My aunt needs a new whip, thinking about gas mileage and hybrids. Me, I’m thinking turbodiesel from what I’ve read and that commercial they’ve got running now with the kid who wants to drive and his father says Okay, after we stop for gas, but they of course never stop – you know that ad?

Anyway, I like what I’ve read, particularly about the performance versus conventional diesel. I don’t know if this is accurate but I also like the notion that because you’re not adding in a ton of crazy electronics and batteries as you would with a hybrid, which would also be too compact for her and her overweight dogs and her options for a winter-friendly car might be further limited if she went hybrid (versus, say, turbodiesel).

My question is twofold, am I on the right track in formulating this recommendation for her, winter shortcomings and excessive maintenance being dealbreakers, and if any of you have driven one of these suckers, how’s the performance? Really as wicked as the youtube clips suggest?  Because I’ll get to drive the thing every now and then and I like to fire up Trapster and really floor it periodically. And yes, yes I do give back to the Trapster community, unsafely tapping report while driving anytime I spot a cop. Crowdsourcing baby.

Thanks fellas.

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  1. There’s no yes. I have a 2010 Jetta Sportwagen TDI. I get on average, about 45 MPG. The best I’ve gotten is high 50s. At least 500-550 miles per tank and best is about 810. Super quiet, super comfortable, and all the options. Heated seats, leather, Bluetooth, USB, iPod, 3.5mm, sd card, 6 disc changer and more.

  2. My personal best with 2007 Honda Civic LX MT was 45.3MPG with regular gas. 528 miles on a gas tank.
    However, my coworker has 2010 VW Golf TDI with 6-speed MT and his best is 56MPG.

  3. Don’t stack it up just based on “turbo diesel.” That’s be like saying a phone has great battery life just because it has a 1500 mAh battery. There are a ton of other factors that will influence your real-world performance.

    My experience with the new turbo diesel vehicles has been pretty good, but you need to look at all the specs and features of the car. A lot of OEMs are getting great gas mileage from gas engine improvements, transmission improvements, and just plain better programming of the controllers. Depending where she lives, you also have to make sure there’s a reputable diesel station around. The biggest problems I’ve heard of have been related to bad fuel, especially when Bubba Joe starts mixing his own bio-blends.

    Good luck!

  4. Based on the article you linked to there weren’t many options for TDI in the U.S. and VW was the only one that seemed to have good gas mileage. I worked as an automotive technician for a number of years and from my personal experience and from the general opinion of most mechanics I’ve come across you will get about 100,000 mile out of a VW before you start running into very expensive repairs. I have not worked on their turbo diesels myself but based on the track record of all their other models and from what I’ve been told by VW technicians who have worked on them I would expect the same results.

    Having worked on all the Toyota Hybrids they actually have held up quite well (other than those free recall repairs). I have done few major repairs on any of them and have seen a number of them with over 150,000 miles. Of course in snowy conditions VW and Toyota may both be a poor choice.

  5. I think a VW TDI is a good alternative as long as you have a good source of diesel handy. From what i hear a TDI Golf will get as good or better mileage than a Prius and give you a nicer vehicle in terms of driving feel. in terms of performance… consider that same technology has been dominant at Le Mans for years (under VW’s Audi Brand).

  6. With any diesel you may want to have a block heater installed for winter operation.

    Buy fuel from a reputable Big-Brand store and avoid the cutrate offbrand locations (learned that lesson after replacing the very expensive fuel pump in my Dodge Caravan not once, not twice, but three times, due to bad, cheap gas).

    Be sure to have the fuel system “tuned up” routinely, and change the oil and filter every 3 months/2500 miles.

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