Which Is Best? - 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI Long-Term Road Test

2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI Long-Term Road Test

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2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI: Which Is Best?

May 12, 2014

2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI

I drove our long-term 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI two weeks ago, and then took our 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI to Las Vegas for three days.  Out in the lonely desert, I had a lot of time to think about which V-Dub I liked best. While the two cars look similar, they drive quite differently, mainly because of the engines and transmissions. Here's my quick take on the differences.

I found that in the normal transmission mode, the TDI felt sluggish around town. It was always in a hurry to get to the lowest gear, obviously to increase fuel economy. But then when I put it in the sport mode, it seemed over active. I wanted something in between. That in-between point seemed to exist in the TSI gas version of the Passat. The TSI's transmission always felt like it was in the right gear at the right time without manual shifting or putting it in another mode. It seemed responsive and refined.

However...

Getting good fuel economy is very important to me. Even though our TSI offers surprisingly good fuel economy, with a lifetime average of 26.4 mpg, I would go for the diesel because of the amazing range and the 36.6 mpg lifetime average we have achieved.

I know that diesel usually costs more, and our TDI ($33,710) cost more than our TSI ($31,715) but fueling up less often is great and having all of that range gives a feeling of freedom. For that, I'll just relax and learn to live with that around-town sluggishness.

Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor, @ 19,592 miles

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