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Toyota Prius vs VW Golf TDI



  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,135
    Handling and braking trump mileage any day of the week for me. Getting high mileage and great handling is a win win for the Golf TDI.

    We sample the Golf VI diesel before it comes to America.

    July 2009

    You bet we love diesels. Modern diesels are clean, have gobs of ground-pounding torque, and get fuel mileage that shames pretty much any comparably sized gas-fired engine. So when we were given the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a Golf VI TDI in Italy before it goes on sale in America, we jumped at the chance. (Volkswagen loves diesels, too. The lower price of the fuel this year combined with the public’s desire to get more bang for its fuel buck has U.S. VW oil-burner sales soaring. Last month, diesel fueled some 26 percent of all Volkswagens sold, including 81 percent of Jetta SportWagen sales.)

    The Golf is offered with several diesel engines in Europe—the top spec is the hot, GTI-inspired GTD—but the U.S. will get just one: a 140-hp, 2.0-liter turbo four-banger putting out 236 lb-ft of torque.

    The steering was a tad light, but it was fantastically accurate. The firm suspension could get a bit harsh over broken pavement, but it also kept the car flat in corners and, combined with the steering, made quick work of the twisted Umbrian roads that connect Florence and Rome. Traversing the autostrada at triple digits was similarly drama-free.

    Since Honda dumped the S2000, I cannot think of a Japanese car that is fun to drive. Ok maybe a few. None with Toyota or Honda on the nameplate.
  • Nice torque!!! Great for zipping around traffic. How is the NVH? That would annoy me if it was too much at idle (city driving low RPM). Does it turn off at lights? Nah.. didn't think so. I bet if it did it would rival the Prius in city mileage numbers. So what are the forecasted sales numbers? A few thousand a month for all 50 states? VW doesn't seem to be advertising it much except for the dumb lame commercial about 2 or 3 months ago. Remember that one with the guy who had the Prius? It made me think of the dumb I'm a PC commercial. Final thought... get the Fusion hybrid. You'll get a nice tax credit and you'll be buying American with Toyota technology :P
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,135
    First off I do not zip around in traffic if I can avoid it. My driving would be less than 20% city driving. I live 32 highway miles from downtown San Diego. I had a 2005 GMC hybrid with auto stop. Made no difference in mileage. It was a real pain in some driving situations like taking off on a hill after stopping. Even with light acceleration you would get wheel spin, which was dangerous on wet pavement. IMO, auto-stop without full electric drive type hybrids is not a good system. Why not a Fusion Hybrid? I have a full size LS400 that is still perfectly fine for hauling people to dinner etc. It is now 20 years old and in great condition. No need for another large vehicle. My major complaint with hybrids is the added complexity that may be a real pain 10-15 years down the road.

    I would be completely happy with my Ranger if it had the power to pull my small 3500LB utility trailer home from town. I have my eye on a 1995 Ford F250 Powerstroke in pristine condition. So getting $4500 in trade for the Ranger would be good. I would like a decent SUV with diesel so I could sell my Sequoia gas guzzler. The only ones currently available have that awful urea injection system to satisfy the wonks at CARB. So trading for the Golf TDI would be my car for all the day to day running around. The LS400 for evenings out with friends. I am stuck with the Sequoia for vacations till a better solution comes along.

    Lastly CA gas is horrible for mileage. I lose at least 10% or more with the ethanol tainted crap they sell us. CA by contrast has some of the best diesel on the market. And over a years period it is cheaper than RUG.

    Do I need a new Golf TDI? Not really. It would just be fun to run around in and save a bit of money on fuel. Overall it would cost more than I currently spend for insurance and maintenance on 3 vehicles.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,440
    ..."Lastly CA gas is horrible for mileage. I lose at least 10% or more with the ethanol tainted crap they sell us. CA by contrast has some of the best diesel on the market. And over a years period it is cheaper than RUG"...

    Yes your quote has very little traction (reality base) with those that do/can not experience the two side by side, specifically D2. To be fair it pre supposes the RUG to PUG gasser users would approach the diesel side fairly, but indeed by some of the anti diesel comments they either can't, don't, won't approach it fairly, or truly understand and are anti diesel anyway.

    So for the periods PRE Oct 2006, D2 users were literally FORCED to use LSD (by law had to be 500 ppm) and 40 cetane for vehicles designed for ULSD (by law had to be 15 ppm and are normally less @ 5 ppm) and @49/51 cetane.

    But as you say, CA D2 LSD was actually BETTER @140 ppm. So while my 03 Jetta TDI survived intact running a whole less than optimal fuel, and for most of its mileage life it was not (run on optimal fuel) because of the dictates of the EPA and CARB; needless to say the current diesels seem to run very well on ULSD. One spin off is while Prius still run 5,000 mile OCI's running 25,000 to 30,000 miles on ULSD D2 is almost a no brainer. (D2 actually runs much cleaner internally, in the example app up to 6 x cleaner)

    So as it turns out, the D2 fuel USLD @ less than 15 ppm with more normal 5 ppm (off line mitigation is NOT ALLOWED) is actually cleaner than the fuel run by Prius' @ 90 ppm required, and can be off line FEE balanced to 30 ppm if it does not actually measure out to 30 ppm. ) So as a result, a Prius can be running fuel that in reality is up to 18 x dirtier than D2.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    get the Fusion hybrid. You'll get a nice tax credit and you'll be buying American with Toyota technology

    Ford Fusion hybrid is Made in Mexico, not in U.S.A.
    Prius is made in Japan.
    Jetta is made in North America. Golf TDI will be manufactured in Germany.
  • Global economy sir. However the revenue goes to the shareholders. That's as American as I need it to be. Many GM cars are assembled in Canada too. However if we want GM to succeed we need to buy there cars regardless of where they're assembled.
  • If you live 20 miles out of San Diego perhaps you should consider a horse. :P
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,135
    It is actually 32 miles to Balboa Park. One of the few places we visit on a regular basis. It is obvious you are a diesel hater. And I do not like the complexity of the hybrids especially the Prius. So we just have to disagree. I like to drive a car that handles and brakes precisely. You just need to get from point A to B with no regard for driving comfort or handling. You are happy with your Prius and I am happy it is in your garage and not mine. The Golf is a far bigger seller than the obscure Prius. Except in places that have no real choices. That would be the USA. You will never find a true driving enthusiast picking the Prius over the Golf GTD. In reality the two are as far apart as a Ferrari and a Yugo.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    Prius owner say's "buy American, buy a Ford Fusion Hybrid made in Mexico, then says "revenue goes to shareholders, buy GM".

    Well gosh, GM shareholders were left with nothing of value, even holders of GM secured debt would have a difficult time buying in to your "buy GM' logic.
    At the same time, Prius is built in Japan by a Japanese owned and based corporation.
    Too much hyprocrisy.

    As to Prius vs. Golf TDI, the competitor to Prius would be Golf TDI Bluemotion if mileage is the goal.
    Golf Plus TDI Bluemotion
    VWoA will not offer the Bluemotion versions of Golf in USA, at least not yet.

    Golf TDI will be here by end of the year.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,440
    And truly if MPG a more highly weighed factor then the VW Polo @61 mpg sure beats 48 mpg. In fact that is 27% better mpg.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,909
    Looks like the Prius has a price advantage for people looking for a 5-door fuel sipper with an automatic. Prius II is $22,750, Golf TDI 5-door with AT is $24,390. Probably a better comparison though is the Prius III with audio upgrade for $23,750. Close enough that price shouldn't be a big determinant, unless the Prius II's equipment is sufficient (which it is for me).
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,135
    I will be curious to try the seats they put in the Golf TDI. If they are the same as the 2009 GTI, they are wonderfully comfortable. Something many owners complain about with the Prius. Edmund's shows the Prius IV selling at $26,550. The Prius V with high tech package is going for $33,200. Unless a side by side comparison is made it will be difficult to say which is the most bang for the buck. I don't see an XM or Sirius on the Prius. It is standard on the Golf with 6 months service free. I would NEVER trust Toyota again on that subject as they guaranteed me I could get XM for my Sequoia Limited. After the check was written they found out they were mistaken. So I have a $51,000 car with no XM radio available. Toyota electronics are way behind the industry.

    For those that are happy with a mediocre handling, rough riding noisy car. I say go for the Prius. I'm afraid the wait for a Golf TDI will be longer than the Sportwagen TDI. I am banking on the knee jerk US buyer to steer clear of the TDIs this winter when diesel prices are high. It will make it easier dealing on the Golf TDI.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,909
    Prius IV has leather among other things, and the Prius V is fully loaded, with equipment optional or not available on the Golf TDI. Let's compare apples to apples.

    According to, the Prius' sound systems are "XM capable". The XM radio feature is an additional $449 plus monthly fee. So I was incorrect on my previous post--you can get XM on the Prius II, but it's optional. Actually I like that XM or Sirius is not standard--I don't really want it, so I'd rather not pay for it.

    As for mediocre handling... the Gen 2 handled just fine, I thought, and the Gen 3 is supposed to be improved there but I haven't driven it yet. I haven't driven the new Golf yet either but the Rabbit has a nice blend of ride and handling. As for "noisy", I have to disagree on that one. Unless the TDI is quieter than the 2.5, the Prius is the quieter car except maybe at full throttle. And as for rough riding, again I haven't driven the new Prius or the new Golf, but the old Prius isn't any rougher than my Rabbit. Have you driven the new Prius and the new Golf?

    Although I love my Rabbit, what intrigues me most about the Prius is its in-town FE. Most of the miles of the next car I buy will be on short trips in town. The Prius should do very well there; the TDI, not as much. Also I have this fear of the fuel for the TDI gelling up in the winter. Don't laugh. This is a problem in MN where the government, in its Infinite Wisdom, mandated a blend of biodiesel be used. As you probably know, biodiesel and -20F don't mix too well. The state claims they have that problem worked out... we'll see.

    P.S. Aftermarket XM is pretty readily available.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,135
    According to, the Prius' sound systems are "XM capable"

    Unless it was installed and included at the time of sale I would not believe them for a minute. That is exactly what the literature says for the 2007 Sequoia Limited. You can install this $600 unit and it will work through the NAV system. However when you have the rear seat DVD player it will not work. Add to that the CD single disk player is not MP3 and refuses to play a lot of the CDs I have that worked fine in my GMC PU with Bose factory system. Toyota electronics suck. There are things I like about the ride and comfort of my Sequoia. The NAV/Radio/CD player is not in the positive column. And the dealer says that's the way it is. XM aftermarket will not integrate with built-in NAV.

    I have not seen the new Golf yet? I have spent a quite a bit of time riding around town in a friends 2009 Prius. Compared to my Sequoia it is noisy and rough riding. It is, what it is. A towny car that gets great mileage in town. I recommended it to this guy as his trips were all 3-4 miles on flat land. He is now moved to Hawaii and took it with him. Works great on Maui where the speed limit is max 55. My driving is not conducive to owning a Prius. Just my trip home from Costco would probably drop the mileage into the low 30s. Our stretch of Interstate 8 is steep and posted 70 MPH. With traffic moving 75+. You get behind a slow truck going 35 MPH it takes some beans to go from 35 to 75 MPH in a short space. The Passat TDI which had less HP than the current Jetta TDI had what it took in those driving conditions. 4 Bangers like the Civic struggle up that long grade at 75 MPH.

    When did you get the Rabbit? You had an Elantra you liked very much also. After owning the Passat TDI and test driving the VW gas cars, I had no desire to own one of them. The Torque is where driving pleasure is for me. Pulling up hills on a winding road in the San Diego back country is fun driving for me. I really don't need another vehicle. I would buy the Golf TDI for all our running around and pleasure drives. I still will want a large vehicle for going on road trips more than 100 miles.

    We are going on a 5000 mile round the USA trip the end of September and I dread the gas bill for that Sequoia. Not enough to go buy a diesel SUV that I may not really like. We are going to visit my farm in Long Prairie, MN. I planted much of it in blue spruce trees in 1980 and have not been back there since 1983. I would imagine it is a forest by now. Doing my share to suck up the CO2 put out by my Sequoia. :shades:
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    Unless it was installed and included at the time of sale I would not believe them for a minute.

    The "upper" levels of Prius (not sure about the II) are not just XM capable, they have the tuner and antena built in with a free 3 month subscription to XM. That was my concern as my 07 TCH said "capable" as well but you had to buy the tuner. Toyota should have changed the wording in 2010 since it obviously means something different now. You have XM when you drive off the lot
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    My driving is not conducive to owning a Prius. Just my trip home from Costco would probably drop the mileage into the low 30s. Our stretch of Interstate 8 is steep and posted 70 MPH.
    A Prius probably is not the vehicle of choice for someone who's route is all uphill. However, for those that get to turn around and coast downhill occasionally, it works pretty well. I can't imagine getting less than 44 mpg though, not the low 30's.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,135
    No doubt the Prius would get decent mileage on the down hill run to Costco. XM looks to be a dealer installed option on the 2010 Prius according to the Toyota website. I can imagine what they would charge. Of course I would never be able to get past the goofy look of the Prius and the blind spots. I will leave the hybrids to those that like them. Give me a solid diesel vehicle or an EV if they ever become feasible or practical.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,135
    Just looking at the inventory for one of the largest Toyota dealers in San Diego. They have 16 Prius in stock. Nothing lower than a III model with price at $27,550. The V series are just under $33k. Looks like plenty of choices for the last two days of the clunker program. Though I don't see those prices being a bargain.

    By contrast there is only one Jetta TDI in stock out of the 8 VW dealers in San Diego. Looks like C4C worked for the VW dealers. The 2010 models do not seem to be in stock yet. I expect the Golf TDI to be in short supply even with the economy. The Sportwagen TDI has been out over a year and I have yet to see one on a dealers lot. Always sold when they arrive. You want a VW gasser and the lot is full of them.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,909
    Keep in mind the Prius has been redesigned for 2010--just like the Golf has been. So picking on the 2004-9 Prius (like picking on a 2007 Toyota truck) is not really pertinent. The Gen 3 Prius has more power and a tweaked suspension. So before trashing it for lack of power, handling, comfort, and also too much noise, it might be a good idea to drive it.

    I got the 2007 Rabbit in April after my 2005 Jetta was totaled by a no-brain running a red light. I only had the Jetta for 3 months (replaced a 328Ci) but really liked it, it was like new and had six years of warranty on it. :cry: But the Rabbit is an even better car in almost every respect (Jetta had a bit smoother ride). It is plenty torquey for a relatively small gas engine, and gives me over 35 mpg on the highway (upper 20s in town). If I drove more highway miles I would probably consider the TDI in a few years when we retire our last minivan, but I have that nagging concern over our clever state government mandating the biodiesel without considering the implications for MN weather. And the driving pattern that seems to favor a hybrid.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,909
    You can't just look at cars on the lot, but need to look at sales volume too. 16 Priuses might be a very short supply, depending on how many are sold in a month across all the dealerships. Also note how the lower-priced IIs are gone--those would be the most popular with cost-conscious C4C buyers looking for the maximum $4500 payout. Maybe there is only one Jetta TDI because they were in short supply to begin with, with the 2010s coming.

    I don't think the upper-trim Priuses are a great bargain. I could buy quite a car for $28-33k. I think the Prius II is very competitively priced, given it has mid-sized interior room and gets better FE than any mid-sized sedan. It has more than enough gizmos for me. I can always stick our TomTom on the dash if I want nav.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,135
    Don't you also have the high ethanol RUG in MN. That is a mileage killer for my gas vehicles. As far as biodiesel and cold. Even D2 will gel at about 20 below. All we ever ran in the Arctic was number one diesel. Same as JetA or kerosene. I imagine they mix D1 in the winter to keep down the gelling. Number one diesel also cuts mileage a bit.

    Seems like nothing is perfect. Glad you are enjoying the Rabbit. Maybe when you retire you will find a warmer climate and biodiesel will not be an issue. B100 is very popular on Maui. All the celebs with diesel VWs and MBs run it exclusively. My first choice biodiesel as it is renewable. On Maui it eliminated the waste cooking oil and grease being dumped into the landfill. A win win that more places should try.

    I may have to test drive the Prius if they give me a chance to run it over my usual route home. Most dealers in San Diego like to go on very short test drives. A quick swing onto the freeway and off at the next ramp and back around to the dealership. None have offered to let me take one out without the salesman. Even the Toyota dealer when he knew I was getting my Sequoia serviced. When I lived in AZ they would just hand you the keys after getting a look at your DL.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,909
    In the past at least, some rental companies including Hertz have/had Priuses in their fleet. If they have 2010s that would be a good way to get a complete driving experience with one. I'll probably do that when it gets closer to buy-time. But I know a Master Salesrep for a local Toyota dealership who I am sure will let me take one out for a long drive if I ask. He sold me a 2004 Prius, but Toyota couldn't deliver it when promised so I had to get something else (my Elantra hatch, which my son drives now).
  • marlyecemarlyece Posts: 26
    when you look at handling and driving performance there is NO comparison between the Prius and the Jetta/Golf. VW will always win. Interior is better and they are designed better with more cargo space. VW cars aren't ugly like the Prius, in fact the interior and exterior design of VW cars is fantastic. check this out, Edmunds prefers the VW over the Prius: . Also, diesel cars tend to last longer...the engines can easily go 500K miles. no question in my mind which is the winner. Nevermind the fact that the Prius is extremely uncomfortable, I can't imagine taking road trips in one.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,909
    Have you taken a 2010 Prius on a road trip?

    As for ugly... that is totally subjective of course. I like the looks of the Golf and the Prius. To me, the 2010 Prius looks like it's moving even when standing still. It's a totally different look than the more conservative Golf, but I appreciate both of them.

    The cargo volume of the Prius is 22 cubic feet with the rear seat up. What is the cargo volume of the 2010 Golf?
  • marlyecemarlyece Posts: 26
    My brother loves his Prius BUT he is not a car guy. A car that sounds virtually silent to me is not natural. I like a car that grabs the road and accelerates with little effort. I was mistaken on the cargo space as I think the Golf only has about 15 cubic feet with the seat up, but it increases to about 47 with the rear seat down. kudos to toyota for that. my bad drawing that comparison, but the Golf feels much roomier and spacious to me for some reason. for the long haul and highway driving the Golf will beat the Prius in mpg. I just think the Prius is little fun to drive. for me, anyway. others will love the silence, i'm sure my mother would. Also, the veedubs hold their value and depreciate far less. take a look at the KBB pricing and then try to find someone selling the same car for less than twice that KBB suggests. this is the reason i'm buying a 2010 TDI Golf instead of a used one.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,909
    That's interesting. Others posting here have stated the Prius is noisier than the Golf TDI.

    The TDI has gobs of torque, but then so does the Prius, especially when accelerating from stop. Overall power wise they are pretty similar also, with the TDI having a slight advantage there. Neither is a racer, but will get you where you need to go with no problem.

    The TDI may seem more spacious to you because it has a taller roof.

    Based on the numbers I've seen, I am not so certain the TDI will beat the Prius in highway mpg, but I'm pretty sure the Prius will top the TDI there in around-town driving.

    In case you haven't noticed, Priuses hold their value well also. I think that will be more the case as gas prices climb, as they will as we dig out of this recession.
  • marlyecemarlyece Posts: 26
    really i think toyota offers unparalleled reliability so i don't think you can go wrong with a prius. as far as the fun factor i don't think there is any comparison. both are great cars with amazing amenities. just depends on what the buyer is looking for. i could see gas prices climbing in the near future. supposedly as more people opt for diesel models, the price of diesel should decrease. we'll see how that goes. it's really a crapshoot at best.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,135
    I should qualify my noise statement on the Prius. It is when it goes from EV only to engine on there is a shuddering noise that I find unpleasant. Also a screaming engine noise under strong acceleration. What is more unpleasant is the rough ride on our city streets with potholes like a Baghdad war zone. My Passat with 17" wheels and tires was also somewhat rough riding compared to both our Lexus and Sequoia.

    I would imagine the Golf set up with those lousy wide profile tires will ride rough. I am hoping they offer it with 15" or 16" at the most. The price of those replacement tires is also ridiculous.

    I may never find a small car that I can tolerate. I do make allowances when they are fun to drive. Think Porsche. The Golf is many times referred to as a poor man's Porsche. Or can I sneak it into the garage easier than a new Porsche?
  • marlyecemarlyece Posts: 26
    well mine is going to cost me around $25K. i don't really consider that poor when the Audi A3 starts around $27K
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,135
    Poor being a relative term. You would not get much of a Prius today for $25k. They are topping out locally for over $33k. Maybe now that the clunker program has gone away the prices will get back to normal.

    I would want the Golf TDI with DSG no NAV, Monsoon or Moonroof. The same cloth seats that come in the GTI and 16" wheels and tires. I would probably be willing to part with about $22k for such a vehicle. Maybe a bit more if I really like driving it.

    If I wanted a blue tooth, I would go to the dentist. :sick:
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