What's the Difference Between the Passat TSI and TDI? - 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI Long-Term Road Test
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2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI Long-Term Road Test

2013 Volkswagen Passat: What's the Difference Between the Passat TSI and TDI?

December 23, 2013

2013 Dodge Dart

At first glance it might look as though our two Passats are identical. They are, in fact, the same color and trim, but they have one major distinction: their engines.

The only way to tell them apart on the outside is by the badges on their respective trunklids. The gasoline-powered Passat is badged as a "TSI" while the diesel-powered car is labeled "TDI". What do they mean exactly?

On the diesel Passat, the TDI badge stands for "Turbocharged Direct Injection," which isn't really all that helpful as the gasoline-powered Passat is also turbocharged and also uses direct injection. Volkswagen attempts to clear this up by calling this Passat the "Passat TDI Clean Diesel". If it helps, though, just pretend like the "D" stands for "diesel" and you'll be fine.

With the gasoline-powered Passat, the "TSI" badge stands for "Turbocharged Stratified Injection." It means that the 1.8-liter four-cylinder combines turbocharging and direct injection, but it also is used to indicate that this new engine uses Volkswagen's latest and greatest technology. In this case that means a new turbocharger, a lighter cylinder head and a water-cooled exhaust manifold. The result is an engine that is lighter and more efficient that previous Volkswagen four cylinders.

Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor


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