A High-Mileage Masterpiece

Discussion in 'Diesel powered automobiles' started by WriConsult, Dec 4, 2008.

  1. WriConsult

    WriConsult Super Moderator

    The TDI is easy on money, fuel and the planet. It just needs Americans to give it a spin and a fair shake.

    [xfloat=left]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/501/2009_Jetta_TDI2.jpg[/xfloat]Lawrence Ulrich - The New York Times - November 20, 2008

    Sorry it's a couple weeks old, but this is an exceptionally well-written article that I thought worth posting. Good discussions of how driving technique impacts economy, and of the relative advantages of hybrids vs. diesels. -- WriConsult.

    WHEREVER menfolk gathered for Thanksgiving, before the turkey and after exhausting discussion of that seventh-round draft pick from Clemson, the phrase “What kind of mileage does she get?” was a reliable conversation starter.

    Heads would nod sagely, but until recently nobody cared a lot. In surveys of car shoppers, fuel economy often didn’t make the top 10 on the priority list.

    So now, with interest in the Prius exceeding that in pickups, you know times have changed. While the recent dip in gas prices has some analysts worried about an S.U.V. sequel — Return to Guzzle Beach? — I suspect that most middle-class consumers aren’t ready to bet five years of car payments that a gallon of unleaded will stay around $2. Many won’t be betting on a new car at all.

    That makes the 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI a smart hedge play.

    This diesel-powered sedan or wagon is frugal on the front end, starting at $22,640 with a six-speed manual transmission. A $1,300 alternative-fuel tax credit becomes a de facto rebate, cutting the base price to about $21,000.

    The Jetta is frugal in the middle years, with a rating of 30 miles a gallon in town and 41 on the highway. The tiny two-seat Smart is the only nonhybrid car that can match the 41 m.p.g. rating.

    But like many new clean diesels, which meet even California’s tough emissions rules, the Jetta scoffs at its sticker. Hoarding fuel like a mobile Scrooge, I averaged a remarkable 48 m.p.g. over more than 150 miles of freeway driving. That’s the best mileage of any American-market car I’ve tested — gas, diesel or hybrid. I never knew that driving a steady 60 m.p.h. could be so gratifying, and I vowed to try it more often.

  2. seftonm

    seftonm Veteran Staff Member

    Nice article. Apparently the 1300 TDI's VW allocated for North America in 2008 were sold out before November. Hopefully they will bring more in the future. If the Golf VI TDI is brought to North America, it will be on my list of cars to look at in a few years.

    I think that many people would agree that the 2L 140hp TDI is more engine than that car needs. The new 1.6 TDI in 100 or 130hp form would be a nice fit and its fuel economy is supposedly 8-10mpg better. If only they would bring that over.
  3. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    My only diesel experience is in the Honda i-CDTi. I loved it. If this thing feels anything like that, it's a winner.
  4. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    According to Wayne it doesn't have the super high iFCD numbers with a light touch, but that doesn't mean it isn't a great car. :)

    I agree with Mike, though I'd like to see a 1.2L personally. ;)
  5. WriConsult

    WriConsult Super Moderator

    Agreed Sean, I'd love to see the efficiency of this new engine scaled down to the 90hp and 150 lb-ft of torque that my TDI has. The numbers could be off the charts then, and 0-60 in 11 sec is more than quick enough for me.

    Still, a pretty incredible car as it is -- and I sure wouldn't complain if I had the TDI Sportwagen in my garage! Even the gas Jetta wagon that I currently have is one of the highest-FE non-diesel, non-hybrids ever sold with 34cf of cargo space. Throw a diesel engine into a Jetta wagon, and nothing comes even close to being able to carry so much cargo so efficiently.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2008
  6. 99LeCouch

    99LeCouch Well-Known Member

    If only my fiancee could be convinced to get another wagon I'd be set. I love wagons for their utility. Combine this with better town FE than most cars get highway and laugh your way to the bank even though diesel for us is $1/gallon more.

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