2013 Volkswagen Passat: I Really Like TDI, But It Will Be Tougher to Pick in 2014
October 28, 2013
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