We are extremely pleased that Volkswagen was able to achieve such phenomenal fuel mileage and emissions numbers from their Golf TDI Hybrid. As a refresher, the machine uses a 1.2 liter three-cylinder diesel engine paired with a 26 horsepower electric motor and returns 69 U.S. mpg and 89 g/km of CO2 emissions in the EU combined cycle. As we've reported, the car is slated for production in Europe, but what about the U.S.? Don't we need cars that deliver high mileage and low emissions here too? Of course we do, but the question that needs to be asked is whether American drivers are ready to pay for the technology required to make these numbers a reality.
The Toyota Prius has set the standard for what consumers expect from green cars, and it is priced rather well - less than $25 grand, well equipped. Diesel vehicles have never sold as well in the States as they do in Europe, despite their fuel mileage increases. This is due, partly, to the added cost that comes with a diesel vehicle in order to meet emissions requirements. Keith Price, a spokesman for VW USA says,"From a consumer standpoint, it comes down to 'What kind of compromise do I need to live with to enjoy all this wonderfulness?'" Price is one compromise that is hard to get around, as VW's diesels already cost about $2,000 more than gasoline models. Add in what the hybrid system will cost on top of that and the Golf... um, I mean Rabbit TDI Hybrid may price itself out of the market. We sincerely hope not.