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2012 VW Passat
2012 Passat TDI will be rated at 31 city, 43 highway

Amidst all of this talk of [relatively] low-displacement turbocharged, gasoline-electric hybrid, and fully electric vehicles, the North American car market seems to have forgotten about turbodiesel engines. Diesels are the go-to solution for getting incredible fuel economy in European vehicles, but the North American auto market doesn't have a wide range of diesel vehicles to choose from (unless you want a full-size pickup). 

However, you can always count of the VW Group to embrace turbodiesel technology and the company offers U.S.-spec Audi and Volkswagen branded vehicles with TDI engines. The latest of these vehicles is the new 2012 Passat TDI.

The Passat TDI features a 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine and starts at $25,995. For the enthusiasts out there, the TDI can be paired with a standard 6-speed manual transmission or an optional 6-speed DSG dual-clutch unit. 

VW says that the Passat TDI will deliver 43 mpg on the highway, giving it a maximum driving range of 800 miles. City fuel economy is a respectable 31 mpg. For comparison, the Toyota Camry Hybrid ($27,050), Hyundai Sonata Hybrid ($25,795), and Ford Fusion Hybrid ($28,600) are rated at 31/35, 35/40, and 41/36 respectively (city/highway).

"The 2012 Passat is a true Volkswagen, offering German engineering, class-leading standard features, and superior fuel economy, all for a remarkable value," said Jonathan Browning, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. "Demonstrating our commitment to the American market, the car will be produced at one of the newest, most advanced, and environmentally responsible auto assembly plants in the world in Chattanooga, Tennessee."

Interestingly, while VW seems to be embracing diesel engines for its passenger vehicles, Ford has no plans to share its European diesel engines with consumers in the U.S.

"[Ford] could easily bring diesels to the U. S. market," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president for global product development, in March. “It doesn’t make sense. We are not going to force it on customers.”



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Rent seeking
By wookie1 on 6/15/2011 12:23:46 PM , Rating: 2
US automakers don't want to spend money bringing diesel over because they feel that they're more likely to get some gov't funding for electric cars or hybrids. Also, they probably feel that at any time the EPA might shift the rules more and make diesel a losing proposition.

Since electric or gas/electric hybrids (especially plug-in) seem to be heavily favored by the gov't, not going that route is asking for trouble. Especially if it seems like you may have a more viable/cost effective solution than the Volt, which the gov't would want to protect, and may enact regulations to disfavor the Volt competition.




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