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

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Comments

  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,450
    Not to mention the Japanese that have gone from copying GM engines to building arguably the best low cost small gas engines sold in the World.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Well if copying is how you learn, let's start copying the Germans and make a diesel that doesn't sound like an earth mover and isn't the size of a small piano.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    I like VWs too. I've owned three. But jeez, they haven't made a reliable model since they retired the air-cooled models

    Oh really? I had an air-cooled '75 Westfalia, and that thing hardly ever ran, even back when it was new. I can't count the number of times that thing stranded us on road trips. Main problems were the absolutely abysmal fuel injection, which was so bad VW went back to carburetion for a couple of years around 1977, and a phenomenon that all air-cooled VWs demonstrated where it would gradually reach the point where even flooring the pedal wouldn't cause it to rev any more. I wish I could remember the name for that. You had to turn it off and let it cool for an hour or two, then it would run normally for a while again.

    It is truly amazing, indeed perhaps a good topic for some type of research paper, that VW has such a dedicated (albeit small) fan club. People love those old vans, yet they were a total underpowered PITA, and that's when they WERE running, which wasn't all that often!

    If GM deserves all the hardship it is going through right now for the 25 years of crap it produced, VW doesn't deserve to ever have another customer again. Their crap was way worse, and for way longer. I guess the difference was, they made CUTE crap.

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

  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    I don't know about that long ago, except my 76 Rabbit was a reliable car, and I had it longer than any of my 28 vehicles over the years. My sister's Rabbit diesel, an 81 I believe, is still going strong (well, ok, diesel-weak, as they were back then). The absolute worst cars I had were GM products, though I recognize they have improved in recent years.

    VW is not real popular in this country, but they are the third largest auto company in the world, and projected to be bigger than GM. They have not sold here like they do in Europe, China, and South America, due much more to product mix more than reputation. While everyone else was selling trucks and SUVs like hotcakes, VW did not offer much of that product mix until very recently. Consequently, their sales have not deteriorated as much as companies (even Toyota) which developed a reliance on gas hogs.

    VW was the first to put a high quality interior with great tactile feel and damped operation of handles and hinges on their least expeneive products. A 99 new Golf had way more content and equipment than its competition. Perhaps that emphasis took precedence over simple and reliable, I don't know. As I have said, my VW ownership experience has been good.

    That said, I have had some very reliable Fords too, and I'd love a shot at the new Fiesta diesel just being introduced in Europe. And the range of Volvo diesels planned as well. I do see why manufacturers are reluctant to bring their wildly successful clean diesels here: most Americans don't want them and this discussion tends to back that up.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    that while cheap gas in my area is down to $3.71, diesel is still at $4.59. So that's what, a 25% premium over gas? IOW, it wipes out any advantage diesel would give me in mpg?

    Diesel cars will never sell well in this environment.

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

  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,699
    I guess I just kind of assumed the old air-cooled were reliable. They had nothing on them to break, right?

    I agree with Gregg about the interior materials. Our '02 Passat had an interior every bit as nice as the BMW with which we replaced it. The Passat's interior was far nicer than the '05 G35 I later owned. When those new VWs came out in the late '90s, I was hoping the reliability would improve with the quality. It didn't. But at least you could have a nice interior to sit in when your car broke down.

    As for the '76 Rabbit, I think you were really lucky. You can probably find 10 horror stories for every one of yours.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    All I can repeat is my VW experience has been good and I have owned several.

    As for diesel fuel cost, even at 25% more, you are still ahead. I get 50 mpg overall with my TDI. The equivalent gasser might do 28. And I pay no more than $4 for diesel here.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    I hear you, but my current gasser gets 35 mpg as a running average. That means the diesel would have to pull 47 mpg or so just to break even on the fuel price. If your Jetta TDI pulls 50, then it does meet that requirement, but it also costs $5000 more than my Matrix to buy and holds less cargo. My car also has more room for passengers in the back seat.

    So in that face-off, I would go for the Matrix. And certainly there are a number of similar face-offs I could propose that would have a similar outcome.

    Will someone produce a Jetta-sized diesel car that pulls an average 60 mpg combined? Then we would be getting somewhere...

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

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    If everyone had your experience with VW instead of the experience they presently own, then VW would be at the top of all the reliability charts, rather than at the middle-low middle, where it usually sits.

    So yeah, you were incredibly lucky it seems. The Rabbit probably did more to ruin VW's reputation than any other product, IMO, except maybe the Dasher and the 411/412 debacle.

    No complaints about build quality and driving abilities though. I like both of those things about VW.
  • 104wb104wb Posts: 38
    It wouldn't take much for me to buy a diesel car. The only barrier is lack of choices. I'm targeting $25k for my next vehicle. It must retain the positive attributes of my current vehicle:

    10year, 300,000 mile durability (at least)
    good rust protection and a robust suspension (they salt in the winter, and spray calcium chloride on my dirt road in the summer)
    600mile range
    I want the same stellar fuel efficiency, but double the fuel economy: 42mpg

    Cars I'm interested in are Jetta SportWagen TDI, Mitsubishi Lancer diesel, Subaru diesel, really any car in the 3000-3500 pound weight range with a diesel would meet most of my requirements, I think, if only they were offered here.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    The Matrix does get better mileage than the gas Golf. However, it is about 16" longer than my Golf TDI, so some extra cargo capacity would be expected. However, my Golf will still hold 42 cu ft, of cargo, which isn't too bad for a little car at all. And of course the Golf TDI, no longer available, did not cost $5K more than a Matrix.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    So yeah, you were incredibly lucky it seems. No, I am not "incredibly" lucky. Even with "middle-low middle" reliability, chances are better than even that not much bad is going to happen to the average VW driver. Of course the boards will be full of the disaster stories, but those of us who don't have complaints at the same time, don't write in. This thread is the first time I have persisted in saying there are some of us out here who aren't just incredibly lucky, but are driving VWs that don't fall apart. Take it or leave it. :P
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    You need to bring up this issue with Consumer Reports, NHTSA and JD Power, etc. I'm just gathering the data. I swear I don't put the black dots on the page or assign the two star out of five ratings. Please don't shoot the messenger. :cry:
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    I am not shooting the messenger, nor am I disputing the data. My point, if I am allowed to have one, is that your characterization of me as "incredibly" lucky is overstated, given what the data really say.
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    So yeah, you were incredibly lucky it seems. The Rabbit probably did more to ruin VW's reputation than any other product, IMO, except maybe the Dasher and the 411/412 debacle.

    Heh, I had a 1976 Dasher. Every cent (and more) saved on gas was dumped into repairs. The fuel injection system was pretty unreliable, prone to breaking, and difficult to find mechanics that coule/would work on it and/or fix it.

    It took more than ten years before I would look at another VW. Now, our '87 Golf was pretty good. But we only got a 110K miles out of it due to two pretty good collisions.

    Skip another 10 years, and I'm in a '03 gasser Passat wagon. It's been pretty good (knock on wood), but I spend a lot more on maintenance on it than any car I've recently owned. Frankly, what sold me on it was its very high safety rating, good fuel economy (especially for the time), and my desire for a wagon. Gotta say, though, if Honda had continued to build an Accord wagon, I would have bought it over the Passat.

    Still, I'm interested in the Jetta Sportwagen TDI, so when it's out, I'll have a good hard look at it. Then I'm going to go talk to the service guys and see what maintenance would set me back.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    So in other words, you had a Dasher that was a lemon (and at the time I had a Mercury Capri [German] that was a lemon), and two pretty reliable ones.

    You had an 87 Golf that went 110K before being ruined by accidents, and you have an 03 with high maintenance costs, but no notable problems. So go to someone else. There are lots of reliable VW mechanics out there who fix and maintain them better--and charge far less--than the dealer does. Once the free maintenance and warranty is done, I am done with them as well. Five times to fix what turned out to be a simple and obvious leak, that they likely caused with previous sloppy warranty work..don't get me started (oh, yeah, I already did...sorry :blush: ). Anyway, the point is save yourself some dough and find a good mechanic.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    As a potential buyer, I've been checking the JD Powers reliability ratings on all the new VWs, 2006/2007 models (figuring they've been around a while) and they seem to score high in design and efficiency but their predicted reliability is below average. That includes Passat, Golf and Jetta.

    Then I checked base model cars for Mercedes, Audi and BMW for 2006/2007

    Mercedes was average, BMW above average, Audi below average.

    So as of 2007 anyway, nothing seems to have changed yet at VW/Audi.

    Even if we didn't believe the ratings, which we are entitled to do, this type of PR doesn't help the company's image very much.

    This doesn't "scare" me but it gives me the incentive to dig into the issue further, like I did with the MINIs "bad ratings". (they turned out to be early model blues that later improved quite a bit).
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    It's been a problem finding a good indie. I've found one shop that seems pretty good, but their hourly rate is right up there with the dealers.

    Mostly, I've dusted off my old tools, bought a manual, joined a bunch of forums and have started doing my own work again. Brakes, tuneups, etc are now all on my time (unfortunately, I don't have a lot of free time any more).
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,699
    If you aren't scared, pick up a Consumer Reports. VW doesn't have a single model under "CR Good Bets" and their entire model lineup is represented under "Used Cars to Avoid" including the diesel versions of the Golf, Jetta and New Beetle.
  • joatmonjoatmon Posts: 315
    I will seriously consider buying a diesel and possibly an X5 diesel, if, and only, GM promises to NEVER, EVER make another diesel vehicle or announce any desire to make same, or enter into some venture to make, import or distribute same.

    We are still feeling the effects of GMs huge blunder and diesel units will continue under some sort of cloud as long as our brains are not reprogrammed by the government.

    JMHO
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Well that's true, I was comparing current prices. VW, as we know, has boosted the prices of the new TDIs by a fair amount. Were they to offer a Rabbit diesel again, as I expect they will eventually, I assume it will be priced at roughly the $23K mark just as Jetta is.

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

  • Hi Folks:

    Was scanning this thread, and not sure if this was covered. We have an 09 TDI on order. There is a $1300 tax credit for the TDI, that makes the price difference only 700. The real world mileage difference between the gas and diesel Jetta is well over 50%, and there is about a 20% premium for Diesel here on the East coast. That makes the pay back on the Diesel well under two years if you drive 15K miles a year or more. In addition, the Diesel engine should last longer and have a higher resale value. So if your looking at a Jetta, this is a no brainer, IMHO.

    People keep comparing the Jetta to Hybrids. The Hybrids get good mileage, BUT, the Prius is not as big as the Jetta, and at some point you ARE going to need new batteries if you keep the car past three or four years. Those batteries are going to cost you 2 to 4K to replace.

    If you are a driving enthusiast, the Jetta drives and handles much better then the Prius and other small hybrids.

    We're rolling the dice on VW quality. The fact that they cut the warranty by a year is a little disconcerting, but scheduled maintenance is now included for the first three years, so our costs will be pretty well known for the first 36 months. In addition , you can burn up to 5% Bio-diesel.

    I think in three more years there will be better alternatives, but for something you can buy today, the Jetta seems to have a good combination of features.

    Cheers!
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Just wanted to point out a possible misconception you apparently have about hybrids and the Prius specifically.

    You said, "The Hybrids get good mileage, BUT, the Prius is not as big as the Jetta, and at some point you ARE going to need new batteries if you keep the car past three or four years. Those batteries are going to cost you 2 to 4K to replace."

    The Prius is considered a "midsize" car. I don't know specifically how large the interior dimensions are in the Jetta, but my guess is that it's not much larger than the Prius in the areas which matter, if it is larger at ALL.

    Secondly, where did you read or who told you that hybrid batteries last only three to four years? That is completely incorrect. There are many 2001 Priuses with original batteries and they are performing fine. Ed Begley Jr has one. The rate of hybrid battery failures is incredibly low.

    Be a diesel fan, but if you are arguing against hybrids as comparison vehicles, at least have your facts straight.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,699
    I don't have a dog in this fight, but the Jetta is a compact and the Prius is a mid-size. I have no idea how their interior space compares once you are sitting in them.

    I've always heard that battery life was projected to be seven years.

    Ed Begley is a moron.
  • Oh, I have my facts straight. I work with NiMh and Lipo batteries every day. The current Prius uses NiMh batteries which are very durable. But ALL batteries will eventually degrade and need to be replaced. It's just a matter of time.

    The next Prius will use Lipos. Lipos are superior from a power to weight ratio, but they are also more prone to failure, cost more, and wear out faster. The Prius does not have the overall performance of the Jetta, though may be more reliable as it is a Toyota.

    The Prius is larger then it looks, but you can get a Jetta Wagon, not an option from Toyota.

    Ed Begley has a lot of things, but he's not a person I seek to emulate. I'm not buying a car TO BE Green. I buying a car based on it's overall merits, of which fuel economy is just one factor. Both the Prius and the Jetta Diesel pull about the same amount of oil from the ground, but the Jetta has no batteries to maintain and discard. The environmental impact of making and recycling these batteries is not insignificant, and if you keep the car for long, you WILL be replacing the batteries, I can guarantee it.

    Be that as it may, choice is good.

    Cheers!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Well the average age of a car on American roads right now is roughly 9 years. So in the year 2010, all we have to do is look at all the 2001 Priuses and see how many have replaced batteries. If the number is negligible, then this isn't a problem because so few Americans keep a new or used car beyond those 9 years.

    While you are quite correct, over time the batteries will degrade, my opinion is that the car might degrade before or at the same time that the batteries do. After all, good engineering is when everything is designed to fall apart together. Otherwise you'd have thousands of junk Priuses with perfectly usuable batteries rotting away in them. I think Toyota tested the batteries to mileage, not to time (since they couldn't, obviously), and they seem capable of surviving well into the 200K range.

    Regarding interior room, I was curious about that so I looked it up and the Prius actually has more interior room for passengers but a little less luggage capacity. So the Prius is roomier, but not by a grand amount by any means.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    there are 200K-mile Priuses from the late 90s running around with their original battery pack, the battery replacement cost is a non-issue for me personally.

    Just like jesusfreak, I am a little concerned that when the Prius goes to Li-Ion batteries the long-term durability of the battery pack will decrease, but that is why Toyota has already annaounced that the redesigned 2010 Prius will continue to use NiMH batteries for now. My hope is that Toyota will demand that Li-Ion batteries, when they start to use them, will have the same durability as the NiMHs they have been using up until then.

    The difference in quality of the drive between these two is dramatic, with the Prius taking the Camry approach and the Jetta taking the "German driver's car" approach.

    But what is frustrating is that all this [non-permissible content removed] for tat occurs between the two camps because we have no options on either side. I guess we could include Civic hybrid in that camp, but it's still just two models vs one. We need MORE diesels and MORE small, high-mileage hybrids available to make this a more informed discussion.

    And if we could have a few small cars from these lousy automakers that just use small gas engines and get 40+ real-world mpg, we could have a real dialog!

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

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    IMO, the bottom line is that hybrids are for people who really don't like cars, and German cars are for people who really enjoying driving. A gross generalization to be sure, but a very "green diesel" from VW seems to bridge that gap, don't you think?
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,450
    but a very "green diesel" from VW seems to bridge that gap, don't you think?

    I agree 100%
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    The hybrid CRZ Honda is releasing in 18 months may change your mind on the hybrid side of your statement...

    As for the "very green diesel" you mentioned, I am having a little trouble figuring out what that is, exactly?

    The Jetta TDI is pretty green as it is.

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

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    "green" in the sense of cleaner fuel and even better fuel economy, so that the "green diesel" will go head to head with ANY hybrid on price, mileage, reliability and emissions.

    so I guess I meant "a diesel that will out green a hybrid"

    Not quite there yet.
  • bobgwtwbobgwtw Posts: 187
    Parity again approaches. RUG in SouthCaroline $3.42. Diesel $3.82
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    I hate to keep nitpicking what you say (ok, so I don't hate it ;) ), but you said: Well the average age of a car on American roads right now is roughly 9 years. So in the year 2010, all we have to do is look at all the 2001 Priuses and see how many have replaced batteries. If the number is negligible, then this isn't a problem because so few Americans keep a new or used car beyond those 9 years. If nine years is the average age (and I don't know that it's not), then there have to be lots of cars on the road older than that in order to come up with that average age.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,699
    Well, all the 2001 models will be about 9 nine years old, correct?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Exactly. I was thinking specifically of relating this statistic to 2001 Priuses.

    I'm sorry, but 9 years is the MEDIAN age of registered cars, not the average--and it's been increasing somewhat the last few years.

    However, keep in mind that the reason for this increase in the better durability of the cars, not the economic factors.
  • I want a diesel Malibu Maxx!
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    how is a 2001 Prius 9 years old? It may be 8 years old now, but not 9. What have I missed?

    Shifty's original point would certainly apply equally to MY 2000 Priuses. Of course, while Toyota had already been selling Priuses for several years in Japan in the year 2000, there was no MY '00 Prius available in the U.S. '01 was the first year of U.S. sales.

    bobgwtw: parity may be approaching in other parts of the country, but in northern California it is RECEDING: regular unleaded is dropping a penny at a time while diesel stands firm. The differential today is a solid 25%. With the winter months approaching and the impact heating oil sales have on diesel supplies, I do not expect a substantial drop in diesel prices.

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

  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Both my cars are over 9 years old so I guess that makes me above average. :shades:

    Diesel has almost touched the $4 benchmark around here btw. RUG was $3.85 the other day.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    This fuel cost thing is so variable and so crazy. Here diesel is falling MUCH faster than gas, and this is the snow belt. Who controls these things and why such huge discrepancies? Diesel, though generally higher, is being sold in some locations for less than what other locations pay for gas. Yes, I know different states have diffferent fuel tax structures, but these discrepancies also appear within states and even within regions of a state.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    I believe that California may have a special diesel formulation, just as it has a special gas formulation. Since diesel is only a small percentage of total automotive fuel sales, the impact of California-only fuel would be much greater on diesel than it would on gas, in terms of price.

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

  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,699
    "So in the year 2010..."

    That makes the math work.
  • It is truly amazing, indeed perhaps a good topic for some type of research paper, that VW has such a dedicated (albeit small) fan club.

    If VW has such a small fan club, how did they get to be the number three auto seller worldwide last month?

    I admit that I have had some issues with VW service, but really no worse than my 82 Subaru that had to have the tranny rebuilt at 70K and my S10 that had a tranny rebuilt at 60K and my 97 windstar that had to have new brakes every year. The problem is not really with the cars but the idiots they get to run their service garages.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,699
    Wow. No offense, but you know how to pick lousy cars. The word Windstar makes me break out in chills. I'd stick with Honda and Toyota if I was you.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    The fan club in the USA is without question a "small one."
  • The Prius is considered a "midsize" car.

    I'm not sure where your getting your information from. The prius is based on the Corolla platform, which is a compact car. The Edmund's website lists the Prius as a compact car. Put one next to a Jetta and they are about the same size. The only advantage to the Prius is the hatchback, which should make it easier to load and able to load more stuff in. I know that I can get more stuff in my 2000 Beetle than I can in my wife's 05 Corolla.

    The real differnce in the hybrid versus diesel comes down to how and where you drive. Lots of stop and go city driving? The hybrid will win out as long as the majority of the rest of your driving is under 40 mph. Any other type of driving? The diesel has the clear advantage.

    I have also read a few comments about the VW engine noise. It is louder than the gas engine at idle, but put it on the highway and the diesel is much quieter. I am usually about 2500 rpm at 70-75. The gasser would be around 5500 rpm and whining like most small gas engines.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Um, I'm getting my information from years of following hybrid cars.

    The Prius is classified as a mid-size sedan.

    Googling the Prius as a Mid-Size car which it is
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    No fair. :shades: Compare a 2000 Subaru to your car, not an '82.

    I'd have to guess that VW performs better in Europe due to better parts pricing and service outlets. Certainly many of the complaints that have dragged VW down in the USA are due to incompetence and poor organization.

    Look at Renault in America. They actually OUTSOLD VW in the USA (I think 1959 and 1960) until people realized they couldn't get the cars serviced properly. It wasn't all the car's fault by any means.
  • I have an 05 Corolla and will not buy another Toyota car. The interior is soooo cheap that I wonder how long it will be until I am sitting on the foam padding instead of the cloth seats. The thing is also one of the most uncomfortable things to drive that I have ever owned. I used to think it was just me at 6'1" but my daughter at 5'1" agrees. Her 97 Corolla was better made and is more comfortable to drive. Of course it has no get up and go, but that's another topic.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I would agree about the comfort and cheesiness on the Corolla and much better acceleration on most VWs.

    As for get up and go on your Corolla, you just have to put your foot in it and hold it there. The engine will wake up. It's build lazy. That 1.8L Corolla is a really good engine and it delivers some amazing MPG. VW should be so lucky to build one as good IMO.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,699
    I got it from the EPA website. That's pretty official, isn't it?
This discussion has been closed.