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Toyota Prius vs VW Golf TDI

PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 7,962
edited July 2014 in Toyota
Shopping between these two vehicles? This is the place to compare and contrast the two.

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  • gchambersgchambers Posts: 3
    Hi, I was hoping to get some advice. I'm in the market for a new car (I'm definitely buying used) and I want better gas mileage. I'm considering a 2006 prius, but I'm also considering a 2006 golf TDI. I've never owned a diesel (not really even driven them much) and wanted to see generally what people thought about the comparison. The main reason I'm considering it is that I've got a long highway commute and I don't do a lot of city driving so a diesel might work better for me. I'd appreciate any feedback, particularly on the diesel! Here are the two specific cars:
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,251
    The diesel Honda Accord for USA was suppose to lack the urea bladder that exists in German models. Apparently they were not able to develop one without a urea bladder that passes US regulations.

    No offence to people who like Hondas but Honda engineering is far too over-rated.
    The Insight in my opinion is a joke. No competiitve diesels up their sleeves. No competive V8 or Rear drive versions for their Acura division. I remember years ago waiting in great anticipation for details of the new hybrid Accord and the rumored new hybrid Pilots Also more recently I remember how excited I was with regards to a diesel Accord and Pilot: :sick:

    Must I say more.

    Oh yes Honda makes good i4 engines. But that's about it and that in my opinion is just not enough in order to compete with their big boy competitors.

  • chadxchadx Posts: 153
    Not taking into consideration build quality or any other factors, the basic rule of thumb is hybrids if you do mostly city driving and diesels if you do mostly highway at highway speeds.

    Both ad cost to the vehicle.

    A diesel engine will generally last longer than a gasoline engine. Hybrids do seem to be holding up well, but consider at some point, you will have to replace battery packs.

    Hybrids have two systems to maintain. Unlike a fulltime electric-only vehicle, a hybrid still needs the oil and oil filter changes, coolant flushed and filled, spark plugs changed, rusted exhaust replaced, and other normal maintenance items, plus any battery pack issues.

    With diesels, you may have a slightly harder time finding a place to fill up. Some areas have quite a big price spread between gas and diesel. Some people don't like the smell and emissions (the model year will impact that quite a bit).

    These are but a few things to take into consideration when deciding which is best for you...but my first comment about city=hybrid and hwy=diesel is the biggest factor.

    Personally, I looked at hybrids and wanted them to work for me, but living in a rural area where almost all driving is hwy, they make no sense so I'm anxiously waiting on some of the new cleaner small diesels.
  • Your message was dated May27th. By now I figure you've bought one or the other. Please let us know what came your way. I'm curious.
    As to the previous comments prefering the diesel I couldn't disagree more. The hybrid obviously has 2 motors sharing the work thus longevity would be a plus. I have an '04 Prius with 95 K miles and nary a problem. I average 48 mpg summer & 38-42 mpg winter. It is, without a doubt, the smartest, most dependable car I've ever owned. Price of Deisel fuel is crazy (nearly a buck more than gas). I once owned a Rabbit Deisel (79) and must say back then it was about the worst car I ever owned. Loud noisy engine and added smoke. Winters (if you live where its cold) are problematic when the fuel gels and won't start. 6 yrs old now and winter smiles for dependable starts w/ my Prius. The Prius gave 546 miles to a tank of gas often in ideal conditions. Another point I beg to differ with... Batteries are no problem as the track record has shown. Remember they're covered for 100K if not more. In just a few simple words....Toyota has built a near masterpiece. Last point: Look next to this article and notice that the Prius gets a 9.7 score card while the VW Golf gets a lesser 8.6 grade for what its worth.
  • chadxchadx Posts: 153
    To clarify a few of my points and correct some assumptions that you read into some of my comments, see below. I think we agree on more things than disagree. The jist of my previous post was hybrids accel in city and combined driving where diesels accel at more rural and open road driving.

    "The hybrid obviously has 2 motors sharing the work thus longevity would be a plus."

    How would longevity be increased by two motors sharing the work? You now have two different sources that can have issues (toyota's great reliabilty track record aside). Also note both engine and motor make lower power and it is their combined rate that makes a "reasonable" amount of power. Neither are full sized motors working in a unstressed, relaxed 1/2 output manner. My take on it is more parts, more parts to break.

    "I have an '04 Prius with 95 K miles and nary a problem. "

    As I said, Toyota has a great track record. I never said a prius was unreliable. I simply said at some point, you'll have to replace the battery pack. Even if that is every 150k - 200k, it will need replaced at some point. Simple statement that Toyota agrees with. Not saying there is anything wrong with that. It's just a fact to be taken into consideration in the comparison, especially when looking at used vehicles that might already have 100k on them.

    One of my comments that might have been taken wrong was when I said a diesel engine will last longer than a gasoline engine (not talking hybrids here). In that direct comparison, you may always find exceptions, but overall, that is not something that can be argued with. Afterall, diesel (diesel oil to be precise) is a lubricant and gasoline is a solvent. Also, diesel engine are build far more beefy to handle the high stresses of a high compression engine. Diesel engines tend to outlast gas engines by 2 to 1 by mileage.

    "Price of Deisel fuel is crazy (nearly a buck more than gas)."

    Correct. That needs to be taken into consideration. That also plays a part in the city or rural comparison since small diesels get even better mpg than hybrids in high-speed cruising where hybrids clearly are the best for city or city-biased combined driving. That price difference also changes with time. Your $1 difference is a snapshot in time and even that doesn't tell the whole story. % difference is what counts. That $1 difference could mean diesel is 20% more or 80% more depending on the unit prices of each. And both are a moving target.

    "I once owned a Rabbit Deisel (79) and must say back then it was about the worst car I ever owned. Loud noisy engine and added smoke."

    You know yourself you can't compare 19 year old technology with todays diesel technology. A+ for trying, though! Ha. :D

    The original poster doesn't mention where they live or if cold would be a factor, but with modern winter diesel, you rarely have to worry unless you are talking extreme cold temps and even then, a little additive solves that issue.

    "Look next to this article and notice that the Prius gets a 9.7 score card while the VW Golf gets a lesser 8.6 grade for what its worth. "

    Keep in mind those scores are partially based on items that are opinion (look and feel, handling, fun factor, perceived acceleration, etc.) vs. factual (reliability. etc.) I will, however, absolutely agree that VW build quality is not great. That is why my first statement, of my original post, clearly said "Not taking into consideration build quality or any other factors, the basic rule of thumb is hybrids if you do mostly city driving and diesels if you do mostly highway at highway speeds." I specifically excluded build quality in my comparison because VW is spotty and Toyota is so good. Obviously it does one no good if your diesel engine runs for 500k miles if the rest of the car won't last for 100k. There are plenty of other diesel vehicles with good build quality, though.

    I'll end with my previous statement which I think still stands:
    Not taking into consideration build quality or any other factors, the basic rule of thumb is hybrids if you do mostly city driving and diesels if you do mostly highway at high speeds.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,178
    Very well stated. I might add one or two things to the list. The Prius is notorious for its poor handling in windy conditions. It also has some issues in snow dealing with traction control. VWs are considered exceptional in all driving conditions. Which further makes them the best choice for rural and highway driving. After just a short ride around town with a friend in his new 2009 Prius, I would not own one. They are rather noisy and rough riding. Ok as a city commuter. It will be interesting to see the new Rabbit TDI when it gets to the USA. I think we will see a lot of 60 MPG reports. It would make a great runabout for me to have.
  • chadxchadx Posts: 153
    A couple updates to my own post! (edit feature has disappeared).

    The poster commented on a '79 diesel rabbit and I replied that one can't compare 19 year old technology with todays diesel technology. I was wrong. It is 29 year old technology. Even worse. Ha.

    The original poster also commented that I should look at the user review ratings because the prius score was a 9.7 score while the VW Golf gets a lesser 8.6 grade. I made the point that those scores are partially based on items that are opinion (look and feel, handling, fun factor, perceived acceleration, etc.) vs. factual (reliability, build quality. etc.)

    I looked into that a little further and brought up the reviewers individual reviews. One reviewer had rated the VW all Ones which brought the average score down significantly (there are only 15 reviews). Other than another reviewer with an overall rating of 4.9, most of the reviewers scored the VW in the 9.3 to 10 range. The Prius only has 6 reviews and they range from 9.4 to 9.9 (no perfect 10s like the VW). What I'm trying to show here is that the sample size is too small to be of any real value (plus it's based on the "I like it" factor). If one person logs in and scores the Prius all Ones, then it's average score will be lower than the VW.

    These scores can be very misleading and are almost a dis-service since some folks aren't willing to go in and look deeper. One can't make assumptions based on a super small sample size, a "look and feel" rating system and the resulting averaged score.
  • Instead, its so short ... no major bickering!
    Just the usual combination of logical, fact-based, scientific discussions that tend to favor diesels, mixed with emotional, reactive, irrelevant (I had a problem with a VW 29 years ago!) arguments favoring hybrids.
    Also, its nice to see that the oil companies have subsided in their gouging of consumers on diesel prices.
    The biggest joke is that in spite of the BS arguments, you could have 2 service stations of the same company (such as Chevron or Shell) within a city block, but on opposite sides of the border, and somehow diesel costs more than gas on the US side, but costs less than gas on the Canadian side of the border!
    Funny how those bogus excuses for cranking up the price don't apply to the same fuel from the same company from the same refinery as soon as its outside of the US.... (and no, we don't have any tax subsidies on diesel in Canada ... fuel taxes are fuel taxes whether its Premium, Regular, or Diesel)
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,178
    California charges 10 cents more tax on diesel. Even then diesel is cheaper than RUG at many stations now.
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    Personally, I looked at hybrids and wanted them to work for me, but living in a rural area where almost all driving is hwy, they make no sense so I'm anxiously waiting on some of the new cleaner small diesels.

    I found that my Camry Hybrid did its best in rural settings. In the hills of WV, on 2 lane roads I averaged 37+ mpg over 67,000 miles. My typical spread was 38 to 42 on rural roads, 35.5 to 39 on the Interstate, and 40+ in towns.
  • We sold an automatic, 2001 Echo to buy our automatic 2010 Prius, which my wife loves because it is quiet and gets better fuel economy. The Jetta TDI automatic gets worse mileage than our 2001 Echo and VW brags about the engine sound,"It goes VARRUUMMM!" in a recent commercial.

    Which part of quiet is quality does VW not understand? So the noisy diesel is now a sales pitch?

    Worse, it is a smaller car, not even in the same sedan class as the 2010 Prius, which I bought for $24,250 ... taxes, registration, fees, ... everything. I'm also getting an insurance policy discount because it is a hybrid.

    Bob Wilson
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,178
    Glad you like your new Prius. Have not seen any here in San Diego yet. The Prius may be quiet sitting at a stop light. I don't think you would consider it as quiet out on the road as the VW. Don't have TV so have not seen the ads. Are you sure they were advertising the diesel Jetta? And it will be hard to do a comparison with the Golf TDI as it is not for sale yet in the USA. If MPG is your number one concern a Moped would get you about 200 MPG. Myself driving dynamics are more important than mileage. Safety is an issue also and it is hard to beat the VW Jetta/Golf for safety.
  • tiff_ctiff_c Posts: 531
    I have a 2010 Prius on order. I'm a big diesel fan but I hate VW's since every one I have owned has been unreliable. My parents have owned a few as well and those spent more time in the shop than on the road. :lemon:
    The Prius is getting my votethis time around until someone other than VW makes a decent diesel with great reliability and no run flat tires!
    I like the look of the Jetta Spotwagen TDI but would rather have a Golf TDI if they were reliable. The dealer told me they will need a timing belt at 60K miles.
    I've heard he is wrong but spending time on the TDI forum just tells me that TDI owners don't trust their dealerships to work on their cars.
    I don't have time nor inclination to be my own mechanic or search around for a TDI specialist.
  • Hi,

    There are two. The first has a guy washing his Prius and his neighbor talks about the great mileage to get a 'comic spit' from the Prius owner. Then the Jetta owner brags about the "VARRUUMMM." The second one is similar with the beetle announcer and again talks about the "VARRUUMMM."

    Our requirements were to replace my wife's 2001 Echo that was getting long on the tooth. The 2010 Prius came at a good time and excellent price. It is working out great and it has enough room for our E-bike in the bike.

    Bob Wilson
  • If Honda made a TDI, I'd buy it without hesitation. It appears that Honda has abandoned their plans to bring their diesels stateside. I own a 2004 Prius and have never had any issues with unplanned maintenance. With a VW you will definitely have your service advisor's number on speed dial (maybe #2 or #3) :P I've owned two VW's and two Audi's. Great driving vehicles and HIGH maintenance. Way too many warranty issues and heaven forbid you have to start paying AFTER the warranty expires. The Prius has been a huge hit in this country and rightly so. It is one fantastic vehicle and I love mine. The TDI is very noisy and lots of NVH at idle. Maintenance costs over the first 100k miles will be LOTs cheaper in the Prius. Gotta love that!!
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,178
    The TDI is very noisy and lots of NVH at idle.

    Yes the Prius is much quieter sitting at a stop light than the VW TDI. When you take off and head down the street that all changes. The Prius becomes a rough riding noisy vehicle. The Passat TDI I owned was much quieter on the road than the 2009 Prius I have spent time riding around in. My take is, you spend more time moving than sitting idle, when you are in a vehicle.
  • Quite true however one thing is certain and you'll be spending lots more money on repairs and maintenance on a TDI. As to quietness, I spend most of my time cruising at 65 in my Prius and the interior comfort and noise levels are fine. I can carry a conversation and not raise my voice even with the radio on! Those TDI's will never really catch on as much as the hybrids (mainly Toyota have). Oh.. almost forgot. A key to a car's interior quietness is tires. I have these wonderful tires (this is NOT a plug)..heheheh They are Goodyear Tripletreds. Man o' man these tires have transformed my Prius. Rain time is my favorite time with these tires.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,178
    Tires do make a huge difference. My friend just has the junk tires Toyota puts on the Prius when new. Our San Diego roads are so rough that you feel every crack and expansion joint when driving along at 35 MPH.

    The 2010 Prius is not getting the rave reviews as on the last model. Here is one just posted this month on Edmund's:

    Well what can you say. The seats are not comfortable, the ride is numb and disconnected from the road, wind/road noise is at a premium, very jittery over any type of non-smooth pavement. However, going green is the way to go. We need more of these types of cars only with better execution...

    Is the 2010 Prius even cheaper built than the last model? I guess the fun factor is subjective. One owner gives it a 10 for fun and another owner a 1 for fun. All give it a 10 for fuel economy. So the Prius is a winner from that aspect.

    In San Diego it is easier to find a 2010 Prius than a Jetta TDI. Both should sell well when the clunkers get turned in for $4500.

    We are eagerly awaiting the 2010 Golf GTD to arrive.
  • Actually, you have to put the review into perspective. These hybrids are not sports cars and the mag rags are all about enthusiasm. I am more of an appliance type of guy with respect to my transportation. Most importantly I love the tech. The TDI has no tech like the new Prius does. It is just plain boring to me. I still love my 2004 tech goodies and the fact that only maintenance was oil changes. I have a few friends with VW/Audi's that love their cars but can't stand the high maintenance costs. The Toyota Prius really took off like an explosion once the 2004 model came out. They are so ubiquitous now. I wonder why cab companies aren't switching to diesels. Where I live I actually see Prius cabs. Highlanders too. Must be the fact that the maintenance and reliability of VW is the issue. Too bad. Oh.. and what really stinks (no punn) is that Honda seems to have abandoned their plans to bring a diesel here. So now we only have VW. Not much of choice.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,178
    Don't forget Mercedes and BMW are offering very fine diesel cars and SUVs. SUVs being the area that diesel really makes a difference in fossil fuel consumption. There are places like Victoria BC that have lots of Prius as taxi cabs. Not sure why you never see them here in San Diego. NYC Taxi authority did everything in their power to block hybrids. Then they changed when they tried the Escape hybrid. Not sure if any US city uses Prius cabs.

    VW has moved up the quality survey as Toyota has fallen down. Hyundai is near the top from close to the bottom. Mercedes has gained ground after shedding their albatross Chrysler.
  • The problem with Mercedes and BMW is that their vehicles are expensive. If I were to spend some bucks on a diesel there is only one out there that really would be worthwhile. I can't see why the 335D Bimmer is not flying off the dealer lots. An extraordinary car and the performance is similar to that of a gasser. Only issue is the urea thing that would be a pain to maintain. As to quality, VW has a LONG way to go before they are anywhere near Lexus/Toyota standards. If you're referring to JD Power surveys, I don't really consider those reliable. I tend to focus on surveys that CR puts out.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    Toyota average 1.01 problems per vehicle and VW 1.12 problems per vehicle in recent JD Power IQ results.

    .11 difference, big nothing!

    Consumer Reports surveys are not credible. CR only surveys it's subscribers. JD Powers data is based on a sampling group free from bias and larger sampling size than CR.

    There is no evidence of difficulty of use or of maintenance of a urea addition emissions system.
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    Is that initial quality or over time?

    I've answered a lot of surveys on my cars over the years and seldom do I get a survey after I have 10,000 miles on my car. Initial quality is a lot easier to achieve than long term durability.

    My AudiTT didn't act up (electronics) until after 10K.

    My 350Z did start having problems at 3K but the idiots that owned them never told the truth in surveys. A lot of people had the same problem that I had and yet when I saw surveys it didn't seem like a big deal. The tire wear and noise was unbearable. The numerous visits to the dealer were unforgivable.

    My experience is people, especially on early surveys, are reporting on the car of their (current) dreams and really are not too critical. I guess they justify to themselves they made a good choice.

    Statistically you may show VW as a close second to Toyota, but in the real world no one believes it, including many VW owners.
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    Just curious too, your id "moparbad" does that mean you think Mopar's are "bad" as in good? Or that they are bad as in junk?

    If you're a Mopar fan then I can see how you could easily be fooled into thinking VW makes a durable, reliable car.
  • HEHEEH I'd have to agree! Mopar almost lost it until Fiat came to the rescue. Based on what I've read on the boards I'd stay away from VW for a while. I'll stick with either Honda or Toyota for reliability.
  • petlpetl Posts: 610
    JD Power assesses vehicles in 4 categories.

    1) Performance and Design: Taken from the Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) study, this measure is based on owner satisfaction with vehicle Performance, Style, Features and Instrument Panel, and Comfort.

    2) Initial Quality: Taken from the Initial Quality Study (IQS), which looks at owner-reported problems in the first 90 days of new-vehicle ownership, this score is based on problems that have caused a complete breakdown or malfunction, or where controls or features may work as designed, but are difficult to use or understand.

    3) Predicted Reliability: Derived from historical trending for a vehicle and/or manufacturer in our Initial Quality and Vehicle Dependability Studies, Predicted Reliability is a forecast of how reliable a newer vehicle might be over time.

    4) Overall Dependability: Taken from the Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), which looks at owner-reported problems in the first 3 years of new-vehicle ownership, this score is based on problems that have caused a complete breakdown or malfunction of any component, feature, or item (i.e., components that stop working or trim pieces that break or come loose).

    The most recent JD Power survey was Initial Quality which only looked at the first 90 days of ownership (not long term). There may be a big difference in customer satisfaction between the first 90 day IQ and the 3 year Overall Dependability surveys with a specific vehicle.
  • mike91326mike91326 SoCalPosts: 251
    Based on the last few JD Power's reports, I'd give Hyundai a good look. If they bring over the Elantra diesel next year it would be a good choice.
  • Thanks for that information. It means absolutely nothing because 90 days is really not enough time to gauge whether a vehicle will last over its life expectancy. Bottom line is that MOST cars today are very reliable. The TDI does not scare me, however I'd prefer the Bimmer 330D even though it is a lot more money. That car taken care of properly will outlive me! Heck my best friend's Mercedes Diesels are still going strong since 1981!!!!! Unfortunately the car manufacturers don't seem to be advertising that diesel is CLEAN these days. The TDI commercial is cute but it's not going to make it mainstream like the hybrids are now.
  • jejohns1jejohns1 Posts: 1
    Plus a diesel engine can run on 100% bio-diesel fuel, B100. If only the manufactures would warranty bio-fuel with their engines, currently they only warranty up to B5 (5% bio-diesel). Why is this important? The gasoline-electric hybrid still relies on fossil fuel petroleum, which we have to import (national security implications) and adds CO2 to the atmosphere. But a 100% bio-diesel can be grown domestically (making farmers happy), and would add no additional CO2 to the atmosphere because the plant used to make the bio-diesel absorbs CO2 while it grows and makes its plant oils, which are then made into bio-diesel which releases the same CO2 back into the atmosphere, in effect net zero CO2 (actually less because not all of the plant is used to make the bio-diesel). You can't get that with a gasoline-electric hybrid. Plus the toxic chemicals and metals used to make the battery are not very environmentally friendly. The bio-diesel on the other hand is non-toxic!
  • Since there isn't stringent regulation with respect to bio-diesel you're not going to see manufacturers embrace it in their new new car warranties. I have no doubt that diesel engines run fine on it, it's just that I would not want to chance using it and then have to make a warranty claim in the unlikely event of an engine problem. Car manufacturers are notorious for trying to find loopholes out of their obligations especially when the repair becomes expensive.
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