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Toyota Prius vs VW Golf TDI



  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    Yes, I have seen that spread lately in MN also.
  • I have driven both the Honda Insight and the Toyota Prius for long distances from a company fleet. Both are good cars -- well finished and put together. They both suffer hybrid "problems" such lackluster acceleration, mushy brakes, and to achieve advertised MPG, the Econ mode has to be used which turns the A/C off while at most stop lights -- turning the A/C off at a stop light when it's 102* in August here in Sacramento is not an option.

    I drove the 2010 Golf TDI today and I will be purchasing one very soon. The fit and finish is excellent, loaded with premium features, it stops on a dime, the paddle shifters work wonders, it has almost as much torque as my 2007 Audi A4 3.2 (243 v. 236) and at 30/42 MPG!

    If you actually love tearing up a back road the Golf TDI is an excellent alternative (opportunity?) to a hybrid.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    ECO does not turn off the A/C in Prius, it only reduces it.

    PWR is available in Prius and works well for situations like hard acceleration when making a left turn at an intersection from a dead stop.

    As for the advertised MPG, you can easily exceed it by just driving normal in ECO mode. My 2010 average with 10,362 miles since the end of May is 52.5 MPG.
  • Many claim that Prius is more reliable than Jetta TDIs, to an extent where some say Prius is bulletproof. Well, just go to ODI website at and search Prius problems. in the 2006 model has 676 problems reported, whereas 2006 VW Jetta TDI Model has counted around 80 problems. Assuming 40000 Jetta TDIs for 2006 were sold (103,331 VW Jettas in US, and TDIs were around 40% of Jetta sales) and Prius in 2006 sold 107000 units (according to wikipedia), which has more problems per capita? Prius. Prius has less problems in 2009 than VW TDI, but Prius in 2010 shows more problems than VW TDI, according to ODI.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,086
    Welcome to the forum. Keep up the good research. We like facts around here. Not to mention the Jetta is safer and much better handling under all driving conditions. I would expect the new Golf TDI to be even better. The only problem with the Golf TDI is lack of units available to US. I am sure the dollar has killed the incentive to bring many to our shores. The EU gets all the good stuff and the US gets the dregs.
  • eliaselias Posts: 2,120
    possibly it can be considered an advantage for tdi in that the vehicle actually slows/stops 100% of the time when you hit the brake, shift to neutral, or turn off key.
    Apparently Toyota Prius is incapable/unreliable with those simple functions, as reported by Toyota and the 2000 who reported/confirmed the issues to NHTSA and 200 dead/injured toyota customers due to the egregious design flaw.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    >> and search Prius problems. in the 2006 model has 676 problems reported, whereas 2006 VW Jetta TDI Model has counted around 80 problems.

    Vague use of the word "problem" is enlighting.

    Of the 676 problems, look at how many of them had a topic of "headlight" or "headlamp". Turns out, almost all of them (1,497 instances of those words).

    Of the 80 problems, look at how many of them had a topic of "transmission". Turns out, it's somewhere around half (178 instances of the word).

    In other words, the use of HID lights turned out to be an issue as they age and they are no longer offered. And fortunately, they have absolutely nothing to do with the propulsion sytem... not the transmission.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,086
    You are right. There are a lot of disgusted Prius owners when they find out it costs $900 to replace a stinking head light. A very good reason to avoid all that high tech Crapola in the Prius. Is that why you dumped your near new Prius?
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    Dismiss all Toyota problems, they will just go away.
    Prius unintended acceleration.
    Truck frames rusting and breaking.
    Engine sludge.
    Yep, infallible.....
  • Actually, problems with HID can be extremely dangerous when they go off at night.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    That wouldn't happen.

    Each HID light has an independent controllers.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    Audi A3 is Green Car of the Year.

    TDI wins over Prius

    Audi A3 TDI earns a win over the Prius and the Golf TDI is even better and less expensive than the A3.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,086
    With VW's success winning green car two years in a row and now selling the most cars for 2009. Sounds like they are doing quite well. While the 2nd largest automaker is recalling more vehicles than they are selling this year. Including most of the Prius sold in the USA over the last several years. Now if VW could just deliver enough cars to cover the demand in the USA. Though we are becoming a 3rd World country and the dollar does not go far in the VW factories. We will get the overflow from the much better markets of the World.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    If I were comparing the A3 TDI to the Prius w/o regard to price, as was done in this case, I'd pick the A3 also. I'd also pick the 335d over the A3. And the E Class diesel over the 335d. What's a few bucks? :)
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,086
    Given those 3 choices I would end up in the E320 CDI as well.
  • Voting with their pocket books, $22-30,000 each ballot:

    3,667 - Jetta, Sports wagen, Golf and Touareg TDI diesels
    9,617 - Prius

    Bob Wilson
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,086
    What really counts for the automaker is Worldwide. Toyota has a hard time getting rid of the Prius in any country that offers a good selection of diesel cars. Find the sales figures that really count and you will have a better idea of the truth. Toyota would love to have the sales of their Prius match the World wide sales of the Golf TDI. Never happen. Only in a America where they play games with the automakers. VW is not willing to take a loss to look green. They do not have to with their vehicle lineup. Toyota needs the hybrid sales to off set their gas guzzlers.
  • What really counts are sales where both the Prius and diesels are available and that remains the USA market. Our understanding is Toyota has a manufacturing limit of ~50,000 per month. The Japanese domestic market is absorbing at least half of their production where the Prius has been the top seller since June/July. Reports are that Japan still has a six month backlog of orders so the availability of export Prius is limited.

    There is one market where both the Prius and TDI vehicles compete head-to-head, the USA. In this market, the Prius ran 3x all TDI vehicles. If you consider all Toyota hybrids, 14,473, versus all TDI vehicles, 3,667, nearly 4x all TDI vehicles. Then if you add the other manufacturers making hybrids, 20,003, is it more than 5x all TDI vehicles. In a fair and open market, the USA, hybrids are doing OK.

    By EPA rated size, compact cars, no doubt the Jetta and Golf TDIs are fine cars. But if someone wants 25% better mileage in a full-size sedan, the Prius is the answer ... if you can find one. What is funny is last year's "Green Human" cross country test where they deliberately tried to drive a Jetta friendly, Prius hostile profile, both cars came in 40 MPG Prius and 41 MPG Jetta. That was using the smaller 1.5L Prius. The current, 1.8L Prius is about +3-5 MPG better on the highway at all speeds tested, up to 80 MPH in my testing.

    Then there is the problem of how many people actually give in urban areas and drive in City traffic. The TDIs don't even come close to competing in stop-and-go traffic, not even close.

    The 1.8L, 2010 Prius has more space, better highway mileage, and superior city mileage. Where they compete in the open USA market, at least for November, the sales figures have been nice for Toyota and the other hybrid makers.

    Bob Wilson
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,086
    What really counts are sales where both the Prius and diesels are available and that remains the USA market.

    They are both available in China the number one market, as well as the EU. NO ONE wants a Prius when given several choices. The neutered VW TDI offered here with phony EPA mileage figures has a lot of negative publicity against it. VW is selling all they bring to the dealers.

    The US and Japan remain alone discouraging the switch to the more efficient fuel DIESEL. I applaud the Germans for persevering in their bringing diesel vehicles to the USA. It is an uphill battle fought against the oil companies and their lackeys in CARB and the EPA.

    I will repeat. If you are so unfortunate as to live in a big city and have to commute in stop and go traffic, a Prius is probably ok. If you like to drive and get out on the open road, not getting bucked around by the wind, forget the Prius. Go for a German diesel.

    Life is a compromise. I would not compromise enough to own a Prius. Maybe an Escape Hybrid if it did not take 10 years to pay back the premium.

    If you are looking for another Prius the dealers here in San Diego have at least 90 in stock. From about $23k to $34k. You would get more for your dollars with a VW TDI if you can find one. Check Mossy Toyota. They have 51 Prius on the lot, with at least a dozen over $31k.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    Ford Focus outsell's the Prius, do those "ballots" make the Focus a better car?

    What is your opinion of supply and demand? VW Golf and Jetta TDI have fewer days supply and days on lot before they sell than Prius.
  • "VW Golf and Jetta TDI have fewer days supply and days on lot before they sell than Prius. " Interesting, I've looked for this in the past but not had a lot of luck finding it. Is there an open source?

    In addition to modest USA sales, the biggest problem the TDIs face are the user reports. The EPA web site,, collects user mileage reports:

    50.5 MPG (63 vehicles) - range 37 - 63 MPG
    49.2 MPG (10 vehicles) - range 42 - 58 MPG - 97% lower milage
    39.9 MPG (27 vehicles) - range 33 - 50 MPG - 78% lower mileage
    32.5 MPG (11 vehicles) - range 27 - 47 MPG - 64% lower mileage *

    Ok, let's see, interior space:

    116 ft{3}
    101 ft{3} - 87% smaller
    107 ft{3} - 92% smaller
    107 ft{3} - 92% smaller *

    For some folks, mileage and interior space are unimportant and for them, a compact car like a Honda Insight or a Jetta TDI would be excellent choices. In the meanwhile, USA customers in November voted with their wallets and at least three Prius for every TDI of any type.

    There you have it, customers, voting with their own money, again. Well, better luck with December sales. Maybe we'll all move to diesel paradises like China or Europe or Montana and take up dental floss.

    Bob Wilson

    * - looks like the Ford Focus is excellent competition to the Jetta TDI. Same interior space and 32.5 MPG vs 39.9 MPG, not that far off in mileage.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,086
    I think if you check the cargo and passenger space in the VW Sportswagen TDI, it is much roomier than the Prius. It is also nearly impossible to get. VW is more concerned with profitable vehicles than loss leaders like the Prius.

    If you go and take a Golf TDI out for a good drive away from the stop and go city, and still think the Prius is superior, let us know. I have ridden enough in a friends 09 Prius to never even consider them. Rough riding and noisy on our sub standard San Diego surface streets.
  • eliaselias Posts: 2,120
    do dead/injured customers get to vote? if so, they will probably vote against Prius posthumously or from hospital bed if it unstoppably accelerates them over a cliff, for example. Reportedly the casualty count is 200 so far for Toyota (including Prius), with incident count by NHTSA reportedly over 2000. Toyota seems to admit the floormats are not the root-cause issue...
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    Days supply is available from multiple sources, all that I am aware of require a subscription. Automotive News is one such source.

    Both TDI and Prius engine won Wards 10 Best. Congratulations!
  • "... require a subscription, Automotive News ..."

    I was hoping for something that didn't require a paid subscription. Thanks anyway.

    As for our other diesel advocates:

    "... take a Golf TDI out for a good drive away from the stop and go city ..."

    This is a fine suggestion. Own a Prius for "stop and go city" tasks such as holding a job and earning a living. Then one can afford a Golf TDI as the weekend play car although I'd probably go with an ultralight.

    "... dead/injured customers ..."

    I recently completed a safety study. The Prius fatality rate of 0.64 per 100 million miles is less than half of the NHTSA 1.37-1.51 fatalities per 100 million miles for the years 2001-2007. It is one of the reasons for the affordable insurance costs, which the NHTSA also documented in their annual report.

    Well maybe the December voting with their wallets will go differently. We'll see.

    Bob Wilson
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,086
    I know you like the Prius and that is good. But Toyota Hybrids have peaked in sales and are headed down hill WORLD WIDE. From 429,700 in 2008 to 291,700 in 2009. While the 2010 Golf TDI was named both "green car of the year" and "World Car of the Year".
    The Golf has averaged 714,000 sales per year for its 35 years of existence. The Prius has averaged 109,000 cars per year for its life time average sales. I think you know what that meant for Toyota. For every Prius sold VW sold 6.5 Golfs. People voted with their wallets and the VW Golf is the hands down winner. And as the Golf has gained in popularity the Prius has gone down hill about 30% decrease this year alone. The Prius is a two market car while the Golf is a "WORLD" car. VW does not need a loss leader like the Prius to meet the CAFE standards in the USA. So why should VW flood the market and lose money?
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,086
    And another thing. The Prius NAV is still at the bottom of the pile for 2010. Their $500 DVD updates are a total rip-off. ToyLex charges more for less on their NAV systems. VW Golf you can get the updates from several sources. Not just the rip-off dealers. You like being jacked around by Toyota. That is your privilege. They do well in the USA because we are not as demanding of quality as the rest of the World.
  • With rare exception, buyers spending $20-30,000 choose based upon price-performance and availability. The 2010 Prius gets better mileage than any of the TDI vehicles including highway. It is a midsize sedan and TDIs come in compact and one rare wagon. So I'm not terribly worried about buyer votes. One of the least persuasive arguments is what others are buying.

    Discussions about hybrid vs diesel sales has most merit if one is looking at 401k performance or stock investments:

    ". . . Toyota Hybrids have peaked in sales and are headed down hill . . ."

    In about a month we'll have the numbers for December and the year. I'm patient and looking forward to the results. During the first quarter of 2009, the Japanese press reported Toyota put on extra shifts at the Prius plants and brought employees in from other car plants to build Prius. Then GreenCarCongress reported hybrid sales:

    Green Car Congress: Reported US Sales of Hybrids Up 21% in November; New Vehicle Market Share of 2.7%

    ". . .
    Toyota. Toyota posted 14,473 hybrids in November 2009, up 16.3% from November 2008. Total light-duty vehicle sales were up 2.6% to 133,700 units.
    . . .
    Ford. Ford came in a strong second in the monthly hybrid tally, with 2,361 units sold, up 73.5% from the year prior.
    . . .
    Honda. Honda posted a total of 1,646 hybrids in November, up 57.8%. Total sales were down 3% to 74,003 units.
    . . .
    GM. GM reported a total of 1,020 hybrid sales, down 25.5% from November 2008.
    . . .
    Nissan. Nissan sold 503 Altima Hybrids in November, up 42.5% from the year before, representing 3.2% of Altima sales.
    . . ."

    Percentages can sometimes be misleading. Toyota's 16.3% increase in hybrid sales would be ~2,359 units ... about the same as Ford's total hybrid sales. All TDI sales in November were 3,667 compared to 14,473 for all Toyota hybrids.

    I think 2010 will be an interesting Prius year. The Bush recession is ending and gas prices are creeping up again. We also know hybrid production is battery limited but a new plant is supposed to be coming online. But 2015 will be especially good when the NiMH patent expires and Toyota can design and build NiMH batteries optimized for vehicle propulsion.

    Bob Wilson
  • Sorry for the late post but the "November 2009 dashboard" report showed up:

    9,617 units
    -28.7% vs. last month
    11.1% vs. Nov 2008
    127,907 CYTD
    -15.3% vs. CYTD 2008

    All hybrids
    20,003 units
    -18.3% vs. last month
    21.0% vs. Nov 2008
    265,112 CYTD
    -10.6% vs. CYTD 2008

    All vehicles
    746,928 units
    -10.8% vs. last month
    -0.1% vs. Nov 2008
    9,399,078 CYTD
    -24.0% vs. CYTD 2008"

    It looks like ". . . the Prius has gone down hill about 30% decrease this year . . ." might be more accurate for all vehicle sales and not the Prius and hybrids. But as I pointed out earlier, what other people buy has little impact on someone spending over $20,000 on a new car.

    Bob Wilson
  • While researching another topic, I stumbled across Acxiom marketing report. Key findings are:

    * Technology: Hybrid technology is helping “mainstream nameplates” make inroads into a previously untapped market: tech-savvy, luxury consumers (presenting an opportunity to position mainstream nameplates in a very different buying market);
    * Conquesting: Hybrid vehicles drive conquesting or brand switching as much as 10 percentage points higher than their non-hybrid counterparts;
    * Room at the Top: “Upper Rung” consumer groups are fueling hybrid buying trends – capturing just 5 percent of these high propensity hybrid consumers would serve to double 2007 U.S. hybrid sales;
    * Geographic Differences: Consumers with a high propensity toward hybrids demonstrate a striking difference in geographic location from their non-hybrid counterparts."

    Prius owners are taking bites out of other vehicle technologies. The "Conquesting" means they switch from other technologies and brands to hybrid and stay. So we are a direct threat to diesel market share.

    In bad economic times, the Prius owners are relatively affluent. They qualify for car loans or just out right buy the car. We are the perfect prospect for any dealer but we are bright enough to see through inaccurate claims.

    What is puzzling is given how easily diesel advocate claims run smack dab into the facts and data, they continue to trot them out. We're not the type of customer likely to be persuaded by such claims. So it might be a better use of diesel advocate time to visit other car forums such as compact gas cars:

    Honda Fit
    Hyundai Accent
    Kia Rio
    Nissan Versa

    These are cars in the same size and no doubt those owners are desperate for good diesel news so easily dismissed by Prius owners. But diesel advocacy in the family sedan sized, Prius hybrid market, that dog don't hunt.

    Bob Wilson
This discussion has been closed.