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Toyota Prius vs VW Golf TDI



  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    Kinda funny how you picked an atypical review on the Prius but a "typical" review of the Golf TDI. Not really apples-to-apples, is it?

    Look to the right. Owner opinion of both cars is overwhelmingly positive. And the Prius is close to the Golf TDI in satisfaction despite the braking software problem.

    As for Toyota going downhill the past few years... I agree with that. But consider that VW had no place to go but up on reliability.... or risk going out of business.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    I picked a negative view of the Prius, as that was my impression of the Prius I rode around in several times. There were no negatives on the Golf TDI posted.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    I suppose with so few Golf TDIs sold to date (only 5 owner reports on for example vs. 120 reports for the Prius), it will be harder to find a negative report on the Golf TDI. But if you are going to post a "typical" report for the Golf TDI, wouldn't it be more fair to post a "typical" report for the Prius?
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    Consumer Reports tested and ranked small cars in March 2010 issue.

    Small Hatchbacks/Wagons (22 models reviewed)
    #1 = VW Golf TDI (manual)
    #2 = VW Golf (2.5)

    Small Sedans (20 models reviewed)
    #1 = VW Jetta TDI
  • gogogodzillagogogodzilla VirginiaPosts: 707
    You just proved my post in your response.

    You'd rather have a nice dinner than a nice drive. Which is why a Prius suits you.

    Others would rather have a nice drive, instead.

    I'm glad you see it my way.

  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    The Golf TDI is a giant hit World over. It could explain the difficulty getting one in the USA. Why sell them here when they can sell all they build in the EU for a lot more money. Golf TDI in the UK sells for $25,505 BPs which is $39,909 US dollars. So getting one here for less than $30k is a bargain. Unlike Toyota that will sell at a loss to gain market share, VW does not operate that way. We know Toyota sold 1000s of Prius at a loss to get people interested early on. You have not seen that with any of the VW TDI models. Just a different marketing philosophy.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    If CR's rankings are OK for the Golf, then they must be OK for the Prius, right? One of the best cars for reliability new, the best car for reliability used, and #1 in owner satisfaction.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    We know Toyota sold 1000s of Prius at a loss to get people interested early on. You have not seen that with any of the VW TDI models.

    Uh... didn't you just prove exactly the opposite (re TDIs not being sold here at a loss) with the figures you mentioned? :confuse:
  • eliaselias Posts: 2,120
    technically you have a great point backy ! The sample size of usa golf tdis
    is necessarily small so far. Let's hope there will be lots more for 2011 model year.
    Sample size of Priusesesesse is enormous, and people
    aren't liking them so much now that toyota is trying to rectify their intracranial problems.

    There are probably just a few hundred Golf TDI in the USA now?
    Maybe each dealer gets at most two for 2010? The more that
    get here, the safer our roads. Can't say the same for Priuses just now, but they wil be fixed soon, really.
    I figure each Golf TDI's brakes can hold back about 100 Priuses from unintendedly accelerating, if they all drive in a straight line with the Golf TDI in front.
    So with the 300 golf TDI in USA so far, up to 30,000 errant Priuses can be restrained thanks to the evidently superior VW engineering of basic automotive functions such as brakes/shifter/ignition-switch.

    Toyoda-san, please consider to read your customers automotive lips:

    Less PacMan fruit zipping around on the dashboard display.
    Bring more reliability in brake system, diesel engine , manual shifter .

    Tomorrow, I would buy any new Toyota with any manual-shift and diesel engine. Bring it!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    Yup, you, plus a dozen other people in the US. ;)
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    Tomorrow, I would buy any new Toyota with any manual-shift and diesel engine. Bring it!

    I would buck the media hype over UA and buy a mid sized Toyota PU with diesel in a heartbeat. Problem is they have not done much with diesel emissions and would probably have to buy from the Germans to get them accepted by the regulators.

    Backy, if Toyota could sell their very fine Tacoma diesel (HiLux) in the USA, I believe it would reach 40% of their Tacoma sales in less than 5 years. They are decent trucks with a V6 gas engine. But horrible gas hogs. They get better usable power with their very fine 4 cylinder diesel engine sold World wide. I don't have the statistics. My guess they don't even bother offering the V6 gasser outside the USA. The Tacoma 4 cylinder gasser is a loser and worthless for anything but very light delivery work on level ground.

    As far as the Golf TDI pricing. I don't think they sell them here at a loss. Other than the exchange rate is poor for selling EU products right now in the USA. My point on the Brits paying $40K for the Golf TDI is how much they think of the vehicle. The Prius does not sell well in the UK for all the obvious reasons. When given a choice the Prius is a non seller. Japan and the USA being the only real markets for the overly complex hybrids. Toyota is now paying the price for all their overly complex DBW systems.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    If CR's rankings are OK for the Golf, then they must be OK for the Prius, right? One of the best cars for reliability new, the best car for reliability used, and #1 in owner satisfaction.

    Your views of Prius being #1, well, it is quite clear that not only has CR revised their views of Toyota and Prius, the general populace ranks Toyota 16th in perceived quality, not #1, and the press is not too favorable either.

    While Toyota quality has been eroding for years and years, Toyota fanatics have kept their blinders on, refusing to acknowledge reality.

    quote Jon Linkov Consumer Reports -First it was floor mats, then accelerator pedals and this week, brakes in models not previously recalled. When will the recalls end for Toyota and will consumers be forgiving?

    "Toyota is really going to have to go the extra step to get people back," says Jon Linkov, Auto Editor for Consumer Reports.

    What was once known as the best-selling vehicle is now known as one of the most recalled. And now Toyota has added more than 400,000 Prius models to that list. -end

    A problem Toyota owners will likely face is selling or trading in their vehicle in the next couple of years. Blue Book value is dropping to pennies on the dollar right now.

    Consumer Reports recommends not trying to sell off your Toyota unless you absolutely have to. -end

    Toyota woes follow years of slipping quality

    quote Jeff Bartlett Consumer Reports -
    “Visible problems make you wonder about things you can’t see,” said Jeff Bartlett, deputy online editor for autos at Consumer Reports.-end

    Car reviewers have been lowering their marks on Toyota for some time, pointing out little construction flaws such as misaligned dashboards and crooked glove compartments that may have been clues to the larger safety-related issues that have emerged.

    Ranking slips
    Now Toyota ranks 16th in perceived quality, according to CNW’s surveys, behind brands like Mazda, Volkswagen and Volvo, for which quality has not historically been a claim to fame.-end
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    You are talking about a point-in-time view. Toyota is at an all-time low in perception right now, obviously. But wrt the 2010 Prius, we are talking about a single issue, a software update, which is already in place and being rolled out.

    Funny how when VW recalls 1.3 million vehicles, as it did not long ago in two separate actions involving the Golf/Rabbit/Jetta, no one blinked an eye. Why? Because it was expected behavior for VW. The reason Toyota's recent issues have gotten so much press is because of their long-time record for reliability. I expect these issues will be a huge "wake up call" for Toyota, and will be the impetus for them to return to their path of rock-solid reliability and quality.

    As for VW and its Golf... they have quite a history to overcome. Not just some recent issues, but many years of sub-par reliability. Who will come out of their funk first? We'll see. It won't take long to update the software on the Prius. Much harder to erase from memory the long history of VW's quality/reliability problems.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    You are talking about a point-in-time view

    Only recently have Toyota's problems become a media issue, however, this point-in-time view is the result of 10 to 15 years of Toyota problems.

    This decline in Toyota quality has been ongoing since at least 2000, if not longer.
    Toyota knew about the problems and would not take action.
    Toyota problems are systemic, there is no reasonable expectation that Prius will be excluded.
    When Toyota had a sludge problem they refused to take action until public outcry became overwhelming.
    When Toyota had a rust problem with Toyota Tacoma frames so bad the trucks were breaking in half, for years Toyota said the rust was normal until NHTSA investigated as a safety issue and finally Toyota extended the warranty. They refused to recall the trucks. This is for 1995 to 2000 Tacoma's, though there is evidence of problems with 2000 and later Tacoma trucks.

    This is not the first recall for a Prius.

    Your "point-in-time" view about Toyota is applicable, and to VW too yet you refuse give up the past and realize that the current reality of reliability and quality is much changed from 10 years and even 5 years ago.
    VW reliability was worse than average with the MkIII Golf, and with the early MKIV Golf. By the end of the MKIV Golf and the start of MKV, VW had corrected it's component reliability problems.

    VW's are reliable. VW is continuing to exert pressure on dealers to modernize their facilities and to improve their customer service in the area of maintenance and repair. VW's dealer network offered an inconsistent experience from dealer to dealer and far too many dealers were horrible.
    While the dealer network is still a work in process, VW is continuing it's efforts to improve dealership quality. I would rank them at average at this point-in-time for customer service and above average for facility quality.

    Golf TDI and Prius are both unique among the overall automotive market and both are recognized as being excellent if not the best in their classes.
    When you buy a TDI or you buy a Prius, you still have to deal with VW and Toyota whether you love them or hate them.

    I'm just glad I don't have to try to schedule service for a Toyota, or sell a Toyota at this point-in-time,
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    Toyota problems are systemic, there is no reasonable expectation that Prius will be excluded.

    There is a lot of reason to expect overall strong reliability for the Prius. See for example the reliability scores for the Prius in CR. That is a strong historical record. OTOH, I don't know how you can look at the current software problem and extrapolate that the car will be unreliable in general.

    VWs are reliable.

    Let's look at CR's take on that, since you respect their opinion. Following is from the April 2009 Auto Issue:

    CC: New
    Eos: Below Average
    GTI: Average
    Jetta: Average
    New Beetle: Below Average
    Passat: Below Average
    Rabbit: Above Average
    Routan: New (although the record for the vans made on the same assembly line as the Routan is Much Worse than Average)
    Tiguan: New
    Touareg: Much Worse than Average

    If this is "much changed" from 10 years or even 5 years ago... in which direction did it change?? Only one car, the Rabbit, is Above Average. And considering the Rabbit/Golf are the hatchback versions of the Jetta, basically one vehicle for VW is Average or above. That is good for the Golf/Jetta, but not very good for VW overall.

    In contrast, prior to the UA issue CR ranked all Toyota models at least Above Average with the following exceptions:

    Camry I4 and V6: Average (Hybrid was well above average)
    Land Cruiser: Insufficient data
    Sequoia: Average
    Tundra: Average
    Venza: New

    Eight models, including the Prius and Camry Hybrid, were ranked well above average in reliability.

    So does Toyota have problems now? Sure. But please don't try to re-write history or even current events and try to make a case that VW is suddenly a provider of reliable vehicles in general, or that the Prius is suddenly an unreliable car because of the software issue.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    Funny how when VW recalls 1.3 million vehicles, as it did not long ago in two separate actions involving the Golf/Rabbit/Jetta, no one blinked an eye.

    Maybe that is because people are not looking for just a car with great reliability. They are looking at a car with high quality components. Great handling, safety and braking plus super fun to drive. With the Golf TDI you get all that and 50 MPG. Now take the Prius. The only positives it had going for it was high mileage and reliability. Take away the reliability and it does not leave much reason to own one. Count on resale to go in the toilet.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    OK, then, I guess we can drop this whole discussion on reliability, since it's not a big issue. ;)

    And the Prius does have other plusses besides fuel economy and reliability, e.g.:

    * Lots of legroom in back for adults--midsized interior room with compact exterior
    * Low emissions
    * Quiet operation (especially in electric-only mode)
    * Unique styling (a plus for some)
    * Some unique features in this class, e.g. solar panels in roof to power a/c
    * Lots of cargo room

    BTW... you do not get 50 mpg from the Golf TDI, unless you run it on the highway no-stop all the time. In the real world, ala R&T's tests, it's closer to 40 mpg. But the Prius seems fully capable of topping 50 mpg average, even 55, in real-world driving.

    Resale going in the toilet? Yes, if gas goes below $1 a gallon. Don't think that will happen.
  • eliaselias Posts: 2,120
    yes, backy, we can drop the reliability discussion - there is no issue - nothing to debate as far as I can see.

    (not counting toyota's recent fiasco, euro cars are not as reliable as GMs or Toyotas. everybody knows this. IMHO, it's boring & old-news.)

    you like the Prius better! Cool. Have fun with one!

    FYI, The best way to get TDI 50mpg is with "suburban" driving, or driving a constant 60 mph on highway.

    Regarding your reported prius advantages, looks like a low batting-average for those.
    - legroom, you don't show there's more legroom than TDI
    - low emissions, you don't show that it's lower than TDI
    - quiet operation, you don't show that it's quieter than TDI
    - solar panels in roof to power the AC? Prius does not have such a thing.
    probably you mean solar panels to power a little fan.
    ok, if that's an advantage for you , maybe you are batting 0.200 ,
    do you consider the pac-man-fruit zipping across the Prius dashboard
    as an advantage too? prius dashboard pac-men are fun entertainment, but that's not a feature
    I want in my cars dashboard, personally.

    As for Prius resale values, don't sweat those - seems like you like your prius so much you obviously won't be selling/trading it! News reports indicate they've only dropped a few percent lower than they would have if Toyota hadn't "temporarily forgotten" the basics of customer-service and automotive engineering.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    Re FE, please see my post above re R&T's tests of the Prius and Golf TDI. Their tests found that the highest FE for the TDI was on the freeway--not suburban driving. In fact there was a big difference between suburban and freeway driving. The only scenario in which they could break 50 mpg on the TDI was cruising on the freeway, AC off (in SoCal), 70 mph (55 mph average speed). However, they achieved over 50 mpg with the Prius in every scenario except "canyon carving", in which it got only 40.8 mpg (TDI got 30.9).

    Re legroom, I'll let you look up the specs for yourself since you dispute my assertion. Better yet, just go do a test-sit in both cars and tell us which has more legroom. If you can't do that, I'll do it next month when I go to my local auto show and tell you what I find out. Unless the TDI has a lot more rear legroom than the prior generation, I know how that will turn out.

    Re emissions, I'll let you look up those figures also.

    Re quieter... you have to be joking. Even VW makes a big deal out of the wonderful noise that the TDI makes compared to a hybrid. If you like noise, that is great. Some folks prefer quieter driving.

    Re solar powered moonroof... does the Golf TDI offer that?

    Also, were you aware in some states that hybrids get special permission to use HOV lanes and special parking spaces? I could see that being a big advantage for people who live in those states. I am not aware those benes extend to diesels. Maybe you can tell us if that is the case.
  • winter2winter2 Posts: 1,801
    To rely on R&T or any other car magazine like them for fuel economy figures is dumb. R&T, Car and Driver, and Motor Trend drive all of the vehicles they test as if they were stolen. They make no attempt at driving any of their test subjects to get maximum fuel economy.

    In real world driving, a TDI can get 50+ MPG on the road. I owned an Isuzu I-Mark diesel in the early 80's and when driven judiciously, I was able to get 53-54 MPG on the road and in the low 40's around town.

    I own a 2005 Jeep Liberty CRD and on the highway I get 30 - 31 MPG, again when driven judiciously.

    As to emissions, the Prius and other hybrids from Japan will be using a one way fuel, gasolene. My diesel can use dino diesel or biodiesel without any deleterious effects on performance or fuel economy.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    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: 31,112
    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: 1,801
    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: 18,907
    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: 1,801
    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: 2,120
    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: 18,907
    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: 2,120
    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: 18,907
    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: 2,120
    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:
This discussion has been closed.