i have a 2006 Jetta TDI, ordered it with top of the line interior package, came to 26,500 (also ordered it without automatic transmission- this saved close to 1800)
Got it in August 06-it now has 28,000 miles. I get 48mpg driving 1/2 city and 1/2 highway on 35 mile commute to work, top speed about 65 for 10 miles (no interstate hgwy). Holds 14gal
My friends in Scotland have owned diesel BMWs for several years- same in Germany where all my friends who have a car have diesel. Diesel is MUCH more proven than hybred.
This car requires synthetic oil, changed every 5000miles.
Typical tank gets me about 600 miles (average 42-44mpg) where a lot of my driving is city miles.
I love driving this car. I hear horror stories about VW electrical and timing belt and brake issues, but so far absolutely no problems.
I recently sold a 97 Jetta TDI bought new and driven 203k miles, still in pretty good mechanical and cosmetic shape. Like everyone else, I have lots of friends with Accords to compare.
Certain Honda's are on par with a TDI for fuel economy after adjusting for the increased cost of diesel. The Honda Civic HX (44 mpg hwy) is incredibly rare as a used car, but if you are patient, something on Ebay, cars.com, autotrader.com, or local may show up. I second the Insight comments above. The earliest Civic hybrids with high miles may also fall into your price range. In either case, the batteries last donkey's years and the consensus of blogs like this is that you can drive them without batteries when they finally die. You just have an efficient car with a safe but not exciting amount of power. Geo Metro's from the early 90's and other econoboxes of the 80's had less power to weight ratio than these without battery boost. That's not very sexy, but is the worst case scenario years off in the future, and the batteries may get cheaper.
VW is dropping the ball in several respects. Dealer quality is extremely variable. I was the victim of a brazen (attempted and failed) swindle at the Lubbock TX dealer while in warranty. Mission-critical things are as good as Honda - like the motor, manual tranny, clutch. Less vital things are made less well. Any electrical thing gets very flaky after age 10 or 100k miles. You must learn to ignore phantom signals to the check engine light, glow plug light, and random humming from resonating, aging circuitry. TDI maintenance is needlessly costly. A timing chain and 100k mile belts are common with the Japanese, not VW. My A3 Jetta was lighter than future generations, with better fuel economy. New Jettas take a hit from being bigger, then again from tighter emission standards. VW Power windows are notorious; do not even consider a VW unless it has crank windows. Oil filters are tricky to find. I once had a nonspecialist garage turn me away when I went in to ask about a blinking glow plug light. He couldn't help and was honest enough not to lie. No Honda problem will make a mechanic show you the door like that.
The new Jetta's are quieter than mine, but all Honda's are quieter still (except the insight, 75 db at 70 mph is pretty spartan per Road and Track).
You could put those groovy Insight wheels on a cheaper Civic and squeeze a few more mpg out of it?
I would agree of all the cars we have owed the VW seems to feel so solid and tight. I believe it is over engineered with respect to the steering, breaking and overall handling but it is really nice handling car.
I have also become a huge believer in tires. Not necessarily over sizing them, but going up a load grouping or two in both load rating and speed rating. My brother in law also has an almost identical TDI and his has 195 15 89S (89=1279lbs and S=112mph) tires on it. The car feels so must more loose, I know the tires are generic, but compared to the 195 15 91H (91=1356lbs and H=130mph) they are mushy. So many people think that the speed rating on a tire is just what it is rated up to, which is true, but if your running 80 mph on a tire rated to 112mph vs. a tire rated for 130mph which one do you think will handle better? I have felt the difference and appreciate it now.
The TDI engine is excellent. The VW cars they come wrapped in are junk.
Good luck finding a TDI of any description at any price. I did an Autotrader search and only found one within 200 miles and it was on a salvage title.
The Law of Supply and Demand is firewalled right now. There are simply no VW TDIs, Honda Insights, or hybrid Priuses out there on the used marget right now. You can get a heckova deal on a SUV though. They are offering $15,000 off sticker around here and still no takers.
I've even seen an old Chevy Vega on the road lately.
2000 Ford F-350 Super Cab Pickup
4x2, 6 speed manual
Regeared to 3.08:1
4 inch suspension slam
Aero mods: "Fastback" fairing and rugged air dam and side skirts
Stock MPG: 19
Summer MPG: 27.0
Winter MPG: 24
I have a 2006 Jetta manual 5 speed TDI. Had to order it to get the 5 speed manual.
This car has been incredible. Drives great. Sounds good.
Milage has been overall 49.5 mpg. On the highway i get at 75 53mpg with the AC.
I have 31,000 miles. (I have not seen the T shirts the one guy mentioned, but I can agree with him on this point- when stopped at a light or in a parking lot if two TDIs meet the owners usually talk and compare notes. Its like, we have to compare notes to make sure we are not dreaming. But the TDI is for real and is incredible. What is more INCREDIBLE is that DETROIT is so far behind in this area!!!!
Looking forward to seeing the 2008 TDI VWs available in August/Sept.
Those TDI's are very good and the package around them is pretty nice too I personally think. Maybe a little squeek here and there but very nice interiors and great seats that aren't too soft.
In western Europe about 30-50 percent of the cars are diesels and taxi's are always diesels. That tells you something about how long these engines last as well. They do make a bit more noise but once you owned one for a while you will actually start to enjoy that sound and miss it if you aren't driving a diesel anymore.
I drove a new Golf TDI 5-speed a couple years ago and nearly bought one -- I really liked the torque and FE, but a few concerns came up:
Costly Maintenance Schedule
-Check Consumer reports for the reliability odds on different components.
-It requires Full-Synthetic oil, and the timing belt change is more frequent than the average model.
-I used to be a big Diesel proponent, but as SVO mentioned, the emissions are terrible. The "Clean Diesel" emissions system is better (not available in VW cars in the U.S. yet) -- but it's a new technology (my guess is they'll put the Urea injection design in the next model -- which requires re-filling it periodically). Honda has a design in the works that requires no Urea.
For running costs, and emissions -- there are better choices.
whats urea??? how does the clean diesel emissions system work?