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Volkswagen Jetta, Honda Civic, Diesel, Hybrid Cars, Wagon
#1 of 457 Jetta TDI vs. Civic Hybrid
Jun 16, 2004 (5:53 am)
My short list is down to a Jetta TDI wagon or the Civic Hybrid.
I'm leaning toward the Jetta, primarily for these reasons:
1) more fun to drive
2) available as a wagon
3) diesel technology has a proven track record, hybrid does not.
4) locally available with manual transmission (which seems to be even harder to find in the Hybrid)
5) better safety features (head curtain air bags, ESP skid protection with brake-assist)
6) nicer interior (except for cramped rear leg room)
Big plusses for the Hybrid include:
1) cleaner emissions (though the TDI probably will narrow the gap as low-suphur diesel and biodiesel become more available; I can get biodiesel delivered to my home in bulk)
2) better reliability, at least until the batteries wear out
3) sales tax-free in Maryland through June 30
4) no trouble finding fuel (though this does not seem to be a huge issue for my area)
Total price-to-purchase is very close for the 2 cars; fuel mileage is similar (probably with a real-world advantage for the Jetta in mostly highway driving); both get good safety ratings for their class. So I tend to weight subjective factors ("fun to drive") fairly heavily. And, since I live in farm country, biodiesel has a little extra appeal to me.
Anyone care to add or take issue with anything?
#2 of 457 Re: Jetta TDI vs. Civic Hybrid [tom21769 #1]
Jun 16, 2004 (6:48 am)
I think you have done good research. I would lean to the Jetta for the wagon's extra room. I would also get the bumper to bumper extended warranty. Although I believe VW is now 4 years 50k miles standard warranty. Have you talked to anyone that has tried the bio-diesel in a TDI? I would be curious as to how well it performs. Good luck with your purchase.
#3 of 457 Re: Jetta TDI vs. Civic Hybrid [gagrice #2]
Jun 16, 2004 (6:54 am)
"...I believe VW is now 4 years 50k miles standard warranty."
Basic Warranty 4yr/50K
I have never tried Bio-Diesel in mine so I can't answer that question. I have been extremely pleased with the mileage I have received from my car and the drivability of the car. My only complaint is the rear leg room, but then again my kids are 3 and 2, so they have little legs. I also know that Hybrid owners have been real pleased with their cars as well.
My suggestion....take a 24hour drive (if Honda will let you do that...I know VW will let you take one home overnight to test) in each of them back to back.
#4 of 457 in many states
Jun 16, 2004 (7:36 am)
you can drive the hybrid in the carpool lane, not the TDI. Of course, if you are genuinely rural where you live, then you probably don't care about that!
I read an article where someone was running biodiesel all the time in their VW TDI, with good results. Funnily enough, the cost in dollars was not much less than buying regular diesel from the gas station, but of course the emissions are WAY less.
#5 of 457 Re: in many states [nippononly #4]
Jun 16, 2004 (8:40 am)
I'm rural enough that I don't care too much about being able to drive in the carpool lanes.
Nice to know about this, though.
In our area, petro diesel has been running about $1.75/gallon. Soy biodiesel (available in a neighboring county) is offered as follows:
At the pump
B2 - $1.75/gallon
B100 - $2.799/ gallon
B20 (on road use) - $2.159/gallon
B100 (on road use) - $3.199/gallon
As for the emissions, a study I read last night indicated that, in general, emissions are indeed way less for biodiesel than for petro diesel. However, for oxides of nitrogen (NOx), it appears they actually INcrease a bit with biodiesel. Better technologies (fuel side or car side) can further improve diesel emissions, whether we're talking about bio or petro varieties.
I think it is a shame (shameful, even) that these technologies are not widely available here, as they are in Europe. For my money, diesel technologies (encompassing new European engine designs, biodiesel, and low sulphur petro diesel) are perhaps this country's best hope for greater energy independence and cleaner air. It is quite amazing that these possibilities are hardly registering on the political radar screen, when we could be driving longer-lasting engines, polluting less, and importing less foreign oil (all with technologies available now and suitable for cars both large and small).
#6 of 457 Re: in many states [nippononly #4]
Jun 16, 2004 (8:56 am)
"you can drive the hybrid in the carpool lane, not the TDI"
This statement baffles me. I drive my TDI in carpool lanes all the time (provided I have the minimum # of people in my vehicle). There is nothing that says you cannot drive diesel vehicles in the carpool lane.
If you are speaking of having 4 people in a Jetta, that is quite easy to do. The rear legroom is a bit cramped for 6' adults ,but it is not so uncomfortable that it is impossible. It is done all of the time. The Jettas rear seat/legroom is comparable to that of the Civic.
I still think the best way to compare them for buying is to keep them overnight back to back. Drive them and get a feel for them. I think fuel mielage will be comparable, so it is a question of emissions (which with your biodiesel should help the TDI become less poluntant) if that is important, room (wagon vs sedan), and "drivability".
Oh, and yea, enjoy the tests.
#7 of 457 Carpool
Jun 16, 2004 (9:02 am)
I think he meant with ONE passenger in a hybrid.
#8 of 457 Re: Carpool [djasonw #7]
Jun 16, 2004 (9:08 am)
Was not aware that you could do that in a Hybrid...haven't heard that one. The vehicle with a single passenger that I knew you could use in a HOV was a motorcycle. Interesting.....tuck that little fact into the back of my brain.
#9 of 457 There has been a noticeable increase ............
Jun 16, 2004 (9:32 am)
in the hybrid vehicle population in Northern Virginia in recent months, usually traveling the HOV lane with only one person aboard. I fail to understand how a (perhaps) 45 passenger mile/gallon hybrid is a greater public benefit than, say a 60-90(or better) passenger mile/gallon conventional car (3people 20-30mpg), not to mention the congestion/parking issues.
#10 of 457 Re: There has been a noticeable increase ............ [daysailer #9]
Jun 16, 2004 (10:37 am)
Makes sense, but absent carpooling they want to give people an incentive to buy fuel efficent cars. I think that anything that gets over 40 MPG should be allowed to use the carpool lanes with a single passenger. Maybe a special sticker in the windshield would suffice.