Owners of new TDI Passats have reported 45-48 mpg highway (see comments here), much better than the car’s EPA figures of 31/43. That’s one reason people like diesels. This car holds 18.5 gallons of fuel, which could easily give you close to 800 miles per tank.
The stink and clatter of older diesels is long gone. This one is quiet and clean. VW claims the engine, running on low-sulphur fuel, reduces emissions up to 90 percent over previous diesels.
We told you last month our feelings about the general snubbing of the Passat by the auto press. Though it won Motor Trend’s Car of the Year Award, there were plenty of naysayers, carpers and whiners putting it down.
The TDI has generally won their praise, though it got a predictably snide review on The Truth About Cars. Michael Karesh complains about the high mid-thirties price (he drove the top-of-the-line TDI SEL Premium), some cheap details (though its interior is much better than the bottom-line, gas-powered SE) and concludes that “it’s not the stellar car it could be with a few minor upgrades and alterations.” Hmph.
- VW has improved the interior greatly over the SE’s, to the point of its being Audi-esque.
- The engine provides great torque (236 lb-ft) to take you up to cruising speed and beyond. Its 140 hp could stand a boost, but the performance overall “was better than some of the hybrid-electric vehicles tested,” according to Ward’s Automotive (quoted here), which ranked the TDI engine one its Ten Best for 2011.
- The ride and handling seem generally acceptable, if not better, to reviewers.
- It’s made in the U.S., in Chattanooga, which keeps costs down. The standard Passat TDI starts at $25,995, very well equipped.
suspect[s] that the Passat TDI will end up with at least 20% of total Passat sales for the half-year it’s been out. Indeed, in its first two months, it captured 50% and in the first three months it captured one-third of Passat sales. There was clearly some pent up demand for this diesel.
Autoweek had four of its editors drive the entry-level gas-powered Passat SE, and they liked it, for the most part, but not the inline 5-cylinder 2.5-liter that powers it. Lackluster, sluggish and noisy was the general judgment. Most preferred other engines, particularly the TDI, as their choice for this car.
If Volkswagen can finally develop a market for the Passat TDI, it will be a test for the future of U.S. diesels. Do you think the company can do it?