TDI Mileage Test

In the broad sense of the expression I’m a car guy. Though it’s much more accurate to say I’m a truck guy, or a motorcycle guy, as these machines have been the focus of my enthusiasm since my youth. But cars have their place, particularly when it comes to running errands, driving on-pavement, and hauling only people or small parcels. We have a car for these tasks, my wife’s 2000 Golf TDI.

The 1.9L TDI sips so few liters of diesel that I usually don’t drive it with a focus on fuel economy. This contrasts with how I typically drive my 4WDs, trying to squeeze all I can out of each gallon of fuel. The daily driving commuter fuel economy from the TDI is very close to 40 MPG. Sometimes a bit less, sometimes more, depending on the driving mix. Most car highway trips you will find us driving the TDI, and the fuel economy while driving 75+/– is usually around 45 MPG, depending on how many in-town miles we traveled and how hard I flog the little oil-burner.

This past weekend we took a short drive to enjoy a favorite restaurant in a nearby city. I decided we would also do a “mileage test”, the term is part of my vernacular. The trip included several miles of 65 MPH freeway, but most of the 78.4 miles were on rural highways with only a few stoplights and a 55 MPH speed limit. I accelerated moderately, drove the speed limit, and paid attention to the task at hand, driving, but there was no hypermiling silliness. We drove very few in-town miles. We returned to the same fuel pump, set it to the same setting, no topping off, etc. Our consumption was 1.392 gallons.

Copyright © 2012 James Langan

3 Replies to “TDI Mileage Test”

  1. You are correct about a new TDI taking many thousands of miles to make economic sense solely on the fuel economy savings. Of course sometimes what we want (not only need) is part of the equation. The torquey little turbocharged diesels are fun to drive.

    We were lucky to buy our TDI from a friend several years ago when it was 18,000-miles young, and it was paid-for long ago. Now we are focused on driving it, enjoying the MPG, and hoping for no expensive maintenance items or repairs. Though we won’t be surprised when they arrive.

  2. I love the idea of a TDI, however if buying a new one, they don’t make sense. If you figure a 60 month loan and 15k miles a year driven, a TDI Jetta will cost more than a gas 2.5L Jetta. Factor in the extra maintenance costs and it still doesn’t figure in the diesel’s favor.

    We used to own a 2007 Toyota Yaris, 5 speed. What a basic car, but it had power everything, cruise, ect. I routinely got 40 mpg driving it on regular 87 gas. $14k car that got 40+ mpg was a great deal for us. I ran Amsoil in it and changed the oil every 15k miles and that was it. Great little car. Wish we still had it.

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