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Duck

Next Car

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Drove a 2007 Rabbit and a 2011 Golf TDI.

Yikes.

Frighteningly good.

I don't think there was a moment on either drive when my jaw wasn't wide open.

Oh no.......

-Iain

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The only car (slightly) faster than us on the 10% hills was a Jetta TDI.

Check this out:

Posted Image

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So we stopped by Waterloo Volkswagen last night. Looked around the lot to see what was there. I really didn't know where to start, since the Golf family of cars has a lot of choice in it (between new/used, too).

From what I understand:

The MK V Golf was sold in North America until 2009 as the Rabbit (but it's a Golf), as Gas only, with a 2.5L 5 cylinder engine (naturally aspirated)

The MK VI Golf is sold in North America from 2010 on, and is available in Diesel (2.0 L turbocharged) or Gas (2.5L naturally aspirated)

Not looking at the GTI. :) Too much power/trouble to be had.

We started out by driving the 2011 Golf TDI (just happened to be what was on the lot; just arrived) with the 6-speed manual gearbox. Thoughts are:

-Engine is QUIET. You'd be hard pressed to guess it's a Diesel when it's idling.

-Interior is dead silent. Between it and the Prius, I think this is quieter, at highway speeds even.

-Interior design is spot-on. Very close to the styling of the smart/Volvo, which I really like (European design, I guess).

-Seating is very comfortable, seating position is very good (best of the cars we've driven).

-Heated seats as standard.

-Sunroof available.

-Turbocharger pulls like a rocket! Cannot believe how fun it feels. Is this what the cdi is supposed to do?!

-Suspension/handling is the best of the cars we've driven.

-Highest quality car we've driven - everything feels so solid. Amazing

Our test drive was short (~15 mins) because it was a brand new car (no km's on it, just off the truck) and the consumption was 7 L/100 km and falling. Spritmonitor says they're averaging 6.1 L/100 km. The TDI golf comes in two trim packages, Comfortline and Highline. Highline gets you leather and a navigation system (no, and no) so it'd be the Comfortline. So that, plus rear side impact airbags ($450) and sunroof ($1400) put it at $32 500 tax-in.

What I realized with Phil the more we talked over dinner was that even though I still like the technology of the Prius even more, the TDI you can get with their dual-clutch gearbox, the DSG. Priced that too and it's $34 000 (so, $1500 for the DSG). That gets paddle shifters, too! Plus the technology that I would have liked to have had in going with the Prius (something interesting going on under the hood). Next time we go back I'll ask to take one out with DSG to compare... but I think that'd be the way I'd go.

We also drove a 2007 Rabbit. It is a fantastic car. They had 4 of them there, all around $20 000 tax-in, ~60 000 km, off-lease. The fear there is that the engine I think will be up around 10 L/100 km (hard to search for on Spritmonitor). We really felt the differnece the turbocharger makes between the two cars. The Rabbit has the bigger engine so it has more power, but the TDI pulls more - all that torque! I like the interior design of the Rabbit a bit more to be honest but it is only subtle things. The quality is slightly higher in the TDI and it is quieter.

I did some quick math for fun over dinner. If I assume 60 000 km a year:

TDI: 6 L/100 km = 3 600 litres of fuel consumed per year/$3 600 per year in fuel

Rabbit: 10 L/100 km = 6 000 litres of fuel consumed per year/$6 000 per year in fuel

Difference in purchase price = ~$14 000

Difference in consumption, per year = ~$2 400

Time to payback the difference = ~5.8 years

So at that, it could be argued that the cars over their lifetime might end up costing the same amount (less insurance, maintenance, etc.).

Both cars we drove/are interested in were built in Germany. Consumer reports says the reliability is right up there... in the back of my mind I still worry about that (just in what I've heard), but I've also heard from others who have recently bought VW's that they've had no problems at all (Cait, Bill, etc.).

Overall feelings for the evening were: I was hoping to scratch another car OFF the list, not add another one TO it. I'll have to think about it some more, but I think I would rate the Prius and Golf TDI right at the top, followed by the Rabbit. I would put both the Rabbit and TDI Golf above the Mazda2 for comfort and overall feel/quality. It comes in that shark grey/blue colour, too....

Posted Image

We're going to Honda tonight, to look at the insight, and the Fit, which, aside from Scion, would get me into all the cars I wanted to check out initially before we hone in on a decision.

-Iain

Edited by Duck

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For overall handling and reliability, I would go for the Fit. The new insights are a tad cheesy in the interior fit and finish, but the Fit seems to be a much better vehicle, quality-wise.

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I told you you'd like the Golf TDI. :) After tonight it won't seem "too damn expensive" at all.

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Fit and insight are off the list. :/ I don't fit in either car.

The Fit is great, except: a) I need 10 cm more seat travel, and B) it's very noisy. The insight is just weird. It feels like... it's from 1997. I can't put my finger on it, but the interior design and the gauges are so strange. I love the spedo/glow element, but the tach with the big "IMA" logo and the analogue charge/assist gauges are soooo old looking!

Seat travel was the clincher on both of those.

Sameguy: You nailed it. I think it's going to be the Golf. Big thing: I like the Prius; but we both like the Golf.

-Iain

Edited by Duck

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I was a passenger in a Golf recently and I found that it was difficult to see the hood or any part of the front of the car when the driver was parking in a tight spot. Presumably there is seat height adjustment for the driver's seat to alleviate this difficulty. I only mention this because you might not notice on a test drive.

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Harder to see the hood than in the smart?? ;)

LOL - I was going to use that comparison. The front of the smart is only a foot or so in front of the wipers, but there is quite a bit of car in front of the wipers in the Golf. Others may not see this as a problem in the Golf.

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I'm assuming the new Golf has this as well, but both my older Golfs (a MK3 and a MK4) have seat height adjustment that is actually quite significant.

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Test drove a Golf TDI w. DSG - big let down here is that in Canada, the Golf doesn't get paddle shifters, but the Passat, EOS and GTI all do. In other markets, Golf gets paddles.Dealbreaker! It was really close in my mind but we ended up deciding to go with the Prius. Overall I think it's the safer, more reliable choice - it came down to minor things like the styling (I prefer the look/feel of the Prius, it's more exciting to me) and the rear seat legroom. Signed the papers last night, delivery likely in about a week and a half.It should be fun, we'll see how it works out. I'm just anxious to hit the road again! The smart is not in good shape. I'm looking forward to being able to park it somewhere, really do a good tear down on it and have some fun putting it back together. It'll be a long process, but Nosedive's certainly not down and out - just retiring as the daily driver. :)(BTW - you think smart car hate is bad? You should see the Prius forums... it's frightening how much negative backlash there is against anything different!)-Iain

Edited by Duck

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Congrats!! The Prius is an amazing car, and a great choice. Not my personal cup of tea -- style-wise -- but there's no denying the technological and FE advances it has made, and the impetus it has provided to the green car revolution.

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I'm glad to see you guys finally made a choice on a new car.I'm a little surprised it was a Prius.I've never driven one,but admire the technology.Fuel economy,and usable space must have influenced your decision.Let us know how you make out with it.I doubt it will be as much fun as the smart was,though. It was SO much fun when i got my first smart,too.Driving it was such an event.Owning one made you feel like an instant celebrity.I don't know if any car will ever have the same reaction again,than the smart car got from the public.I'm really leaning to the Electric Nissan Leif,as a possible next car for me.Most of my driving is in the city,and this car may be the most fun car to own.By this i mean the most interesting technology,and the public's reaction.

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Out of curiosity, I found out that you can get a DSG flappy-paddle steering wheel on eBay for around US$400, and it's a direct replacement -- no TAN codes.

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It was SO much fun when i got my first smart,too.Driving it was such an event.Owning one made you feel like an instant celebrity.I don't know if any car will ever have the same reaction again,than the smart car got from the public.

I sat in a new FIAT 500 last weekend. I think the first few thousand owners will get that reaction, but then it will continue to sell like hotcakes and become ubiquitous. I have no doubt the 500 will be as huge a success here as it has been in Europe and Britain the last couple of years, diminishing its uniqueness.

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Congrats on the new car!I hope you continue to post here about the Prius (maybe start a new thread).Curious as to why the no paddle thing was a dealbreaker on the VW, but the auto shifter on the Toyota is as uninspiring as they come (basically: a set-and-forget joystick)?I hope you do a post-mortem on the smart and de-head it to see what the heck was going on with the glow plugs etc.

Edited by Mike T

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Curious as to why the no paddle thing was a dealbreaker on the VW, but the auto shifter on the Toyota is as uninspiring as they come (basically: a set-and-forget joystick)?

No no that's a fair question - Basically... and I hope I don't get slammed too hard for my thoughts on this, while the Golf felt fantastic, it was really boring. :( Nothing about it really excited me at all. When I thought about what car would I be more eager to drive it was hands down the Prius. I'm so geeked out by the technology and the design and so on - that's what excites me. DSG I hoped would be so good that it would quench my requirement for something "different enough" but without paddles it just quashed it totally. It totally came down to my screwy wiring in my head that said "I just like this one more for whatever reason".

Oh, and a TDI can be easily remapped to ~160 hp and upwards of 300 lb-ft of torque... ;)

This is exactly why we could not get the Golf. :) I'd get into far too much trouble with that car. When we test drove the DSG, my first immediate (and recurring) thought was "My god look how fast people vanish in the rear view mirror". :)Thanks for all the feedback everyone - damn this is gonna be hard. I'm excited and sad at the same time.-Iain

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Congrats Duck!My brother has the older Prius (and we have a Camry hybrid). They are facinating cars. It's a marvel how the drivetrain in them works.Enjoy! Dang

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The Prius is definitely a spaceship! For the tech geeks, I can certainly understand the fascination.Do they offer heated seats yet? Also, did you order a sunroof?

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@ Mike: So, get this: To get heated seats, you have to go get the "Touring Package" (aka. the "I'm 70" package :) ), so no, we didn't get that. I think it's blasphemous that on a 30k car it's not standard - I think every VW on the lot we were at had heated seats standard. It's another 5k or something on top of the package we went with ("Premium Package w. Solar Panels") which does include the sunroof yeah. It's nowhere near equal to the glass roof in the smart (or the massive panoramic roof like in your B ) but it does open up the cabin a bit.

@ Dan: The transmission is mechanically gorgeous. The part that I geek out at is the way the two motors work together to "blend" (love that term) everything coming in and going out to the wheels. MG1 (the smaller one of the two motors) actually ends up rotating both forward and reverse, at high speed, while the car is moving. I'm sure when you're on the sidewalk and hear a Toyota hybrid go past you, that's the high pitch noise you're hearing. Here's a fantastic animation you can play with showing how the planetary gear set works. For what it's worth, the "CVT-esque" nature of the Prius is a lot more toleralble (in my opinion) than that of the Honda IMA system. The insight just sounded awful under any kind of load. It really wants to wind out the engine. I think the Prius gets around this because the one motor (MG2) is so big (80 hp!) compared to the Honda (13 hp).

(If a mod wants to break this off starting a few posts ago into a new thread for clarity I'm totally cool wtih that!)

-Iain

Edited by Duck

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Thanks.The animated thing WAS great!I'd be interested in your opinions on living with the Prius as time progresses.Also how, or even if it compares to living with the smart over time.

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