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Prius vs Jetta TDI

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Matt, I'm on my 4th TDI and I must admit that I'm frustrated with my new 2009 Jetta. I was used to mileage in the 45-50 mpg range, but the 2009 has a larger engine, heavier body and is only getting in the high 30s with a 6spd. I drive conservatively, so it's not my driving style.


I think VW has really screwed the pooch on their products in the US. The base option package on the 2009 includes a lot of "options" that drive up the cost, maintenance complexity and failure rate compared with the older Jetta TDIs. Unless VW starts marketing their smaller, cheaper, simpler diesel cars, this will be my last VW. When Toyota gets an economical common rail diesel on the market in NA, I think VW will be toast.


On the other points:

-I've never had problems finding diesel.

-Regarding the "premium" on the retail price - I laughed in their face when they told me that charged a premium over list due to demand. They called me back a couple days and said there would be no premium.

-The car is very low to the ground, so it is pretty much non-functional if there's more than a few inches of snow. I use my Trooper if I need clearance or 4WD. I find that I use it rarely and almost always use my Jetta. Also, the Jetta has a low CG, so it's much safer at highway speeds on ice than my 4x4 SUV.

-Finally, I've always used B100 biodiesel in my other TDIs. Not so on the 2009. Apparently they are very touchy about BD. I'm still in break-in, so I haven't experimented yet.


If you have specific questions, feel free to PM me your phone # and we can talk.



Edited by Recycled

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Check out Fred's TDI board for all the evangelism on VW TDI's you could possibly stomach.


I had two TDI's, both 1997s, one a sedan and the other a wagon. The engine is pretty much bulletproof; the electrics are most definitely NOT. I averaged about 47MPG in either vehicle. I bought my wagon in PA and drove it to Portland, only filling the tank 3 times. Do that in a Prius. It was nice getting such killer mileage for the first 5 years or so but maintenance costs pretty much made any savings a wash over time. The wagon was 2WD and I went anywhere in that car that I did in my 4runner and almost never slid or had any problems getting stuck.


VW may very well have improved their reliability issues. I won't be rushing to buy one though. I drive a Honda now.

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Car hipper than a Prius? Surely you jest.


Given that the compulsive embrace of irony as a signifier of hippness was extreme and entrenched enough to make large swaths of young-Portland embrace PBR as their beer of choice by 2002, it's possible that anything from Duster's to Firebirds might have displaced the Prius as the Hippest-of-All-Vehicles, but I suspect that there are limits to irono-chic, even for hipsters. Maybe if someone came out with a car that had only one (fixed) gear, the Prius's stature in the hierarchy-o-hipness might be in jeopardy, but until then...


:laf: :laf: :laf::grlaf::rawk:


If the bike evolution in PDX continues then the next thing we should see is... no gears! a.k.a the scooter! :grlaf:

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I'm waiting for the pileup of fixie cars at the bottom of the freemont hill when their flintstone feet brakes don't work


for some reason VW has a horrendous service infrastructure both dealer and independent; The element is a Civic in fugly clothing

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I bought a used Prius about 18-24 months ago and love it. It rides well, is totally reliable and gets excellent gas mileage. Throw on some cables, and the thing cruises through foot deep snow no problem. The short wheel base makes it fairly maneuverable on forest service roads. I got it up to 3 O'Clock rock last year with no problem and just had it in Black Velvet Canyon. The interior is really spacious, and we can easily pack all our climbing, camping, etc gear into the car for a two week trip without need for a roof rack. If you're short enough (no problem for me), you can even sleep in it fairly confortably.


If I get a second car, it will probably be an AWD with better clearance, but I'm holding out for a small diesel or diesel hybrid AWD pickup (although I may die first before someone with brains produces one in the U.S.).


Plus if you cruise NW Portland blasting 50 cent out the prius windows you get all the chicks! Its a key accessory for the modern gangsta lifestyle.

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The Honda Civic (non-hybrid) was my first choice because I saw it as a good, cheap, reliable car. However, both the Prius and the Jetta are more comfortable and I find them easier to get in and out of with a stiff back and neck. While they cost more up front they will save 30% on fuel and, at say 15,000 miles a year, this means about $400.00 a year so eventually the extra initial costs is recovered and meanwhile it is at least as symbolic effort at driving green.


Like Porter, I tend to keep a car forever and while the VW's have had reliability issues the consumer reports are saying they have gotten much better. The Diesel engine in that Jetta is supposed to be really good, and the electronics and video screen interface in the Prius may prove entertaining but also useful (as Erden alludes) and not something to worry about (as I tend to fear).


I liked the way the Jetta drove better than the Prius, but the Prius actually rode better and was quieter. The Jetta has a real trunk and is more comfortable. The Prius is roomier.


Who around here thinks all wheel drive is really important? I see it as a nice feature but, to tell you the truth, I would have bought my Subaru outback with front drive only had it been an option.


How hard is it to find Diesel if I'm in some backwater place or in an unfamiliar city? Any thoughts on whether and how long it will be more expensive than regular gas? Anybody actually own one of the new VW TDI's? I know Prius owners love their cars.


Are you sure that diesel car is really "green"? (see link) Also, I have yet to see the input energy of the hybrid's battery production (and disposal/recycle processes) plugged into any net vehicle life/energy use equation. Just a thought: Did upwind diesel particulate help darken and kill the White Chuck Glacier?




American Geophysical Union/Stanford University/National Science Foundation Joint Release

WASHINGTON - Laws that favor the use of diesel, rather than gasoline, engines in cars may actually encourage global warming, according to a new study. Although diesel cars obtain 25 to 35 percent better mileage and emit less carbon dioxide than similar gasoline cars, they can emit 25 to 400 times more mass of particulate black carbon and associated organic matter ("soot") per kilometer [mile]. The warming due to soot may more than offset the cooling due to reduced carbon dioxide emissions over several decades, according to Mark Z. Jacobson, Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University.


Writing in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, Jacobson describes computer simulations leading to the conclusion that control of fossil-fuel black carbon and organic matter may be the most effective method of slowing global warming, in terms of the speed and magnitude of its effect on climate. Not only does soot warm the air to a much greater extent than does carbon dioxide per unit mass, but the lifetime of soot in the air (weeks to months) is much less than is that of carbon dioxide (50 to 200 years). As such, removing soot emissions may have a faster effect on slowing global warming than removing carbon dioxide emissions.


The model Jacobson used tested 12 identifiable effects of airborne particles, known as aerosols, on climate, eight of which had not previously been described in scientific literature. Jacobson notes that it is not currently possible to quantify each of these effects individually, only the net effect of all of them operating simultaneously.


"Since 1896, when Svante Arrhenius first postulated the theory of global warming due to carbon dioxide, control of carbon dioxide has been considered the most effective method of slowing warming," Jacobson says in an interview. "Whereas carbon dioxide clearly causes most global warming, control of shorter-lived warming constituents, such as black carbon, should have a faster effect on slowing warming, which is the conclusion I have drawn from this study. The Kyoto Protocol of 1997 does not even consider black carbon as a pollutant to control with respect to global warming."


The reason the issue of diesel versus gasoline is important, says Jacobson, is that, in Europe, one of the major strategies for satisfying the Kyoto Protocol is to promote further the use of diesel vehicles and specifically to provide a greater tax advantage for diesel. Tax laws in all European Union countries, except the United Kingdom, currently favor diesel, thereby inadvertently promoting global warming, Jacobson says. Further, some countries, including Sweden, Finland, Norway, and the Netherlands, also tax fuels based on their carbon content. These taxes also favor diesel, he notes, since diesel releases less carbon per kilometer [mile] than does gasoline. Nevertheless, the small amount of black carbon and organic matter emitted by diesel may warm the atmosphere more over 100 years than the additional carbon dioxide emitted by gasoline.


In Europe and the U.S., particulate emissions from vehicles are expected to decline over the next decade. For example, by 2005, the European Union will introduce more stringent standards for particulate emissions from light duty vehicles of 0.025 grams per kilometer [0.04 grams per mile]. Even under these standards, diesel powered cars may still warm the climate more over the next 100 years than may gasoline powered cars, according to the study.


The state of California is implementing an even more restrictive standard in 2004, allowing only 0.006 grams per kilometer [0.01 grams per mile] of particulate emissions. Even if the California standard were introduced worldwide, says Jacobson, diesel cars may still warm the climate more than gasoline cars over 13 to 54 years.


In an interview, Jacobson said that new particle traps being introduced by some European automobile manufacturers in their diesel cars appear to reduce black carbon emissions to 0.003 grams per kilometer [0.005 grams per mile], even below the California standard. "I think this is great, and it is an indication that tough environmental laws encourage industry to change. But," he said, "diesel vehicles emitting at this level may still warm the climate more than gasoline over a 10 to 50 year period, not only because of black carbon emissions, but also because the traps themselves require addition fuel use. Gasoline/battery hybrid vehicles now available not only get better mileage than the newest diesels but also emit less black carbon."


In practice, less than 0.1 percent of light vehicles in the United States run on diesel fuel, whereas more than 25 percent do in Europe. (Almost a third of new European cars in 2000 were diesel powered.) In both the United States and Europe, virtually all heavy trucks and buses are diesel powered, and American diesel consumption rates for all modes of ground transportation combined are about 75 to 80 percent of those in Europe.


Control of fossil fuel black carbon and organic matter will not by itself eliminate long term global warming, says Jacobson. This would require reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, in addition to reduction of particles. Other strategies to be considered for reducing black carbon and organic matter from the atmosphere could include the phasing out of indoor biomass and coal burning and improved particle collection from jet fuel and coal burning, he says. This reduction would provide the additional benefit of reducing the 2.7 million people who die annually from air pollution, as estimated by the World Health Organization. The health costs of particulate pollution range, in industrial countries, from $200,000 to $2.75 million per ton, Jacobson notes.


The research was supported by NASA, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Hewlett-Packard Company.



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Prius has industry leading blind-spots that I was annoyed by after riding in one for a day

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