Car and Driver Feb 2009 - some good points but they fail to compare cars across the same class. No Jetta TDI to Jetta 2.0T or 2.5 comparison.
"Hybrid vs. Diesel"
"Hybrid vs. Diesel"
They're crazy for diesel cars in Europe, where oil burners have outsold gas burners since 2006. But it won't happen here, never mind that we've already enjoyed more than 11,000 miles in our VW Jetta TDI long-term car. It brings punch, turbocharged midrange torque and a 4500 rpm redline, resulting in a vigorous runabout with a low pulse rate while cruising. Mileage so far is 37.3 mpg.
But the price of diesel fuel is a deal killer. A stop in early November at an Exxon station in the Gulf Coast town of Port St. Joe Florida was typical: At $3.30 per gallon, diesel was 94 cents more than regular, a 40-percent difference. A few weeks later, we often saw diesel priced $1 a gallon above regular in Texas.
Using the nationwide average price for diesel ($2.66) and regular gasoline ($1.89) from www.eia.doe.gov in late November, we compared the Jetta fuel costs with those of the hybrids ehre, using the EPA combined mileage for each car. Fuel cost for the diesel calculated out to 8.1 cents per mile versus 5.6 for both the Altima and the Camry, or 45 percent higher for the VW diesel over those two hybrids. So much for diesels as economy cars.
While turbo-diesels have a well earned reputation for energetic acceleration, thee hybrids here leave the Jetta for dead as it saunters to 60 in 8.1 seconds, a full second slower than the Altima and a half second behind the Camry.
For Al Gore types worried about greenhouse gasses, the diesel is a loser, too. Diesel fuel produces more carbon dioxide per gallon burned due to its higher energy content, according to www.eia.doe.gov, but it also emits more CO2 per BTU of energy. Using EPA combined mileage, the diesel Jetta emits 0.67 pound of CO2 per mile compared with 0.57 for the Altima and the Camry.
The powertrain warranty on the Jetta is five years of 60,000 miles. Nissan, Toyota, and Ford warranty the hybrid system, including the battery, for eight years or 100,000 miles (10 years or 150,000 miles in the 10 states that have adopted California emissions regulations). While "powertrain" and "hybrid system" warranties don't cover the exact same list of parts, the latter seems to offer more protection.
Diesel-car prospects for the US? Between dim and dubious.