Two weeks ago I took my 2016 Passat and traded it in on a new 2015 Golf Sportwagen TDI. So what is it like to buy a TDI after dieselgate ? In short, the same as before but better. Why do I say its better ? A few reasons. For one, the deals are good; The cars are just as good. But they are hard to come by in a combination that you’ll want. For instance, I got 5000 off of sticker + 3000 more for my trade than I anticipated and 72 mo 0% financing. On top of that, I was happy to see the car, albeit new they replaced the tires, breaks, oil, battery, and a few other odds and ends.
At the end of the day I walked out with a brand new two year old car and a lower car payment. Yes I do owe money for six months longer but there is no interest and I owe less either way. Now a lot of people will say that it a crazy idea to go and buy this “plagued” dirty diesel that is already two years old. I see it a bit differently. For one, I strongly believe that the diesel will last much longer than the gas Passat I traded in. Second I think that this will be a bit of a unicorn in the enthusiast community in a while since there won’t be many roaming the streets. And thirdly, I was looking to replace the Passat with a wagon or similar anyways because I need the room since I bought my house, (homeowner things really to get easier with more space in the car) so why not get the one with the diesel.
Lets get to the review,
I personally thing this is a handsome little car. Very modest in styling since it is the base trim. It looks a little sporty with the sloped roofline, but it is less showy than my Passat was since this does not have the 18 inch wheels or LED headlamps.
Again, much like the exterior, the interior is modest and super functional. I love how functional it is. Under seat drawer for the driver, other very nice storage compartments. Plenty of cup holders. The infotainment is basic but nice, still a good touchscreen, it just lacks android auto and whatnot since its a 2015. I really love how the center stack is angles to face the driver more, makes the car feels super connected to the drivers experience which is super nice considering how much time I spend in the car commuting.I did loose a number of the toys that I had in the Passat because it was a higher trim level but I already don’t find myself missing any of these features except the heated seat, but I will live or retrofit.
Utility and Practicality
The next thing is the main reason I bought the car. Is it a good utility vehicle. In short, absolutely. It does everything someone would do in a mid sized SUV/CUV minus the all wheel drive capability. To be honest 95% of people who have 4x4 or AWD do not need it to begin with anyhow, its just a piece of mind for them. As far as the actual space, it has loads of it especially when the seats are folded flat. And added bonus once I get my crossbars I can throw stuff on the roof as well. Another nice thing is that there is a regular wall outlet in the hatch as well. As far as being practical, I don’t know if there is anything better. I have been averaging 47mpg on my commute round trip. Sometimes even better if I can roll every light.
Performance and Drivability
So the next part was what surprised me the most. This car already has he phase one fix done and it is absolutely quicker in boost than my 2013 Jetta TDI was. I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that is actually removed the previous defeat device. Some people are even showing about 10hp gains over before with the fix at the wheels. I’m happy there. The next part that shocked me was how much I like the dual clutch transmission. It is fantastic in my opinion. It is everything I was when I’m commuting or when my girlfriend is driving but it is everything I want when I am out on the backroads enjoying the bends. I use the paddles and it shifts immediately and it has so much of the manual transmission character still. It still engine breaks whenever you let off the gas and you can even feel the car throw it into neutral when approaching a stop. This is by far the best handling VW I have ever owned. It points where I want it and the chassis is tight like it should be. The car is exactly what they say, a sportwagen. Fast, no sporty yes. Another big improvement to me is that it is on much smaller wheels. While it may look worse it rides so much better on the road. Far less roadnoise and bumpyness.
So overall I am in the car now about 1300 miles in 2 weeks or so. I am loving the car. One of my friends keeps asking my, “Do you miss the Passat” which I just bought less than a year earlier. Honestly, no I don’t miss it at all. I realized very quickly that I missed the heck out of the diesel when I got rid of it. I am beyond happy to have one back. And it is very nice having the space to do all of this stuff around the house with it now that I am a homeowner.
Should you buy a TDI
Well this is a loaded question. Yes and no. For someone like myself, yes 100%. But the TDI does not fit everyone. Not everyone can get used to the torque instead of horsepower to get around. Not everyone needs or will benefit from the type of highway economy a diesel will get. And not everyone will make sense of buying a two year old new car. All that really matters to me is that I bought one and am very happy so far. And to top it all off, almost every engine component is under factory warranty now for 11 years / 162,000 miles. This includes turbo, exhaust, DPF, ect. Anyways this deal is for fanboys first and foremost like myself. And secondly it is for someone who really wanted a TDI but never got to have one before dieselgate and they still believe in a well built product.