I Really Like TDI, But It Will Be Tougher to Pick in 2014 - 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI Long-Term Road Test

2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI Long-Term Road Test

2013 Volkswagen Passat: I Really Like TDI, But It Will Be Tougher to Pick in 2014

October 28, 2013

2013 Volkswagen Passat

As we've been reporting since we got our 2013 Volkswagen Passat as a long-term test, the TDI diesel engine is pretty cool. It's fuel efficient, suitably powered for everyday driving and provides a very impressive amount of fuel range. It's got some character, too.

But if I were thinking about buying a Passat for the 2014 model year, I'd have a harder time immediately making the TDI my engine of choice.

Reason number one is the Passat's new 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that comes out for 2014. Debuting for the SEL trim level (like our car) first, the 1.8 replaces the previous 2.5-liter inline-5. Horsepower is the same as the inline-5 (170 hp), but there's more torque and, most importantly, better fuel economy (28 mpg combined). One of our editors has driven a Passat with this engine and found it to be pretty impressive.

The TDI still gets better fuel economy (34 combined with DSG). But you do have to pay more for it up front (a couple grand, typically). I wrote an earlier post noting that diesel ownership should be less expensive over the long run, but for 2014 the gap is no doubt narrower.

There are new competing models coming out in 2014 that also seem intriguing to me. One is the upcoming 2014 Mazda 6 diesel. It's been delayed until the spring, but it does look to finally be an alternative diesel offering for a family sedan. Also new: the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid and its 47 mpg combined rating. We already think very highly of the latest Accord, and the hybrid version looks to be even better.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor


  • I am intrigued about the Mazda. They truly seem to care about the driving experience. My wife could not stand the engine shutting off and on in a hybrid, and there is the issue of actually getting the rated mpg. Diesels usually beat their (albeit lower) rated mileage numbers. The roominess of the Passat sets it apart--it still amazes me, as well as anybody we have had sit in the back seat. Plus, IMO it drives smaller than it is.

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    Good post--gave me some good critical comparison. The long term blogs should be more like this one. Thanks. It will take awhile for VW to use up the supply of 2.5 engines before the new 4 is readily available

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    @noburgers: There's the assumption that VW uses lean manufacturing... so if there are any 2.5s left, it's not at their factories, just at dealers who have too many cars sitting on the lots...

  • Good post, I was thinking this exact thing when I read about the new engine coming up. Seems like that I-5 engine has far outlived its usefulness (I remember years ago MT called it a "cast-iron oddity"). Having said that, I've never driven a car equipped with that engine.

  • blueprint1 blueprint1 Posts:

    The new 1.8t rings a bell - my 2001.5 B5.5 Passat had the 170 hp 1.8t. Not the same engine, but sweet pkg when everything ran. Traction control would come on in on-ramps in 3rd gear. The current TDI / DSG Passat is the only other Passat I drove since that '01. Since InsideLine went into the trash bin, I started working part-time for a car mag up here, and so far have tested about 45 cars. That took car of my IL blues!

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