The most fuel efficient Midsize Clean Diesel we have driven targets the “Lowest Fuel Consumption - 48 States” Guinness World Record.
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- June 1, 2013
2013 VW Passat TDI with the 6-speed manual transmission in its Guinness World Record Attempt graphic wrap -- $27,255 to start including mats, destination and handling.
A lengthy drive promoting a special fuel efficient vehicle.
Beginning on the Atlantic Seaboard and heading to the Gulf Coast. Up and across the Great Plains and into the Desert Southwest. Up to the Pacific Northwest and over to the Great Lakes. Up to coastal New England and back again…
As most CleanMPG readers know, Volkswagen’s TDI Clean Diesel technology is an excellent alternative to conventionally powered automobiles with its 20 to 30 percent savings at the pump. In addition, TDIs provide better fuel economy than many similarly sized hybrids. Adding to the turbo diesels highlight reel, most Volkswagen TDI owners achieve much higher real world fuel economy than their Monroney stickers EPA ratings indicate which cannot be said for all hybrids in our most recent measured review and comparison drives.
According to Volkswagen May 2013 sales results
, Volkswagen’s TDI equipped models accounted for 22.3 percent of the company’s May 2013 U.S. sales, and 21.7 percent for the year, the best year-to-date ever! With that result, Volkswagen is the clear leader in Clean Diesel sales with an approximate 70 percent share of all turbo diesel cars sold in America.
Heading out on a little drive
We are prepping for a little adventure drive that involves a 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI, a car that has been recognized on the pages of CleanMPG more times than any other turbo diesel past or present. And rightly so as the U.S. manufacturing facility from which it is built is recognized as the greenest in the world while the car itself has proven to be superb in multiple respects every time we have turned the key.
2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI - 48 Contiguous State Drive Route
Beginning with the Passat TDI SE and SEL trims equipped with automatic transmissions we drove at the US press launch two years back to our last long distance foray behind the wheel last fall, the drives revealed that the Passat TDI is more than just a fuel efficient midsize. It has proven itself to be a well built, comfortable “AND
” fuel efficient midsize made for the average North American consumer without a hint of compromise.
The Passat Story...
From the massive solar installation at the new Volkswagen Passat manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee that supply’s upwards of 12% of the energy needed to build each and every North American Passat, to the fact it is the only automobile manufactured in an LEED Platinum certified plant in the world, Volkswagen has provided the Passat TDI with environmental credentials beyond reproach before a single key is turned and a car driven off.
Then we have the Passat TDI itself. Not only is it one of the most fuel efficient sedans in America, its elegant design, best-in-class roominess, affordability, safe and “fun to drive” nature all combine to make it one of the most desirable sedans on the road today.
Here are a few write-ups describing the same in much greater detail.
2012 – 2013 Volkswagen Passat and the Chattanooga, TN Manufacturing Facility Highlights
The Passat TDI is a mid-size sedan with the space and comfort of a full-size that offers best-in-class limo like rear-seat legroom, a large trunk with real usable cargo capacity and best of all, the TDI with the stick provides owners with an easy to achieve 43 mpgUS highway. With its 18.5 gallons tank, the Passat with most any driver can be driven to almost 800 miles before refueling even when driving extraordinarily hard and fast! This is a range far beyond most before we have to stop ourselves for other more obvious reasons.
2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI Trims
The 2013 Passat TDI arrives in two trims, the SE and SEL. The SE starts at $27,255 including mats, destination and handling and includes the following standard equipment. A/C; hill hold control; multifunction steering wheel with audio and phone controls; central locking system with remote control keys; powered exterior mirrors; automatic headlights with “coming home” function; trip computer; RCD 310 radio with CD player and six speakers; aux-in; Bluetooth; 60/40 split rear seat; lumbar for driver seat. 17-inch alloys, V-Tex leatherette seating; eight-way power driver seat; heated front seats; Premium VIII touchscreen radio; multifunction leather-wrapped steering wheel; sliding front center armrest; and rear passenger air vents.
The Passat TDI SE with Sunroof starts at $28,225 including mats, destination and handling, and adds a six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission and a power tilt and slide sunroof.
The Passat TDI SE with Sunroof and NAVI starts at $30, 915 including mats, destination and handling while adding 18-inch alloys, side moldings with chrome accents; the RNS 315 navigation system; and front foglights.
The feature packed and loaded Passat TDI SEL Premium starts at $33, 945 including mats, destination and handling while adding to the fully loaded SE real leather seating surfaces; comfort sport seats; RNS 510 navigation; Fender premium audio system; driver seat memory; rearview backup camera; wood grain interior trim; and an eight-way power passenger seat.
Outside the Passat is simple yet elegant. Consider the CleanMPG First Drive Review of the All-New 2012 VW Passat TDI
for those details. The predominant horizontal design elements include an almost 0 radius character line revealing a sedan that looks far more expensive than it actually is.
Inside the Passat not only provides room for 5, it provides comfortable ingress and egress with four large, wide-opening doors.
Classy chrome-trimmed gauges, vents, radio, navigation, climate control surrounds and chrome tipped parking brake handle button are a class above. Chrome interior accents are also found on the window, mirror adjustment, and trunk opening switches provide owners with an interior they will want to drive rather than having to endure for years to come.
The fully loaded SEL trim incorporates my favorite audio system in the form of Fender Premium Audio. The 400W system was developed through partnership between Fender and Panasonic and makes its presence known through nine speakers, including a trunk-mounted subwoofer that together provides a clean and spatially correct quality no matter the type of music being listened too.
In our experience, the 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque 2.0L TDI I4 equipped with the six-speed manual easily delivers its EPA-estimated 31/43 mpgUS city/highway rating. Its fuel economy prowess is enhanced further thanks to the use of a Selective Catalytic Reduction System (SCR) system that not only fulfills emissions requirements in all 50 states but does not consume excess diesel fuel to reduce NOx.
Ride and Handling
The Passat like most Volkswagens we have driven lately (Beetle Convertible
and Jetta Hybrid
come to mind) provides a smooth and comfortable ride with good road feel plus confidence inspiring handling up to and beyond its limits. It accomplishes this seemingly impossible mix of capabilities through independent McPherson struts up front that incorporate rigid lower control arms, coil springs, and an anti-roll bar. Out back, a highly tuned four-link independent layout with an anti-roll bar limits the harshness while providing an almost patented Volkswagen road holding capability.
An electronically powered rack-and-pinion steering system provides a light feel in the driveway yet becomes progressively heavier as road speeds increase. Even with its large wheelbase, the Passat offers a thankfully small 36.4-foot turning radius.
Every Passat incorporates a comprehensive suite of active and passive safety features beginning with the high strength steel safety cage and forged steel roof B-pillars.
Passively the Passat is equipped with front, side and side curtains while on the active front, the Passat tries to keep you out of an accident to begin with thanks to its standard Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control (TC), anti-lock brakes (ABS), BA (Brake Assist), Brake Force Distribution (EBFD) and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).
If the worst occurs, the Passat is equipped with Volkswagen’s Intelligent Crash Response System that automatically unlocks the doors, shuts off the fuel pump, and turns on the e-flashers.
Together the systems described above have earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) top crash test rating of Top Safety Pick + including the all-new and extremely violent small overlap crash test.
The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has awarded the Passat its highest crash test rating as well with an overall 5 stars.
What is this Guinness World Record thing all about?
We will be attempting to beat the current Guinness World Record of 67.9 mpgUS on a drive that visits all 48 U.S. states over a planned distance of 8,000 miles.
Accompanying me will be Bob Winger, a long time friend and one of the most fuel efficient Hybrid drivers in all of North America. He will be joining me as both a passenger and driver in the 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI for an extended 48 contiguous state journey. Little does he know what kind of commitment he has signed up for
Volkswagen of America
The 2013 Passat TDIs graphic add on rendering although its base color is actually white.
is supplying the 2013 Passat TDI. The US subsidiary was founded in 1955 and is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. Its parent is Volkswagen AG headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. VWoA’s operations in the United States include research and development, parts and vehicle processing, parts distribution centers, sales, marketing and service offices, financial service centers, and its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The Volkswagen Corporate Logo
The Volkswagen Group is one of the world's largest producers of passenger cars and Europe's largest automaker. VWoA sells the Beetle, Beetle Convertible, Eos, Golf, Golf R, GTI, Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, Passat, CC, Tiguan, Touareg, and Routan vehicles through approximately 600 independent U.S. dealers.
Linear Logic has supplied some ScanGauge-IIs
One piece of equipment I deem to be mandatory equipment for a Guinness World Record drive attempt is a Scangauge-II. With the real time passive feedback it provides helping you drive more efficiently, this device has single handedly provided drivers with savings at the pump exceeding 20 percent in some cases.
In the Passat TDI, we will be using the ScanGauge-II to monitor specific engine efficiencies (Load, Fuel Cut, Throttle position and even actual fuel level if I can find an X-gauge for it?) during acceleration and deceleration and in particular when ascending and descending the Rockies, Cascades, and Appalachians mountain ranges. As a long time user, I do not leave home without it.
Shell is supplying the fuel
As a corporation, Shell makes every effort to find innovative ways to move people and goods, safely and cost-effectively, while reducing the impact on the environment. With more than 100 years of experience helping the world’s drivers get more out of their fuel, the company’s U.S. presence reveals it is currently the largest retail gasoline network in the country with nearly 14,300 branded sites coast-to-coast and the only major to have a presence in all 50 states. With regards to this Guinness World Record attempt, more than 50 percent of the Shell-branded stations in the U.S. offer diesel in addition to Shell Nitrogen Enriched Gasolines and Shell V-Power. A much needed attribute on a drive of this nature.
Shell developed a Smarter Driving program for motorists to help them go further on less. As part of this program, the company launched “Target One Million” with a goal of educating one million drivers from across the world on how to become more fuel efficient. You can discover more through the Shell Smarter Driving Challenge
which is a useful, fun and quick to complete.
Motorola is supplying a DROID RAZR MAXX HD
The reason I requested this smartphone is because of its extremely long battery life.
As most here know, any 12V ancillary draw has to be supplied by the engine which means consuming fuel. It may not seem like much but by charging the phone at our overnight hotel stays, we will be limiting the need to power this “must have” communication device through the consumption of fuel.
A single charge allows the DROID RAZR MAXX HD to provide as much as 32 hours of talk time. While we are not expecting 32 hours with all of its features including GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi HotSpot, and 4G LTE enabled, it supplies longer active and standby time without the need for charging than any other smartphone currently available.
The bottom line is we needed a robust long lasting smartphone for not only Guinness World Records tracking requirements while using Google’s MyTracks
app but general connectivity. It supplies this and more all the while never having to fear “off” throughout the 15 + day ordeal.
is one of Volkswagens OEM tire suppliers and in the case of the Passat, their renowned ContiProContacts arrive standard on some variants. For this drive, Continental has supplied their Grand Touring All-Season radial called the PureContact with EcoPlus Technology.
Featuring a silica-enhanced, all-season tread compound, the PureContact with EcoPlus Technology improves fuel efficiency and traction on wet and even snow covered slippery roads.
The PureContact with EcoPlus Technology tread pattern features visible letters molded into the outboard shoulder to alert drivers of the tire's wear. A visible "DWS" indicates the tire has sufficient tread depth for dry conditions, as well as wet roads and light snow. After the "S" has worn away, the remaining "DW" indicates the tire only has sufficient tread depth for dry and most wet road conditions. And after the "W" and "S" have both worn away, the remaining "D" indicates the tire has appropriate tread depth for dry conditions only.
PureContact tires also feature weight-optimized construction to reduce weight and rolling resistance.
This tire is not only fuel efficient, it provides better wet pavement traction then many non-low rolling resistance tires available today. The visible wear indicators are simply an added bonus.
While on route, Bob and I will be sharing the 48 contiguous state experience in good old fashioned CleanMPG style with pics and vids posted here, on Volkswagen’s Twitter channel @VW with the hashtag #VWThinkBlue, and even onto their Facebook page
And to think the Passat TDI is only one of seven vehicles in the Volkswagen lineup that has an EPA fuel economy rating of 40 mpg or better highway rating.
2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI – The roof
Anyone else want to go for a drive
Wish us luck.
This is a multi page story so make sure you continue with page 2, 3, 4, 5 etc. through the link(s) on the bottom of the page.