Print 43 comment(s) - last by superstition.. on Jun 16 at 4:15 PM

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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RE: Who gives a @!#*...
By mellomonk on 6/15/2011 12:44:31 PM , Rating: 2
Finally, I don't think it's fair to compare the fuel economy of the diesel vehicles directly with the gasoline vehicles since diesel fuel has more energy in it than gasoline per the gallon which means more CO2 emissions for the same fuel economy.. A diesel vehicle that averages 33mpg is the equivalent of a gasoline vehicle that averages 29mpg... at least when it concerns CO2 emissions.

You are correct about CO2 produced per gallon, BUT you haven't done the full maths. The mileage produced per gallon is much higher for diesel in these auto applications. In other words the CO2 produced per mile driven is lower then the equivalent petrol vehicle. Add to that the amount of energy needed to transport the given volume of fuel for distribution and you reduce CO2 again. Plus any bio-diesel you add to the mix is carbon neutral. You are simply not going to win the fuel debate from a Carbon perspective.

BTW the modern Clean Diesel technologies employed in these passenger car applications do more the squeak by the minimum emissions, in fact if you check the California Air Resources Board testing, you will see VWs latest 2.0L Tdi used in VW and Audi products here, actually comes in under some of it's competitor's petrol powerplants when it comes to emissions.

RE: Who gives a @!#*...
By Philippine Mango on 6/16/2011 1:47:26 PM , Rating: 2
Show me a "diesel" car sold in the United States with an emission standard that is better than tier 2 bin 5 which btw is the current minimum standard.

RE: Who gives a @!#*...
By Philippine Mango on 6/16/2011 1:55:50 PM , Rating: 2
BTW the 2011 Jetta is rated at 34mpg with the diesel. You can get a 2011 Hyundai Elantra that is rated at 33mpg with gasoline which means the Jetta emits more co2 emissions despite being the same sized vehicle.. The Elantra is a much less expensive vehicle and employs no advanced "gadgetry" which means that there should be plenty of room for improvement with this vehicle down the line.. The Jetta on the other hand is already using an expensive diesel engine and since Volkswagen fails to meet the CAFE requirements (or at least has a history of), you'll be indirectly paying for this on top via the price tag of the vehicle.

HCCI in the future may make the argument for diesel having better fuel economy than gasoline nullified since it would effectively be having a gasoline motor operate like a diesel when cruising.

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