From an operating cost, diesel versus gasoline, this is a good calculator: tdi.vw.com/savings-calculator/ I don't have a calculator for the maintenance costs, but the new TDIs are a 10K mile oil change interval and most other cars have 5K or 7.5K oil change interval. At $50 an oil change for fluids alone, the savings stack up quickly when you are changing the oil at twice the interval.
However, you just can't put a price on how much fun the mountains of torque, all down low, are to drive. Cruise control is mandatory, as you will slowly and steadily build up speed while driving the freeway on the pedal.
You will have to learn how to drive the TDI to get the higher MPGs. This is a trick we learned on our 2009 Prius: pulse-and-glide. When you are using the engine to accelerate, use it build up your speed moderately to aggressively to (3) MPH above the desired speed, then snatch back on the pedal and let the car slowy drop down to the steady state speed, then feather the pedal to hold your speed.
The pulse-and-glide pedal trick took the average city MPG on my 2011 JSW TDI from 25 to 28 MPG to 34 to 36 MPG. (On my Prius, the pulse-and-glide, takes city MPG from 48 to 60-MPG. The freeway mileage on the Prius is identical to my 2011 JSW TDI.)
At freeway speeds, running on the AC with the windows closed gets the highest mileage, and we are averaging 42-MPG running 70 to 75 MPH.
I recently purchased a 2011 JSW and I'm a low-mileage driver. I average about 6-8,000 miles a year but I still choose the TDI. The mileage I'm getting in town is 28-34 and 40-44 on the highway.
The car is very fun to drive. Around town, the low-end torque is addictive and on the highway it is very solid and composed. Passing power is great. The storage/utility of the wagen is perfect for tossing my bike in the back and driving up to the mountains for a ride.
So far I'm very happy with my decision. I plan on keeping this car for 8-10 years at least.
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