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Old 06-29-2012, 12:04 AM   #1
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Commuter Car Questions

I'm in the middle stages of searching for a replacement commuter car. Looking at the TDI VW Passat, Chevy Cruze ECO, and Toyota Camry 4 cyl predominately at this point.

I'm having a hard time locating a VW Passat with the TDI and a manual transmission. I'm not really excited about popping for the extra nearly $2,000 for the tiptronic Automatic not to mention suffering the loss albeit slight in mileage. Does anyone on this site have experience with the TDI automatic and have you noticed any real world mileage difference from the stick shift?

My question for the Cruze and Camry owners is how has your experience been with the mileage on these cars? Are you getting real world mileage on the lines of the EPA ratings.

I'm trying to decide if the convenience of not shifting is worth the additional cost and if the comfort and convenience of the VW justifies the price point over the Cruze and Camry. Your opinion is important, I'm not looking for the EPA data here, that I can look up, I'm interested in how you feel about your vehicles.

Thank you for any help you can offer me here, I sincerely appreciate it.
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Old 06-29-2012, 01:14 AM   #2
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Regarding VW ... It depends whether it is the torque-converter automatic, or the automated-manual DSG.

The 01M torque converter gearboxes are very inefficient & will drop your MPGs significantly. Do not get one of these.

The VW DSG is nearly as good as a manual, but is geared slightly low (which is why it isn't quite as good). As you have noted, it is expensive.

If you do find a TDI with a manual box, snap it up. Try asking around on the TDIClub forum.
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Old 06-29-2012, 01:15 AM   #3
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PS you may find it easier to locate a VW Jetta TDI with a manual box. Do you really need the extra sheet metal?
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Old 06-29-2012, 02:27 AM   #4
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Kia Rio 1.1 diesel does 94 MPG, Fiat Punto 1.3 diesel does 97 MPG (no thats not a typo!) pretty much every car manufacturer in Europe now has a small economical car that will do 60 to 90 MPG due to strict emission standards and spiraling fuel prices!

Good luck
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Old 06-29-2012, 02:48 AM   #5
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If you haven't read the archives at blogs.insideline.com, spend some time there before you make any decisions. Make sure to read about their recent long-term Jetta TDI, that will be in the archive, but they have a current Camry four-cylinder too, and hundreds of other cars.
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Old 06-30-2012, 01:44 AM   #6
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i have a 2011 jetta tdi with the dsg tranny. trying to find a tdi with a manual in a color you can live with, is very difficult, hence why i have a dsg. the only flaw i have with the dsg is when driving at low speed (ie. parking lot or parking structure.) the dsg is very jerky at low speeds in the above situations. the other downside is that you have to flush/fill the dsg every 40k miles at a cost of $300 ish. as for mileage, i get around 38.8mpg combined, but i drive around 80mpg on the highway. (i assume i could get better if i slowed down, but coming from a 4runner, i am good with the 38mpg)
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Old 07-03-2012, 01:19 PM   #7
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I was asking myself the same question a year ago. Cruze Eco was a newer car, not much info on it, and I fell in love with the idea of hybrid like fuel economy in a sub-$20k price. So I bought one.

2011 Chevy Cruze Eco, 6-Speed. Love my mpg (51.3 last tank), though I am using some hypermiler techniques. I have a route that I can go to work that has very little traffic and very few turns or stops.

I feel like I am settling for my fit and finish though. Much better interior than my wifes 2006 Buick Rendezvous (and my brother in laws Cobalt), but definately not in love with it.

6-speed shifts firm and crisp, but the high torque @ 2k RPM make the shift very noticable to passengers.

My previous car was a 1995 Audi A6 Quattro 5-Speed. Even @ 200k miles that car had a much smoother shifts and better interior. I miss everything about that car except premium fuel and 22 MPG.
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Old 07-09-2012, 12:17 AM   #8
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Thank you all for your input, I appreciate your time and consideration.

MMUK, I do need the extra sheet metal, I have 3 kids and they are all big and getting bigger. Truth be told, the Jetti SportWagon would probably be the best fit for my personal lifestyle, surfing, biking, etc. that all need the greater interior space of a wagon but the rear seat just isn't wide enough to get the family into.

Draigflag, unfortunately, our EPA on this side of the pond and Air Quality Management Districts aren't interested in true fuel economy, only in their bribes, err, I mean political contribution funds, and favors to corporate supporters. If they were honest and fair, the TDI's, Chevy Volt (with or without the low emmissions package), Chevy Cruze ECO, MiniCooper, and many others would be eligible for the High Occupancy Vehicle Lane Stickers, but alas, those eligibility figures are based more upon bribes and favors than fuel economy. So I'm limited to what is available on my side of the pond, also again I need more space than the tiny microcars afford.

BDC, thanks for the link, I'll check it out.

Toycop, I currently get my tranny flushed and refilled every 15K miles at about $150 a pop so that doesn't seem unreasonable to me, thanks for the real world figures on the TDI dsg, that is all that I've been able to find so far.

HolySdrJR, is your Cruze Eco an automatic or stick shift? I'm guessing from the hard shifts that it is an auto since you could feather the clutch on a stick to soften the jolts. I do like the fit and finish of the VW, but like you the price point and mileage of the Cruze appeals to me. How many miles do you have on your Cruze? Was there a break in before your mileage numbers came up to the 50+ MPG range? My current commute is about 35/65 highway to city driving so I don't expect to be able to do much better than 40 mpg but that would be a great improvement over my current 27ish in my Acura Integra.
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Old 07-09-2012, 12:36 AM   #9
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Hi,

Note that it is possible to retrofit a 02J 5 speed manual gearbox to replace an 01M auto box in a VW. (Whether it is worthwhile is a harder question), and in fact some people retrofit an 02M 6-speed manual unit in. Take a look at the TDI club forums (for example, RyanP's 02M 6-speed tranny conversions). You'd be looking at somewhere between $1500-2500, and it would need a gearbox specialist to help with the work. In fact I recently upgraded my 5-speed 02J box to a 6-speed using a kit (keeping the existing 02J and basically bolting another gear on).
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Old 07-13-2012, 02:16 PM   #10
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My wifes cruze is the basic 1.8 with the auto and it gets about 34 combined 80% city. I wanted to buy the TDI jetta but didn't find it fesible. It seems like the maintenance schedules are not as a normal car would be and is a lot more regular not including the poor quality most report with electrical grimlens and such. How many people know there is a timing belt change schedule if they are just switching to VW? Not many as it seems on the forums. I wish I would have gotten the eco, but the wife didn't want one and it's her car.
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