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



  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Quite a bit of the noise and smoke and stink associated with diesels is related to poor maintenance. People think "oh, I don't need tune ups, the engine is so simple and rugged"

    Well it's not that easy. Diesels need adjustments, injector maintenance, fuel filters, and fuel system inspections even beyond those of gas cars.
  • Michael,

    My folks owned a 1972 Chevrolet Kingswood Station Wagon that was lime green and looked like the family truckster from the movie Vacation. I don't judge all gasser cars based on that one. Technology has moved forward a bit during the last 40 years.
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    Actually the similarities are far greater. Given otherwise identical vehicles, the diesel will do far better than the gasoline engine in mileage, durability, and usable power.

    Chrysler sells a 300 diesel in Europe, but not here. If I had to downsize from a truck, I would run to my Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep dealer and get a 300 AWD diesel if it were available.

    European spec 3.0L V6 diesel:
    - 215 hp @ 4000 rpm
    - 376 lb-ft @ 1600 (level through 2800) rpm

    US spec 3.5L V6:
    - 250 hp @ 6400 rpm
    - 250 lb-ft @ 3800 rpm

    No-brainer. Torque output of the Hemi, but down low (and steady) where you can use it. Far better fuel efficiency. No need to get the engine screaming for 200 hp... at the gas engine's torque peak, you're only at 181 hp - at the end of the diesel's torque plateau of 2800 rpm, you're already at 200 hp.

    kcram - Pickups Host
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Mileage and low end power superiority, as compared to an equivalent gas engine car, I would agree wholeheartedly with you!

    As for "durability" I would challenge that assumption based on no real credible studies to suggest diesel car engines last longer than gasoline engines.

    Again, we cannot assume the 500,000 + mile durability of a Peterbilt truck engine the size of a grand piano is to be duplicated by that of the putt putt in a VW TDI or a new diesel V8 engineered by Chrysler.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    No need to get the engine screaming for 200 hp

    That is precisely what I have been saying on here for a long time. I loved cruising up and down long grades with the VW Passat TDI. 70-75 MPH and right at 2000 RPM with no loss of power on the toughest grades. A gasser even my big V8 Sequoia has to down shift to maintain 75 MPH going up our long hill on the Interstate. I will never buy another new gas vehicle.

    So what it would take for me to buy a diesel vehicle is one I like.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    I will never buy another new gas vehicle....So what it would take for me to buy a diesel vehicle is one I like.

    So let's hope one you like comes along soon, eh?! ;-)

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

  • Steve EliasSteve Elias Posts: 2,187
    steve, if gas prices hypothetically go to $10 and premium is $10.10 and diesel $10.20, would you consider a diesel vehicle then - or a vehicle "requiring" premium?
    How about gas prices at $100, premium $100.02 and diesel $100.03 per gallon?
    You see where I'm going with these questions:
    Surely there is some such percentage-delta below which you would consider a diesel-required or premium-recommended vehicle? What is it?
    ps - anyone seen TV show "ed and kate and 8" - they have 8 kids in childseats in a blue sprinter van :) Plus a TV crew/camera, apparently.
    pps - a Yaris diesel would get W A Y more than 40 mpg.
    ppps - anyone else want a corvette diesel? the corvette gas gets >30 mpg. corvette diesel would get >>40mpg on the highway.
    pppps - I thnk me & gagrice both like some of the current/limited crop of diesel vehicles but are eager for more diverse diesel vehicles available.
  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    anyone seen TV show "ed and kate and 8" - they have 8 kids in childseats in a blue sprinter van Plus a TV crew/camera, apparently.

    The show is "John and Kate Plus 8", and, to my knowledge, the camera crew does not ride in the Sprinter when the family travels - they do mount a dash cam when they take long trips. They also own a "small" van - a Mazda MPV.

    I believe that the only other option available to them would have been a GM or Ford 15 passenger van. The Sprinter, with its 5-cyl diesel, has to get WAY better mileage than one of those.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    Diesel fuel does not smell worse than gasoline. Gasoline is a smell you may be used to, but it is far more toxic and acrid than diesel.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,699
    It is not unusual for car enthusiasts to enjoy getting a car engine "screaming" at high revs. I personally find high torque, low revving engines to be boring. I think they are great in trucks, but other than that, I can't get interested in them.

    As for the discussion of the lack of power in gasoline cars, here probably isn't a modern car in the United States without adequate power to do whatever the average commuter needs. It wasn't that long ago that a car that did 0-60 in the nines was considered fast. Now people seem to think you are a danger to yourself and to everyone else on the road with a car that slow. In 1987, I had a car with 73 horsepower. As an impatient teenager, I had no trouble maintaining 100 mph on the interstate or passing people on two lane roads. It would be hard to find a new car for a 16 year old boy that doesn't have too much horsepower for his driving skills.

    With trucks people now apparently need 600 lbs of torque to tow a trailer when people were doing this in the '70s with with inline sixes? I suspect we've long since confused our wants and needs.
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    Given appropriate maintenance and no misuse, I would have to put my money on the engine that won't clear 4000 rpm and is built to withstand double the compression ratio over its gasoline counterpart. But you're right, Shifty... until we have documentation on the current crop of automotive diesels, we only have trucks or small diesels from the 80s to go by.

    kcram - Pickups Host
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,699
    With gas engines, people often say turbos cut off around a third of the engine life. I've never heard anything about this in respect to diesels. Do they withstand the pressure better?
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    Point by point...

    My turbocharger starts to whistle at about 1800 rpm... I don't need motorcycle-class revs to get a pleasing sound. :)

    The car I learned to drive in was my dad's 1980 Buick Century, 3.8L V6, 110 hp/170 lb-ft moving 3200 pounds of body-on-frame rear-wheel drive car. Yeah, I was a Starsky & Hutch fan from the 70s, but I knew I wasn't driving that red Gran Torino. It wasn't until 1990 that I got my first car (didn't really need my own until then), and what did I get? A retired NJ State Police 1985 Ford LTD unmarked interceptor... not the Crown Vic, but the smaller rebadged Fairmont. Complete with the police version of the just-revived-at-the-time HO 302. It only weighed 2700 pounds and did 0-60 in 7 flat. I only had it 4 months due to chronic cooling issues, but it was lots of fun dropping Trans Ams, IROC-Zs, and even a Corvette with something that looked like grandma's hand-me-down car. But that was enough to get my speeding out of my system.

    I agree that 600 lb-ft is above what most consumers would need from a truck. The problem however is, trucks are MUCH heavier than they used to be. My 2005 Ram weighs 1000 pounds more than my 1996 did, and they're the same configuration (extended cab, 4x4, dually, Cummins diesel). And the 96 weighed a good 1000 pounds more than what duallies weighed 15 years prior. All that weight is from all the creature comforts and safety equipment requested/required. Twenty years ago, an AM radio was an option - now a CD player is standard. Same for climate control, seating, insulation, and other features. Add in airbags, side impact beams, boxed frames, and bigger wheels/tires/brakes, and those torque ratings are a necessity if you actually put stuff in the bed or on the hitch.

    kcram - Pickups Host
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    The turbos used with heavy duty pickup engines are generally the same units from medium duty rigs. You're instructed to let that thing cool down before shutdown, same as tractor-trailers. They are also overcooled to help that out... Dodge used the same radiator with the 5.9L Cummins I-6 as they did with the 8.0L gas V10. My 96 never broke 185 degrees - and after 9 years, there were no problems with the engine or turbo.

    kcram - Pickups Host
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I'd love to take a beater Corolla and a beater VW TDI, start 'em up and put a cinder block on the gas pedals, and run for cover and see which one blows up first. I'd put my money on the Corolla, yes I would. Unfair you say, since both engines go to maximum REVS, but you know, this often happens in the real world. We don't always get to drive below 4000 rpms. Sometimes we have to push our vehicles for one reason or another. Sometimes we forget periodic oil changes. Sometimes that 22 to 1 compression ratio in the diesel creates more stress than the engineers designed for it.
  • wesleygwesleyg Posts: 164
    Indeed many people agree with you on preferring high revving engines as opposed to the low revving engines of the past. I grew up on the big block american iron of the sixties, the ones exactly opposite to todays high output, very high revving engines such as the Japanese tuner cars if I'm expressing that correctly.

    I currently drive a Chevy SS that puts out about 325 lbs./ft. at a pretty low rpm, the kind of power that's just perfect for me, I get nervous just hearing those screaming rpm engines mentioned above. But that's just a matter of preference, neither is wrong.

    But what I don't understand is when I'm driving around and I want to get on it for whatever reason, I'm cruising at maybe 1800 to 2500 rpms, when I get on the pedal, I want that push you back torque right now which I get, but who drives around at 4000 rpms all day, which seems to me to be necessary if you want big torque in these high-revving cars? I'm not criticizing those who prefer this, I just don't understand always being at or above 4000 rpms in order to get performance, maybe just to old to understand.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,699
    High revving engines have been around more than long enough to show that they don't wear out significantly faster than low revving engines. It isn't something I worry about too much.

    With modern 6-speeds, you don't have to cruise at 4000 rpms. If you want torque, just downshift.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Exactly, when quick acceleration is needed, one will often need to downshift to get the engine spinning in its power range.

    The more than ample payoff (IMO) is that wonderful sound and power surge the engine will deliver when it is spinning up to its 7000+ rpm redline, not to mention the much better fuel economy the smaller engine will deliver when you ARE just loafing around town at 2000 rpm.

    Now with a diesel, of course, the fuel economy advantage of the small gas engine is much less pronounced, but the pleasure of revving up that engine is still missing.

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

  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    I drove a 2009 Jetta TDI. While it's FWD and has a soft suspension, it's a helluva a deal.

    I get 30 MPG right now from my Cooper S using premium at $4.50 a gallon (sadly the Cooper must go). Diesel's about $5 a gallon, so even at a miseraly 37 mpg, I'd be saving on fuel costs. The $1300 tax credit (which translate to a huge tax write-off) and tremendous resale of the diesel also make the TDI exceptionally attractive.

    Really the only thing holding me back:

    soft suspension
    No OEM xenons
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    Diesel is now down to $4.04 where I buy it in Wisconsin. Don't understand why you should have to be paying $5, Diesel per gallon price has been dropping about 10 cents for every penny that gas has been going down. Soon they will be in price at this rate.
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    It may be lower by now. I only put gas in my Cooper once every 10-11 days. As of about a week ago diesel was around $5 and premium 4.50.

    Regardless, it will only go back up. And for me, unless it's over 20% higher than premium, the difference is negligible.
  • tiff_ctiff_c Posts: 531
    It may be lower by now. I only put gas in my Cooper once every 10-11 days. As of about a week ago diesel was around $5 and premium 4.50.

    I'm just curious why you have to sell your Cooper S? You gave up your BMW for being too soft. But a Jetta? I mean how much money would it take to make that a sweet handling car, like the Cooper S?
    Just wondering about your reasoning.
  • mdamickmdamick Posts: 277
    I have a 1993 Dodge w/ the Cummins and 238000 miles with minimal problems.
    The Jeep Diesel has 117000 miles with several problems over the 3 years.
    The CRD was not built as well as previous jeeps, I have a Cherokee with 249000 miles and no problems at all.
    I had hoped a Diesel Jeep would be as reliable.
    I like diesels but I will not buy another unless it has been out for a couple of years to see if it was done right.
    And American car companies need to put out manual transmissions!
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    Baby on the way and I have limited options with baby seats. Sadly because of the baby i have to get rid of the Cooper. To say I'm displeased with this is a gross understatement.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    You can't hide the Cooper in the garage for those rare moments you get to yourself?
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    Nope. Need a car to transport the demon in daily. The TDI offers great resale and some measure of germanic feel.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,699
    I'm guessing you have a backward facing car seat. Once you get them to a year old and 20 lbs, you can have the little critters facing forward. Most forward facing seats will easily fit in a MINI.
  • tiff_ctiff_c Posts: 531
    Baby on the way and I have limited options with baby seats. Sadly because of the baby i have to get rid of the Cooper. To say I'm displeased with this is a gross understatement.

    Thank God all my kids are grown up and have their own kids to deal with.
    I had to drive all kinds of crap cars minivans etc... in the early days and I had 3 kids!
    The Jetta might be a possible answer but it's going to drive like mush compared to the Cooper S.
    The rear facing car seats are huge space hogs. Might as well buy a Minivan as you'll wish you had one lugging all the baby stuff around, either that or try the Jetta Sportwagen diesel.
    You really will need the room.
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    TDI Sportwagen is on the map.

    As for space, it depends on the person. I have one friend who uses a Graco Safeseat, one diaper bag and the Graco Snugrider (like a Snap N Go frame). All of that will fit in a Cooper, clubman, Jetta, GTI, 3 series, WRX, Ralliart etc. Additionally, I just need to fit the bag and carseat as the chances of me taking the kid on an outing in my car = slim. My brother in law got by fine with my 5 year old niece and his 3 series e46 for the past 5 years. Avoid the travel system strollers and junk (toys, cribs, etc) and just about any car should do. My issue stems from difficult getting the Graco in the back of the cooper. So something with 4 (3) doors is a must.

    The Jetta TDI fits the bill and with that $1300 tax credit and great mileage it could end up boring to drive, but economically pretty sound.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,699
    Depends on priorities, I guess. I am hauling two little ones around in my 1986 Porsche 944. Another guy in my neighborhood does the same with his 1977 Porsche 911. You couldn't put in infant in either of these cars, but they are fine for toddlers. And it doesn't hurt that both our wives have sensible family vehicles.

    Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, Porsche isn't selling any diesel cars.
This discussion has been closed.