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
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.”