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

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Comments

  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,439
    I honestly want a real-world combined 60 mpg, and from what I hear, such a thing does exist in other parts of the world, right now.

    I think that is about what the VW Polo TDI gets. If I spent nearly as much time in a vehicle as you, I would have to have more luxury than you seem happy with. I could drive a Yaris/Fit the 3 miles to the store and not be unhappy. Driving the 30 miles into San Diego would be a real chore for me.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    "Payoff" and "Payback" are severely misused terms when used in regard to automobile expenditures.

    No car "pays" anyone back. All cars lose market value almost daily, and are a consumable resource, not an investment.

    You can claim "payback" because you are saving fuel money after 5 years or whatever, but you did have a car payment or an initial outlay of cash, paying for a vehicle which is losing value while you are paying it off.

    As any general rule, there are slight exceptions in regard to "hot cars" and "rare cars" and "collector cars" but in general terms, no "daily driver" car does anything but COST you money.

    There is no daily driver anywhere which at the end of 10 years would have "paid you back" more than you spent on buying it, insuring it, fueling it, and maintaining it. Owning and operating a car is a money-losing venture.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    Driving the 30 miles into San Diego would be a real chore for me.

    Bah, 30 miles is a trip to Wal-mart for me. If you have some sort of medical condition, I can understand that, but otherwise the quote about the Duke of Alba and men of butter is coming to mind. :P
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    I don't think there's any comparison bwtween an Yaris and a Jetta, either in comfort, trim levels, size, perhaps safety, etc. They're simply in different size categories. If I'm following your line, then a Vespa is the winner.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,751
    "So you would save less than $400/year going with the diesel ("less than", because diesel costs more than 87 unleaded), making the "payoff" (a popular term from the folks who don't think much of hybrids) around 12 years going with the VW."

    That always makes me smile. Not how long it would take but trying to imagine a VW running for 12 years. I am sure the engine would last but the rest of the car isn't likely to. Not with what any longevity study ever says about VWs. And not with my experience. Like I said the old Rabbit Diesel got great fuel mileage. But the car was a bucket of bolts.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,439
    Bah, 30 miles is a trip to Wal-mart for me.

    Being a truck person I like the ease of entry and exit. Our Lexus is a strain in the back getting in and out. Nothing serious just not comfortable. My question is WHY would you want to be uncomfortable if you can afford otherwise? I'm cheap, but still like some level of comfort. I don't turn on the air in the house till it passes 80 which it rarely does. Frugality is one thing. Being cramped in a small less than safe car goes beyond that for me. There is no way that the 5 stars on a Civic will hold up against the 4 stars on an F150 PU truck. There are more PU trucks running around here than there are Civics. BY FAR....

    I am very much thinking about a X5 diesel when they arrive this year. Great safety and an easy 30 MPG on the highway will be reason enough.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Gary says, " There is no way that the 5 stars on a Civic will hold up against the 4 stars on an F150 PU truck."

    I guess you are talking only about a "highway speed head-on collision" which is one of the most rare types of wrecks. And yes, in THAT one type of collision the Civic would lose badly.

    But in every OTHER kind of wreck, a Civic will do just fine.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    One of the original, most desirable characteristics of the Mercedes diesels of the 300 series was that you could enjoy big car luxury at small car fuel prices.

    This still makes the most sense to me for diesel cars in America.

    I think there are many Americans who would buy a diesel but simply will not drive a Yaris-sized car under any circumstances. They'd take a bus before they'd do that.

    CORRECTION: There is a diesel pump in my town! The bad news? It's $5.34 a gallon, and the same station is selling 87 octane gas at $4.11.
  • 1stpik1stpik Posts: 495
    Plus, diesel smells bad.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,568
    I could drive a Yaris/Fit the 3 miles to the store and not be unhappy. Driving the 30 miles into San Diego would be a real chore for me.

    I know the feeling. I call my uncle's '03 Corolla a "Ten Minute Car". As in, that's about the longest I can comfortably stand it for. Now I have driven it to PA twice, about 115 miles away. And I took my Grandmother down to see my Mom for Mother's day back in 2007 in it. That was about 55 miles. So yes, I could tolerate it. But "tolerate" and "be comfortable" are not exactly synonyms!

    Oddly though, it's not a bad car to ride in, as a front seat passenger. Maybe because as a passenger I'm just sitting there, feet on the floor, whereas with the driver the pedals are taking up a few inches of legroom, plus I have to dodge the steering column with my knee when I take my foot from the gas pedal to the brake pedal.

    It's also not a bad car for entry and exit. It just sucks if you have long legs and prefer a driving position where you can stretch out.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    The seating height thing I can understand. Some folks just aren't flexible enough to get by without a high chair.

    As for comfort, the only thing I don't like about most non-sporty subcompacts is that the seats aren't firm enough and generally poorly bolstered (the smart is a welcome exception in both areas). I found that a beaded seat cushion was enough to alleviate the first problem.

    The crash thing is a personal perception, and I don't think it's worth only breaking my arm versus my arm and my ribcage in a (very unlikely here) side collision, to have to put up with the myriad shortcomings of larger vehicles every day for six or seven years.

    The diesel subcompact would weigh more than the gas car, though.
  • 1stpik1stpik Posts: 495
    Too bad I didn't know my credit was wack. Now I'm driving off the lot in a diesel subcompact.

    Big D - I - E - S - E - L. That's the fuel with the nasty smell.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,439
    Diesel does not smell as toxic as gasoline. As a matter of fact diesel is not as toxic as gasoline.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,439
    I sat in the Smart in Victoria BC. They were everywhere up there. All diesel. The dealer did not think they were available with gas. The one owner I talked to was getting 72 MPG with his. Not sure how much town or highway driving he did. I would not mind having one for errands. I just don't think I would feel safe out on the Interstate at 75 MPH with all the huge PU trucks and SUVs. I would not consider the gas version. Until CA bans ethanol in the gas I will not buy another gas vehicle. As soon as I buy my new diesel SUV whichever one that is I will sell this gas hog Sequoia. No more gas for me except in my beater PU and the old Lexus LS400.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Americans are not too keen on Smart cars. Too toy-like for our tastes. And no room to haul anything. This seems like a very minor novelty market, and the Smart car has lost money all over the world anyway.

    I live in, and have recently visited, some of the "greenest" communities in the United States (San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Boulder Colorado) and Smart cars are few and far between. One sees far more MINIS, and legions of Priuses.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,439
    If BMW were to offer a diesel Mini I would be tempted. They are a cool little car. The Smart is very different. The Prius is pure GEEK or old woman.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    Europe has had the Mini Cooper D(iesel) since Day 1 almost. No sightings on this continent, of course.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I'd find a diesel MINI very tempting.
  • http://www.leftlanenews.com/mini-dealers-virtually-sold-out-for-2008-diesel-powe- red-mini-confirmed-for-us.html

    In another bit of Mini news, McDowell revealed that a 50-state legal diesel-powered Mini is headed to the U.S., but failed to mention a timeframe for launch. We can only image the waiting lists for a 50+ mpg version of the sporty hatch.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    I think that is about what the VW Polo TDI gets. If I spent nearly as much time in a vehicle as you, I would have to have more luxury than you seem happy with.

    I hear you, and I understand this is a common complaint. Me, I like 'em as basic as I can get 'em. And the Polo TDI sounds like it could be my next car if they were to get it here in time. As it is, I think the Honda CRZ hybrid will get to market first, and I will probably go for that one.

    But comments like yours are why I wish some of the automakers would get serious about offering more variety in smaller cars, and making high fuel economy a priority in their design. Then we could have more small to medium cars with nicer appointments for folks who want all that stuff.

    altair: I don't think there's any comparison bwtween an Yaris and a Jetta, either in comfort, trim levels, size, perhaps safety, etc.
    Actually, the comparison I was attempting to make was between Civic/Corolla and Jetta.

    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
    Gasoline smells good??
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    Why would the average consumer buy a car that gets 20% better mpg than a gasoline car, only to pay 20% more for the fuel?
    Because that is not the way it works sometimes. Diesel has come down much quicker in price than gasoline. Right now, gas is $3.75 and diesel is $4.21 and dropping around here. That is not 20% more. I've had this car several years and diesel has sometimes been far less than gas in price, so that needs to be figured in as well. Diesels almost always do better than the EPA ratings. Right now, I am getting 52 mpg (about 35% city/65 hwy) with my stick shift Golf TDI. That is way more than 20% better than the gasser. I easily go 600 miles between fills. The Golf is well equipped, and comfortable. In 52,000 miles I have seen no downside.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,699
    Gasoline smells good. Diesel smells bad. Everybody knows that.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Americans are not too keen on Smart cars.

    Penske originally estimated 20,000 sales the first year. He's revised that to 24,000. Penske says he could sell 32,000 units in '09 if Daimler can deliver them.

    US Smart car distributor hikes sales estimates

    MINI sales should be about 60,000 units this year for comparison.

    Now throw a diesel smart or MINI into the mix....
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    A car company can't survive on 20,000 sales a year. Only by being subsidized by a bigger parent? How much profit can you possibly make on a good quality $15,000 car?

    Through July 1 they sold about 11,000 cars. The other 9,000 remains to be seen, especially in this tough market.

    I predicted Smart will fail in America and I'm still predicting that. They haven't made money EVER, anywhere in the world, near as I can tell.

    Yes, let us compare to MINI, compare to Prius. Not even in the same league. They should compare Smarts to the Vespa or Segue market IMO.
  • 1stpik1stpik Posts: 495
    " I am getting 52 mpg (about 35% city/65 hwy) with my stick shift Golf TDI. That is way more than 20% better than the gasser."

    This is a common argument for many types of cars. An individual says that he achieves mpg on his personal vehicle that exceeds the EPA average for other types of vehicles. Then he concludes that his type of vehicle is superior to others. It's bad logic.

    However, if you are achieving 52 mpg in your TDI (not using an exceptional "one-trip" figure as your "average"), then I'm certain that you're driving in a manner known as hypermiling. If you drove any gasoline car the same way, you would achieve similarly high mpg ratings in excess of EPA averages.

    I drive a Civic Hybrid, and I'm a member of a popular hybrid vehicle forum, so I know the techniques. I don't use them, because I don't have the patience to drive at the slow speeds they dictate, and I also don't skimp on the A/C during the summer months. After 28,000 miles, I have averaged 48 mpg (calculated by the car's computer), which is 5 mpg better than the EPA rating.

    So, it's easy to beat the new ratings on an individual basis. But a statistical sampling of drivers will produce real-world mpg extremely close to what the EPA estimates on either gas or diesel cars.
  • 1stpik1stpik Posts: 495
    "Polo TDI sounds like it could be my next car if they were to get it here in time. As it is, I think the Honda CRZ hybrid will get to market first..."

    VW would have to alter the POLO to get it to meet new emissions standards. The last I heard, they had no plans to sell it in the U.S.

    Honda plans to release the CRZ in Europe in 2010, but not in the U.S. until 2011. So that'll be a long wait.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    I don't know how Penske is going to do. Smart is expected to post a profit for '08 (its first in its ten year history). link

    Penske has sold almost 14,000 smarts through 8/1/08. link

    Smart sold 12,400 units worldwide last month. link

    I haven't read about 9 month waiting lists or other big pent-up demand for diesels like I have for the smart. But it sounds like VW dealers expect to use up their allocations for the Jetta TDI due out later this month. link.

    29/40 isn't as impressive as the 60 mpg estimates we got about the Jetta's fuel efficiency back in April. The smart's mpg isn't so impressive either though, for such a little rig.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,568
    29/40 isn't as impressive as the 60 mpg estimates we got about the Jetta's fuel efficiency back in April. The smart's mpg isn't so impressive either though, for such a little rig.

    I've heard that the older versions of the Smart are actually more efficient. Supposedly the current one sold here just uses some hand-me-down Mitsubishi engine that was slapped together on the cheap, and they really didn't focus too much on fuel economy. They just wanted to rush out something that was chic and trendy.

    My mechanic has one of the older models, a 1999 I believe. He says it can get 70 mpg and more, but like Hadji once said on Jonny Quest, "I'm from Missouri!" Which means "Show Me!" or "Prove it" or something like that. :shades:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    70-75 mpg is approaching the limits of scientific possibility for any gasoline engine in a passenger car, so unless he's coasting down hills with the key off and running on 60 psi tires and all that other hypermile stuff, I'd say his claim is not credible.

    But the Smart is a kind of toy/novelty market, so I think we need to look at fuel economy in terms of 4-5 passenger "real" cars like the TDI or MINI.

    Can you guess which car this article is talking about?

    "As soon as it was announced that the X would go on sale, people stormed the 90 X dealerships, and put down deposits on the cars. They did this before even seeing the cars, much less driving them. By the time 1500 cars had arrived dealers had orders for 5 times that amount."

    Answer: The Yugo, on sale in America in 1985.

    I did check today at SIX diesel stations in my area and the average price of diesel works out to 22% higher than 87 octane gas. That's more than I thought it would be.

    This differential has to change in California or I'm not even going to look at a diesel MINI, because I'd need to get 48 mpg in the diesel MINI to just come out even on the gas model.
  • I think we could see Ford make an announcement soon that they will offer the Duratorq turbodiesel engines on the next-generation Fiesta and Focus models that are coming in 2010 for the USA market. These new US-legal diesel-powered models will use the Powershift six-speed dual-clutch transmission for very high fuel efficiency at freeway speeds. :)
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    But you might well GET 48 mpg in the Mini diesel. In fact, you might get more. I mean, it's a small light car and the GAS version will pull 40!

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

  • Why would the average consumer buy a car that gets 20% better mpg than a gasoline car, only to pay 20% more for the fuel?

    Because that is not the way it works sometimes. Diesel has come down much quicker in price than gasoline. Right now, gas is $3.75 and diesel is $4.21 and dropping around here. That is not 20% more.

    Not in my area. Diesel was .80 more than RUG, now it is $1 more. I wonder why? Gas is now $3.69 and diesel is $4.69, and that is the cash price for diesel! I'm in MA, any ideas?
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,439
    The two diesel SUVs I am considering both get 30+ MPG on the highway. My current SUV gets 15-16 MPG on the highway. That means diesel would have to be twice the price of gas to be a bad deal. In the case of the two I am looking at, both require Premium in the gas version. So when diesel is twice the price of Premium or currently that would b $8.02 per gallon it becomes a bad deal. I think in reality most of the diesels will get nearly double the gas version mileage. Especially the VW TDI, MB & BMW. Yesterday in San Diego diesel was available for $4.09 at a station close to me. I paid $4.01 for premium at Costco. For you math whiz types that is 8 cents difference. Your prices may vary. I don't ever see diesel being 30% difference. That is the least you should expect as a gain going from gas to diesel. I am not interested in the EPA figures as they are proven to be erroneous in most cases. I want to know what REAL people are getting with their cars. I ask all the time. I asked a girl yesterday how she liked her new Civic. She loved it except the mileage was way below what she expected. She was getting 25 MPG. It is rated EPA 29 MPG. So I take little stock anymore in the ratings by any publication. I want to know what different drivers get. I like the GreenHybrid site. With that many drivers you get a pretty good average.
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Pretty amazingly low price difference in your market. Certainly isn't like that here - price spread between RUG and diesel is still at 80 cents a gallon.

    II'd probably qualify your statement about ever seeing diesel being 30% difference by saying "in my market." I think it's a real possibility in the northeast part of the country.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    One thing I've noticed around here is that the price of diesel is less volatile than the price for gas: diesel doesn't rise as quickly as gas and doesn't fall as fast, and it tends to stay at one price for a while as gas will bob up and down 5 or 10 cents.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    The only Civic "rated EPA 29 mpg" is the SI, and the actual rating is 21/29. Not surprising then that the girl is getting about 25 in her normal driving, especially if she is driving it as an SI begs to be driven! ;-)

    I expect it will be a while before there is a car on the market with the performance of the Civic SI, in its price range, with a diesel engine.

    I am (a little, not a ton but a little) surprised that your Sequoia only pulls 16 mpg on highway trips?

    What German SUV with equivalent towing and interior space is or will soon be available with a diesel that will get 30 mpg on the highway? Or will you be getting a smaller vehicle as part of the trade up to 30 mpg?

    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
    Gasoline smells good?? It smells toxic, but those who like to whiff it can get pretty high...
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    I know about hypermiling and I don't use it either. You are right about gassers and EPA, but not diesels. The pre-2008 EPA tests exaggerated the mileage obtained by hybrids and underestimated mileage obtained by small diesels. Look at actual mileage experience of many drivers, not you or me.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    Don't know. Here in WI, gas is now $3.69 and I can get diesel for $4.19. Lately diesel has been falling here more than twice as fast as gas. Two weeks ago, I noticed it come down 11 cents while gas did not budge. Truckers have slowed down and that helps. If a trucker goes from 5.2 mpg to 7 mpg, that is like 25% less fuel used. Diesel inventories are beginning to reflect that.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,699
    How did the tests exaggerate? Are you basing this on analysis of the EPA testing methods or just anecdotal evidence?
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,439
    I am (a little, not a ton but a little) surprised that your Sequoia only pulls 16 mpg on highway trips?

    That is the best I have gotten with our CA gas. I got close to 18 MPG with AZ gas which was not ethanol laced. Most tanks are about 14.5 MPG with short 15 mile trips to town.

    The BMW X5 diesel is at the top of the list for me. I am sure I can squeeze at least 30 MPG on the highway with one. In the UK it gets better than the ML320 CDI. The Mercedes on the cross country was able to get almost 32 MPG on the highway. They are both smaller than the Sequoia. Still big enough for the two of us to travel comfortably or carry another couple out to the desert. We looked at smaller CUV type vehicles. None were very highly rated off road. We like to run up desert washes etc. The BMW X5 3.0L sd is rated at 40.4 MPG. That converts to 33.64 MPG US. I would be very happy getting 30 MPG in a vehicle the size of the X5.

    BMW X5 diesel
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,439
    The EPA needs several different tests that are optimized for the type. Hybrid, PHEV, Diesel, gas and EV. They want one size to fit all and that is unrealistic.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I think you're right. Diesel SUVs make way more sense to me than dinky little cars that don't carry anything anyway. The whole idea is to increase not just the MPG, but the overall ratio of people/cargo per gallon.

    For instance, to use a clumsy analogy, a city bus getting an absurd 2 mpg (they do better than that of course) that is filled with 60 people is just as economical as a 60 mpg Smart car with 2 people. (both get "120 people/miles per gallon").
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,439
    It is nice when you and I agree. I get upset with all the buses I see getting 2-6 MPG carrying 3-4 passengers. They are a good enough deal when they are full. They are a big loser when half empty. Two people in a 30 MPG diesel SUV is better than one person in a 45 MPG Prius. I don't think I have had the SUV out of the garage without my wife along. We go together. Of course ours is a gas guzzling Toyota Sequoia. I would feel much better getting 25-30 MPG in a diesel SUV.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    Where have you been? No one was getting the 60 city mpg/51 hwy claimed by the Prius prior to the the 2008 standards. Few complained about 48 mpg, but it was noted to be significantly less than the pre-08 stickers claimed. On the other hand, TDIs reportedly met pre-2008 EPA figures or bested them, especially the highway figure. This has been reported in comparison tests, auto columns, forums. I challenge you to find evidence that TDIs fail to reach EPA estimates by as the Prius did until revised figures were issued. The old standards and testing created a bias for hybrids, one that the EPA has tried to somewhat correct. Google it.

    Whatever floats yer boat, I say. If you prefer a hybrid, buy it. You will get good mileage. But my point, if I am allowed to have one, is that those who wish to forego the battery thing with all its pro and con environmental implications, still have the choice of a small diesel that will save fuel (and dollars) as well, even in the face of higher diesel fuel cost.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,439
    No one was getting the 60 city mpg

    What is significant to me is that 60 MPG figure was used to calculate the tax credit given to people buying the Prius after 2006. Those buying the Prius were given $3150 tax credit based on that very optimistic rating. By contrast the new VW Jetta TDI will only get $1300 tax credit based on a very low EPA mileage figure. VW protested which must have fell on the deaf ear of the EPA. Which tells me they have no interest in promoting high mileage vehicles unless they fit their preconceived idea of what is a good vehicle. Yet I am sure in reality the Jetta will do much better than the EPA estimate.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Gary says, "That is the best I have gotten with our CA gas."

    Gary, that reminds me. The two tanks I on which I used CA gas for my trip to Oxnard last week were:

    40.09
    37.80 (so far)

    I don't think the CA gas negatively impacted my vehicle at all. In fact, that was the only the second 40+ tank I have had since December 2007.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    Sounds like a diesel Borrego would work better for you.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Is the tax credit based SOLELY on the EPA highway rating? I thought it was based on the combined MPG?

    Regardless, there were and are people who get 60 mpg with the Prius in the City.

    Gary says, "Which tells me they have no interest in promoting high mileage vehicles unless they fit their preconceived idea of what is a good vehicle."

    Totally preposterous accusation. Again. The ratings are what the ratings are. The Jetta actually DID ONLY perform a 29/41 on the new EPA test. It was double-checked and verified like all the tests are. VW themselves got nothing better than that on the EPA test.

    The tax credit is based on that EPA number, not real-world owner mileage, not mileage achieved by diesel hypermilers, and not mileage achieved by an independent test agency.

    If you want the EPA to have a "diesel specific" test then send them a letter. If you want the EPA numbers to reflect the numbers by another testing facility, then again, send them a letter.

    They did nothing wrong and there is no anti-diesel bias involved.
This discussion has been closed.