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



  • stevedebistevedebi Member Posts: 4,098
    "I personally think the idea of a "luxury diesel" car is a mis-step for this country. "

    So you don't agree with Mercedes, which already imports one?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Nope, don't agree in the sense that it is not an expandable market for them in that niche. But sure, they'll keep their place in the rather small overall diesel marketplace, why not?

    I don't think that the diesel market for passenger cars ever went higher than 6% in America, even in the heyday of the gas "panics" of 1973 and 1979, when long lines, violence, and borderline hysteria gripped consumers.

    You have to remember that gasoline or even diesel fuel, for wealthy people, is essentially free. They don't need to save money. $4 or $10 a gallon, it doesn't matter.

    It's only the "upwardly mobile but not yet there", who are going to ditch a gas Benz for a diesel IMO.

    What I mean by all that is IMO not every gas Benz owner is a potential diesel convert, not by a long shot.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    I have to ask why?

    Three major reasons. First Complexity, too many extra sensors etc to give you fits on the long haul.

    The battery is a big gamble. We know it will not last forever. Will it go dead while under warranty or two weeks after the warranty expires.

    Last is trusting the auto dealer to tell you the truth about the battery. We know that Honda has screwed over a couple Insight owners that have marginal batteries. They posted here on Edmund's.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    I don't think that the diesel market for passenger cars ever went higher than 6% in America

    6% is a pretty sizable chunk of cars. If I remember during the heyday of Mercedes 80% of their sales were diesel cars. They are selling more diesel cars and SUVs than they planned on. The only slow seller is the R320 CDI. The ML and GL large SUVs are both in the plus column for US sales so far this year. I would bet it is the diesels that are moving the market. What's not to like about a full size SUV that can haul you down the highway at 30 MPG. The ML did even better than that in a cross country match-up with the Lexus RX400h. The BMW X5d will be here in a few weeks. And just because people have enough that gas does not cause them financial grief does not mean they like wasting money. Every time I fill one of our gas vehicles I cuss the EPA & CARB for wasting my money and our oil resource.
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Member Posts: 6,249
    Still lots of owners apparently have ignored the recommendation and have gone 100K to 200K with no DSG problems. it sounds pretty bullet-proof.

    Sorry I don't trust the DSG at all and we own one. With less than 30k on the clock the tranny seems to hesitate and almost drag/slip between shifts.

    Overall, I also feel the manual-push-button-video-game part of the tranny is worthless on rather bland driving cars (Jetta, A3, etc). On a GTI it sorta makes sense (still a soft car).
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Member Posts: 6,249
    Gotta agree about the MB diesels. I know many hardcore diesel MB people and they're on-board with these new diesel SUVs. If BMW tuned their 3 series diesel for less performance I'd be more interested...a 2.0 diesel 3 series would get my attention pretty quickly. A 2.0 diesel 1 series 5-door hatch = buy now in my world.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    Gary says, "Every time I fill one of our gas vehicles I cuss the EPA & CARB for wasting my money and our oil resource. "

    And with your Sequoia, that's a LOT, huh? LOL

    Actually, the EPA and CARB are in business to keep the air clean. That "much cleaner" air you breathe in Cali is thanks to them. I was there in the early 1980s, and I know how dirty it USED to be.

    If I ever get any sort of respiratory disease or cancer, I'm going to blame it on the two million or so deep, dirty breaths I took while at Marine Corps boot camp in San Diego back in 1981.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    You know they have had the technology to have clean diesel for at least a decade. No excuse. We have paid for that technology to be developed by Argonne labs and have yet to see it in any domestic vehicle.

    Need I repeat the EPA has dragged their feet on cleaner diesel with high mileage. It is a matter of who is paying off whom in DC. Any other explanation is meaningless.

    We have our own thread for this. Shifty wanted to know why someone that can afford $10 gas would buy a diesel. I explained my thoughts.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    If the Marines didn't kill you, certainly bad air won't. :P

    I was thinking more of diesel cars like 7 or 5 series BMWs, or S class Benz as not being that marketable here in the USA. Full 5 passenger luxury vehicles in other words.

    I'm not talking about full size diesel SUVs or pickups in this topic. That's why I limited it to "cars". :) Of course if you're hauling horses or boats you want a diesel.

    But, breaking my own rule here, I don't see the X5 diesel as being a success here in the USA, no. I don't think BMW understands their buyer in this particular case, even though they generally do great marketing. First they pushed it as a "performance SUV" to rival Cayenne and Taureg, and now it's an economy car?

    Sounds schizo to me anyway. Very bad to project two images onto the same product IMO.
  • bumpybumpy Member Posts: 4,425
    I don't think that the diesel market for passenger cars ever went higher than 6% in America, even in the heyday of the gas "panics" of 1973 and 1979, when long lines, violence, and borderline hysteria gripped consumers.

    I just happen to have the numbers on hand. Diesels as a percentage of car sales were a few hundredths of a percent for 1971-73, then 2 or 3 tenths of a percent from 1974-77, climbed steadily from there to peak at 6.1% in 1981, then slid back down to 2 hundredths of a percent by 1988, and stayed around there until crawling back up to half a percent in 2003 (my data only goes through 2004).

    So, at its best, there were about 8 million gas cars and 500,000 diesel cars sold in '81.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Thanks for that, bumpy. So okay 6.1% for sure. Not too bad.

    One interesting (to me) thing to note about the gas crisis of 1973 and 1979 was that it was different than what we are facing now. For whatever reason, there was NO gas to be bought back then, so whether you had a car getting 10 mpg or 80 mpg, the general panic around the country was one of "hoarding" primarily. So people pursued economy cars (with a vengeance) not just to 'save money' (gas wasn't getting more expensive) but just to insure that if we went to rationing of some sort, that is, if the "Arabs cut us off", then at least with an economy car you would have a better chance of conserving the gas you managed to get.

    So it was a somewhat different mentality and different market.

    Diesel fuel was more readily available than gas, AND cheaper, too! This is what IMO spurred the diesel market.

    So I could see new factors stimulating the diesel market, such as air quality (biodiesel), tax benefits, and some, but not a great, savings in fuel expenses.

    None of these were major operative stimuli in 1973 when diesels hit 6% of the total.
  • boaz47boaz47 Member Posts: 2,747
    I am still found of the McDiesel fuel. It sounds like a perfect method of recycling.

    The thing that troubles me and some others is who do we believe? The Tree huggers tell us we are almost out of fuel. In fact they told us we were out of fuel 10 years ago. At least their high prophet, Miller?, told us in the early 70s we would be "out" of petrol in 30 years. Now we are told that there is more oil left in our part of the world than all of Saudi Arabia. And we are also told that we have vast amounts of Shale oil that can be recovered. Is that a lie of just political rhetoric?

    If indeed we are destined to have to share and ever dwindling supply of fossil fuel then a 50MPG diesel simply isn't going to cut it. With India and China coming full bore into the automotive age 50 MPG is like 25 MPG yesterday.

    So as has been said the diesel that interests me in a small or mid sized sedan sill hasn't been invented. But even when it is it will be a short term solution unless we can come up with an alternative fuel source or a renewable one.
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    The guy lives in another state. He isn't happy with the Insight being a two seat car and doesn't drive that much anyway. But when he does drive he sometimes needs to haul some supplies and he ends up using his small truck. While the insight seems to have more room than the Smart to me the last one I was in did get 70MPG on the highway

    Well hang in there, boaz! I want to hear your "new owner" reports as soon as you have it in hand! If I could get my hands on an Insight in good condition, there is nothing anyone could offer me in a diesel car that would interest me at all.

    But it kinda sucks: just when the gas really went up in price, Honda stopped selling the only hybrid that I thought was really a game-changer. I want a car that in addition to sipping fuel will top my Echo in driving fun (not too hard to do, but I don't think the Prius qualifies) and gas mileage (so, better than 42 combined, around town), and come with a stick shift.

    So I wait for someone to offer something compelling. So far both the diesel folks and the hybrid folks have come out with nothing but losers in my (admittedly off-center) book. :-(

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • eliaselias Member Posts: 2,209
    Cross-shopping list: Corvette coupe, G8 GXP 6-spd, Benz R CDI, BMW X5 diesel, VW sportwagon TDI 6-spd, Chrysler or GM minivan (satellite TV!).
    I'd love to add Cayenne CTS manual-trans to that list, but unless I find a 1year-old used one with 190k miles on it, there's no way, no hay.

    I like the idea of moving into a diesel SUV just as the mainstream/lemmings move into Aveo/Yaris or the NotAsSmartAsTDI-Car. Friend of mine has a 1999 suburban diesel, maybe I should make an offer - I love that thing!
  • You sure do have the opinions. :P

    Diesels went up as high as 6% because: high gas prices, coupled with lots of diesel choices at the time. You could even get a diesel in a Ford Tempo or an Olds 88. The trouble was (and what killed those growing sales) they were slow, smelly, noisy and unreliable. As soon as gas prices went down, people got rid of their trouble-prone 88s and quite a few of them probably said, never again.

    However, today the Mercedes diesel sedan is quiet, smooth, very powerful, economical, luxurious. At a stop light most people wouldn't even notice it is a diesel idling. It gives more power than the equivalent gasser, luxury sedan buyers often don't care about 6,000 revs, but they do care about effortless,power, quiet, latest tech, and yes, even saving oil in the process (otherwise why would anyone buy the Lexus 600h at all?). I want a Mercedes, but right now don't need another car.

    Americans on the whole are ignorant about passenger car diesels. Diesels are associated with heavy duty pickups, big rigs and buses. But that is slowly changing. There aren't any diesels available yet among top sellers (Camry, Accord, Corolla, F150, etc.) but that will change too. If Americans could be persuaded back in the 80s to get into those awful diesel cars to the tune of 500,000 units, once they are available in quantity this time, 10% should be no problem at all, given how much better they are.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    I fully agree with you. If VW makes a big splash with their 50 state legal diesels you can expect the Japanese and Koreans to be flailing around to match them. VW is already a threat to GM and Toyota worldwide. They were the number one import here at one time. Can they do it again? It will take time as they do not have the spectrum covered. They can easily pass up all but GM and Toyota. It will have to be their diesel vehicles that make the grade.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    You sure do have the opinions.

    Shifty's entitled - he was born with 30W in his veins. :)

    The old Mercedes diesel sedans (late 70's 300Ds or whatever) had reputations for lasting forever (back when anything over 100,000 miles was forever). They also were well known for going zero to 60 in 20+ seconds and being your basic slugs. A friend of mine had one here in Boise a few years back and finally got a Subaru so he could keep up with traffic.

    So lots of Americans remember those slug stories - they may be unaware of the new diesels, but lots of them aren't completely uninformed.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I actually lived through those gas "crises" and that's the way I remember it coming down. Gas prices were not an issue nationwide---it was only the occasional price gouging due to scarcity, at a few individual stations. Prices didn't go up and up, like now.

    There was NO gas to buy, that was the problem.

    What does it matter if you get 200 mpg, if there is no gas to buy?

    But you are certainly right, the diesel cars of the day were not terribly appealing.

    Another issue was that Americans know zilch about maintenance on diesels. The poor diesels starting smoking, losing power, etc., because American drivers would not use diesel additives, didn't change out their filters, and didn't have access to enough knowledgable mechanics who could adjust the injection systems.

    FRENCH FRY BIODIESEL -- if you read the instructions on how to process it, it's not all that appealing. You need plenty of time, a strong back, and a tolerance for chemicals.

    RUNNING OUT OF OIL --- that's not what the "treehuggers" said at all. That's what people who didn't read what treehuggers said, said about what the treehuggers said: :shades:

    What they said was that we are approaching peak oil, not running out of it. That means that we have now, or will soon, used more oil than is left in the ground. So we have crested the hill, so to speak.

    The implications are that there is plenty of oil left, but that we have more people clamoring for it, and at a faster rate, hence a) a faster rate of consumption than in the past and b) a higher price, going up proportionally as the limited supply decreases.

    I think that is a correct and intelligent estimate of the situation. Even massive undiscovered reserves do not substantially upset this equation. The numbers are too vast.
  • Agree with every word of your post. You takin smart pills, or haven;t you been sharing your depth of knowledge? ;)
  • boaz47boaz47 Member Posts: 2,747
    "RUNNING OUT OF OIL --- that's not what the "treehuggers" said at all. That's what people who didn't read what treehuggers said, said about what the treehuggers said:

    What they said was that we are approaching peak oil, not running out of it. That means that we have now, or will soon, used more oil than is left in the ground. So we have crested the hill, so to speak. "

    But if the tree huggers were using M. King Hubbert’s prediction we reached that point about 1995. He basically said, and they quoted, that we would have no new discoverable oil by1995-1999 and his chart pointed that out. They also used the Ivanhoe projection to explain how production could increase after the 1999 date. This was and is the tree hugger position.

    Today we are being told that there is more discoverable oil on our continent that is all of Saudi Arabia. One of those two things has to be a lie. At what point is that now what the tree huggers said?

    If the tree huggers are correct then diesel isn’t going to solve our problems. With China, India entering the automotive world full force a 50 percent reduction in fuel usage by the US will be a drop in the bucket.

    The mid 90s came and the mid 90s went and we are still discovering oil so who was right? And if we are running out of oil what good will switching to diesel do in the long run? :confuse:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well I guess predictions are only that. So whether someone tells you the train will hit your car on Monday or Wednesday, in the final analysis, it doesn't matter, does it?. I mean, the "Psychic Detectives" are wrong 99% of the time and they get a television show anyway :P

    One Florida Psychic:

    "I'm seeing some trees, and a body of water......"---LOL!

    I think it's somewhat unfortunate that Americans think that because oil is discovered on American soil, that it's "theirs". Of course, it's not. It goes to the highest bidder on the world market, sold by the people who dig it up.

    But right you are, switching to diesel is not a long term solution. It's an interim solution. Probably as a plug-in, diesel/electric hybrid I would guess.

    At least that's the config I'm placing my bets on.
  • podpod Member Posts: 176
    I am late to the discussion and most of this was circa August 11-14 but:

    I think there are three main advantages to diesel: Low end torque, higher mpg and longer engine durability.

    Today in RI (Hess station) 87 octane is $3.44/gal; deisel is $4.51/gal. This essentially nullifies the higher mpg of the diesel. (one could quibble but diesel is about 1/3 more expensive and this is about the advantage of diesel mpg vs. gas mpg, i.e. diesel gets about 1/3 better mileage).

    Low end torque is necessary for heavy loads (trucks, trailer towing, etc.) and some of the heavier "vehicles" such as SUVs etc. Some weigh over 5000 pounds! In days prior typical passenger vehicle weight was close to 3000# Now it is closer to 4000#. American drivers seem adapted to the higher revs associated with gas cars and with the 5 or 6 gear transmissions overdrive revs are reasonably low at typical highway speed in gas cars (65mph-75mph).

    There are a number of minor, very minor, disadvantages to the modern deisels beyond cost including availability, odor, noise, very cold weather, etc. but these border on the subjective and don't weigh heavily in my decision making.

    Durability is a moot point for most passenger vehicles and owners since the car will fall apart around the engine after the 10 year mark and many safety advances, etc. occur during a decade which may argue for a newer car purchase before the present car dies altogether. I believe the average time of ownership in USA is about 6 years. Current gas engines will perform well long beyond this time interval.

    I presently drive a 2000 mercury sable (usually with no passengers) and get mixed mpg of about 21 and about 30 mpg highway at 65-70 mph on regular.

    For all these reasons there is little financial incentive for me to buy a diesel and there is no other obvious advantage for my driving habits and needs. That would all change if the price of diesel came down to that of regular gas. That won't happen until there are many more diesel cars sold in USA. It is a kind of Catch-22 or a supply/demand issue for which I see no solution in the next decade.
  • nortsr1nortsr1 Member Posts: 1,060
    Good post, POD. I completely agree with you.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    Today in RI (Hess station) 87 octane is $3.44/gal; deisel is $4.51/gal. This essentially nullifies the higher mpg of the diesel.

    I will admit your current price spread makes the diesel option less appealing. Here in San Diego today you can buy RUG as low as $3.63 and Diesel for $3.99. That is only 9% higher. Making a diesel vehicle much more appealing. As you mentioned the diesel torque provides a level of drivability not available with a small gas engine. One of my biggest diesel pluses is the much longer range. I don't like worrying about finding a station every 350 miles out across the Southwestern USA. With many stretches 50 or more miles between stations you are always filling up gas vehicles. It is nice to drive all day and only have to fill once. Vehicles should have a highway range of at least 500 miles. Preferably 600-700 miles.

    The new Jetta Sportwagen should be an easy 700 mile range with many pushing it to 800 miles and beyond. I know from experience the VW 14.5 gallon tank will hold 16 gallons. The ML320 CDI with its 25 gallon tank should be an easy 700+ miles.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    That is so bizarre that there's only 9% spread in gas vs. diesel in San Diego, and yet 400 miles north of there I can't find lower than about 20% anywhere in my area. What's with the screwy pricing? There's even a huge refinery 10 miles from San Francisco.

    Also you mentioned the one thing that still remains appealing to me about diesel cars given the negative impact of diesel fuel prices and cost of new diesel cars....the RANGE....I could go 600 miles + in my diesel Benz (big gas tank BTW) and I loved that feature.

    Given two cars that were dead even in operation costs (accounting for higher diesel MPG and higher diesel fuel costs balancing each other out), with one being gas, one diesel, I might choose the diesel for that feature if it had a good size fuel tank. These 10-12 gallong fuel tanks are a nuisance to drivers like me. I could hang my coffee cup in the gas station I visit there so often. Sometimes every day.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    When I had my Passat we went to visit family in Simi Valley just North of LA. I could not find a single station in that town that sold diesel. It could be local regulations. We have diesel on every corner it seems. There is a big variation in gas and diesel. The station closest to me is a Shell and they are still charging $3.95 for RUG and $4.29 for diesel. The most expensive gas in San Diego looks to be $4.69 and the most expensive diesel is $4.89.

    I don't put many miles on our vehicles anymore. We are down to one trip shopping every two weeks. We take whichever car is needing to be filled at Costco. It is out on the highway I like that range with diesel. My MB Sprinter Cruiser was real comfortable for 500 mile days. That was getting close to 25 MPG. I don't think I ever put more than 23 gallons in. If I can get an SUV that gets 30 MPG on diesel with a 25 gallon tank I will be set for traveling this winter. I would like to make a trip back to Florida and up through Indiana and Minnesota.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    My Benz had a special 35 gallon "long range tank" installed, and so if I took it really easy, I could theoretically hit 800 miles between fill ups. The problem with that, though, is the coronary I would have today filling a 35 gallon tank with diesel in the San Francisco area. That would set me back, today about $165. Of course this is no more than I spend in dribbles with my current 12 gallon tank, but somehow psychologically, it's different.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    My 1998 Suburban had a 42 gallon tank. I remember getting cut off a few times at Costco as there was a $74 limit back when gas was around $2 per gallon.

    I remember when the MB E320 CDI first came out they had ads showing a person driving 800 miles without refueling.

    I just hate stopping at gas stations anymore than necessary. We rarely buy anything in those gas mini marts or use their facilities. We almost always stop at a fast food place to use their potty. Usually the cleanest places. We carry an ice chest with water and veggies for snacks.
  • Today in RI (Hess station) 87 octane is $3.44/gal; deisel is $4.51/gal. That is an awfully big difference. Wonder why? I only pay 10% more for diesel and I get 40% more mileage out of my Golf...so I am way ahead of the game. But in your situation, I'd think more than twice myself about going diesel.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    It looks like he could find better prices for diesel in Warwick RI. Getty has RUG at $3.49 and diesel at $3.69. That is only 5.5% higher. If fuel is like here in San Diego, we can have 50 cent difference in stations across the street from each other on RUG. It amazes me sometimes how stations can survive with so much higher prices than their competitors.

    Has VW made given any indication they are going to put the new diesel engine in the Beetle or Rabbit? VW will need a diesel in their mini van to sell them.
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Member Posts: 6,249
    Because it's honestly not worthwhile to cross the street just to save $2 on a $50 fill up.
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    The engines in the new VW van (Routan?) have already been announced, the same Chrysler 3.8 and 4.0 gas as are used in the Grand Caravan. I agree, they won't sell many, if any, of these.

    It seems like a no-brainer for them to also offer Rabbit and Beetle diesels. I was on the road yesterday and pulled into a McDonalds parking lot behind a VERY colorfully painted (!!) New Beetle diesel. Boy was that thing noisy at idle. I have now witnessed a couple of the new Jetta diesels in operation, and they DO seem quieter.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    My neighbor has a 2001 Beetle TDI. It is noisier than my Passat was. He would not get rid of it and his wife loves it. They get about 40 MPG around town with the old Auto trans. He mostly drives his Chevy Duramax toy hauler truck. He will qualify for dying with the most toys in our neighborhood.

    What is VW thinking offering a knockoff van from Chrysler? They are high priced as well. They have some great vans in Europe that would give people an option if they offered diesel.
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    I think they are pretty much done getting beaten up on the exchange rate. From here on out, my bet is we will see no more VWs not built in the Americas, except for one-off specialty trims like the R32. And they are not yet ready to build vans in Brazil or Mexico. But you are right: no-one is going to have a diesel minivan ready for quite a while - if VW had its diesel ready to plunk straight into these Routans, they could probably sell quite a few.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • KCRamKCRam Member Posts: 3,516
    The irony here of course is, Chrysler offers their minivans in Europe with a diesel... 2.8L inline 4 turbo rated at 161 hp @ 3800 rpm and 266 lb-ft at a plateau of 1600-3000 rpm, redline of 4300, and a 6-speed automatic. Its efficiency rating is 12.8L/100km (18.4 mpg US), 9.3L/100km combined cycle (25.3 mpg US), and 7.3L/100km highway (32.2 mpg US). In comparison, the 3.8L gas V6 in the US is 16/20/23 - the diesel is 26% better combined and 39% better highway.

    kcram - Pickups Host
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    is apparently all set to introduce a new hybrid diesel-electric next month at the Paris show:

    http://www.autoweek.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080904/FREE/809049993/1528/- newsletter01

    They are estimating 53 mpg....sounds pretty tempting, especially given the 200 hp they are promising along with it...:-)

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • boaz47boaz47 Member Posts: 2,747
    And what does that mean to us? What are the chances they will re-introduce Citroen to the US? And even if they do what chance is there it will be priced in the neighborhood of reasonable?
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    Well, I kind of thought this was a thread of "what if"s for diesel. If someone could produce a 53 mpg car making 200 hp that was fun to drive, I would be very interested, even if it took diesel, wouldn't you?

    And hey, it's a global market. If Citroen has a good one now, it won't be long before a half dozen others have one too.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well yes that's the whole problem for the diesel market in the USA. Automakers talk a good game, diesel enthusiasts keep saying it's just around the corner, but as of September 2008, the diesel car most of us want to buy isn't here. And it's not going to be a diesel Smart car, either. It's going to be a high MPG, 4 passenger, roomy sedan that performs well and doesn't look like somebody's bad dream.
  • boaz47boaz47 Member Posts: 2,747
    I am sorry my friend. I just have heard so many of these pie in the sky future what if suggestions I just sometimes have to splash cold water on my face. I can already get a Civic Hybrid for 23K or a bit more that gets an honest 40-45 MPG. If I could stand it I could get a Prius for a bit more. These are not French cars of "questionable" dependability and poor service reputations and we know what they get mileage wise.

    Just my own personal opinion but I agree they could produce a car in the future that might interest me but I am not sure Europe is where it will come from. I would pay Hyundai or Kia prices for a VW because that is all they are worth quality and dependability wise. I sure wouldn't pay any more for a can made by a manufacturer that left this country in shame 30 years ago.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I see were the new 2009 Jetta TDI 50-state model has been independently tested by AMCI at 38/44 mpg.

    This puts it, vis a vis the competition, just about dead even with the Civic Hybrid, but about 10% behind the Prius.

    It whups the Smart Fortwo (33/41) so that's another nail in the coffin for the little squirt, and is considerably better than the Camry Hybrid (33/34).

    So it will not dethrone the Prius, given the price differential in gas vs. diesel, but it certainly will be more fun to drive I think. And a V-6 TDI is in the wings for later 2009. Best of all VW now has a 3 year maintenance-free program, which might help alleviate the complaints about VW reliabililty and maintenance cost issues.
  • boaz47boaz47 Member Posts: 2,747
    Still, VW has such a bad reputation I wonder if free service is worth not having your car many days a year. Still they might be interesting to drive but will they be clean? Filters or not will they be P-zero? I know I am leery of VW because I have been burned by poor parts and service over three decades. They haven't proved to the satisfaction of the people conducting dependability studies that they have corrected their quality problems yet and I have no reason at this time to believe they will in the near future.

    I would trust a Toyota, Honda or even domestic Hybrid because I know the P-zero problem has already been addressed.

    I simply don't look to Europe for a solution to a good quality entry level commuter diesel car. But if anyone else offered one I would be very interested. Yes, even Hyundai.
  • I have had no unusual problems with any of my VWs and I hope they bring the latest generation Golf TDI here soon. With my 2003, going into its seventh winter, I am still getting 50 mpg overall. I imagine the new one, when available, will do even better than that.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    The reputation, whether it is deserved or not, does seem consistently bad. If you google "worst used cars" you will get perhaps ten different sources, and VW is on the worst list for every one of them, sometimes right at the bottom with Kia and Rover. That is so sad for such an interesting and fun brand.

    The interesting thing is that people love their VWs in spite of, not because of, their reliability record. They seem to buy 'em anyway!

    So it's a make with tremendous appeal but potentially disappointing results.

    I'm still spooked by VW reliability stats. I admit it. And I LIKE VW.

    Would I buy a new one? Not sure, I'd like to see the TDI at least one year in the field to see what's up with it. If we get the ol' coil pack-type issues, (not that TDIs have coil packs) or the dreaded turbo engine sludge issues, or something like that, no way.
  • lemmerlemmer Member Posts: 2,689
    I like VWs too. I've owned three. But jeez, they haven't made a reliable model since they retired the air-cooled models.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    If one reads the Jetta forums here at Edmunds (which admittedly, is designed to attract complaints), it reads like a script to a chainsaw horror movie. It's sobering reading.

    VW better get on the stick with quality control or they are going to suffer like Mercedes did for a while there. I REALLY want the new TDI to be a great success.
  • ncskibumncskibum Member Posts: 42
    In general, most of the government figures you see listed are not actually tested by the government but by the manufactures according to the published test methods. So the EPA testing may have been conducted by VW on the specific EPA protocol and VW did not like the results but still had to publish them. Another good case in point is the Energy Star listings on appliances. These are tested by the manufacturer, not the feds.
  • ncskibumncskibum Member Posts: 42
    The clean burning technology was there, but the fuel was not. Last year was when the US finally saw the mandate for ultralow sulfur diesel. Why bother to sell a clean burning engine when your just gumming up the filters? The car makers also had to prove to Ca, NY, and NJ (plus a few others) that the new diesel engines are cleaner burning and will still deliver on performance and long life. It would not make sense to offer a clean burning car that had to be replaced every 25K.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    All advances in highly efficient diesel engines has happened in Germany. Most of the high tech stuff for gas engines in Japan. It looks to me like the USA has become a follower instead of a leader in automotive technology. I choose to blame it on over regulation. As regulators they look at the current technology and say it is not good enough. Rather than telling the automakers to go ahead and sell that car and in 3 years we expect improvement. We seem to have the cart ahead of the horse most of the time. And it is not just diesel. The Japanese beat US on gas emissions back in the 1980s.

    Of course as you mentioned the EPA was behind the EU on mandating ULSD also. We are a first class military power and a 3rd class manufacturing power.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    No "power" is tested until it meets worthy opponents IMO, be it military or manufacturing. Certainly The Big Three learned this the hard way.

    I think it works like this. If a country stalls on new technology because it "doesn't believe in the problem", then other countries will develop it and come back and sell it to us at a mighty profit.

    If you had told me 20 years ago that Europe was going to have to teach America about diesel engines, I'd have gasped in disbelief.
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