Last post on Mar 04, 2009 at 10:42 PM
You are in the Subaru Legacy & Outback
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Subaru Legacy, Diesel, Sedan
European First Drive: 2008 Subaru Legacy Boxer Diesel - Kenichi Yamamoto, the man in charge of the development of this car, makes no secret of Subaru's lofty ambitions for the 2008 Subaru Legacy Boxer Diesel, which features the world's first horizontally opposed diesel engine for passenger cars. (more)
#44 of 72 Gasser performance vs Diesel
Jun 26, 2008 (12:49 pm)
The new diesels in many cases in normal use meaning passengers - city driving etc tend to actually offer better performance vs the standard gasser version of the same car.
HP numbers don't really mean a whole lot from the Diesel perspective which makes it hard for auto builders to explain why Car X with a diesel has 140hp when the same car with gas has 170hp. Given the much more limited torque of a gas engine HP means more to the driver. Honda mastered this by producing very small high HP low torque engines that spin fast!
Subaru's flat pancake engines or aircraft style engines have always been more focused on torque vs fast spinning. So when it comes to moving the mass of a car with people in it the torque is what most normal drivers associate to power.
Diesel by the nature of how it works produces alot of torque normally in a slightly larger range of RPM than the equvilent Gasser. That and diesels produce most of this torque at low RPM ranges which is more accessable to the normal driver.
Very few daily drivers run their cars at 3000+ RPM every time they leave a stop light or pull out of their driveway. But everyone pretty much runs their cars at 1800RPM in normal driving. My gasser Legacy will not maintain speed on anything but flat ground when running less than 2000 rpm simply because the engine has very little torque at that speed. But the same legacy with the 2L diesel puts out 250lbs per feet of torque at this speed vs the full potential of my gasser at 3400RPM of 170lbs per foot.
Also the free way acceleration from speed - your cruising along in 5th gear and need to pick it up a little to get around someone the gasser will have almost half the grunt vs the diesel - the diesel simply goes - the gasser may need a down shift to get things moving.
Very different driving experiences in the same car. 0-60mph numbers the diesel might be a little slower given they don't spin up as fast as a gas engine but the diesel produces almost twice the grunt the gas engine does in the most commonly used RPM range for normal drivers.
So your normal every day driver scooting around town will say that the diesel has way - way more power than the same car in gas version simply because they don't really run the gasser fast enough to experience the full power of the gas car vs the diesel simply giving them full power at normal every day driving speeds/RPM's
Jun 26, 2008 (2:14 pm)
The argument that people won't buy a diesel-engined car because it costs more to fill up sounds like the same argument that hybrid-haters make against buying hybrid cars: sure, it costs a little more up front and, in the case of diesel, it may cost a bit more at the pump, but there are so many other factors that go into a car purchase that go beyond a strict accounting of dollars and cents that make me believe that there is huge potential for diesels in this market (just as there is huge market potential for hybrid tech).
The torque characteristics of a diesel engine are absolutely *perfect* for the type of driving that most people do, and this factor alone makes them far more enjoyable to drive daily than a typical gas-powered engine. Years ago my partner and I rented a Focus with a DuraTorq (?) turbo-diesel engine while on vacation in France and put a couple thousand KM on it touring the countryside. I have to say, it was the most fun car I've ever driven (and I owned a WRX at the time) because the power was always available *right now* at nearly any engine speed. Sure, it ran out of steam if you really tried to wind it up, but that misses the point entirely of driving such a car. For the entire trip, we averaged well over 40mpg (US) and that included several hundred miles of autoroute driving at over 100mph as well as bumper-to-bumper traffic in Paris.
We came home from that trip absolutely convinced that our next car would be a diesel...and, at the time, Ford was saying that a diesel Focus would be on sale in the US within a year or so (didn't happen). I am hopeful that Subaru will bring their wonderful diesel engine here -- we really want our next car to be a diesel, AND we both really miss having a Subaru in the family. For us, it would be absolutely perfect. I anticipate a diesel Outback (or Forester or ...) costing a bit more up front, and it may even cost us more to fill it up, but the joy of motoring around in a torquey, diesel-powered Subaru would more than make up for it.
I am more excited about this technology than I am about hybrids simply for the fact that I think as a long term purchase, a diesel powered car is likely to cost less than a similar hybrid model and the bonus is having more fun while driving it. Either way, though, our next car purchase will be a model with significantly better economy than the average car.
Cheers! (and sorry about the long post...)
#46 of 72 Re: Outback Diesel [ateixeira]
Jun 26, 2008 (3:29 pm)
In CA the presumed largest market for the upcoming diesel cars and SUVs there is less than 7% between RUG and diesel. I cannot think of a vehicle that offers both gas and diesel where the diesel does not get at least 20% better mileage. At the worst price gap here it was not even close to 20% difference. I would say on average the diesel option will be about $1000 which should be a couple years at average mileage. For me longer as I do not put a lot of miles on a vehicle.
#47 of 72 Re: Outback Diesel [rsholland]
Jun 26, 2008 (3:43 pm)
In flat out acceleration the gasser will win. However, under most "normal" driving the diesel will feel stronger.
I did drive the 2005 Passat gas and diesel back to back. I liked the diesel better. It just has more power in the range most folks drive between 20-80 MPH. Cruising up and down hills at 70 MPH on the Interstate is effortless for the diesel. The gasser had to downshift on long up hill grades to maintain 70 MPH. That impressed me the most about the diesel torque. The gasser did not have good torque in the 1800- 2000 RPM range where most Interstate driving occurs. Sadly our big V8 Sequoia engine is not great at those RPMs. It likes to drop into 4th gear on the long uphill grades. that annoys me.
#48 of 72 Re: Outback Diesel [watkinst]
Jun 30, 2008 (8:55 am)
38% is a *huge* advantage so of course that easily overcomes the extra cost for the fuel, but....
Keep in mind that Subaru boxer diesel does not meet our emissions standards. So we'll have to see what changes they have to make to get it pass CARB. Will it lose power? Will it have the same 38% advantage? How much more will you have to pay for the diesel?
We can be hopeful, but still should take a wait-and-see approach.
Gary: you're lucky, diesel here is like black gold.
Bkaiser: I'm not anti-diesel, in fact I think they're great, but I'm playing devil's advocate. You have to convince skeptics that you can overcome a 20% fuel cost disadvantage in regions like mine if a diesel is going to sell in significant numbers.
Plus, as more diesels sell, demand increases, as will prices.
#49 of 72 Re: Outback Diesel [ateixeira]
Jun 30, 2008 (9:19 am)
Personally I think that VW will knock the socks off of Subaru. Toyota probably bought them to gut the company and use some of their AWD products. With the Sportwagon TDI here and the Tiguan TDI due in a few months, all with 50 state approval it will be catchup time especially in CA for all the rest. The price of the Sportwagon TDI is lower than a Prius. Which would you rather have. It is a No brainer for me. The big question. Will VW be able to keep up with demand. Or fall into the trap Toyota has themselves into. They have customers and NO batteries to build their hybrids.
#50 of 72 Re: Outback Diesel [gagrice]
Jun 30, 2008 (9:28 am)
VW is well ahead of almost everybody because they were one of the very few (them and Mercedes) that stuck with diesels even when everyone else left.
Look at the reviews for the Subaru boxer, though - it's a contender for sure.
#51 of 72 I just dropped our VW off at the dealer
Jun 30, 2008 (1:40 pm)
No VW will never knock the socks off any Japanese designed and built car.
It's very simple VW is rated at the bottom of the Consumer reports when it comes to reliablity. I've owned many VW's over the years they all suffer the same issue poor build quality - absurd german engineering and dealers that take the end result all the way to the bank.
There were 18 VW's being dropped off at 8am this morning 3 had the same issue as mine stalling - hard starting etc. They actually had to push it out of the drop off area due to a failed start. It has 50,000 miles on it.
My subuaru has 150,000 and even when the battery went dead it started when I hit 2nd gear rolling from the parking spot. I wouldn't own a Diesel Passat if they gave me one. Granted the new 2l VW diesel is much much better than the previous junk they sold us but its still a VW. The only advantage VW has is short term once Nissan, Honda and Subaru have diesels here VW will have a hard time selling their diesels.
Aug 09, 2008 (9:36 pm)
I am very impressed by this car. Is it possible to purchase such a car in Europe and have it shipped to one of the states of the USA other than California? If so, what type of "red tape" would be involved and what type of inspections, if any, would need to be done by our government to have it become "legal?" I suspect that the car's emissions standards currently would comply with emission stardands of all the 49 states.
#53 of 72 Re: Outback Diesel [rsholland]
Aug 10, 2008 (5:59 am)
I filled up with 87 at Costco Wholesale for $3.53 a few days ago. Diesel the lowest I have seen is $4.42.
I've heard Diesel gets better acceleration for highway driving.
At quick glance, it shows 5.6 Liters per 100 km.
1 liter = 0.264172052 US gallons
5.6 liter = 1.47936349 US gallons
100 kilometers = 62.1371192 mi
1.47936349 US gallons per 62.1371192 mi
(62.1 mi per 1.5 gallons) = 41.4 mpg
$4.42 / 41.4 = 10.67 cents per mile
Subaru 2.5i Gasoline Engine = 24 MPG Combined
$3.53 / 24 = 14.74 cents per mile.
Diesel, although more expensive up front, gets about 38% more bang for the buck.
That being said, it's also more difficult to find a diesel station up here in NJ. Once you're out of the major metropolitan areas, you're looking at an extra 5-10 minute drive out of your way - sometimes more - to find a pump.