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2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI - Click above for high-res image gallery

Car sales may be down, but people who are looking for a new ride would do well to consider diesel and hybrid vehicles if they want a lower cost of ownership in the long-term. IntelliChoice.com has released its fourth annual survey of eco-friendly vehicles and has found that standard gasoline cars, while often less expensive up front, just aren't a good deal when compared to clean diesels and hybrids.

IntelliChoice looked at 2009 model year diesels and hybrids and found that, after five years or 70,000 miles, these powerplants cost less than simple ICEs. The survey looked at overall maintenance costs and resale value in addition to fuel savings. Since hybrids and clean diesels are built and sold as top-of-the-line models, IntelliChoice says, they keep their resale value up. Of the 51 cars tested, 35 "deliver a cost-of-ownership that is somewhat or significantly lower than gasoline versions of the same vehicle," said IntelliChoice editor James Bell. Bell singled out the VW Jetta TDI and Mercedes Benz E320 as diesel vehicles that "perform even better than hybrids in saving thousands of dollars in costs and recouping their purchase premium."

CNBC pulls some numbers from the report that show that, for example, the 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI may cost an extra $2,070 up front, but it will save the owner $6,210 over five years compared to the standard Jetta. A 2009 Prius costs $1,805 more than a new Camry, but the savings will be $4,930 during the half decade. You can download the study here (PDF).


[Source: IntelliChoice.com, CNBC]

PRESS RELEASE:

IntelliChoice.com Survey Finds Hybrid and Diesel Cars Beat Standard Models on Cost

- 2009 Survey Shows Clean Diesel Models Beat Hybrids in Return on Investment-

IRVINE, CA (July 9, 2009) - IntelliChoice.com's fourth annual survey of eco-friendly vehicles, released today, shows that most 2009 hybrid and clean diesel cars, trucks and SUVs deliver a lower cost of ownership compared to standard versions of the same vehicles. IntelliChoice.com, a long-time observer of how environmental concerns are reshaping the auto market, is the leading source for automotive ownership cost and value analysis and is part of SOURCE INTERLINK MEDIA.

The 2009 IntelliChoice.com Hybrid and Diesel Car survey explores the value of all 2009 model year hybrids and, for the first time, vehicles with clean diesel engines, by evaluating the major factors that determine a vehicle's cost of ownership over a five year period or 70,000 miles. Those factors include Fuel, Maintenance and Repair, Retained Value, Insurance, and Taxes and Licensing Fees.

"The survey this year once again supports what we have long argued-that most hybrid vehicles and now clean diesel vehicles offer superior value to standard models," said James Bell, editor of IntelliChoice.com. "Of the 51 hybrid and clean diesel models now on the market, 35 of them deliver a cost-of-ownership that is somewhat or significantly lower than gasoline versions of the same vehicle. The long-time knock against 'green' cars, trucks and SUVs is that their sticker prices do not justify the gas savings. The point we make is that it is not just about fuel. Buyers also need to consider costs such as maintenance and resale value."

Bell added, "The Obama Administration's recent announcement of unified and aggressive standards on Fuel Efficiency and CO2 Emissions puts even greater focus on the 'green' vehicles in our study. Many of the vehicles listed here will be 'make or break' efforts for their manufacturers as they work to meet new standards by 2016. In many cases, these vehicles already meet and exceed the standards."

Among the top-line findings from the survey:

Clean diesel has the potential to be a game changer. "Clean diesel cars like the VW Jetta TDI and Mercedes Benz E320 <http://www.intellichoice.com/search/new/Mercedes-Benz/E320> perform even better than hybrids in saving thousands of dollars in costs and recouping their purchase premium," said Bell. "Make no mistake that clean diesel cars are now mainstream. The Obama Administration needs to reexamine the legacy of higher tax rates on diesel fuel, which were set long before the switch to the low sulfur formulation required for general consumer use. The time has come to put diesel on a level playing field with gasoline. The Administration could even promote it with lower taxation as is done in Europe."

Small cars, sedans and crossovers perform better than large trucks and SUVs. "No surprise here. The Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid <http://www.intellichoice.com/search/new/Honda/Civic> and even small SUVs like the Ford Escape Hybrid save their owners thousands of dollars over five years. When you begin to move into the larger vehicles, especially big SUVs, you may pay a few thousand dollars more in ownership costs for hybrid cars and clean diesel versions," said Bell.

The higher fuel prices go, the greater value hybrids and clean diesels deliver. "The survey uses a six-month running average of $3.20 per gallon in factoring fuel costs. We expect that gas prices will eventually go up, which increases the savings for hybrid car owners."

Hybrid and clean diesel cars come fully loaded. "Buyers should keep in mind that automakers treat their hybrid and clean diesel models as top-of-the-line products. As such, they are usually loaded with options, and are usually equivalent to the fully loaded versions of gas-powered models. This is because automakers will throw in extra features to justify higher prices."

The Survey IntelliChoice.com's 2009 Hybrid and Diesel Car Survey pits hybrid and clean diesel vehicles against their gas-powered counterparts in the five most important cost of ownership categories. For instance, the Ford Escape Hybrid is compared against the "regular" or gas-only Ford Escape. The list below is a sample of findings from the survey that demonstrates how cost of ownership can offset higher sticker prices.

2009 Model and Trim MSRP Premium 5-Yr Cost of Ownership Savings Volkswagen Jetta TDI <http://www.intellichoice.com/search/new/Volkswagen/Jetta> $2,070 $6,210 Toyota Prius <http://www.intellichoice.com/search/new/Toyota/Prius> (vs. Camry <http://www.intellichoice.com/search/new/Toyota/Camry> ) $1,805 $4,930 Saturn Aura Green Line <http://www.intellichoice.com/search/new/Saturn/Aura> $1,480 $2,185 Mercedes-Benz GL320 BlueTEC <http://www.intellichoice.com/search/new/Mercedes-Benz/GL320> ($1,000) $4,645 Chevy Silverado 1500 Crew Cab 4WD <http://www.intellichoice.com/search/new/Chevrolet/Silverado> $615 $3,821 Ford Escape Hybrid AWD <http://www.intellichoice.com/search/new/Ford/Escape> $4,725 $2,123 Chevy Malibu Hybrid <http://www.intellichoice.com/search/new/Chevrolet/Malibu> $3,050 ($250) Cadillac Escalade Hybrid 4WD <http://www.intellichoice.com/search/new/Cadillac/Escalade> $8,400 ($2,265)


About IntelliChoice.com, Source Interlink Media, and Source Interlink Companies, Inc. IntelliChoice.com, part of Source Interlink Media, LLC, is the market leader in automotive ownership cost and value analysis. Founded in 1986, IntelliChoice.com is committed to empowering consumers to make better purchase decisions by providing independent and essential automotive information and tools. Through the IntelliChoice.com web site, consumers get the help they need to research, compare, configure and price vehicles. The site also connects buyers to the buying alternatives of their choice, including vehicle manufacturers and an online car buying guide. Source Interlink Media is a subsidiary of Source Interlink Companies, Inc. (NASDAQ: SORC), a media and marketing services company. Source Interlink is one of the largest publishers of magazines and online content for enthusiast audiences and a leading distributor of home entertainment products, including DVDs, music CDs, magazines, games, books and related items. Learn more about IntelliChoice.com <http://www.intellichoice.com/> and Source Interlink <http://www.sourceinterlink.com/> .


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 37 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Downtoearth...

      >Well, you get a tad more on the highway when commuting steadily. 43 mpg is a fair number. But don't underestimate the low city mileage. Those who posted 2009 Jetta TDI real life mpg on fueleconomy.gov have 70% highway driving bias and they get no more than 40 mpg combined. So will you.<

      All of which just shows that it depends on what driving conditions are expected to be encountered as to what is better – gas-hybrid or diesel.


      >Considering that it takes more crude oil to make a gallon of diesel than of gasoline, midsize Fusion consumes 8 barrels of crude oil to cover 15k miles, the compact Jetta TDI needs 10 barrels. So it is 25% less efficient.<

      You keep making this point, but you continue to ignore the higher energy required to refine gasoline as compared to diesel. Crude oil typically contains VERY little “straight-run” gasoline; there’s much more “straight-run” middle distillate in a barrel of crude oil ( http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2174). “Cracking” longer-chain hydrocarbons into shorter chain hydrocarbons like gasoline takes considerable energy. The U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) recently concluded that it takes as much as twice as much energy (and CO2 emissions) to produce a gallon of gasoline as a gallon of diesel ( http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/servicerpt/lightduty/pdf/sroiaf(2009)02.pdf).


      >Have you ever driven a manual diesel?<

      Yes, I currently have a Jetta TDI w/5-speed manual. You may be right about rowing through gears in city driving but my driving consists of at least twice as much rural driving as city driving. The Jetta’s manual trans shifts very smoothly with short gear throws. I prefer it over an automatic for the type of driving I do.


      >TDI has the very poor cost of ownership rating.<

      This is what this entire thread is about – the cost of ownership of a Volkswagen Jetta TDI over 5 years/70K miles is $6210 less than an equivalent gas-engine Jetta per this IntelliChoice study. You can quibble about the assumptions used, but I don’t see why this study should be any less valid than your sources.


      >Fusion hybrid has no turbo to fail.<

      Turbos aren’t high-failure items. There’s a Dodge Ram/Cummins 3500 pickup truck with 1.4 million miles (mostly towing) that was featured in the most recent issue of Diesel Power Magazine. The truck still has the original turbo according to the article ( http://www.dieselpowermag.com/tech/0907dp_2001_dodge_ram_3500/index.html).


      Finally, why not pursue DIESEL-hybrid power trains? Cost may be an issue, but the relative fuel economy advantage of the diesel engine is carried through compared to the gas-hybrid. The absolute cost difference between diesel-hybrid and gas hybrid would be about the same as cost difference between conventional diesel and gasoline power trains, so the relative difference of diesel-hybrid would likely be less (assuming the cost of the hybrid systems – gas or diesel - are the same).
        • 5 Years Ago
        wxman:

        >> Those who posted 2009 Jetta TDI real life mpg on fueleconomy.gov
        >> have 70% highway driving bias and they get no more than 40 mpg
        >> combined. So will you.

        > All of which just shows that it depends on what driving conditions
        > are expected to be encountered as to what is better – gas-hybrid or diesel.

        Yeah, Jetta TDI drivers do 70% highway 30% city (which is actually a nearly top end highway split, you just cannot avoid cities more) in a slower compact sedan and still use 25% energy than drivers of the faster midsize sedan doing 55 city 45 hgw split. Come on, wxman, this fuel efficiency advantage is ENORMOUS. 25% more? And the size difference? Hybrid is in a completely different league of efficiency than the diesel.


        >> Considering that it takes more crude oil to [...]

        > You keep making this point, but you continue to ignore
        > the higher energy required to refine gasoline as compared to diesel.

        Oh dear...

        You're a scientist so far as I can tell. As a scientist, you know that saying "there is a difference" is meaningless. You have to quantify it and provide a perspective. You didn't do this so I will.

        Source:
        Well-to-Wheel Analysis of Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Automotive Fuels in the Japanese Context - Well-to-Tank Report - November 30, 2004, Toyota Motor Corporation, Mizuho Information & Research Institute, Inc. http://www.mizuho-ir.co.jp/english/knowledge/report/wtwghg041130.html

        Page 19, section 2.1.3: MJ of energy consumed to produce/process/deliver fuel divided by a MJ of energy as this final fuel

        ultra low sulfur diesel = 0.118
        conventional gasoline = 0.175
        future gasoline = 0.187

        Fusion does 43 mpg ~ 5.47 l/100km * 34.66 * 1.175 = 222.76 MJ well-to-wheel
        Fusion does 43 mpg ~ 5.47 l/100km * 34.66 * 1.175 = 225.03 MJ well-to-wheel future
        Jetta TDI does 40 mpg ~ 5.88 l/100km * 38.66 * 1.118 = 254.14 MJ well-to-wheel

        Compact Jetta TDI is 14% (13% in the future) less well-to-wheel efficient than the midsize Fusion hybrid which also happens to be faster. Any questions?

        ----------------
        Petroleum products (103 M3)
        Product Terajoules
        Gasoline 34.66
        Diesel fuel oil 38.66
        statcan.gc.ca/pub/57-601-x/00204/4105641-eng.htm
        ----------------

        And this was for the Japan which is all gasoline as far as passenger vehicles are concerned. In Europe, it costs more energy to produce a MJ of diesel than a MJ of gasoline:

        diesel: 0.16 MJ per MJ of final fuel
        gasoline: 0.14 MJ per MJ of final fuel

        Source: WELL-TO-WHEELS ANALYSIS OF FUTURE AUTOMOTIVE FUELS AND POWERTRAINS IN THE EUROPEAN CONTEXT, European Comission Join Research Centre, http://www.co2star.eu/publications/Well_to_Tank_Report_EU.pdf page 60 Figure 4.2-1

        So not only Europeans drive inefficient diesels, being 25-40% less tank-to-wheel efficient than hybrids, they also loose additional energy when overproducing diesel fuel in their unbalanced refineries, making their cars even less well-to-wheel efficient. Such widespread intercontinental idiocy was only observed in Soviet Union so far. Bankrupcy and fallout followed. So will the European Union end up (called the reincarnation of Soviet one by the way by many of its critics).

        Obviously, German Motoring Press spews every possible turd to make hybrids look bad. They fake Prius And Lexus hybrids mileages, rig comparison tests, they never inform how cleanly those cars run (Auto Motor und Sport never mentioned ADAC Ecotest 850+ cars comparison), how simple the engine, driveline and exhaust is, how low their total ownership costs are, how significantly they reduce pollution in cities with enormous population density. This only proves how desperately German diesel car makers act, how high their diesel sunk cost are and how they fear superior hybrid technology from Asia.


        > The U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) recently concluded
        > that it takes as much as twice as much energy (and CO2 emissions)
        > to produce a gallon of gasoline as a gallon of diesel
        > ( http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/servicerpt/lightduty/pdf/sroiaf(2009)02.pdf).

        You're falsifying the data your source provides. Table 2.2 page 5: well-to-pump greenhouse gas emissions for various vehicle types, 2010, grams per mile:

        gasoline vehicle: 92
        gasoline electric hybrid vehicle: 62
        diesel vehicle: 75
        diesel electric hybrid vehicle: 57 (rem
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think the key though is the resale rates.

      For example, if Diesel were to return to the cost premium we saw last yet (~$5/gal) the resale rates would reflect this and the economic proposition would decline.

      With hybrids, I think the key is simply supply/demand. As more hybrids are sold and the used market for them matures, the resale price will begin to decline.

      Either way, my theory is that provided adequate supplies of diesel cars to the market, in the long term the market will likely move the total cost of ownership towards parity.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think with hybrids (well made ones like the prius and fusion and civic hybrid) the resale value will not be largely affected by their supply. I believe that one of the main reasons that they retain their value is BECAUSE OF their efficiency and low cost of ownership and long life. Having many of these cars around will still keep their residual values high.

        If ALL cars became super efficient and lasted 50 years then they'd simply hold their value longer, even if everyone had one and they were readily available. I think this is somewhat true on a smaller scale with the hybrids.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Diesels in the USA are never going to be the cheap and cheerful small car alternative until the government smartens up and adopts the emissions standards of the European countries where they are are actually intended for.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think a lot of the hybrid resale is also because they are made from manufacturers whose products generally have a great resale value (Look a the price on a new Corolla vs. a used one)
        • 5 Years Ago
        Diesel is also supply and demand. The Prius has been on the market continuously for 8 years and is holding up well on supply versus demand. Diesels have only been available in less than 50% of the last 10 years.

        There's no reason to think Diesels won't also drop in resale if more are made available.
        • 5 Years Ago
        In my area, a 2006 Jetta TDI is listed at $18K (so maybe goes for $17K). And this is in California where Diesels are even more tough to come by than in other states. So at least around here, they are not appreciating in value.
        • 5 Years Ago
        actually the higher gas prices go, the more money diesel makes, especially considering that 06 jetta diesel list for 26-27 thous, some 4-5 thous over sticker. so yea buying a car that Appreciates in value is pretty nice...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Personally I believe this study is flawed. It's all supply and demand. At $4 gas prices my 2003 Civic Hybrid with 60,000 miles on it was listed on KBB as going for $14,000. Just recently with 75K on it and cheap (around $2) gas prices we were lucky to get a bit over $5,000 for it. Watch gas prices go back to $4 and I'd be willing to bet it would be worth over $10K again.

      With good timing you get back big bucks. Poor timing (and age) and they're worth less than their gas counter parts. How/Why? At 60K miles it's still a decent car. At 120K miles and anyone with a clue about hybrids is going to start to wonder how long that battery pack is going to last and factor in $3-4K replacement costs and deduct that from market value... with an ICE only version you don't have that deduction.

      So, sell while the mileage is still reasonable and gas is high and you do good. Sell with high mileage and low gas and you do worse. I don't need a study to tell me this. Common sense and personal experience gave me this answer.
      • 5 Years Ago
      More like retardochoice.com

      Please get back to us when a Prius's TCO is lower than a Corolla. (Which will be never, unless prius becomes 100% electric).
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hi downtoearth. Response to some of your points...

      >...You're a scientist so far as I can tell. As a scientist, you know that saying "there is a difference" is meaningless. You have to quantify it and provide a perspective. You didn't do this so I will....<

      Actually, I did in another post a month or so ago. You're obfuscating my point by including the Fusion hybrid and Jetta TDI comparison. My point is that the "additional energy" that diesel fuel contains per gallon need to be put into perspective since there's more energy involved with the refining/distribution of gasoline than ULSD (even according to the Toyota source you provide). Here's my quantification...


      WTT energy per Toyota (pdf file in your link)...
      125,071 BTU/gal = 131.96 MJ/gal (gasoline); 138,690 BTU/gal = 146.33 MJ/gal (ULSD)
      131.96 MJ/gal X 0.175 MJ/MJ = 23 MJ/gal (+131.96 MJ/gal) = 154.96 MJ/gal (gasoline)
      146.33 MJ/gal X 0.118 MJ/MJ = 17.27 MJ/gal (+146.33 MJ/gal) = 163.6 MJ/gal (ULSD)
      163.6 ÷ 154.96 = 1.0557 = 5.57% effective higher energy content for ULSD

      Energy Consumption in the Fuel Cycle per MIT ( http://web.mit.edu/energylab/www/pubs/el00-003.pdf, Table 2.4, p 2-5)...
      131.96 MJ/gal X 0.211 MJ/MJ = 27.8 MJ/gal = 159.8 MJ/gal (gasoline)
      146.33 MJ/gal X 0.139 MJ/MJ = 20.34 MJ/gal = 166.67 MJ/gal (ULSD)
      166.67 ÷ 159.8 = 1.043 = 4.3% effective higher energy content for ULSD


      >I'm seriously disappointed by seeing you manipulating the information.<

      I'm not manipulating anything, just repeating what EIA said. On page 38 of 48 of the EIA report I linked previously...

      "...Finally, the possibility of a low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS), currently being considered in California, could provide a price advantage for diesel fuel. From a refiner’s perspective, production of diesel fuel may have an advantage within a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade regulatory framework. For example, a 2005 study of the European refining industry demonstrated that, on average, refineries producing diesel emitted about one-half the CO2 emitted by refineries producing naphtha/gasoline streams. Because European refineries are configured somewhat differently from their American counterparts (to produce more distillate), GHG emissions in the processing may be different; however, given the savings in GHG emissions from diesel refining and vehicle operations described above, a national LCFS framework probably would narrow the price differential between diesel fuel and gasoline and provide incentives for diesel car purchases."


      >Do you compare old Mercedes 300D with modern overdone diesels? No, because it does not make sense. So don't bring up this example as a proof of turbo longevity (#3 mostly allowed it to live so long).<

      At least I provided one example of extreme longevity of a diesel turbocharger. You haven't provided anything except your speculation that they are prone to fail. I've owned 4 turbo diesel vehicles (in addition to several gasoline vehicles by the way), NONE of them have had any issues whatsoever with the turbo.


      >Because they don't make the slightest sense.<

      I don't see why not. An Argonne National Lab study ( http://www.transportation.anl.gov/pdfs/TA/89.pdf) concludes that diesels receive MORE benefit from "hybridization" than Atkinson-cycle gasoline engines.

      Bosch also suggests that diesels can achieve at least as much benefit as gasoline engines...

      "...Hybridization can reduce the consumption of gasoline engines by 39%, and of diesel engines by as much as 40%..."

      Source: http://www.greencarcongress.com/2009/07/bosch-20090701.html#more


      >Gasoline hybrids use the simplest possible Atkinson engines that have none of the additional gear mentioned. It is simply not needed.<

      You appear to be an engineer, so please explain why the Atkinson cycle can't be applied to a diesel engine.


      >The large additional cost necessary to build a diesel hybrid will be much better spent on increasing ordinary gasoline hybrid battery capacity. Gasoline hybrids are just a platform for the plug-in ones or extended range electric vehicles to start. The battery role in propulsion will rise, the ICE engine will diminish, that's why it needs to be kept small, simple, cheap and light. Modern diesels are the exact opposite of these things. And the gasoline hybrid with an extended battery will destroy any diesel hybrid in terms of crude oil d
      • 5 Years Ago
      The reason the Jetta saves more over the Prius in this study is because of the $1300 tax credit the Jetta receives whereas Toyota exhausted their hybrid tax credits years ago. If you are not eligible for the credit (you lease, for example), the Prius is ahead. Prius is going to blow by the Jetta again, especially since it has raised its fuel economy noticeably since the 2009 study here.

      I would also love to see how they calculated their fuel figures. The Jetta should have an advantage on the highway, while have a significant disadvantage (as much as 30%!) in the city to the new Prius. The PDF gives no clue.
        • 5 Years Ago
        But no doubt in my mind, I'd rather drive and own the Jetta.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Since I actually want to ENJOY my time driving my car, the clean diesels look like my best bet until cheaper electric cars come out.

      I say that because the turbo-diesels have one huge advantage over hybrids. They can be tuned to get better gas mileage AND better acceleration (along with removing the top speed limiter).

      Now I know that isn't very "green" of me to want to rip around as fast as I can in a car, but too bad. I'm gonna rip around as fast as I can in my car, that is a given fact. So I might as well drive whatever gets the best gas mileage I can get while driving faster than I should. That along with the cost savings makes the clean diesel the clear-cut winner for my personal desires (your desires WILL be different...)

      And while I would prefer a BMW 123d, the Jetta TDI almost looks do-able for me with a chip tune on it. I don't know a hybrid currently for sale that gets this amount of power with this MPG (I think the MPG below are based upon euro-cycle so they don't translate directly to US EPA ratings, but the increase with installing the chip is the point):

      http://www.upsolute.com/index.php?option=com_upsolute&task=car&id=1943&id_marke=6&id_model=13300

      Original UPsolute
      Power (hp) 140 hp 175 hp
      Power (kW) 103 kW 129 kW
      Torque (ft/lb) 236 ft/lb 291 ft/lb
      Torque (NM) 320 NM 395 NM
      Engine size 1968 1968
      Compression 18,5:1 18,5:1
      Max Speed 129 mph (207 km/h) 0 mph (0 km/h)
      Fuel consum. Highway 47 mpg (5,0l / 100km) 49 mpg (4,8l / 100km)
      Fuel consum. Combined 39 mpg (6,1l / 100km) 39 mpg (6,0l / 100km)
      Fuel consum. City 29 mpg (8,0l / 100km) 31 mpg (7,7l / 100km)
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Ford Fusion hybrid makes more power than that (chipped or unchipped) and about the same mpg (once you adjust for Euro versus EPA figures, much better city, perhaps a few percent less highway).
        • 5 Years Ago
        Down to earth: Better check your facts! Torque is an absolute quantity produced by the engine and can be measured directly. HP is a calculated value (HP = torque*rpm/5250). Diesels make more torque - period. They make less HP because of their lower revs.

        I haven't driven a TDI, but I do have a '71 MB diesel, 4sp manual. It is one of the best driving cars I have ever been in. Yes, diesels are slower off the line because of low revs, but once moving they out torque their gas counterparts and the midrange acceleration is far and away better. Check both 0-60 and 30-70 times for diesel/gas versions of the same car and you will usually find that gas wins 0-60 but is trounced in 30-70. That is the joy of driving a diesel that most Americans don't understand yet. Unless you are a dedicated drag racer, the diesel will feel faster in most real world situations.

        Luxury cars come with automatics because luxury buyers want to do as little as possible when driving. What does this have to do with a fun driving car?

        F1 uses an automatically shifted manual, as does WRC. There may not be a usual H pattern shifter and clutch, but it is not an automatic.

        Either way, the OP stated it was personal preference (and I agree with his opinion).
        • 5 Years Ago
        You said power, not power to weight.

        You sure switched your story quickly.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Nixon:

        > Ford Fusion Hybrid
        > 191 hp for a 3,720 lb car == 19.48 lb/hp to push around
        > 136 tq for a 3,720 lb car == 27.35 lb/tq to push around

        > chipped Jetta TDI
        > 175 hp for a 3,230 lb car == 18.46 lb/hp to push around
        > 291 tq for a 3,230 lb car == 11.1 lb/tq to push around

        > Smaller numbers mean more push per pound,
        > so the TDI should feel more peppy, even with higher
        > HP rating on the Fusion.

        With all the respect to you, you simply don't understand torque.

        Torque as such is meaningless because it's a relative value. It is a ratio of power to revs at which this power is produced, multiplied by an additional constant. Diesels have more torque (at crankshaft where it is meaningless as it's later on modified by gearing nad final drive ratio) simply because they rev less producing the same power output. It does not mean they are any faster.

        By the way, acceleration. Midsize Fusion does 0-60 in 8.7 seconds [1], compact sedan Jetta TDI does it in 8.9 seconds [2] if you launch it hard which is brutal and very destructive to the drivetrain. So you won't do it, making Jetta TDI even slower. Meanwhile, you just step on the gas in the Fusion and go. Electric immediate power thrust does the job

        Another problem is, you quote numbers for the Fusion ordinary 2.5 engine. The hybrid uses less powerful Atkinson cycle version but it is boosted by electric motor.


        > Fusion gets 36 highway, TDI gets 41 hwy without the chip, higher with the chip.
        > Advantage: TDI

        Well, you get a tad more on the highway when commuting steadily. 43 mpg is a fair number. But don't underestimate the low city mileage. Those who posted 2009 Jetta TDI real life mpg on fueleconomy.gov have 70% highway driving bias and they get no more than 40 mpg combined. So will you.

        At the same time, first user estimates see 43 mpg for the Fusion Hybrid (55% city, 45% highway driving split) [3].

        Considering that it takes more crude oil to make a gallon of diesel than of gasoline, midsize Fusion consumes 8 barrels of crude oil to cover 15k miles, the compact Jetta TDI needs 10 barrels. So it is 25% less efficient.


        > Fusion has a CVT transmission, the TDI can be had with a manual,
        > which is a sportier feel that I like

        Have you ever driven a manual diesel? It's an awful experience. They are tightly geared so you have to row through gears like a retarded ape. In a city, you barely drive with two hands on the steering wheel.

        If you consider manuals better, answer yourself a question: why all the luxury cars, F1 fastest track cars in the world and WRC class rally fastest gravel cars all come with an automatic?


        > TDI gets very good cost of ownership rating

        TDI has the very poor cost of ownership rating.

        5-year TOTAL costs of ownership:
        2004 Jetta GL 2.0 115HP: $29,393 [5]
        2004 Jetta GL 1.9 TDI 90HP: $32,491 [6]

        Wanna loose money on maintenance and repairs thinking you'll save them? Go diesel. Now realize, that the 2009 TDI is much more complex than the old 1.9 TDI.

        What's more:
        1. Chip tuning can only be performed after the warranty expires. Otherwise you loose manufacturer's warranty.
        2. Chip tuning shortens life of the car since no components are upgraded to cope with heavier loads.
        3. Fusion hybrids requires the catalytic converter to stop its emissions. Jetta TDI requires an additional diesel particulate filter (DPF) and NOx reductor. All these complex components increase the risk of car failure. Google for DPF failure. It sets an owner some $1600 back.
        4. Fusion hybrid has no turbo to fail.
        5. Fusion hybrid has no ultra high pressure fuel pump and fragile high pressure injectors. This components fail easily when low quality diesel fuel is used and are extremely expensive to replace.
        6. Fusion has no clutch to replace pads and to fail. It also has no synchronizers in its gearbox to wear prematurely.
        7. In fact, Fusion Hybrid has no gearbox. It uses just a single gear mesh. It will last forever, just like an axle differential does.


        > And again, I'd still rather have a BMW 123d than either of them.

        This car fails at anything but driving dynamics.


        [1] http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drives/FullTests/articleId=138726/pageId=156922
        [2] http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drives/FullTests/articleId=132146/pageId=148684
        [3]
        • 5 Years Ago
        Using the stat's from Ford's website:
        http://www.fordvehicles.com/cars/fusion/specifications/engine/

        Ford Fusion Hybrid
        191 hp for a 3,720 lb car == 19.48 lb/hp to push around
        136 tq for a 3,720 lb car == 27.35 lb/tq to push around

        chipped Jetta TDI
        175 hp for a 3,230 lb car == 18.46 lb/hp to push around
        291 tq for a 3,230 lb car == 11.1 lb/tq to push around

        Smaller numbers mean more push per pound, so the TDI should feel more peppy, even with higher HP rating on the Fusion.
        Advantage: TDI

        Fusion gets 36 highway, TDI gets 41 hwy without the chip, higher with the chip.
        Advantage: TDI

        Fusion has a CVT transmission, the TDI can be had with a manual, which is a sportier feel that I like (again, other people's opinions WILL differ, but I'm talking about what I prefer for myself).
        Advantage: TDI

        Price: The TDI with a chip starts around 23,000, Fusion starts around 28,000, about $5,000 more. TDI gets very good cost of ownership rating, the Fusion isn't rated, but the other Ford hybrids don't do as well as the TDI.
        Advantage: TDI

        Sure, the Fusion gets 41 city and has an electric-only mode up to 47 mph, while the TDI is only good for 30 mpg city. But less than 1/2 of a mile of my commute is on roads that I drive at 47 mph or less, with the other 14 miles are at 54-74 mph.
        Advantage: None. Better city mileage and electric mode does me little good at all.

        But yea, the Ford Fusion Hybrid sounds like a pretty good car.... For someone else besides me. And again, I'd still rather have a BMW 123d than either of them.
      • 5 Years Ago
      downtoearth said, "Have you ever driven a manual diesel? It's an awful experience. They are tightly geared so you have to row through gears like a retarded ape. In a city, you barely drive with two hands on the steering wheel"

      This is simply not true of ALL diesels and certainly not true of the Jetta TDI. The engine has a much lower redline so you shift earlier but you certainly don't have to shift often. In fact due to the torque available you don't have to shift as much in city driving. You can even start out in 2nd and stay there for most stop and go driving.

      As for why F1 cars use semiautomatic gearboxes, it is strictly due to the speed of the shifts and the cost of the engines. A semi-automatic eliminates missed down shifts which can grenade an engine. They also allow the engineers to set specific shift points depending on the track.
      Luxury cars use automatics becuase they fit with the luxury image, not becuase automatics are "better" transmissions.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Throwback:


        downtoearth:

        > > Have you ever driven a manual diesel? It's an awful experience.
        > > They are tightly geared so you have to row through gears

        > This is simply not true of ALL diesels and certainly not true
        > of the Jetta TDI. The engine has a much lower redline so you
        > shift earlier but you certainly don't have to shift often.

        I will demonstrate it, OK?

        2.0 TDI 140HP turbodiesel accelerating - DSG shifts into FOURTH when reaching 100kph: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBxkGM1fjdo&fmt=18

        1.4 TSI 140HP gasoline turbo accelerating - DSG shifrt into THIRD when reaching 100kph: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLrUJhO_ns4&fmt=18

        Both gearboxes are six speed.

        Are you still gonna argue with me now? I really do know what I'm taking about.


        > You can even start out in 2nd and stay there for most stop and go driving.

        Try it. After you stall the engine for the third time in a row you'll see how wrong you are.

        And you WILL stall it because of this chart: http://rri.se/popup/performancegraphs.php?ChartsID=812 See the sudden torque boost @ 1000 rpm? See the power curve starting at this point? Below this, your diesel engine is dead in the water. As long as turbo does not build up the boost pressure, power is not here.

        Every modern diesel with variable vane turbo shares this characteristic.


        > Luxury cars use automatics becuase they fit with the luxury image,
        > not becuase automatics are "better" transmissions.

        It's scary what sort of nonsense people are ready to tell to make their point.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Cost of ownership on my Prius @ 148,000 miles:

      Just mounted 3rd replacement set of tires (average 49k miles per set)
      Replaced the water pump belt for the 2nd time (preventative maintenance)
      Oil changed / tires rotated every 5k miles
      Changed the radiator and inverter coolant twice (also preventative)

      No rotors, drums, pads, plugs, exhaust ... nothin'

      It's never stranded me, broken down, or needed unscheduled maintenance.

      I'll never buy another one; not enough fun (HP), but cost of ownership is close to zero after gas.


      • 5 Years Ago
      There are a few pluses and minuses (for both diesels and hybrids) that this study might not have taken into account:

      On the diesel side, based on my own experience with a VW TDI over the last decade or so, it is possible to get either a really good one or a really bad one - and even if you get a good one, you must be prepared to do some of your own dirty work or possibly face devastating repair bills. I have been lucky enough to have almost no major expenses beyond scheduled maintenance, but I have also repaired a few things myself that would have been horribly expensive if I had taken them to a dealer or an average repair shop.

      For hybrids I can't speak as much from experience, but the fact that they cut the study off at 70K miles takes the battery replacement issue out of the equation. In reality that might erode the hybrid's advantage somewhat.

      Since I bought my TDI when diesel and gas were both well under $2, and also lived through the times when diesel was 50 cents or more higher than gas, I would expect the fuel price difference to come out in the wash over the course of several years - even with both prices almost certain to climb higher in the future.

      I'm sticking with the idea that you should just pick the car that suits your "mission" the best. Lots of highway driving? Diesel. Stop-and-go city? Hybrid... or hold out for plug-in EV.
      • 5 Years Ago
      downtoearth:-
      "With all the respect to you, you simply don't understand torque.

      Torque as such is meaningless because it's a relative value. It is a ratio of power to revs at which this power is produced, multiplied by an additional constant. Diesels have more torque (at crankshaft where it is meaningless as it's later on modified by gearing nad final drive ratio) simply because they rev less producing the same power output. It does not mean they are any faster."


      Hi there,
      You obviously have a lot of time on your hands, so I suggest that you climb off your soapbox and look up the difference between torque and hp.

      Your description is for horsepower, not torque.
      TQ x RPM
      HP= -------------
      5252
      Which is why a stock Jetta TDI can match a fusion to 60 (the conservative manufacturer's claim is actually 8.3 sec), despite an apparent power advantage.

      As for your manual claims? Learn to drive.
      The powerband is different, you will adjust almost immediately...and not want to go back to anything else.

      Bottom line:
      Drive what you like, and if you like to drive, you'll be leaning towards Clean Diesel.

      Now if you don't mind, I'm going to go enjoy another 150,000 miles of trouble free TDI ownership...
      • 5 Years Ago
      This will be some startling news to long time diesel owners, and that multitude of people avoiding diesels!

      /sarcasm :).
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