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What Would It Take for YOU to buy a diesel car?



  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Thanks, that's useful.

    We may rent a Sprinter when my brother comes next summer. Family of 6. Last time we rented a Ford E350 but some kids got car sick. Ride is awful on those.

    The kids do like being in the same car together with their cousins. Probably drive from DC to Boston to Niagara and back to DC, so that's a lot of miles.

    From your list, the Tahoe hybrid was close but not a single user average for 2013, 2012, 2011, back to 2010. Highway mpg isn't so hot.

    I don't like those 3rd row seats anyway. The seat basically mount on the floor so you end up sitting with your knees in your chest.

    I prefer my Sienna or a Sprinter.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 41,887
    Visited a MB dealer today, one I have never seen before. They had one Bluetec E in stock, normal options, 57K. Also a couple diesel MLs and I think a diesel GL. Salesman had no clue about any upcoming diesel C.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,381
    I take it those in the local inventory were 2013 MY?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Most of us know more than salesmen about cars. He should be reading up on that.

    When I drove the Jag the guy could not stop talking about the upcoming AWD models (we were in the wife's Subaru). Sales men should be more aware of what is in the pipeline, like he was.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,381
    edited January 2013
    We have been doing a lot of North/South Tahoe resort area driving . It really has run the full gambit. The altitude range has been from( Lake Tahoe @) 6,225 ft to 7,300 ft. There has been a lot of driving in stop and go traffic, to idling in ski area parking lots. There were times we had to run the A/C @ full fan speed to defrost. We are also driving 2 lane twisty deserted (real local) mountain icy roads. Temperatures have been bouncing around from -9 to 40 degrees. As I write this, it is 9 degrees.

    To make a long story short, in a resort town during PEAK season and (MLK) holiday to boot, diesel fuel is CHEAPER that home base , and we got a .10 (cent) per gal discount to boot. I was not going to fill till getting home, but cheaper fuel was a motivator. The Pen and ink real world mpg calculation was close to the computer's @ 29 mpg. Ski conditions and life are good.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 41,887
    Yes, all brand new. Didn't see any used diesels, and no leftovers.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 41,887
    2 years ago, a local salesman told me the diesel C was just around the corner. So I ask now and then, to see what kind of different answer.

    Of course, 2 months ago, a local bike dealer told me something I want to see would be in any day. No local dealer has one. I think they just want to keep you around.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, they want you to come back.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    "Today, diesel engines account for about 3% of U.S. vehicle sales.

    Acceptance of diesel has continued to improve," said Mike Manley, chief executive of Chrysler's Jeep brand. "To some extent it has been driven by some of the European manufacturers that continue to bring diesels to the U.S. and some of it is because the infrastructure for diesel continues to be developed."

    Dirty Old Diesel Gets Boost In Search for Fuel Economy (Wall St Journal - if you have trouble loading the article, try searching for the headline).
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,381
    edited January 2013
    In reality, diesels CAN have better real world results/postings than rated EPA C/H mpgs. In fact, is is rather easy to accomplish if the Taylor's 84+ mpg results on a 43 mpg EPA H, VW Passat TDI are any indication.

    84.1 mpg !!!! ????

    Needless to say, my % adjusted result do not even hold a candle to theirs. :blush:

    (95.6 % better mpg tank full vs 29% (my) best of 36 mpg tank full EPA H 28. As a further gasser comparison my gasser ( 04 Civic EPA 34 mpg) gets a max of 23.5%% better)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    diesels CAN have better real world results/postings than rated EPA C/H mpgs

    True, but also true for some gassers. I forget the source but I recall reading that the S2000 was the most under-estimated, real world vs. EPA. Also look at the Mazda3 SkyActiv.

    OTOH, there are plenty of cars that struggle to meet EPA estimates. Cough *Hyundai* cough. :D
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Ex: 2007 Honda S2000 EPA est combined is 20mpg, reports 25.2, so a whopping 26% better than EPA. :surprise:

    I'll add cars on my short list:

    2013 Golf TDI DSG is also way over, 34 EPA but 38.5 real world. A significant 13% better. (2nd source: fuelly at 38.7 so confirmed better)

    2013 Mazda3 SkyActiv also over, 32 EPA but 33.7 real world. More than 5% better. (2nd source: fuelly at 32.5 but that includes the non 2.5l and non DI base engine, so likely better numbers that


    2013 Focus AM6 is EPA rated for 31 but owners report just 28.3. (2nd source fuelly at 27.6 but I could not isolate just one engine)

    2013 Elantra GT is EPA rated at 30, but owners got just 24.7. Ouch. (2nd source fuelly at 29, but includes stick shifts)

    Hyundai's got some 'splaining to do.

    Would be nice if Fuelly let you isolate a body style and transmission. Hatches usually do not match sedans, and autos usually don't match sticks.

    Smart shoppers should check those sites before they decide. 24.7mpg for the Elantra GT is pathetic!
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    edited January 2013
    Well - I am out for a few years.

    Test drove an Accord EX with the 6-speed stick. I was not really planning to purchase, but everything fell into place. They offered invoice price, I was in town anyway (nearest dealer is 200 miles), sticks are quite rare, it had only 5 miles (I don't buy cars that have been test driven by others), and most importantly my wife loved it (and yes she can drive it).

    I had been holding out for a possible Mazda6 diesel, but ran a few numbers and it made the Accord look better. In this area diesel is expensive and the Accord used Regular unleaded. Cost diff is $2.99 for regular and $3.79 for diesel.

    I have averaged 35 mpg with my 2007 Accord stick over 160,000 miles, I figure under the same conditions I should gain at least 2 mpg with the "earth dreams DI I4, 6 spd, electric steering, better aero etc. This puts me at 37 mpg. To spend the same amount on fuel with the diesel I would need to get 47 mpg.

    47 mpg may be doable as I drive for good mileage, but then everything else needs to be equal if I don't really save on fuel. The Accord was $23.3k. I expect the Mazda diesel will be at least 3k more (if it is only offered in a top line model it will be much more than that). Also some minor items like possible lack of rear headroom. Possible lack of stick shift on diesel, lack of 10 way power seats (I really enjoy the comfort the extra adjustment affords), Gigantic 19" wheels that will cost a fortune to put new tires on.

    I will readily admit the Mazda probably looks better (have not seen one in the flesh yet). The Accord looks much better in person, so hard to judge by pictures. The Mazda will probably handle a little better as well.

    Anyway look forward to seeing the Mazda when it comes out and will probably even test drive it.

    Was also considering VW Golf TDI and Mazda3i hatch. Love hatchbacks. Lack of rear seat room in the Mazda took it out of the running same with current golf. New one may be better, but again hard to find them around here and they don't command huge discounts.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    I think a lot of potential hybrid owners (the thoughtful ones anyway :) ) wind up doing a similar analysis and wind up with a similar result.

    Congrats on the new car!
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,381
    edited January 2013
    I woiuld also like add my congratulations on your selection of your new car ! I think it might be hard to stumble into a finer product, and for many reasons and levels. In addition to also, I would also like to think discussions on this board (others for you also) contributed to your "flow mojo" ;) :shades: thats led you to this car, especially since you have had experiences with diesels.

    Since we are on a diesel thread, IF I were in the market for this particular car, my choice would be the DIESEL (cTDI) Honda EX Accord. :blush: ;)

    The issue has been/is and remains what diesels dah gub mint lets into the US market. For the oem one issue has primarily been to overcome the crushing costs involved with those artificially created market conditions. It has been/ is and remains on world wide markets.

    Even as it is off topic, please keep us up on your experiences.

    All the best !
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    Thanks to both of you. I will say I do enjoy these boards immensely and they certainly help in the car purchase experience.

    I would have been all over a diesel Accord. I was very disappointed when the automatic did not pass emissions recently so they pulled the plug on whole program since they did not want a stick only vehicle. At least that is my understanding of what happened.

    We will see how the "earth dreams" 2.4 performs once break in is complete. Got a not too spectacular 32 mpg driving back from dealer (in Bismarck ND), but it was understandable for the first 220 miles in temps that ranged from -5 to -14 (wind chill of -50), especially with me constantly speeding up and slowing down to help with break in. Experience tells me my 2007 would get about the same mileage in those temps (and it is very much broken in).
  • houdini1houdini1 Kansas City areaPosts: 7,471
    Under those conditions, 32 mpg is outstanding imo. Keep us posted on your mileage, but more importantly, your overall ownership experience.

    Congrats on a great car.

    2013 LX 570 2016 LS 460

  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,381
    edited January 2013
    Fueling after the trip @ home base (sea level) , posted a mountain's stop and go @ high altitude to freeway homebound pen and ink 31 mpg. Over all, the trip's AVERAGE was 30 mpg: 29 mpg upgrade and mountain stop and go, 31 mountain stop and go to downgrade. Ski conditions for 10 days were absolutely terrific.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Congrats! I'm also interested to hear more as you drive it some. Notice our short lists overlap quite a bit.

    Backp cam standard, too. What'd you pay?

    19s on a FWD sedan is nuts.

    I did some more research and I like that the Mazda3, TDI, and Impreza hatches have big gas tanks for their class, all 14.5 gallons. Focus and Elantra have smaller tanks and are less efficient to boot, so range suffers.

    Bad news is VW will downsize theirs a tad. Mazda may do the same when the 3 is redone, though a diesel could add range back.

    Accords tank is 17.2, so you should go a long way on each tank. Curious, did you price out the Passat TDI?

    For me base 5 doors run 18-19 and loaded are 22-23 but the Golf adds several grand to either. Plus I'd wait for the lighter Gold VII.

    I wish I could combine:

    Hyundai's price and features (pano, 7" Nav, backup cam for $21.6k wow)

    With Subaru's AWD (essential staff, gotta work on snow days) and visibility

    With Passat's range (700+)

    With Focus hatch styling

    Or...a base model equipped like the Mazda3, which has the best feature content among the cars under $20k.

    Every car has its compromises.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    edited January 2013
    I was willing to wait and see if the new Mazda3 had more room in back - same for the new lightweight golf. Either would have been nice. I expect the Golf would have been expensive as the current is 24 to 25k and the new would probably be more. Mazda could have worked but the last several generations have not increased the rear leg room and I don't expect it to change much. Wife was in more of a hurry because she wanted the kids to use my old car and stop driving the 1990 Integra, which is getting a little old, and has no airbags no abs etc.

    I can cross my legs in back of the Accord sitting behind myself (6'-0"). My 3 sons are either already taller than me or soon will be, so space is an issue. We do take the Sienna for long family trips though.

    I absolutely considered the Passat, but issues were price (not much dealing on TDI with stick in these parts), reliability (probably average reliability so I could handle that) and availability. Dealer basically had no interest in me when I said I was considering a TDI stick. He said they were six months out at best, and this is a dealer that is already 230 miles away - logistical hassle.

    Loved the Passats backseat and feature set. I did not drive one, but hear they have lost their edge in the new American version. At $25-26k vs $23.3k for the Accord It just did not seem worth pursuing. If they had one in stock I may have bought it, but don't like the idea locking myself in so far out when so many other new vehicles are coming.

    Yes backup cam is standard on the Accord and to my surprise is quite useful, also has lanewatch (live video of righthand mirror shows up on center screen), Dual zone A/C, keyless entry with push button start (still getting used to that) and of course bluetooth (phone and audio) and Pandora streaming.

    Had originally wanted a sport, but only one with a stick is 550 miles away from my house and they wanted $200 more (should be ($1200 less) than I paid for the EX. So basically my purchase was a crime of opportunity. Happy with the EX as the sport had some things I was not crazy about. I would have bought the LX if it had power seats, but am now glad I have the EX.

    Will see about the range - got 670 miles on a tank with my 2007 Accord. 600 was easy on highway trips.

    Still a big fan of the diesel - maybe my wife will get one when she decides the Sienna has served its time. Diesel CRV would be nice, or Forrester, or CX-5, or even a Sienna.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,110
    The Passat TDI with manual trans shows a 17.5 gallon tank. Rated 43 highway mileage. They have an Edmund's TMV below invoice right now.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    edited January 2013
    Luckily Fitz has all brands (except Ford) and no haggle prices so I can compare easily. Loaded TDI DSG sunroof/navi at $29.9k would be the priciest car on my list, and I'm not even into sedans. Plus it is big for a city car.

    Loaded Golf DSG Nav/roof is $27,650, and that's the VI. $24.5k for a basic DSG.

    The Golf has a nicer interior, but I don't think it gets the panoramic moonroof, does it? I think only the A3 gets that, but then the prices go even higher.

    Mazda3 is a good value and they have a loyalty rebate. I got a quote for $17.6k and it has things you don't expect at that price - soft touch dash, leather steering wheel cover, alloys, multilink vs twist beam suspension, etc.

    Not a fan of the visibility, and the size is a tad big. Loaded ones don't appeal to me as the moonroof is tiny and so is the Nav screen (5.8" is smaller than my Magellan).

    Elantra GT has the panoramic moonroof I want but a small tank and disappointing mileage. They are amazing values, but I doubt the twist beam will match the Golf and Mazda's handling. Great car for the non car guy.

    Ford's DSG scares me, and mileage sucks, and the tank is small. 3 strikes.

    Maybe if Hyundai added DI to the Elantra I'd look again. For now I will polish the Miata and pray for this cold to stop.

    PS this will be a 90% city driven car. I should get a $199 Leaf lease like q did
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,110
    PS this will be a 90% city driven car. I should get a $199 Leaf lease like q did

    If you can make your commute in 60 miles it is a good choice as commuter. Maybe the Fiat E would be fun too.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    edited January 2013
    26 miles round trip, so range works easily. Though I would use it for a few other things, just never highway trips.

    I do need to expand my search. Unlike most Americans, I like small cars, the lighter the better. I'd prefer a Polo over a Golf, if they sold it here.

    500 Abarth has a tiny gas tank - 10.5 gallons. Plus it drinks premium. The gas seat is barely useable so I'd just keep my Miata. Had not thought about a 500E, but why get a back seat if it's almost useless? 500C didn't feel all that open when I checked it out.

    Cooper is OK at 13.2 gallons, but it also wants premium, and they ain't cheap.

    Prius C has a ridiculously small gas tank at 9.5 gallons. I imagine about 8 gallons before the low fuel light goes on. Pointless.

    Regular Prius feels too big. Does well in the city, though, and 11.9 gallons at 50mpg means good city range. I'm just not sure if I'm ready to claim that my farts don't stink. LOL

    Jetta TDI SW loaded up runs $29.3k. They don't have base models ($26.5k per TrueCar). Not sure I want a Golf V chassis when the Golf VII is coming out, especially not for a premium price.

    A3 TDI starts at $27 something? Is that right? That's actually not bad. (edit: no, diesel over $30k MSRP) I'd want the pano moonroof, though, for sure. TrueCar has the TDI Premium at $29 something, Premium Plus in the 30s.

    Going in the other direction, Sonic has a 12.2 gallon tank, not bad. I should drive a 1.4T

    Spark's tank is useless - 9.2 gallons. It's kind of toy-like anyway. Same for Scion iQ, Smart ForTwo.

    Also the Fit's achilles heel - 10.6 gallons. Mom owns one, and they're good city cars. Would not rule it out.

    Fiesta has a decent tank, 12.2 gallons. A friend here at work owns one and I drove it, not sure about that auto trans. She had to replace hers, though Ford did cover it. Aren't they made in Mexico? I don't trust reliability on those.

    Accent/Rio have 5 doors, but smallish tank at 11.4 gallons. DI at that price point is a plus, but the 14-18 gallon tanks will go farther between fillups.

    Veloster has a 13.2 gallon tank, but I wonder if that's a fun car or just LOOKS like a fun car. My daughter is too tall for that back seat, too, so for me it's basically a 2 seater. They offer a panoramic moonroof. Again, Hyundai has a great package but it's not necessarily an enthusiast's car. I may go drive one to see if it's real or pretend. I think all the little Korean cars use a twist beam, not exactly state of the art.

    Mazda6 diesel looks good on paper, but it is bigger than I want. I'd rather have a 3 or even a 2 diesel.

    Cruze diesel will only be a sedan. The euro 5 door and wagon would appeal to me more.

    The new Versa hatch isn't here yet. Nissan cuts costs on their budget models, so I'm skeptical anyway. Sentra is sedan only.

    I liked the old Scion tC better, and fuel economy doesn't stand out. It does get a big gas tank and a panoramic moonroof option, but I felt tight inside one of those when I was at the dealer getting the spare tire chain recall done on my Sienna. It was competitive a decade ago.

    SX4 loses in every single way to the Impreza, even mileage. I test drove one for my brother and we actually got hit (!) during the test drive. That thing is a tin can. Also orphan brand now. No thanks.

    Yaris has a 4EAT and just 11.1 gallons and ... ZZZ.

    Glad I'm not poor. :D

    And .... that's it. A to Z.

    Edit: Found the Audi configurator for the A3 TDI. Gotta get Premium Plus for the $1100 pano option to show up, so $34,245. Add the cold weather package, I'm at $34,745, and that's without Navi. Ouch.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    I really prefer the smaller vehicles as well. Loved my '80 Scirocco (1,950 lbs). If I got something without a real back seat then it is basically a 2 seater. With a real back seat we can leave the minivan at home on occasion. My wife won't even drive my '07 Accord, but she likes the '13 enough that she will drive it, so that save a bunch of fuel not using the minivan. Also saves it wear and tear so it will last until the kids are gone. Then I can get a BRZ with a stick for fun ( or the new skyactiv miata) and a small diesel for road trips.

    I drove the Fiesta and it was great fun with the stick. Not crazy about the other fords (fusion) with the tiny turbo engines - slow, bad gas mileage and not sure about reliability. Nice looking though.

    If I was still in the city I would probably have golf TDI and Mazda 3 at top of the list. Golf would probably win with its shorter length for better parking and better mpg with tdi. Lets see what the new Mazda3 brings to the table. A diesel in that would be very nice.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,381
    Given what I am reading it seems a gasser would fit a lot of your variables better. Indeed keeping the Miata seems the most cost effective and logical. You own it outright to start. :D
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    edited January 2013
    Didn't even mention the BRZ, but it uses premium fuel and my daughter won't really fit in that back seat.

    Fuelly has them at 27.3, so not bad at all. The Scion version is at 27.5mpg. Remember the Elantra GT only gets 24.7.

    So the FT-86 makes a great economy car. :D

    Nah, the Miata was an indulgence, doubt I'll do that again, unless it's a project car or something.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah it costs $17,612 less than the cheapest car on my short list. :D

    That buys a lot of fuel.

    When is the Golf VII coming to the USA? Did VW bring it to NAIAS, or not yet?

    I like the idea that it's lighter.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    edited January 2013
    "Volkswagen says today it will begin producing the Golf subcompact for North and South American markets in an updated Puebla, Mexico, factory early next year.

    That means U.S. buyers can expect the seventh-generation Golf, sometimes called G7, the first half of 2014, or more than a year after other countries have the car."

    VW making new-generation U.S. Golfs in Mexico for 2014 (USA Today)

    Don't see a blurb about engine choices in the quick search results.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,110
    You left out the Nissan Leaf. Probably the smartest buy right now for a commuter under 60 miles RT. I see they are selling $3500 under invoice. Did they end the $7500 tax credit? With tax credit the SL would come in at about $25k. That includes a NAV. No sun roof option.
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