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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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RE: Force it on consumers?!
By djc208 on 6/15/2011 2:58:51 PM , Rating: 2
There is also the issue of emissions regulations. US regs don't differentiate between gas and diesel emissions. And while a diesel is more efficient, the mix of gasses it produces is different (usually more NOx and particulates).

The commercial/HD market is just starting to see tighter emissions regs, which is why the new diesels from Ford and Chevy have to have Eurea injection and advanced catalysts to meet those standards. It's caused a hit in most of their fuel efficiency numbers too.

So while the diesel fuel may be OK for european diesel engines, the emission systems of many would still not meet US spec.

VW had to halt US diesel sales for a year or two till they re-designed the motor to meet the newer emissions standards. BMW went to BlueTech (which is just eurea injection) on their diesels to get there.

The final problem is availability and cost. The higher fuel taxes on diesel are due to the fact that most diesel is used in large commercial trucks, which do a disproportionate amount of damage to the roads. So while diesel is more efficient, it barely offsets the higher cost of the fuel due to the tax structure.

A lesser issue is that diesel is not as readily available as gasoline, you have to pay attention when you start running low on gas, not everywhere in an urban environment has diesel for sale. This could be easily fixed.


"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton














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