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Toyota Prius vs VW Golf TDI



  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    Yes, R&T admitted they did not baby the cars. But they also said they made every effort to treat all the cars the same way. So they didn't baby the Prius and race the TDI, for example. Apples-to-apples, real-world test. I thought it was pretty useful as a comparison. It's not something you or I get a chance to do with cars--compare them in all kinds of driving, in exactly the same conditions.

    What FE have you achieved with the TDI in real-world driving?

    Since biodiesel has the bad habit of gelling in cold weather, I'm not going to depend on it here in Minnesnowta, Land of 10,000 Frozen Lakes.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,852
    I've posted before. Fellow worker runs B20 from Co-op with no problems in South Dakota.

    The 1/2 inch of extra rear legroom in the Prius is negated by the inch less headroom front and back.

    Noise, you got to be kidding the road noise on the Prius around town is BAD. I have not ridden in the new one on the highway. In stealth mode on a very smooth parking lot the Prius is very quiet. Not a big part of my driving need.

    I think seat comfort speaks for itself. That is one of the biggest complaints on the Prius. I will give the Prius high marks for usable space with the rear seats folded. I have not looked at the 4 door Golf in that configuration.

    I can tell you if and when I ever get to test drive the Golf TDI, if it rides and handles anything like the Prius it will be off my list of errand vehicles.

    As a highway car the Golf TDI will go about an extra 130 miles on a tank of fuel. That is a big plus for me. Though I am now leaning more toward the GREEN CAR OF THE YEAR. The new Audi A3 TDI.
  • winter2winter2 Posts: 1,796
    I have driven an older TDI (2003- Jetta Wagon) with manual trans and have gotten 48 to 52 MPG on the road.

    As to biodiesel gelling, only if it is not treated for cold weather. Do not forget that cold like you speak of takes it's toll on batteries too.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    So that number is pretty close to the highway figure R&T got on the 2010 TDI. But they also tested both cars in a variety of conditions, which is "real world" for drivers like me who live in large metro areas (except the canyon carving part, since I have no canyons anywhere close by to carve).

    Maybe it's just an issue in MN. Heard a report that our wonderful government mandated a blend that caused gelling. Traction batteries ala Prius get less efficient in cold weather, but they don't "gell" and cause the vehicle to refuse to start or run.
  • winter2winter2 Posts: 1,796
    I have driven diesel powered vehicles on and off for a number of years and have never had an issue with fuel gelling, even with biodiesel concentrations as high as 20%.

    If MN had an issue with fuel that gelled, are you sure it was the biodiesel that was the problem? Untreated dino diesel fuel will gell (wax comes out of solution) at about 20 degrees Fahrenheit. MN mandates 5% biodiesel be added and unless the refiner/blender does not treat the fuel, you will get gelling.

    Come to think of it, ethanol reduces the efficiency of gasolene engines significantly more than biodiesel does with diesel engines. There is talk of increasing the ethanol content in gasolene to 15%. Now that is a cornball idea.
  • eliaselias Posts: 1,900
    edited February 2010
    Indeed, anyone interested can do the lookups. Since you were making the assertions, it seemed like you were (almost) interested enough to report the actual data/facts.

    I used to live in California where some # of Prius & other hybrids get the HOV privileges. Personally I think they should be restricted to the stop-and-go non-HOV lanes where they maximize fuel savings and best reduce fuel imports. But unfortunately the goal/achievement of HOV lanes is to cause *more* pollution and *more* fuel consumption.

    I agree that HOV-sticker policy is great for Prius drivers and also great for non-hybrid drivers to become even more annoyed by Prius drivers! Almost as annoyed as they were when they saw me driving solo in my Z28 for years, using the HOV lane with impunity/luck whenever I wanted to get around a traffic jam.

    As far as TDI & 'suburban' driving - maybe I mean 'rural' driving.
    I'm talking lots of cruising at about 40 mph, very few stops, very few lights. With that sort of driving, my TDIs have gotten 10% better mpg than on highway.
    (IMHO such differences in mpg (~45 to ~50 or ~55) are trivial except for their "smug value".)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    I did report the facts. You challenged them. Gagrice already has substantiated one of my assertions you challenged (although rear seat legroom is not just a function of the 'knee space" measurement). I have personally looked up (maybe even posted here awhile back) the data on emissions. So I don't feel like doing it again at this time. Feel free if you have the time and inclination. Otherwise it's a baseless challenge, yes?

    Keep in mind probably only a small percentage of drivers drive like you do--almost all cruising at 40 mph, few stops. Who knows what kind of mpg you could get in a Prius with that kind of pattern? In "suburban" driving, R&T averaged over 60 mpg (3 scenarios).
  • eliaselias Posts: 1,900
    don't sweat it, backy. others have already reported the prius has a half inch more leg room in back than Golf TDI - and a bit less headroom. If you have a backseat passenger who needs that half inch, it's advantage-Prius.

    FWIW, I don't usually drive the suburban/rural/40-mph but that's typical "kid shuttling" driving in my locale.
    Usually it's daily highway driving for me, about 100 or 200 miles per day, depending whether I'm driving to work or to ski.

    I've tried to explained why I don't care to get better mpg than TDI's 45 mpg:
    Increasing my personal-vehicle mpg or that of 1M other USA vehicles from ~45 mpg to ~55 mpg is trivial/meaningless/minimal-cost-savings/minimal-reduction-in-fuel-imports. And I don't need any more smugness, I've already got plenty.

    Also the Prius handling and ride quality seemed HORRID the last time I rode in a "Gen 2 Prius". I doubt the 2010s handle much better, but I'll let the Prius experts discuss any suspension/handling changes that have occurred over the various Prius years/gens.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    Although it won't matter for you personally, the handling of the 2010 Prius is improved over Gen 2. There's also the Touring trim, introduced late in Gen 2, with larger wheels to help further. One of these days I'll have to check it out. Now might be a good time--probably no waiting on the sales floor. But I'd have to make sure the test car had its software update. :P

    I reiterate though, as a general comment, it's important not to focus on the official measurements when considering interior comfort/room. For example, going by the measurements the rear seat of the Versa isn't all that spacious. But because of the way the driver's seat can be adjusted and good toe space and the height of the rear seat, the legroom in that little car is almost limo-like in back. I haven't sat in the 2010 Prius yet (will do that soon), but the Gen 2 has very good stretch-out room in back for 2 adults (rear is too narrow for 3 adults of any size). I owned a Rabbit, so as I noted, unless there's a really significant improvement in rear seat legroom in the new Golf, the Prius has a big advantage there (and even roomier in rear for 2010 than in Gen 2).
  • eliaselias Posts: 1,900
    thanks for prius suspension/etc info.
    it should be a great time to testdrive a prius
    also, If one were to actually buy a new Prius now, one might become worshipped by hordes of toyota salespeople - similar to "Vaal" from the original star-trek:
  • bwilson4webbwilson4web Posts: 80
    edited February 2010
    Well let's start with some facts and data along with with sources:

    "- legroom, you don't show there's more legroom than TDI"

    The specific 'legroom' is rear seat legroom, which you accidently left off:

    "Legroom, rear (in.) 35.4" - Edmunds Insight review of 2009 Jetta TDI
    "Rear Leg Room: 36 in." - Edmunds review Prius 2010

    "- low emissions, you don't show that it's lower than TDI"

    Actually the California Air Resources Board did in their executive report of both the Jetta TDI and 2010 Prius:

    A-014-0657 - Toyota 2010 Prius executive order
    A-007-0271 - Volkswagen Jetta, Jetta Sportwagen diesel, Golf executive order

    "- quiet operation, you don't show that it's quieter than TDI"

    Well there is this Volkwaggen commercial:

    The title is "Meet the Volkswagens - Jetta TDI Meets Prius". Weird that VW advertises the noise of a Jetta TDI but of course they could be lying.

    "- solar panels in roof to power the AC? Prius does not have such a thing. "

    Actually it has two features:

    1) solar power, cabin air exhaust - an option, it vents the cabin heat on sunny summer days.

    2) remote A/C operation - an option, pressing a remote keyfob turns on the air conditioner to reduce cabin heat as we walk to the car.

    Thank you for posting but the facts and data are different.

    Bob Wilson
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,852
    Even with all your +++ for the Prius it is still a noisy, numb uncomfortable vehicle to drive. Being fun at a smelly gas pump does not count for much in my book. And yes gas is stinkier than diesel. And more carcinogenic. That is why they have the sealed pump handles for gas and not for diesel.

    I am not sure I would like the Golf TDI. I know from experience I would not have a Prius. Did I mention one of the worst cars on the road for blind spots. Not good in a commuter car with people trying to sneak around the Prius driver that is holding up traffic, hypermiling.
  • Ahem, "it is still a noisy" doesn't match the Volkswagen commercial "Meet the Volkswagens - Jetta TDI Meets Prius." As VW claimed, Jetta TDIs are noisy compared to the Prius.

    It really comes down to a question of requirements. The TDI comes up short by metrics important to our buying budget:

    urban mileage
    highway mileage
    quiet operation
    interior space

    I understand "fun car." However, my concept of a fun car is fully electric and spelled TESLA!

    Bob Wilson
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    How much experience do you have behind the wheel of a 2010 Prius? Or is your opinion of the 2010 Prius based on second-hand info or experience with earlier designs?

    I got to check out the 2010 Prius when I stopped by my local dealer yesterday to see how my buddy, the Master Sales Rep there, was doing. He's an engineer by training and experience so I always enjoy talking with him, as he knows how cars work including hybrids. I confirmed the rear seat of the 2010 Prius is indeed very comfortable for adults, at least adults of my height (5'10"), with gobs of legroom--much moreso than my departed 2007 Rabbit. (Maybe VW increased rear leg room a lot in the 2010 Golf?) I didn't go for a drive because I came in right before closing and all the base models, which is what I would get were I to buy a Prius, were in a satellite lot.

    Maybe we could stick with discussion of the CARS, and not on the driving habits of individuals? I am sure there are rude drivers to be found no matter what model of car they happen to drive, and hypermiling behavior is not unique to Prius drivers.

    As for carcinogenic effects of fuel, that is off-topic also, but at least get your facts straight, e.g.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,852
    My experience was with a 2009 Prius as a passenger. He has stock tires and you feel and hear every crack and crevice in the sub standard California streets. The engine noise comes about when it kicks in. I was the one that recommended the Prius. So I did not make any negative comments. He seems to like it and that is all that counts. I was always happy to get back in my Lexus or Sequoia. End of story.

    Your two articles do not compare Unleaded gas to diesel. They make vague evaluations with little substantiating evidence. Fact is Unleaded is much more dangerous than diesel.
    Unleaded Gas
    Extremely Flammable liquid and vapor
    Harmful if swallowed
    Skin Irritant
    May cause eye and respiratory irritation
    Cancer Hazard – Contains material which can
    cause cancer

    The Prius is stuck with Unleaded Regular. Many people run 100% biodiesel in their VW TDI vehicles. Making them more environmentally safe. Unleaded stinks and burns my eyes. I am thankful CA has forced gas stations to put safety nozzles on gas pumps. Nasty stuff.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    edited February 2010
    So you have no experience at all with the redesigned 2010 Prius? Have you even sat in one? Maybe check it out at your local auto show.

    Did you read the OSHA information I posted, which classifies diesel fuel as a carcinogen? That report did not look like a "vague evaluation" to me. It looked pretty specific. There were many other references I did not post--I could if you insist, or you could easily look them up yourself and we can move on talking about the cars.

    FWIW, diesel fumes stink and burn my eyes.

    Many people run 100% biodiesel in their VW TDI vehicles.

    How many (especially for the 2010 TDI) run on 100% biodiesel, and where is the data from? I have read that VW states that only up to B5 (5% biodiesel) should be used in the 2010 TDI.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,852
    Yes I sat in a 2010 Prius. Same cheap seats. Not at all comfortable.

    The EPA report concludes that uncertainties remain about long-term health effects of exposure to diesel exhausts. It said, however, that studies involving both tests on animals and occupational exposure suggest strong evidence of a cancer risk to humans.

    We know gas fumes are carcinogenic. Not just suspected as in Marine Diesel.

    From OSHA link:
    International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) carcinogenic classification: Group 2B, Possibly carcinogenic to humans (Marine diesel fuel) or Group 3, Not classifiable as to carcinogenicity to humans [Distillate (light) diesel fuels].
    That would be number one and two diesel used on the highways.

    There is entirely too much misinformation spread concerning the health risks of diesel. You don't like the smell of diesel. I don't like the smell of unleaded gas. The truth is you will die sooner from smelling gasoline than diesel.

    Which has nothing to do with why I like diesel engines over a bunch of overly complex hybrids. Drivability is the reason. If you have not tried it you cannot possibly understand. You keep questioning my experience with the Prius. When was the last time you drove a VW TDI. Especially with the new DSG transmission.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    edited February 2010
    I have to question whether you actually sat in a 2010 Prius. The seats have been redesigned. They are not the same as 2004-9, especially in trims with the power lumbar support. For 2010 there's also a driver's height adjustment, which for me at least makes a huge difference in driving position.

    I have not driven a TDI. But I have also not said it's an awful car, without driving it first. I never complained about the ride and handling for example, as I don't have direct experience in those areas. In fact, I think it looks on paper like a very good car. Just not one that meets my needs and driving patterns, based on what I know about it. I don't know why it is that when discussing two cars, one must be hated in order for the other to be liked. :sick:

    As for diesel's impact on health... from what I see in the OSHA report, I would not want to be anywhere close to it. It's no elixir of health, that is for sure.

    Potential symptoms: Irritation of eyes, skin, respiratory tract; dizziness, headache, nausea; chemical pneumonitis (from aspiration of liquid); dry, red skin; irritant contact dermatitis; eye redness, pain.

    Health Effects: Irritation-Eyes---Mild (HE-16); Kidney damage (HE3), Potential lung damage (HE-10); Suspected carcinogen (Marine diesel fuel) (HE2)

    Affected organs: Eyes, skin, kidneys


    1. OSHA does not have a PEL for diesel fuel, but it is designated as an OSHA Select Carcinogen.
    2. Explosive vapor/air mixtures of diesel fuel no. 2 may be formed at temperatures above 52°C.
    3. Some cases of kidney damage from exposure to diesel fuel have been reported.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,852
    edited February 2010
    So you have not driven any VW TDI and I have not ridden in or driven a 2010 Prius. I cannot even test drive a 2010 Prius because they are grounded due to faulty brakes. You don't like diesel which is fine with me. I don't like gas engines for several reasons. When associated with an overly complex hybrid system they are even less appealing to me. Do I hate them. No I have recommended them to friends that have bought them.

    I am not sure why we are having this debate if you are not willing to test drive a VW TDI. And there is no possible way that Toyota has improved the Prius enough in 2010 to interest me. So that leaves us at an impasse. I got a feeling you will not buy a Prius and I will probably not buy a Golf TDI. For one thing it is not really what I want in a new vehicle.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    edited February 2010
    There's a fix for the 2010 Prius brake software, so don't let that stop you from a test drive.

    I am not going to test drive a car that I have little chance of buying. I don't have the time, and I don't want to waste time of the VW salesperson. If my local dealer ever offered an open house to test drive the new Golf, I might take advantage of that. Sometimes dealers do that, e.g. when the Fit and 2008 Accord came out, my local Honda dealer had open houses, and my local Hyundai dealer is having an open house for the 2011 Sonata. Great ways to check out a car even if you're not serious about buying one in the foreseeable future.

    As for my buying/leasing a Prius, I think there is actually a decent chance of that happening in the next 2-3 years, or maybe sooner. My local dealer is offering a really good lease with no money down on the Prius now. (That's why I stopped in to talk to my sales rep buddy the other day.) I have a feeling that kind of deal will be around awhile as Toyota rebuilds its reputation. The lease payment plus gas savings would be about the same money per month as my Sonata... and I could sell that and pocket some cash. If that doesn't work, I will be looking at the Prius when the warranty runs out on the Sonata. But who knows what else will be out there in 2-3 years? The Prius will be pretty much the same then (as will the TDI), but some new, interesting models are due out in that timeframe.

    Kind of funny, though, that you are so passionate about two cars that you have no intention of owning. :)
This discussion has been closed.