Jetta TDI vs. Civic Hybrid

tom21769tom21769 Member Posts: 63
edited March 2014 in Honda
My short list is down to a Jetta TDI wagon or the Civic Hybrid.
I'm leaning toward the Jetta, primarily for these reasons:
  1) more fun to drive
  2) available as a wagon
  3) diesel technology has a proven track record, hybrid does not.
  4) locally available with manual transmission (which seems to be even harder to find in the Hybrid)
  5) better safety features (head curtain air bags, ESP skid protection with brake-assist)
  6) nicer interior (except for cramped rear leg room)

Big plusses for the Hybrid include:
  1) cleaner emissions (though the TDI probably will narrow the gap as low-suphur diesel and biodiesel become more available; I can get biodiesel delivered to my home in bulk)
  2) better reliability, at least until the batteries wear out
  3) sales tax-free in Maryland through June 30
  4) no trouble finding fuel (though this does not seem to be a huge issue for my area)

Total price-to-purchase is very close for the 2 cars; fuel mileage is similar (probably with a real-world advantage for the Jetta in mostly highway driving); both get good safety ratings for their class. So I tend to weight subjective factors ("fun to drive") fairly heavily. And, since I live in farm country, biodiesel has a little extra appeal to me.

Anyone care to add or take issue with anything?


  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    I think you have done good research. I would lean to the Jetta for the wagon's extra room. I would also get the bumper to bumper extended warranty. Although I believe VW is now 4 years 50k miles standard warranty. Have you talked to anyone that has tried the bio-diesel in a TDI? I would be curious as to how well it performs. Good luck with your purchase.
  • pusterracingpusterracing Member Posts: 186
    "...I believe VW is now 4 years 50k miles standard warranty."


    Basic Warranty 4yr/50K
    Drivetrain 5yr/60k
    Roadside 4yr/50K
    Rust 12yr/unlimited

    I have never tried Bio-Diesel in mine so I can't answer that question. I have been extremely pleased with the mileage I have received from my car and the drivability of the car. My only complaint is the rear leg room, but then again my kids are 3 and 2, so they have little legs. I also know that Hybrid owners have been real pleased with their cars as well.

    My suggestion....take a 24hour drive (if Honda will let you do that...I know VW will let you take one home overnight to test) in each of them back to back.
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    you can drive the hybrid in the carpool lane, not the TDI. Of course, if you are genuinely rural where you live, then you probably don't care about that!

    I read an article where someone was running biodiesel all the time in their VW TDI, with good results. Funnily enough, the cost in dollars was not much less than buying regular diesel from the gas station, but of course the emissions are WAY less.

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

  • tom21769tom21769 Member Posts: 63
    I'm rural enough that I don't care too much about being able to drive in the carpool lanes.
    Nice to know about this, though.

    In our area, petro diesel has been running about $1.75/gallon. Soy biodiesel (available in a neighboring county) is offered as follows:

    At the pump
    B2 - $1.75/gallon
    B100 - $2.799/ gallon
    Bulk delivery
    B20 (on road use) - $2.159/gallon
    B100 (on road use) - $3.199/gallon

    As for the emissions, a study I read last night indicated that, in general, emissions are indeed way less for biodiesel than for petro diesel. However, for oxides of nitrogen (NOx), it appears they actually INcrease a bit with biodiesel. Better technologies (fuel side or car side) can further improve diesel emissions, whether we're talking about bio or petro varieties.

    I think it is a shame (shameful, even) that these technologies are not widely available here, as they are in Europe. For my money, diesel technologies (encompassing new European engine designs, biodiesel, and low sulphur petro diesel) are perhaps this country's best hope for greater energy independence and cleaner air. It is quite amazing that these possibilities are hardly registering on the political radar screen, when we could be driving longer-lasting engines, polluting less, and importing less foreign oil (all with technologies available now and suitable for cars both large and small).
  • pusterracingpusterracing Member Posts: 186
    "you can drive the hybrid in the carpool lane, not the TDI"

    This statement baffles me. I drive my TDI in carpool lanes all the time (provided I have the minimum # of people in my vehicle). There is nothing that says you cannot drive diesel vehicles in the carpool lane.

    If you are speaking of having 4 people in a Jetta, that is quite easy to do. The rear legroom is a bit cramped for 6' adults ,but it is not so uncomfortable that it is impossible. It is done all of the time. The Jettas rear seat/legroom is comparable to that of the Civic.

    I still think the best way to compare them for buying is to keep them overnight back to back. Drive them and get a feel for them. I think fuel mielage will be comparable, so it is a question of emissions (which with your biodiesel should help the TDI become less poluntant) if that is important, room (wagon vs sedan), and "drivability".

    Oh, and yea, enjoy the tests.
  • djasonwdjasonw Member Posts: 624
    I think he meant with ONE passenger in a hybrid.
  • pusterracingpusterracing Member Posts: 186
    Was not aware that you could do that in a Hybrid...haven't heard that one. The vehicle with a single passenger that I knew you could use in a HOV was a motorcycle. Interesting.....tuck that little fact into the back of my brain. :)
  • daysailerdaysailer Member Posts: 720
    in the hybrid vehicle population in Northern Virginia in recent months, usually traveling the HOV lane with only one person aboard. I fail to understand how a (perhaps) 45 passenger mile/gallon hybrid is a greater public benefit than, say a 60-90(or better) passenger mile/gallon conventional car (3people @ 20-30mpg), not to mention the congestion/parking issues.
  • djasonwdjasonw Member Posts: 624
    Makes sense, but absent carpooling they want to give people an incentive to buy fuel efficent cars. I think that anything that gets over 40 MPG should be allowed to use the carpool lanes with a single passenger. Maybe a special sticker in the windshield would suffice.
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    the HOV benefit was originally offered to get people into electric vehicles, but when they flopped, they made the rule for hybrids as well in the same vein.

    And yes, I meant solo driving in the HOV lane.

    tom: at the level that NOx emissions are in general, it is probably a net benefit that biodiesel reduces particulate spewing as much as it does, even if it marginally increases NOx emissions.

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

  • usbseawolf2000usbseawolf2000 Member Posts: 759
    Would it void the drivetrain warrenty? Does VW user manual say that you can officially use biodiesel?

  • usbseawolf2000usbseawolf2000 Member Posts: 759
    " I fail to understand how a (perhaps) 45 passenger mile/gallon hybrid is a greater public benefit than, say a 60-90(or better) passenger mile/gallon conventional car (3people @ 20-30mpg), not to mention the congestion/parking issues. "

    Think green. A combination of higher fuel economy and lower emission is the key. To my knowledge, Focus PZEV and Camry PZEV do not qualify for HOV lanes. Offering just lower emssion nor high fuel economy will not cut into the HOV lane. You'll need both.

  • oldboyoldboy Member Posts: 59
    According to what I have read elsewhere, Volkswagen does not officially approve of biodiesel fuel available here in the USA, but they do accept it in Europe. My understanding is that there is no acceptable standards in force here yet for biodiesel. Therefore if it should cause trouble, the user would likely be on his own. Given the lousy diesel fuel that we have here, it is a wonder to me that Volkswagen accepts that!
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    I don't see any advantage to the car pool lane here in CA. The one between San Diego and Los Angeles has limited entry and exit. Invariably I get behind someone that is not going to exceed 55 mph, probably trying to squeeze every last mile out of his engine. It can be several miles before you can exit the lane. No real advantage when the flow of traffic is 70-75 mph most of the way. Just my experience.
  • djasonwdjasonw Member Posts: 624
    Same thing on Long Island. You get one shmuck going 60 in the exclusive carpool lane (off hours) and the rest of the traffic is cruising at 65-75. Drives me NUTS!
  • bd21bd21 Member Posts: 437
    In Virginia, effective next month hybrids will no longer have the benefit of using the HOV with less than 3 people in the car. Now hybrids will be treated just like all other cars. It was nice while it lasted. I guess we will have to see if all other state that offer that benefit will follow suit.
  • tom21769tom21769 Member Posts: 63
    That's interesting (about Virginia).
    In Maryland, too, the tax holiday on Energy Star products (including Hybrid vehicles) ends after June 30.
    After that, you no longer can buy your Hybrid vehicle free of state sales tax in Maryland.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    The better fuel mileage and good feeling you get by helping clean our air should be subsidy enough.
  • vwinvavwinva Member Posts: 71
    I can speak from both sides. I drive an 02 Jetta TDI, the other half drives an 03 Civic Hybrid. MPG: I get low 40s driving 85mi/day, she gets low 50s doing 100mi/day. MAINT: TDI saves me as much on maintainance as it does on fuel. Oil chg every 10K, filters every 40K, belt at 80K. Honda requires a service - dealer - every 3000mi. DRIVING: Civic accelerates better. Other than that, par between the two. Couple of items I would note a) the battery pack in the Hybrid needs to be changed at 100K. Estimated cost @$1500. b) TDI can be rigged to tow a trailer.
    BTW - 40 cetane diesel is selling for $.25/gal less than 87 octane gas in VA.
  • rfruthrfruth Member Posts: 630
    Good comparison thanks, couple questions

    what service does the Civic need every 3000 mi ?

    what happens if the battery pack isn't changed at 100K ?
  • vwinvavwinva Member Posts: 71
    Hybrid has same service requirements as standard Civic. Oil change 3K, tune-up 15K, Major service 30K. Keeping to the schedule is important in order to maintain fuel efficiency.

    Battery. Over time any battery will loose its capacity to recharge. By 100K the battery pack hits the inflection point where its ability to take and hold a charge drops. The battery pack is what gives you the 50+ mpg since this is where the charge from the regenerative braking is stored. With a weaker battery fuel economy will go down since more of the load will be thrown on the gas engine.
  • well_informedwell_informed Member Posts: 34
    ""I can speak from both sides. I drive an 02 Jetta TDI, the other half drives an 03 Civic Hybrid. ""

    Manuals? Both?

    ""MPG: I get low 40s driving 85mi/day, she gets low 50s doing 100mi/day.""

    I'm a bit surprised at how good the Civic Hybrid is above. COuld you be more precise? What is the Cumulative MPG on the Civic's Computer? (Lifetime MPG)? (Eg. 48.7 mpg) I was expecting less than 45. And would you call her commute pure highway. or what mix of city and highway? or empty country road driving at 50 mph?

    Then, if you have the same number for the TDI, use the avarage fuel prices for each (very different, diesel is far cheaper than even regular in most states),

    And find the true average Operating, fuel cost in $/mile, or miles/$, foe each car.

    " MAINT: TDI saves me as much on maintainance as it does on fuel. "

    And don''t forget the longevity of the diesel.

    ""Oil chg every 10K, filters every 40K, belt at 80K. Honda requires a service - dealer - every 3000mi.""

    How much do they charge for each such 3k service?

    ""DRIVING: Civic accelerates better. Other than that, par between the two. Couple of items I would note a) the battery pack in the Hybrid needs to be changed at 100K. Estimated cost @$1500. b) TDI can be rigged to tow a trailer.
    BTW - 40 cetane diesel is selling for $.25/gal less than 87 octane gas in VA. ""

    Actually VA has some of thw lowest gas prices in the Nation, as you can see from the AAA Fuelgauge site, go to the state by state page.
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    charges $32.95 for the 3K service (oil and filter change, fluids top-off) and started recommending 5K intervals for this minor service several years ago. I am surprised if the HCH's manual recommends 3K intervals for this, as I thought most Hondas were now on a 5000/7500-mile interval, depending on use.

    Sounds like, given those (broad) real-world mileage numbers above, the HCH driver is saving about $5 per week over driving the TDI. Is $250/year enough to pay for the extra maintenance the Honda requires? I would think so - the Honda gets one of those big 30K services that costs $300-400.

    Do the VW's oil changes require synthetic oil at twice the price of the Honda's dyno oil changes? Or does the Honda's 0W-20 oil cost so much from Honda as to eliminate that cost savings?

    I will certainly wait to see, and this pair would be a PERFECT test duo, but I would be surprised if the Honda needs an entirely new battery pack at 100K. More likely, its fuel economy advantage over the TDI will slip a bit, and I would love to know how much. I bet it will still be ahead.

    Incidentally, vwinva, have you and your spouse ever tried switching cars for a week to see how the fuel economy changes? Perhaps an average differential could be computed if so.

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

  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Actually Honda says 10,000 mile oil changes for non-severe usage, more often if "severe" conditions apply. Nowhere do they say 3000 miles.

    Tune ups at 105,000 miles not that there is much to "tune up" anymore.
  • vwinvavwinva Member Posts: 71
    To answer some of the questions:

    Transmission: Jetta is automatic, Civic is stick. Jetta stick would get high 40s.

    Driving mix: Jetta 70% Interstate, 30% local Hybrid: 80/20.

    Civic MPG: Consistently above 50MPG. Suspect this is a combination of cruise control and efficient recharging coming down off the hills. Civic uses 87 Octane.

    Jetta oil: 5W40 synthetic. Meets the VW 505.2 spec. Can get it at Wal-Mart.

    Fuel price: As of 6/21 40 Cetane Diesel was $1.699/gal, 87 Octane was $1.919/gal at the Shell I buy from.

    Additives: I use 4oz of Powerservice's Diesel Kleen + Cetane Boost with each tank. Separates water in the fuel, cleans injectors. and delays ignition. Have run tank tests with/without. Recovers 90% of the cost of the additive from improved fuel economy. Can get it at Wal-Mart.
    Hybrid uses straight 87 octane from Shell.

    DIY maintainance: Have changed oil, air & fuel filters, rotated tires, cleaned the snorkle (lead in to air filter)myself. Not difficult though tedious since VW put covers under and over the engine that have to be taken off and put back on every time. Will leave the timing belt to a mechanic. Hybrid goes to dealer since it is still under warranty.

    Equipment failures: none

    Modifications: Civic is stock. Jetta has had ECU upgraded to Upsolute chip. More HP, More Torque. $325. With mod. the Jetta accelerates like a Gas 4. If it keeps me from being rear-ended once on the Interstate, it's paid for itself.
  • moparbadmoparbad Member Posts: 3,870
    TDI requires VW 505.01 oil for the PD TDI (2004-2005) and for 1996-2003 TDI VW 505.00 oil is required. Have no idea how you arrived at the 505.2 number as it is not applicable for TDI and I don't believe it is even a VW oil spec.
    For the 1996-2003 TDI you can also go by API ratings. CH-4, CG-4, or CI-4. 5W-40 is preferred and 5W-30 may be used. If you use the API rating make sure you obtain a full synthetic.
  • oldboyoldboy Member Posts: 59
    Moparbad makes a good point. If you have a new VW TDI, be absolutely sure that you use 505.01 oil. VW says it is critical, even puts a sticker on the engine, and will deny warranty coverage if there is damage from using the wrong oil. There is 505.01 Castrol oil that is only available from your VW dealer, but at high prices. If you have your oil changes done at the dealer, be sure that your service tech. does not put in cheaper oil, as some have done! Motul has the 505.01 oil (imported), and it is available on the internet, if you want to do your own oil changes. Accept no substitutes!
  • vwinvavwinva Member Posts: 71
    1. Oil: Spec is 505. Alzheimers....
    2. Towing: Towed an open-top trailer filled with brush this weekend. Jetta lost 10mpg when towing. Acceleration poor but no other noticeable driving problems while towing.
    3. A/C: Hybrid does not take a hit when running A/C. Surprised but true. Jetta looses @ 2mpg. Both get the cabin cool and keep that way quickly.
    4. Noise: Hybrid is very quiet. Engine shut-down at a stop can spook you until you get used to it. Jetta is a diesel and you know it.
    5. MPG impact of chipping the ECU: None. Upsolute says on their website that MPG can increase or decrease 10% depending on car and driving style.
  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    By popular demand, we've created a separate discussion for the Jetta TDI. Join us at VW Jetta TDI to talk about the diesel version of this sedan. You don't really have to own one to participate, an interest in the subject will gain you admission! ;)

    Pat, Sedans Host
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
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  • ruking1ruking1 Member Posts: 19,826
    I am also interested in the Civic hybrid! I am the owner of a (bought new in ap 2003) 2003 VW Jetta TDI with app 32,000 miles. I am getting the feeling that the operating costs between the TDI and Civic hybrid are pretty close, especially if one does not exceed 100,000 miles. The acquistion costs and depreciation are two variables that probably make the hybrids cost more.

    I have a much longer time and mileage frame than that for the VW Jetta TDI. I am considering either the Prius or Civic hybrid when and if it comes time.(or even another TDI)
  • crv16crv16 Member Posts: 205
    Is that a conventional Civic is much more cost effective than either a TDI or Hybrid.

    I average 40mpg in the summer and 37 in the winter with my Honda Civic EX (5 speed) with a 60/40 Interstate/rural roads mix. A Civic EX is several thousand dollars cheaper than a TDI or Hybrid. The 10-30% increase in fuel economy a TDI or Hybrid provides will never make up the difference in purchase price.
  • sebring95sebring95 Member Posts: 3,241
    I would agree assuming you're going to keep the vehicle a very long period of time. The resale on the TDI (or maybe civic hybrid, who knows) should be several thousand more than a standard civic for many years to come. I just did a blue book on my '00 TDI and a similarly equipped Civic. The TDI was about $2200 more. I don't recall what the difference in price was back in '00 when they were new. As far as total out of pocket and operating expenses, there are cheaper alternatives than the hybrids/diesels IMHO.

    The resale value on the tail-end is always a big question, but one thing we do know is that the TDI's hold their value very well. Assuming the market doesn't become flooded with cheap diesel alternatives, I see that statistic holding true. Who knows on the hybrids. Will a civic hybrid with 200k miles be a white elephant? Old diesels banging around still bringing prime dollar; passats, jettas, MB's, ever price a used full-size pickup with 300k miles?? Still big money!
  • crv16crv16 Member Posts: 205
    TMV for a Jetta GLS TDI 5 spd is 20,081. TMV for a Civic EX 5spd is $16,273.

    Civic loses $8,265 over 5 years in depreciation
    Jetta loses $11,018 over 5 years in depreciation

    One would pay almost $4,000 more for a Jetta over a Civic, PLUS have almost $3,000 more in depreciation. All to save a few hundred bucks in gas costs?
  • ruking1ruking1 Member Posts: 19,826
    Again that is why the time horizon is much longer for the TDI. (in my case 500,000 to 1M) The Civic is a hard car to beat. (per mile driven) but if you compare a 2.0 and or 1.8T vs TDI then it makes all the sense in the world. When you compare the Civic (Corolla) against a Prius there is even a greater BE point.

    Given my time and mileage horizon ((in my case 500,000 to 1M) the TDI made economic sense over the Civic/Corolla.
  • sebring95sebring95 Member Posts: 3,241
    I'd have to disagree with Edmunds TMV depreciation on the Jetta. According to their figures, the Jetta would be worth about $9,000 in five years/75k miles. That's basically where I'm at with my TDI except it has 84k miles and "blue books" (more of an industry standard than edmunds) around $10,000. And looking at recent Ebay sales, the blue-book price is probably conservative. I've been watching closely because I think I'm going to sell mine and get a Passat TDI.

    I get a TMV for Civic at $16,730 as well if you include side airbags which are standard on the Jetta (and have been since '99). You'll save about $1,000 in fuel in 75k miles with the TDI over a Civic. I guess that's ten hundred bucks, lol!

    You're probably right though, it very likely is cheaper to drive the Civic even if you assume my higher (according to current prices)resale figures. I didn't realize civics were still that cheap.
  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Member Posts: 2,798
    "blue books" (more of an industry standard than edmunds)
    I have to disagree, unless you are in California, no one uses blue book. In all my previous dealings with cars, Edmunds was the closest to real world prices. Which are pretty much on par with Gavins (sp??) or whatever "black book" people in the business use.
  • sebring95sebring95 Member Posts: 3,241
    Dealers use black book or NADA. Banks use blue book. However, Blue Book Private party value is very good, in fact in appears Edmunds is very very close on their private party value as well (within $100 on my TDI).

    Doing a little research...Edmunds says my five-year old TDI with 85k miles is worth $10,500 private value. According to their cost-to-own depreciation, a 2004 TDI will be worth $10,341 in five years/75k miles. This seems low considering how much the MSRP and selling prices have gone up over the last five years. Do they anticipate TDI's losing value more quickly for some reason? Predicting resale value can be tough but it's a fact that diesels are always strong on the resale side. Hybrids....unknown.
  • stevedebistevedebi Member Posts: 4,098
    The Civic hybrid has a different engine than the normal Civic. I think it is a 1.3L as opposed to the 1.7L in the ICE only version.

    So it is quite possible that the oil change interval for the Civic Hybrid is 3K Miles, while the normal Civic is 5K miles (assuming severe schedule - the "normal" maintenance on the ICE Civic is 10K miles).

    Can a Civic Hybrid owner check their owner's manual and tell us the oil change interval recommendations?
  • patrpatr Member Posts: 6
    Completely different cars.
    TDI Wagon has is a very practical vehicle with good mileage. Civic Hybrid has excellent mileage but you are losing a lot of practicality because of size.
    My Golf's cargo room is very impressive.
  • mistermemisterme Member Posts: 407
    HCH is 1.3L.
    Oil change interval is 10K miles if the vehicle used in an ideal environment (Honda calls this "normal environment")
    Or 5K miles if driven in real-life conditions. (Honda call this "severe")

    I wouldn't call my MPG results normal or something someone else should expect but I've gotten over 60MPG per calculated tank for the last several months from my HCH, above 57MPG since I bought the car last January and 25,500 miles ago.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    I've gotten over 60MPG per calculated tank for the last several months from my HCH, above 57MPG since I bought the car last January and 25,500 miles ago.

    I have noticed that the Honda HCH & Insight are capable of very high mileage, 60 or over mpg. Where the Prius seems to peak at about 53 mpg. What do you attribute that difference to?
  • mistermemisterme Member Posts: 407
    One attribute is my driving environment.
    I live 45 mile N. of Atlanta, out where things grow.
    I leave the house at about 4:30PM on my commute into the city of Atlanta. 40% rural country road with few stops. The rest is freeway with 4 miles of very heavy city traffic.
    Since 99% of the traffic is fleeing the city my side is light.

    I leave work at 2AM and drive onto a nearly abandoned freeway. No one bothers me going 53-65 in the far right lane. I take the same country road back home and only need to worry about an occasional deer.

    As I mentioned.....this won't work for most people.

    2nd Thing I attribute is something xcel (Wayne) showed me right off and that is driving with load.
    It adds about 10 minutes to each of my 45 mile trips but I usually roll in at 60-64MPG, versus the mid 50's I'd otherwise get with cruise, etc.
    Pretty good trade off.
  • marcbmarcb Member Posts: 152
    You have a very interesting discussion here. I have a 01 Toy Prius and have been looking closely if I should get a used TDI Jetta for it's a replacement when the lease ends next year. As much as I like the Prius I figure getting a much older TDI would save me money on payments and fuel, and still have enough life for long term use.

    So far based on the computer the Prius have been about 50 mpg. The TDI I hope should be near that but even if not, the money I save from the monthly payment should more than make that up.

    However for me, there are some things that are giving me thoughts about the TDI.

    First, I've resigned myself to shifting gears again. A real pain, but an automatic diesel doesn't offer much fuel advantage so there is no sense in going in that direction. Pro TDI posters like to gloss over this fact but it's a real show stopper. At least I can put up with stick, but in the real world majority can NOT.

    Heat: Heat in the Prius comes in really quickly. Not only does the engine easily warm up, it has it's own electric heater. I know some Jettas have seat warmers, but I'm more concerned with the infant and the little kid behind. I'd rather have the heaters come quickly for their sake than have a toasty butt.

    Warm up: With the Prius, I don't do warm ups. I just turn the key and go, no several seconds of shivery warm ups. This is because immediately after start, I let the electric propel me thru the neighborhood while the engine idle evenly in the background warming up. By the time I get to the main road I can gently bring it up to speed, and by the time I reach the highway I'm all set to accelerate.

    Worse, is when I have to swap both cars in/out of my narrow single car garage. I'm not sure if TDI will take kindly to a 30 second start/backout/backin/stop thing. Not even sure if my wife can learn to shift gears long enough to back out the diesel from the driveway if she needs to get the van from the garage.

    So far those are the things making me balk at right now.


    misterme: Can you explain more or point me to the thread about that driving with load thing you mentioned? I'd like to know more, thanks.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    Well, your decision between a new Hybrid versus a TDI comes down in part to "how much do you want to pollute?" to get the car you want.

    Diesels are efficient but are still BAD polluters - even the "clean" diesel is still much dirtier than gasoline exhaust. ( Unless you convert to bio-diesel !! )

    As far as cost, you can get a 2004 Civic Hybrid for about $19500 in many places that still have a couple (or one) left over from the 2004 model year, and usually not much more for a 2005.

    So good luck on your choice and hope you get the car and features you want/need.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    I have a 01 Toy Prius and have been looking closely if I should get a used TDI Jetta for it's a replacement when the lease ends next year.

    I would think you could buy the Prius for less than a Jetta TDI. Do you have a buyout clause in your lease. Is there some reason you want to get rid of the 2001 Prius? Sounds like you are happy with the car.
  • sebring95sebring95 Member Posts: 3,241
    I would think if absolute cheap was your goal, an older civic or corolla would be a better bet than either. Might not get 50mpg, but will be cheaper to buy and drive. As for the transmission, you could likely get 40mpg with an automatic TDI, which is still pretty darned good. How you drive has a lot to do with it. A lot of the TDI crowd (such as myself) bought them because not only do they get excellent mpg, they also can be quick and drive like much more powerful vehicles with a few small adjustments. Driving very conservatively can get you some very good mpg. I don't drive conservatively, but still average 46-47mpg.

    As for the heat issue, the TDI's do take longer to warm up than a typical gasser, particularly the older ones. There is a electric heater that can be added though and will make the car start like a 90F day and you'll have instant heat from the vents. I have one on my car and it's set on a timer to come on three hours before I leave. It's a convenience and to get heat instantly. If I don't plug it in, it takes about 5 miles before you really start feeling the heat.

    As for the drive-way doesn't matter. No vehicle will take kindly to that, although it's likely a very long-term issue. Each cold start causes wear, although for what it's worth, the TDI is a much more robust engine block and requires synthetic oil so it's possible there could be slightly less wear than a gasser. The only reason short trips are hard on a diesel is because they take a little longer to warm up so instead of needing 5 miles to hit operating temperature, they need 10. Or whatever.
  • marcbmarcb Member Posts: 152
    To larsb:

    Exactly what I'm planning to do larsb. Coming out of a fuel efficient green car, I can't go back really that far. In fact later I may go all the way and play around with used veggie oil conversion, the ultimate fuel mizer. Just 2 rows away lives a chinese couple owning a fast food check out and I'm sure I can get used oil for the asking.

    To gagrice:

    Yup, there is a buyout clause to my lease end next year. However I don't want to be on loan again for the next 4 to 5 years. This hybrid thing IS expensive even when already depreciated. The TDI I'm looking at is some really good old used ones, around 97 upwards, that I can pay off in a year or so. Loaned from my personal credit line as it won't be loanable under a bank.
    Since this is just a 2nd car, I really don't need a car with all sorts of bells and whistles. All I need is a reliable fuel efficient car for work and picking up my kid from school on the way home. I have a good mechanic friend who picks up our car whenever we need them fixed.

    As much as I like this hybrid, thats one thing I have against it too. I got some error which we were able to check with an OBD scanner and we tried opening the dash once. My mechanic friend gave up as there were too many wires he was unfamiliar with.

    To sebring95.

    Thanks for the advice. Yup, been considering those too, even some geo metros and suzuki swifts and tercels. Still as I mentioned to larsb above, I wanna be able to go all the way to used veggie too be energy independent (still to be seen if I can). To me this is where all our problem starts, we are too dependent on others for our energy.

    As for the swap, I already use mobil1 for my Prius and all my cars so the wear factor should be about the same on whatever type of car I have to switch.

    NOW... if only somebody sells me their 7 year old used cheap diesel serial hybrid I could run on used veggie oil I'll be in heaven. But I guess thats like 20 years from now yet.
  • sebring95sebring95 Member Posts: 3,241
    Well if Veggie is your goal, then the TDI is about it. However, I'll warn that if your trips are rather short the veggie isn't all it's cracked up to be. You still need dino-diesel to start/shut-down the vehicle and it has to reach operating temperature before you can switch to veggie. Obviously, folks driving tons of miles love it. But for around town, you'd really need an electric heater to that you could quickly switch to veggie, and you'd still need to switch back to petrol a few miles before getting home.

    Biodiesel might be a better choice for you, as it's more user friendly (if treated/mixed properly) for short-distance driving.

    BTW, have you looked at what the market is like for your Prius? I know some of them are selling used for similar to new prices since Toyota can't seem to produce many of them. You might be able to buy it for the residual value and then resell it for a profit. Something to consider.
  • electrictroyelectrictroy Member Posts: 564
    If the Insight Hybrid did not exist, I would buy a Jetta Diesel car. Reason:

    - The diesel car is simpler (1 engine) compared to the Civic Hybrid (1 engine + 1 motor), and therefore less things can go wrong.

    But since the Insight Hybrid exists and I can get 85 lifetime MPG, I chose that.
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