Alternatives to Volkswagen Diesels Worth Considering

2015 Jetta TDI 4218

So, as most people know, the automotive world has been shaken by the announcement that Volkswagen has massively cheated on emissions testing for 11 million of its diesel-engine vehicles across the globe—482,000 in the United States. That scandal will effectively kill the market for Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars for months, if not years, to come.

What should you do, though, if you had your heart set on a diesel-engine car? It’s time to consider alternatives to the affected 2.0-liter turbodiesel models. Let’s look at the models included in the emissions scandal and suggest another good option. One important thing to point out, though, is that you can find all of these VW models with gasoline engines that were not subject to the illegal tampering. However, their fuel economy will be much lower.

Volkswagen Jetta (2009 to 2015 model year): The clear choice here would be a 2016 Mazda Mazda3. Or, if your heart is still set on a diesel, consider the Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel. Its 2.0-liter engine has gobs of torque: 264 lb-ft at 2,600 rpm.

Volkswagen Beetle (2009 to 2015 model year): If you haven’t sworn off Volkswagen, you could stick with the Beetle, but buy the R-Line with the 2.0-liter turbo. It has a 210-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, and you won’t be disappointed. Plus you should be able to get a good deal just by stepping foot on a Volkswagen dealership lot right now.

Audi A3 (2009 to 2015 model year): Take a close look at the Lexus RC F. It will probably cost more, but it will also make you forget all about not having a diesel engine. It comes equipped with a 5.0-liter V8 that produces 467 hp and 389 lb-ft of torque. Have your heart set on a diesel? An alternative might be the BMW 3 Series 328d sedan with its 2.0-liter diesel engine.

Volkswagen Golf (2009 to 2015 model year): If it’s good fuel economy you seek, there are two other options to consider as alternatives: the Toyota Prius and the Chevrolet Volt. Let’s be frank. Buying a diesel in the Golf trim really has as much to do with fuel economy as it does performance. Both the Prius and the Volt will meet your needs.

Volkswagen Passat (2014 to 2015 model year): Want to find a car almost as spacious as the Passat but much better looking? The Ford Fusion Hybrid might be a smart choice for you. Its 4-cylinder engine with electric motor has good power and is rated at 44 mpg city/41 highway. That’s pretty comparable to the 44-mpg highway rating of the Passat TDI, and it just blows away that car’s 31-mpg city fuel-economy rating. Plus, once the Passats and the other models are equipped with honest emissions equipment, who knows how low their fuel-economy numbers could drop?

Basically, when considering alternatives to Volkswagen diesels, you might want to look at gasoline versions of the same models by Volkswagen and Audi. If not, other brands offer some great diesel choices, and hybrids are probably worth a look, too.

-Keith Griffin

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