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I'm looking for a new car this year. I want to stay in the compact class because my main concern is fuel economy, I drive 60 mile/day for work.
I looked at the VW Golf TDI this weekend and really was impressed with the build quality and the richness of the interior. My concern is whether the car is worth the extra initial cost over the others in the class. In my area diesel fuel costs about 14% more than regular gasoline. Hyundai has the new Elantra that claims 30 city / 40 hiway mileage. Ford's new Focus is advertising 28/38 I believe. I'm sure others from Kia, Mazda, Toyota, ect, ect have economy ratings pretty close to the TDI as well. I read some of the technical stuff on this site, which is excellent info by the way, and it sounds like there could be significant cost associated with maintaining the sytem that gets rid of the diesel byproduct.
It appears that the VW is more expensive to purchase, operate, and possibly maintain than some of it's competition. Can anyone out there convince me that the extra expense is worth it? I really like this car but maybe I'm not wealthy enough to own it.

Shabo
 

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If you are doing your analysis on pure cost per milage driven basis, the Golf TDI is not your answer. Like anything else in life you need to decide what you need to be satisfied with your purchase. I came fro a car that required premium fuel, which costs the same as diesel where I live. I now get 15 more miles per gallon on the highway, and this will amount to a $600 per year fuel savings for me at a minimum. I also lowered my payment by $50.

I could have bought a Toyota Yaris, that runs on regular gas and only gets 4 or 5 mpg less than my TDI, and lowered my payment by $300 a month and had similar if not better fuel savings per year. But I don't want to be stuck in a Yaris for 20,000 miles a year. I prefer the VW because it is a drivers car, with high quality surfaces that is fun to drive.
 

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Well there are a couple of issues that you touched on. If mpg is strictly your concern and what you value most, you really should look at a Toyota Prius or another hybrid.

However, comparing EPA numbers can be tricky. For instance, we have a Prius in my family (brother) and it gets about 40-44 MPG around the Phoenix metro area with about 50% of the driving on the highway. It is not fun to drive, plain-jane interior, and is actually quite loud and tiring to drive at highway speeds. I could not imagine driving it long distance.

My buddy has a 2010 Golf TDI. He drives it like he stole it and he gets an honest 39.5 MPG in around town driving, with about 30% of that on freeways. I have a 2011 Golf TDI with a 6 speed that is too new to really make an assessment. But my first tank was 35 MPG and my second was 41.5 MPG, both with about 60% freeway driving. I have been driving it easy so far. It is a blast to drive. I really enjoy it. It is like a mid to late 80's GTI. Tight suspension and 0-60 in just over 8 seconds. That is about what my 1986 GTI also did a long time ago. But the TDI and its torque are just too much fun in day to day driving. It just squirts you down the road.

So I really think it does come down to you value system. Because the TDI is about $4500 more than a 2.5l gas Golf. But for that additional money you get a great diesel, sport suspension, fog lights and a class leading interior. The TDI interior quality and noise level at highway speeds have to be experienced to be appreciated. If these things are not of value to you, then check our the best hybrids. But beware in comparing EPA MPG numbers; diesels always seem to do better than the numbers, while I think hybrids seem to some in a little under the estimates. YMMV.

AK.
 

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Objective numbers don't always show the whole story. The VW GTI has beat much more powerful and faster cars in magazine reviews despite being not too far off in price. Why? Refinement, build quality, and feel. 40 mpg would be great in the Elantra but their interiors still feel cheap to me.

Buying a used car isn't a bad option and is cheaper than buying a new similar car.
 

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Welcome to the forum Shabo. welcometomyturbodies
In my area diesel fuel costs about 14% more than regular gasoline.
True but you go 25% further with diesel. Prices in the UK, diesel is £0.05p per litre greater than petrol which is £0.23p per gallon.

The VW GTI has beat much more powerful and faster cars in magazine reviews despite being not too far off in price.
True but the GTI only gets mid 20's fuel con the TDI will double that, so you get what you pay for.
 

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Hyundai has the new Elantra that claims 30 city / 40 hiway mileage. Ford's new Focus is advertising 28/38 I believe. I'm sure others from Kia, Mazda, Toyota, ect, ect have economy ratings pretty close to the TDI as well...

It appears that the VW is more expensive to purchase, operate, and possibly maintain than some of it's competition. Can anyone out there convince me that the extra expense is worth it? I really like this car but maybe I'm not wealthy enough to own it.

Shabo
As others have mentioned, the numbers rarely add up for pretty much any VW. Across the board, VWs tend to me more expensive to purchase and maintain than their high-volume competitors from Korea and Japan. And as you've noticed, even the TDI's mileage isn't that far above the latest compacts with small, sophisticated direct injection gas engines.

The real value is in the driving experience, and you have to appreciate that in order for it to be "worth" the extra money. For me, the driving experience, which includes acceleration, handling, and interior design, is everything. Since it's hard to get to know a car on a short test drive, here are some things about the Golf TDI that I find worth the extra cost.

Ride/Handling: Some other cars (Mazda3) have sharper handling, and others ride softer, but nothing I've driven in this segment strike the perfect balance between genuinely fun handling and compliant ride the way the TDI does. If you like mixing it up in the turns (or even exit/entrance ramps), the TDI is simply more fun than most other cars with virtually no ride compromise.

Engine/Acceleration: Driving a diesel like the TDI is a very different experience if you're used to gas engines. Step on it, and it surges HARD with a mountain of torque at very low RPM. It looses steam dramatically at higher RPM (above 3500 RPM), but the torque band is broad enough that I rarely miss the high-revving abilities of a gas engine. The difference is probably less noticeable with the DSG transmission, but there's a bit of a learning curve if you get the 6 speed manual. Once you're in tune with the unique powerband, you can really hustle up to speed. And if you're good with the clutch, you can handily win quite a few 0-40 MPH stop-light drag races if that's your thing.

Highway cruising: Here's where I think you'd REALLY appreciate the VW, yet it's hard to judge on a even an extended test drive. Nothing gobbles up miles like a German car, and even the relatively "lowly" Golf cruises effortlessly and silently with a heft and sense of straight-ahead that nothing else in this segment can touch. And just sit in those seats. Unless you're pretty stocky, they're the best, most supportive seats (for me, anyway) in any car this side of $40K.

Mileage: The EPA mileage might be only marginally better than the 40 MPG Elantra, for example. But as Chitty pointed out, it's pretty easy meet or beat the EPA numbers. Even against a strong headwind, I can still get about 40 MPG at a steady 78 MPH. Kill the wind, and it's easy to get 44 or so. I've achieved these numbers pretty regularly on highway drives of several hours, and that's with less than 3000 Miles on the odometer.

One last thing: what sort of options would you add to your TDI? You can spec one out to around $30K, which is a lot more than a very well equipped Elantra, for example. But keep the options to a minimum (The TDI still comes standard with that great multifunction steering wheel with bluetooth and a touch-screen head unit), and you can get that VW driving experience for closer to $24-25K.
 

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Engine Life

And one more plus for the TDI is that it is a sturdier engine than a gasoline equivalent. As I understand it the the block is cast iron, pistons and connecting rods are forged and not cast, all in an effort to take the additional strain and compression of burning diesel. Diesel itself is an oil and consequently will provide a modicum of self lubrication of the valve train and piston rings, which will serve to provide greater longevity.
I'm not sure how one would compute the $$$ but I would argue that it should be a good long term automotive investment.
Bill

Chitty, do I have this right?
 

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In a perfect world, .... oh, wait... this world isn't perfect...

While the new generation of TDIs are certainly of interest, keep in mind that they utilize a relatively new and potentially costly technology... Until we've seen a bunch of the new CR cars lasting something on the order of 400,000 miles without catastrophic repair costs, I believe a little bit of caution should be in order... (Related to those thoughts about repair costs should be the history of the manufacturer when it comes to standing up behind and fixing some of their engineering miscalculations...)

There are other options out there with their own potential shortcomings... The Hyundai Sonata certainly looks attractive, especially with their upcoming hybrid version, but again, we're talking about new technology, and if there should ever be some real conflict on the Korean peninsula... we're back to our imperfect world...

Decisions, decisions...

Yuri
 

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All new cars have potentially costly technology these days. Yes, the TDI have some complex emissions systems, but every car out there is going to have potential and realized repair costs.

German cars are not Civics, Corollas, Sentras....they are marketed and sold to different consumers.

If you want a cheap car with a low monthly payment that gets good MPGs...you might be barking up the wrong tree.
 

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When all those sensors start failing, add in Diesel particulate filters and NOx filters, all the flaps, salted roads if you live in snow country, and all the plastic parts on a VW, the answer after about 5 or 6 years will be "no". I've had failed plastic water pumps, failed plastic glove box latches where the door hangs open with the light on, failed plastic on the arm rest, failed solder on micro switches that control door locks, failed Quantity Adjusters on Injector pumps, failed automatic transmissions (the dreaded 01M) at 118k miles, seen failed timing belts, had failed alternator pulleys, failed windshield wiper bushings corroding and causing binding, seen failed fenders where they stuffed foam in there and it trapped road salt spew, seen failed gutters for sun roofs clog up and flood the inside of the cars, seen failed heater cores where you have to remove the whole front dash to replace the heater core.

German cars drive great when they are new, when they are running, but they are a black hole of expenses when they get a bit older in terms of maintenance expenses, because everything starts failing on them at once. Been that way for the past 30 years or more.

VW may make a 300,000 mile motor and 6 speed manual gear box, but everything else on the car starts failing around 100 to 120k miles or in 5 to 6 years. The rest of the car is not up to the standards and longevity of the motor and gearbox, it's cheap, cheap, cheap plastic and built around a gasser motor chassis and parts with a 8 to 10 year life cycle at 12k miles a year.
 

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Interesting. Our '01 Golf TDI is well over 150k miles (currently being driven by daughter) and, with the exception of a failed front arm rest hinge (which I bashed sideways), it hasn't suffered any of the problems you listed. We did replace the MAF sensor, drivers door handle, and 4-way flasher assy (all under warranty) and preformed scheduled maintenance but otherwise, it was an excellent vehicle.

I'll be delighted if the '11 does as well!
 

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I can only speak for MY Needs and MY desires.

I am a middle aged Semi-Retired male that is slightly larger than most. 6 Foot tall, 230 lbs and in pretty good shape for my 55 years. A guy of my size just does not fit well in the Korean or Japenese cars. Either the seats are too narrow or the roof height with a sunroof is too darn low.

From my years of driving, I know torque is king for most of my driving. The TDI has what I need. These other cars may get great mileage on the highway, just don't get near hills or into the wind cause that mileage will drop. In the city these other cars get much less mileage than their EPA stickers state. Here again it is because of the weak torque they have.

Every car made today has plastics in them. Some are brittle from the start, others as they age the plastics get brittle or break easier. It happens to a lot of cars not just VW's.

For me, I am ready willing and able to buy this new ride and enjoy it for a long time. I'll maintain it, polish it and keep it as nice as I can for as long as I can. I'll mod is where I feel it may need it, but if it does well in it's stock form, then it will stay. The Dynaudio System the car comes with is GREAT for me. No need to change that or the head unit for me.

AM I upset I couldn't get Leather Seats....YES, but I won't let that stop me from buying a very good car. I can call Katskinz and get a semi custom leather kit for this and have it installed. A nice black leather kit with blue stitching might just be the ticket.

What I am trying to say is this IS an exception platform and Car. I can change things to make it more "ME" and have it suit me to a "T".

That is why I am buying and will be a long term VW TDI owner.
 

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When all those sensors start failing, add in Diesel particulate filters and NOx filters, all the flaps, salted roads if you live in snow country, and all the plastic parts on a VW, the answer after about 5 or 6 years will be "no". I've had failed plastic water pumps, failed plastic glove box latches where the door hangs open with the light on, failed plastic on the arm rest, failed solder on micro switches that control door locks, failed Quantity Adjusters on Injector pumps, failed automatic transmissions (the dreaded 01M) at 118k miles, seen failed timing belts, had failed alternator pulleys, failed windshield wiper bushings corroding and causing binding, seen failed fenders where they stuffed foam in there and it trapped road salt spew, seen failed gutters for sun roofs clog up and flood the inside of the cars, seen failed heater cores where you have to remove the whole front dash to replace the heater core.

German cars drive great when they are new, when they are running, but they are a black hole of expenses when they get a bit older in terms of maintenance expenses, because everything starts failing on them at once. Been that way for the past 30 years or more.

VW may make a 300,000 mile motor and 6 speed manual gear box, but everything else on the car starts failing around 100 to 120k miles or in 5 to 6 years. The rest of the car is not up to the standards and longevity of the motor and gearbox, it's cheap, cheap, cheap plastic and built around a gasser motor chassis and parts with a 8 to 10 year life cycle at 12k miles a year.
Captain Hyperbole to the rescue.
 

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Captain Hyperbole to the rescue.

How many VW/Audi products have you owned since 1981 that have over 100k miles on them with you as the owner? I've had an 81 Jetta Coupe 2 door diesel, new to 112k miles on it, a 1983 Audi5000TD, 68 to 256k miles on it, a 1991 Jetta Eco Diesel, 120 to 211k miles on it, a 1996 passat tdi, 190 to 254k miles on it, a 1998 Jetta TDI, 160 to 216k miles on it, and a 2002 Jetta GLS 90 to 134k miles on it, an 01M autotragic to 02J 5 speed swap that I did myself. 30 years of experience. Rebuilt the the Audi5000td motor myself, have rebuilt numerous Bosch injector pumps, timing belts, resealed them, installed new nozzles, new injectors, replaced turbos and numerous other limp mode issues on tdi's.

Just wondering how long you've owned any TDI product, or are you even doing your own wrenching? If not, you'll find out soon enough on your 2011 JSW, give it 120,000 miles, you'll see. Be sure to save all your repair bills and receipts, get back to me in 6 years. :nana2:
 

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I had a TDI Mk6 Golf in the UK for a 1 1/2 years, I loved it. In that time, I drove it all over western europe, and put about 26k miles on it. Not one problem, not one hiccup, not one thing that made me question reliability or anything of the like. There are people who talk crap about the reliability but I don't know what they're smoking. It is a great car, a fun car, an efficient car. I would swear that in europe 1 in 5 people owns a diesel golf, many mk 4s and 5s because there is no need to buy a mk 6 yet. In short, it is different, and perhaps a little expensive by traditional american standards, but it is solid. So even if you do have to pay for some repairs down the road, you'll want to, because you'll be in love. I bought one and a GTI when I moved back stateside.
 

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I own a 1987 Toyota Xtra Cab 4x4 pickup. I've owned it since 1997 when I bought it off my friend for $5000 with 107000 miles on it.

I've never lost a seal on the injection system
I've never lost an ignition switch.
I've never lost a radiator hose.
The alarm system has never acted up.
I did a timing chain at 175,000 miles, myself, $160 in parts.

It still doesn't leak a drop of oil at over 300,000 miles. Everything still works on it. Normal wear and tear parts have been replaced, front discs and pads, rear brakes.

The water pump went over 200,000 miles before being replaced.
The alternator has never been replaced. I replaced the brushes on the alternator at 195kmiles, for $3.50, and a bit of solder.
The CV joint boots are original on the front end.
I've never had to rebuild the front end suspension. Even all the shocks are original.

I don't have to pull off the whole front end and bumper of the car to change a headlight bulb.

The glove box still latches on the Toyota, not so on my 2002 TDI, it has failed, cheap plastic design.

I've never had electrical issues with the car. Or alarm issues Just normal wear and tear issues from things that spin round and round with bearings on them or contact on them, tires and brakes.

I still own TDI's, but I am getting really sick of the amount of attention and parts they need, as the fuel savings get wiped out by parts bills for repair.

In the past year, I've changed out the thermostat, and the plastic fitting and O ring for it, due to leaks. Then the pipe seal O ring for coolant that goes in to the engine block, it fails due to design and being poorly supported on an engine that shakes. Then a T fitting that failed on the side of the cylinder head, that holds the temperature sensor.
I have another leak now, probably coolant from the EGR cooler.
The automatic transmission failed at 122k miles.

Hold on to the car for 200,000 miles and show us the stack of repair bills at the end. Then you'll know. Measure all the days of down time too, while you are at it, at the dealership.
 

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I owned a 2007 Jetta Wolfburg 2.5 with 112,000 miles & was looking to trade it in. I drive ~ 85 miles per day round trip to work. I too looked at the new Hyundia Elantra.... very nice compared to the previous gen.. like a mini sonata.... if you like the style.... I was attracted to the 40 mpg claim & the heated seats.... so I took a test ride. Rides like any other lower end small car... not bad, softly sprung, little power/torque... like my old Checy Cavalier only newer, more refined.... The heated seats were a big dissappointment! They only heat the seat pad... not the back of the seat you lean on... that's like having a nice, toasty pair of insulated pants but no shirt! What were they thinking? Plus, the heated seats are only available on the $20k+ model. No thanks. So I drove down the street to a local VW (I bought my Jetta near my job) & I just happened to be there on th elast day of January & they were trying to sell anything & everything! I did not want a 2011 Jetta. I looked at leftover 2010's but they only had 1 & it was a dealer trade... already promised/sold. So I test drove the 2011.... nice enough but I knew VW dumbed the 2011 down quite a bit. So the salesman said he had a 2010 Jetta Sportwagen TDI... I had already read up on the TDI & was interested. My only concern was that I'm 54 &have no kids so why buy a wagen.... so I test drove it. ... oh yeah! Handled & drove like my ex-wife's Audi A4... not quite the same of course but very nice. The sticker said $28600, with 17" wheels, panoramic sunroof, summer & winter mats, etc... no nav though. white with black interior... they offered 0% interest, 3 years or 36k free service, paid off my 2007. Total cost with tax, tags, etc was $27456. Tax here in NJ is 7%. I figure I got the car for invoice, maybe a little under or a tiny bit over.... just right. The car is fantastic & fuel mileage is ~ 38... but should rise to ~40. Instead of filling the 07 Jetta 2 & 1/3 times per week, I fill the TDI up 1 & 1/3 times per week.... a definite cost savings. So if I had bought the Elantra... yes, I would have paid approx
$6-$7k less (interest depending) but I'd be driving an Elantra... I will keep the TDI for at least 4 years & most likely 5+.... I'm very happy with the car & my decision.
& this forum is a great resource!
Steve
 

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TDI IS worth extra $

We rented (test drove) a Toyota Pruis for 4 weeks. Wife was sold on the vehicle. Then I purchased my new 2011 TDI Jetta Sportswagen (to replace my beloved 98' TDI Jetta destroyed when I got rear-ended in December). This new TDI has lot's of power, especially considering my daily 1600 ft elevation climb vs. the Prius which moaned going up "the grade". The new Jetta interior is more than I had expected and I got the low-end model. When I factor in lifetime (~15-20 years) and lifetime cost of this vehicle (incl. TDi engine), it surpasses any of the gasoline and hybrid competition (and this includes total carbon footprint). Also consider the fact that there is less maintenance on a diesel than a gasoline vehicle (e.g., plugs and wires that need to replaced regularly) and diesels seem to take more abuse (hard, long, hot driving), in fact are more efficient in the long haul. I also find the diesels to be simpler and easier to work on than the gasoline VW's in my past.

Incidentally, my spouse who has driven my Jetta a few times is likely to get a TDI Jetta SW versus the Toyota Prius this coming summer (when we expect her 2000 Odyssey to finally die - after 4 transmissions).
 

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I have my share of nagging problems:glove box,sun roof,shocks,windows etc. My wife's toyota suv.138,000 none! I still love my vw 45-48 mpg my daily drive 100 miles. What I have found is dont go to the dealers unless you want a $100 oil change! In my area they want $1600 to do a timing belt. With the knowledgable people on this site and a qualified shop you will like your vehicle. I will take my 02 5spd over any new tdi from what I have read on this site.
 

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Shabo,

I bought a 2000 Jetta used about 6 months ago and couldn't be happier with it. Great handling, decent interior and over 50 mpg highway and 40 mpg city. The car had 177,000 miles on it and I paid ~$5,900 for it. I think I got a great deal. I'd recommend these any day - even with the more expensive parts. Ebay sells parts for less the the dealer, and you can learn to install most anything unless it's in the drive train. If you can live with a heater that blows cooler air than a regular gas model you won't be dissappointed.

Regards,

Erich
 
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