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What about VW TDI engine?

kmmcdonaldkmmcdonald Posts: 4
edited March 25 in Volkswagen
Well, I'm considering purchasing a new Golf
(have to get _something_--two non-licensed,
non-insured morons just totalled my perfectly
good 1986 Mazda 323) and am very attracted by
the TDI engine. Anyone have any remarks on the
durability of this engine (according to theory,
should be significantly better than the gas
engine, but that's theory...), starting in cold
weather, real-world MPG, emissions, or anything
else?

Thanks,
Ken
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Comments

  • BwummerBwummer Posts: 46
    I've got a TDI in my New Beetle. Get it! It's another brilliant piece of engine design from VW.

    Forget everything you've ever heard about diesels. It's quiet, clean (meets TLEV emissions standards for all 50 states WITHOUT additional controls), very peppy, and awesome pulling power. When I went to run some errands two saturday's ago, the thermometer read -4F. The glow plugs warmed after about 5 seconds, and the car purred on the first try. It's also torquey enough to start the Beetle moving from a dead stop in first gear without giving it gas!

    And it gets great mileage. We picked ours up on 16 December. On 11 Jan (ok, we were out of town for a week and left the bug, but still...) and almost five hundred miles later, we filled the gas tank for the first time. About 43 MPG in mixed highway and city driving. Plus, diesel in Connecticut is taxed at a different rate, so it's CHEAPER than regular. And as far as fuel availability goes, I can't speak for your area, but here, it's good. Of the seven gas stations reasonably close to our home and work, six have diesel. Ironically, only one of those actually advertises the fact on its sign, and all of the others only have it at one pump, but they do have it.

    And you're right. In theory, it should last a lot longer than a gas engine. My neighbor has a 1971 Mercedes diesel which (according to him, anyway) has never had any major engine work performed. Just belts, glow plugs, oil changes, etc.

    There are only two drawbacks that I know of: 1) after about a week, the underside of the back of your car (near the tail pipe) is covered with dark grime, which you can only see if you bend down, and which comes right off with a little soapy water; and 2) if you ever run out of gas, the check engine light comes on and stays on until you see your dealer.

    But don't take my word for it. Check out Motor Trend magazine's Import Car of the Year (New Beetle) article (Feb '99 issue), or look at the long term road test for the New Beetle here on the Edmunds website.

    Go for it! Happly Dieseling. Prrrrrrrrrrrrr.
  • I, too, purchased a Beetle TDI. Just got delivery 2 weeks ago. The engine is great. Living in Oregon there are lots of hills, mountain passes, etc, and I was concerned about comments that the car is underpowered. They're wrong. This car cruises over the steepest passes in 5th gear. It will accellerate in 5th uphill at 1500 rpm. I think this has to do with the abundance of torque. I think it's a bit slower to accellerate quickly from a dead stop (like a stoplight), but still plenty snappy. And the first trip got me a fraction over 50 mpg (really!). The second tank netted 47.5 mpg--with about 1/4 city miles. I've only been in town for the past 1 1/2 weeks and it seems the tank is emptying quicker, but it'll still take weeks before I need a fill-up so I don't know what the mileage will be. It's a great engine--- and it's something a little different. Good luck.
  • pinheadpinhead Posts: 33
    For some great discussion and technical information on the TDI you must go to
    http://users.uniserve.ca/~fred_v/

    The site is FANTASTIC.

    Go for the TDI !!!!!
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    Thanks for bringing us Fred's home page, pinhead! Most intersting!!

    carlady/host
  • BwummerBwummer Posts: 46
    Good call on the hills, darenjpdx. The TDI feels much spunkier than the GLS going uphill, especially if you need to accelerate.

    Now I know Connecticut doesn't have mountains quite like the Rockies, but some of our inclines are very steep (7-8%) over short distances.
  • BwummerBwummer Posts: 46
    The official word from a TDI owner is: "Underpowered, shmunderpowered."

    Yes, compared to a Viper. But because of the torque range of the diesel, it has much better low RPM pulling power than the gas engine. If you think you're running out of power, and you're above 3000 RPM, shift to a higher gear and bring the RPM back down to around 1800-2000. Your TDI will FLY.

    Complaints about underpowered cars probably come from people who are used to driving gas engines, which don't generate peak torque and HP at the same RPM's. They wonder why at 4200 RPM their diesel isn't pulling as hard.... (Hint: maybe its not designed to :) !!!).

    You only run out of steam above about 3600 RPM in 5th.... by which time you're already going 90MPH or so. If you want to qualify for the Winston Cup, find another engine. If you want to go from point A to point B at mostly legal speeds, it's a terrific engine choice.
  • Just a quick update on mileage in my Beetle TDI. A half tank of in-town stop-and-go traffic over short distances to work resulted in only 34 mpg. My Grand Cherokee 6 cyl gets under 11 mpg in the same setting. But the next tank took me to 450 miles with more than a quarter tank left and netted 47.7 mpg (all highway miles).
  • BwummerBwummer Posts: 46
    This is a repost from the New Beetle board. I thought the experience was appropriate here, too.

    I just pulled into a Full Service station (in New Jersey, where they have so much unemployment that you can't pump your own gas), and the yo-yo already had the regular fuel hose out and was ready to fill my poor TDI with that nasty stuff. I said, "Fill it up with diesel, please," and he
    nodded, and STILL WENT TO PUT THE NOZZLE IN MY
    TANK. Then he caught himself and said, "Did you
    say diesel?" I told him I had. He replied, "I
    didn't know these things were diesels." Sigh.

    Well, at least I didn't actually PUT unleaded in my tank (unlike the Edmunds crowd).
  • DanaRDanaR Posts: 37
    I've owned a VW diesel since 81 and can say that they're extremely durable. My Rabbit was still running like new after 230,000 miles when it was wrecked last year. I bought a NB TDI and after 10,000 miles, can say its another winner. I was stunned by the power compared to the Rabbit! Others have already commented on the great low-rpm acceleration, and I agree. And I like the deep growl the engine makes.

    A trip from Portland, OR to Sacramento was covered in less than one tank (49) mpg at speeds up to 85 with the AC blasting. It was just cruising along at low rpms without any strain.

    Dana
  • Just filled the Bug again. MPG? 51.2!!!! Kewl, man!

    At this rate, I'll soon be able to afford food again.
  • tnt2tnt2 Posts: 115
    Since mid Dec., when my wife bought her NB TDI, she has saved enough in fuel bills to pay more than half the payment. 42 avg. local on winter fuel! Might have to buy one for myself with that kind of justification.
  • govugovu Posts: 62
    When I stopped by my VW dealer the other day to check on the arrival of my TDI New Beetle, I took a Jetta TDI out for a spin. After my half hour out, I walked away more excited than ever. What a beautiful engine! Plenty of oomph and a total joy to drive. I can't wait! I'm seriously considering not being so picky in my color choice so that I can get my hands on one now.
  • lucien2lucien2 Posts: 2,984
    you know, I cannot understand Road and Track Magazine's attitude about the TDI. They say it is too slow, but then the track numbers show that it is only 1 sec. slower than the gas engine (and let us not forget that the test driver may be shifting as if in a gas powered car, over-revving the tdi, losing out on the torque, and therefore not turning in the best run). I actually cancelled my subscription, primarily because the editorials are always strident, anti-environmental, anti-safety rants. C'mon, guys! We can be responsible and still drive sporting cars- VW tdi proves it. Moreover, LOTS of cars are available in Europe with a tdi of some kind. The U.S. market is way behind. I for one don't believe gas prices will stay low forever, and then where will the gas sucking insurance nightmares these editors love so much be? In the driveways, making room for all you TDI owners to zip around the twisties! I don't own one, but am seriously considering it. I wish there were more choices than VW and Mercedes. I really need a wagon, but can't afford to spend over 18K or so. Golf may be a compromise, or I might wait for the Ford Focus, which promises to be sporting and effecient (and ULEV compliant...). Of course, the new Ford 1.8l TDi will be a Europe only power plant...*sniff*
  • arjay1arjay1 Posts: 172
    The praise just keeps on going. I bought a Jetta TDI in July of 1998. I have 19,000 miles on mine and it has been perfect. I have averaged 47 MPG overall, you will get spoiled by that. The fact that you can routinely drive 600 miles between tanks is wonderful. I have not had any trouble starting in the morning and that is accounting for sub zero weather. The diesel is quiet compared to the Mercedes 300D I traded (it is loud when cold in the morning, sounds like a John Deere and I like it). Great car and great engine. Can't wait for the V6 TDI to come from Europe. Then I can finally get me Passat.
  • Lucien --
    Now you know why I subscribe to Car and Driver and Motor Trend, but not Road and Track.

    C & D measured the TDI at about 0.4 seconds slower (11.2 0-60 vice 10.8 for the gas). That's less than the average human's reaction time. I completely agree that anyone who complains about the TDI's lack of speed or power probably doesn't understand the differences between a diesel and a gas engine and is driving them the same way.

    Two days ago, we had a huge (8") snowstorm, and I confess I was worried that the diesel's high low range torque would cause it to spin the wheels. I shouldn't have worried. With 4.5" of unplowed snow in the driveway, my wife (in the TDI Beetle) purred out of the snow just as easily as I did in my Explorer, even crunching through the barrier of snow thrown up at the end of the drive by the snowplows without a hitch.

    And Lucien, if you really want (or need) a wagon, check out the Passat wagon. Don't know if you can get it with a TDI, but both C & D and Consumer Reports loved it.
  • lucien2lucien2 Posts: 2,984
    well, I did test a Passat and loved it, but I hesitate to commit that much disposable income to a car payment. New Passat is out of reach, unless I save a big down payment- I bet that if I have a 6k chunk of cash laying around I may have a problem handing to a car dealer..I may wait until a few Passats show up used, for around 18K or so. For the moment, I'll keep tinkering on the old 4Runner.
  • rdeschenerdeschene Posts: 318
    lucien2. Yes, with $6000 cash around, it much easier to put it into an RRSP or IRA than a car (depreciating asset) downpayment, isn't it?
  • BwummerBwummer Posts: 46
    .... that is the question. Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the stings of your friend's arrows for lack of a new vehicle, or to take arms against a sea of dealers...

    Sorry. Carried away there.

    Actually, I've frequently stated on other boards, few people really need to buy a car today. Most of them just WANT to buy a car today, because a new one is usually nicer than an old one.

    For my money, if you have $6K lying around, invest it in a growth fund at about 25% return, then add $250 per month (which is much less than the average car payment, plus you don't get in trouble if you have a bad month and can't pay). In three or four years, you'll be able to pay CASH for a new vehicle. I put $1000 in a college fund for my son when he was born, and have religiously added $100 every month since. He's now 27 months old, and I have $4750 in the fund. This means that I've made over $1000 in dividends and capital gains in 2 years. With a little more aggressive strategy, you can do the same thing over a shorter period and get a car. But you have to be willing to wait....

    I think it's important NOT to fall victim to the new car bug; don't get less than you want today just so you can have a new car. Save for the one you really want!

    On the other hand, marrying someone rich is also a good strategy...

    Also for the record, I've only ever owned one car that wasn't a VW. I think they're worth the extra money.
  • I have a question for the TDI owners out there. How long does it take before you get heat from the vents? I love the thought of 50 MPG, but is that thought all I will have to keep me warm while I'm driving?
  • pinheadpinhead Posts: 33
    Travis,

    I have a 99 NB TDI and we have had 15 deg F mornings for the last week or so. Heat has NOT been a problem! Don't worry about it.

    Starting. Also not a problem. Go for it!
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