Would you get a diesel if making a new car purchase?

wahoowad Posted By wahoowad, Jul 11, 2011 at 12:59 PM

  1. wahoowad

    Minister of Fire

    Dec 19, 2005
    She drives about 15 miles each way to work, probably about 15k miles a year. We are not the type to go out and buy a new car every few years so this one will likely be driven for at least 7 years, more if it holds up well.
  2. velvetfoot

    Minister of Fire

    Dec 5, 2005
    Sand Lake, NY
  3. Badfish740

    Minister of Fire

    Oct 3, 2007
    My honest opinion (again, coming from a truck guy) is that it won't be worth the extra up front cost based on her commute and the length of time you plan to keep it. At 15K per year after 7 years you'd be just over 100K-the car could go three times that easily. Of course, a well cared for TDI with only 110K or so on the clock would probably retain quite a bit of resale value too...
  4. Highbeam

    Minister of Fire

    Dec 28, 2006
    Cascade Foothills, WA
    I did buy the diesel truck for the good mpg. A similarly capable gas engine will get half the mpg when running empty. Try getting 20 mpg with a 12 year old big block gas truck.

    Nate: You're in AK, so maybe that has to do with it. Our walmarts have been selling delo400 15-40 for 10$ per gallon for quite awhile. Even the other brands are only a few dollars more. I've been considering the switch to rotella synthetic 5-40 to help with cold starts and my short 8 mile commute.

    Ugh, selling in a measly 7 years, 15 mile commute? Brand new vehicle? Unless you like diesel for many of the "personal preference" type reasons like low end torque or the green factor then a gas engine will do just fine. Hard to get much money back on mpg with that short commute.
  5. Badfish740

    Minister of Fire

    Oct 3, 2007
    True...the only time I've ever seen 20 MPG is driving out to Central PA to see my brother at college or up to Maine. Otherwise New Jersey is such a mix of highway and stop and go you never see the higher end of a vehicle's fuel economy. You definitely make it up towing in gas vs. diesel though. Of course my only concern with regard to fuel mileage is range since I'm getting it free ;)
  6. nate379


    Maybe so on price. Rotella, Delo, etc run about $12-14 a gallon from what I can remember, though if the OP buys a TDI, they would HAVE to use the syntetic oil that is spec'd for TDIs, which is about 2x the cost as the dino.

    I love my Jetta TDI, but I drive around 500 miles a week. Have owned it a year and I've put about 20k just on it... and I have several other vehicles that are driven near daily as well.
  7. TMonter

    Minister of Fire

    Feb 8, 2007
    Hayden, ID
    Based on the latest reliability ratings of Volkswagons I'm not sure I'd buy one. I'd consider a Corolla, Civic or a Fiesta before I'd go the VW route and all three get damn close to 40 MPG highway.
  8. DriveByWire

    New Member

    Oct 12, 2009
    NE Ohio
    I own an 02 Jetta TDI. Bought it in 04 with 23K miles on it and now have 193,xxx miles. Oil is between $5--6 per quart and the car has 10K OC intervals. Using the right oil is critical as is making sure the timing belt is changed properly. These engines are not like truck diesels. Mine is a 90 HP. In all the time I've had it I've never had a fuel gelling issue and only used an additive 1 winter. forums.tdiclub.com is a great source of information however keep in mind that these people are enthusiasts.

    If you buy one, be cautious about letting a VW dealer work on it unless it's warranty work. I have consistently gotten 48-50 MPG in the summer and 46 in the winter. I drive 100 miles per day X 5 and around town on weekends.

    Lifetime operating costs for me have been 8.5 cents per mile (not including insurance and licensing fees). One of the great benefits (aside from the MPG) is the torque and the turbo. There is no 4 cylinder gas motor that can get going as quickly from 75 MPH when you press the pedal as this diesel.
  9. North of 60

    North of 60
    Minister of Fire

    Jul 27, 2007
    Yukon Canada
    They are all over up here and are great reliable units for that era. The newer ones I am not sure.
  10. northwinds

    Minister of Fire

    Jul 9, 2006
    south central WI
    I own a 2006 VW Golf TDI with 111k miles. I've enjoyed owning and driving the car. Added a hitch to it and
    towed many tons of wood/other stuff over the last several years (less than 1000 lb loads). Has great acceleration.
    Useful low end power. Handles well in the Wisconsin winter. Gets between 45 and 50 mpg on the highway. No
    spark plugs to change during tune-ups. I like the manual transmission. I'm on the second set of brakes, original
    transmission and clutch.

    The cons: Diesel fuel is more expensive than gas. The timing belt on mine needs to be replaced every 80k miles.
    Major expense to have it done and bigger expense not to have it done if it breaks. VW parts are expensive. The
    dealer labor is very expensive. I have a local guy do most of the routine work. You have to pay close attention to
    the fuel and additives, especially during the winter.

    I got bad diesel with water in it during the winter a couple of years ago, and everything froze up solid. Also prematurely
    killed off my fuel pump later . There's some plastic parts that break easily. I had major problems with the plastic cover
    underneath (cracked and broke off twice--not much clearance for Wisconsin's winter roads). I ended up having a skid
    plate put on mine--no problems since. I've always done better on tires. I end up changing these about every 35k to
    40k--used to getting 50k at least.

    Would I get another one? Probably not. But I'm glad I got this one. I'll be ready for something different next time.
    I'll probably keep this one another few years and pass it on to my daughter when she gets her driver's license. The
    body is still in good shape--no rust.
  11. pybyr

    Minister of Fire

    Jun 3, 2008
    Adamant, VT 05640
    I have owned two diesel vehicles- an '06 Dodge Cummins 24 valve common rail, and my current time-warp 1989 7.3 indirect mechanical injected non-turbo Ford 1-ton.

    I liked both, but they're polar opposites that are more different from each other than either is from a modern gasoline engine vehicle.

    The new-tech diesel was refined in manners while yielding truly insane amounts of HP and torque- but under-impressive MPG- not necessarily worse in numeric MPG than a gas vehicle, but no apparent advantage- disappointing given the premium cost of the diesel drivetrain and inexplicable current/ recent premium price of diesel fuel above gas (absurd, inasmuch as it is inordinately simpler to refine than gasoline)(yes, ULSD took some retooling but I still don't buy that diesel is really more expensive to produce than gas).

    My stone age vehicle that is tremendously less refined, aerodynamic, or anything else, gets better mileage [15.8 mpg averaged over recent tanks since the shift to "summer blend fuel", and this is a behemoth of a truck with a toolbox body on it and massive mirrors and everything else giving it the aerodynamic profile of a medium-sized barn, and with 4.10 final drive and all the extra weight of having 4wd running gear], and I know it can only improve when I get around to "refresh" the many rubber parts of its fuel system that are all weeping a wee bit from sheer age-induced hardening and shrinkage.

    Since you are in the non-rust belt, if your wife is open to a non-brand-new car, consider looking at early-80s or older Mercedes diesels. I have known several people who've put countless hundreds of thousands of miles on them, sometimes driving them decades even after the odometers quit at the 300,000 mile mark or above, and with near zero hassles or repairs, and usually it was only eventual body rust that rendered them non-inspectable that spelled their retirement.
  12. joefrompa

    Minister of Fire

    Sep 7, 2010
    SE PA
    Most of the diesel options do not make economic sense until the far out years. It largely comes down to driving style and preferences. Diesels are phenomenal vehicles for people driving 25k+ miles per year, lots of highway. Their engines/transmissions tend to be bulletproof and they get great highway fuel economy - which combines makes them very reliable vehicles for people racking up 150k in 4 years and stuff like that.

    But the rest of the car falls apart at the same rate as a gas version - so if you question, say, a VW's reliability 10 years out (when you'll be paid off on your upfront costs), then the diesel version will be just as unreliable. Further, if you aren't doing tons of highway driving, you won't see as many of the touted gains in fuel economy.

    Lastly, there is a big difference in driving experience. I was expecting the 236 lb/ft of torque at 1800 rpms that VW's Diesel wagon offers to feel like - well, like 236 lb/ft of torque. It doesn't feel at all like what the same amount of torque in a gas engine feels like - at least to me. It just pulls smoothly and solidly from a low rpm. But the power peaks early and often.

    Almost all modern diesels no longer smell like diesels, but if you are acoustically aware you'll notice they still sound like crap at idle and low engine speeds. Some people don't hear it, some people don't mind it or even like the sound, but you've got to judge that for yourself. Whether it's a modern BMW Diesel 335d or the VW 2.0 turbodiesel, it still sounds like a diesel at those low engine speeds.

    I would say this: Go drive the cars you are considering. Ignore the perceived savings and simply discount the diesel 15-20% off the price you think you'd pay to account for long term fuel economy. If you don't like the diesel, end it there. If you do like it, but also like the gas version, then ask yourself - given the price of the gas vehicle you like and the diesel version, which would you prefer to pay.


    P.s. My wife and I drove a VW Diesel Wagon 6-speed manual. I really wanted to like it for her. She liked it, I didn't at all and I'm a car nut. It was vastly too expensive for the level of interior trim and features, noise control, etc. - and it didn't sound great, didn't perform to my standards, and didn't have the low-end power I was expecting.
  13. pybyr

    Minister of Fire

    Jun 3, 2008
    Adamant, VT 05640
    Something else to factor in-- and this may be less of a factor in newer vehicles that have a larger number of gear ratios in both automatic and manual transmissions- diesels' tendency to be able to achieve significant fuel economy seems to tend to depend on being and mostly staying in a certain "sweet spot" range of RPM and loading- push them up out of that into higher RPMs and the economy really goes out the window; they thrive on substantial loads (better than on light loads) but if you take them to the point that they are really straining (pretty hard to do with modern ones that have so much torque) they get wheezy (it's like you just "run out of anything else on tap," and the arrival of that is more dramatically noticeable than with gasoline engines) and the economy suffers.
  14. btuser

    Minister of Fire

    Jan 15, 2009
    Principality of Pontinha
    Buy the diesel if you drive a lot. 25K/year is a good benchmark.

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