audi Q5 that underwent Volkswagen’s technical fix, only to find that nitrous oxide emissions were 25 percent higher than before.

Read more
Volkswagen is Pretty Sure It Can Fix Those 3.0-Liter Diesels

Good news, owners of Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche models powered by a 3.0-liter TDI engine — your heavily polluting diesel probably won’t have to be bought back and scrapped.

A lawyer for the automaker said in court today that Volkswagen believes the 85,000 vehicles can be cleaned up with a not-too-complicated fix, Reuters reports.

Read more
Here's How Much Money You'll Receive for Your Volkswagen or Audi 2.0-Liter TDI

With the settlement now filed with the courts between Volkswagen, regulators, and other plaintiffs in the ongoing diesel emissions scandal, the United States District Court Northern District of California has published the exact figures for buy backs and settlement figures.

Click the jump to find out how much money you’ll receive for your affected Volkswagen and Audi 2.0-liter equipped TDI.

Read more
Volkswagen Board Totally Cool With Management's Actions, Despite Ongoing Investigation

Investigators are still probing Volkswagen’s actions in the diesel emissions scandal, but the board that oversees the actions of the company’s top brass isn’t too concerned.

The supervisory board, made up of investor and labor interests, just cleared Volkswagen’s management of any breaches of duty in 2015 in preparation for their annual shareholders meeting, Bloomberg reports.

To say 2015 was an eventful year for Volkswagen is akin to saying Neil Armstrong had fun in the late ’60s. It was so eventful, its CEO took a permanent vacation. Many medicine cabinets in Wolfsburg were likely renovated to handle an influx of new prescriptions.

Read more
Volkswagen's 3.0-Liter Diesel Fix Won't Require Buybacks: Report

After agonizing over a fix for its 2.0-liter diesel models, Volkswagen is close to finalizing a plan for vehicles powered by the 3.0-liter TDI V6.

The first fix forced Volkswagen into a wildly expensive buyback-and-fix program for the nearly half million 2.0-liter TDIs sidelined by the diesel emissions scandal, but that won’t be needed for the bigger engines, sources close to the issue tell Bloomberg.

Read more
Volkswagen's Buyback Might Be Worse (Environmentally) Than the Crime

Update: I made a decimal flub. The math is corrected. Thanks to commenter ChemEng for pointing it out. We’ll post a new piece on Monday.

There’s no denying it: Volkswagen cheated. It confessed to the crime of emitting up to 40 times over the legal limit allowed for NOx. We learned yesterday (and the day before, to some degree), that Volkswagen will fix the vehicles that can be fixed, if owners so choose.

But what happens to all those diesel cars, which are perfectly good aside from emitting more NOx than they should, if owners decide to cut and run? And what happens to all those vehicles that can’t be fixed? Volkswagen has vowed to buy them back from customers — to which I ask, what then?

There are few options Volkswagen can employ to unload the massive windfall of cars coming its way, and none of them are particularly environmentally friendly.

Read more
Volkswagen Poised to Offer a Mass Buyback Program

Dirty Volkswagen diesels equipped with illicit “defeat devices” could soon be flying off driveways and into oblivion.

Sources briefed on the matter told Reuters (via Automotive News) that the automaker will offer to buy back up to half a million 2.0-liter TDI models in the U.S. that emit illegal levels of smog-causing emissions.

They expect that Volkswagen will make the offer tomorrow before a federal judge. The company’s deadline for a U.S. fix is tomorrow, and a failure to act will result in a trial the automaker desperately wants to avoid.

Read more
Piston Slap: Time To Pounce on a Jetta TDI?

Stephen writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I’ve toyed with the idea of turbocharging a 2.sl0w just for giggles and TORQUE, but the quest has to make some sense economically, or else the finance minister will not approve. Then it hit me: just how LOW in price have those older dirty diesels gone, anyway? You know, the ones with that lovely 236 pounds-feet of torque.

In other words, can I just get the torque without the spending abyss and busting my knuckles? Small data-set wise, four-cylinder manual Jettas with 64,000 miles average a diesel premium of only $675. At that consideration point, say 2010-ish Jetta, there is no economy for the project and I could jump right into the lovely torque.

So my question to you, on behalf of Torque Lovers Everywhere: is it time to pounce on diesel?

Read more
Ugliest Sales Yet: January Was Nasty For Volkswagen

We knew it wouldn’t be easy for them. We knew it would get worse before it got better. But did you know it would be this difficult for Volkswagen of America to sell cars, and did you know it would get this bad this soon?

And could it get even worse?

Volkswagen brand sales in the United States tumbled 15 percent in January 2016, a year-over-year loss of 3,425 units. With barely more than 20,000 total sales, January 2016 sales fell to a 60-month low. Not since January 2011, when Volkswagen sold only 18,401 vehicles in America, has the company generated so little showroom activity.

Read more
You Still Want to Buy a Volkswagen TDI? Sign Here

The fuel cost savings of a diesel vehicle can be huge for those who eat up highway miles. However, with Volkswagen’s voluntary stop sale of those vehicles implicated in the diesel emissions scandal, you may think you can’t buy one from a Volkswagen dealer.

You’d be wrong.

According to a source who spoke to TTAC under the condition of anonymity, Volkswagen dealers are still able to sell an affected diesel vehicle should it meet certain conditions: that it not be a “certified pre-owned” (CPO) or new vehicle, and that the buyer signs a disclaimer stating they understand the vehicle being purchased pollutes more than government compliance tests initially indicated.

Read more
  • MRF 95 T-Bird The hideaway headlamps on these and other Ford vehicles of the era could have issues mostly vacuum related. Usually the vacuum hoses that ran to the actuators would deteriorate. The “coffee can” reservoir which was mounted in the front header was rarely an issue because it was protected from the elements. The other coffee can reservoir used for the HVAC controls and actuators and mounted under the passenger side wheel well had a tendency to rot away. I once replaced one on my 70 Mustang when I noticed that the vents were acting janky. Later model Fords like Fox bodies used a durable plastic globe shaped one. The radio on these 69-70 full-size Fords mounted on the left side of the aircraft style instrument cluster within the drivers touch probably disappointed many young people. “Mom will you change the station?” “Andy Williams is so square”.
  • MichaelBug For me, two issues in particular:1. It can be difficult for me to maintain my lane on a rainy night. Here in southeastern PA, PennDOT's lane markings aren't very reflective. They can be almost impossible to make out when wet.2. Backing out of a parking space in a lot with heavy pedestrian traffic. Oftentimes people will walk right into my blind spot even if I am creeping back with my 4-way flashers blinking. (No backup camera in my '11 Toyota Camry.)Michael B 🙂
  • Tagbert When you publish series like this, could you include links to the previous articles in the series so that we can follow through? Thank you. Edit: now I see a link embedded in the first paragraph that goes to the previous story. It wasn’t clear at first where that link went but now I understand.
  • DungBeetle62 When you're in one of these, you life in a state of constant low-level nervous about 90% of the time. But that other 10% kinda makes up for it.
  • Garrett Instead of foisting this problem on the car companies and the people who buy cars, make those who possess liquor licenses and those who purchase alcohol take on the economic cost of this problem.