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Styvas
Go Canucks Go
Premium
join:2004-09-15
Hamilton, ON

Diesel vs. gasoline for new car purchase

The car buyer services thread got me thinking about this. Our car is going downhill fast and I'm looking at my options for replacing it in the very near future. Whether I go new or used (more likely used), the biggest factor for me is fuel consumption and cost, as I drive about 50,000km per year to and from work, plus another 10,000 or more for pleasure use.

A relative has a diesel vehicle (Audi Q7), which is not on my list for price reasons!, but he swears by diesel fuel for the consumption and the cost (which right at the moment is more per litre than regular gas, but has historically been less expensive, it seems to me).

Are there downsides to diesel engines of which I ought to be aware? For example, do they require more expensive regular maintenance that would offset the decreased fuel costs? Are there parts that eventually wear out that are extremely expensive to replace (e.g., like the batteries on hybrid vehicles)?

What do the car guys here think?


EUS
Kill cancer
Premium
join:2002-09-10
canada
Reviews:
·voip.ms
Quite simply if I could afford to, I'd buy diesel.
As your finding out, other than Volks, the pickings are slim for affordable diesel options in N.A.
In general, you can put many more km's on a diesel than gas engines.
--
~ Project Hope ~


LazMan
Premium
join:2003-03-26
canada
reply to Styvas
My dad's been beating the highway (something close to a 1000k /wk) for almost as long as I can remember... He swears by diesel.

His last 3 cars have been VW diesel's... A golf that he put 600k on, a Jetta that was at 300k when a deer committed suicide, and wrote it off; and a brand new Jetta TDI (maybe a month or so old now?)

Maintenance-wise, they are pretty simple... No plugs and wires, means tune-ups aren't required as often; or as involved. Routine maintenance is things like glow-plugs (every 3-5 years IIRC) and oil changes... Oil changes do tend to be a little more expensive, due to the larger volume of oil involved (turbo and cooler, as well as what's in the block) - but not crazy-expensive of anything. The rest is pretty routine (timing belts, brakes, tires, all the usual stuff)

The engines are exceptionally long lasting, and my Dad's not one for going overboard on maintenance - stretches his oil change intervals, etc...

Ford was supposed to be putting a 4.4 i6 diesel in the F150 last year... I was hoping and waiting and wanting that... But couldn't wait, after they pushed it out to '14 or later; and I couldn't justify going up to a 3/4t to get the PowerStroke...

I think small diesels are great - and very common in the rest of the world - it's more emissions then anything that make it a problem in North America, from what I understand.


Thingamajig
Premium
join:2004-11-03
B.C.
reply to Styvas
I haver a 6.6L duramax in my Chev. Its a fuel pig. The newer North American trucks mileages are digusting. Most of that doesn't apply to a Euro buggy however.

I would look very closely at how much oil changes are for the model of car you are looking at and factor that into your costs. My truck costs over $100 for an oil change. 50K would be about 10 changes per year.
--
Some hero's wear capes, mine wear combat boots.


Styvas
Go Canucks Go
Premium
join:2004-09-15
Hamilton, ON
I'd probably be looking at a used Jetta or Passat TDI wagon. I haven't started down the used car pricing road yet, so I might be unrealistic about what I can expect to pay. It's not a crisis yet with the current car, but it could come to a head soon if things start breaking down. I don't like some of the noises I'm hearing from under the hood these days, and the consumption has really increased in the last few weeks.


LazMan
Premium
join:2003-03-26
canada

1 edit
reply to Styvas
The TDI's hold their value - but they age well, too... I wouldn't be worried buying a 5-6 year old Jetta, personally.

I'd expect to pay 8-9k for an '05 Jetta TDI, probably on the upper end for a wagon... Just as a ballpark.

Edit - fat-fingered the prices - damn number-pad... at 5-6k for an '05, I'd be on it like a fat kid on a Smartie...


BigSensFan
Premium
join:2003-07-16
Whitby, ON
kudos:1
reply to Styvas
My Jeep is diesel and I get better fuel consumption than the same model with any Gas engine (you can get a 3.7l and 5l Hemi for my year and model in gas).

Mine is a 3l Turbo diesel and anything that has went wring with it has been either electrical or just a common thing (glow plug).

My gas mileage is not great 12l/100km on average because the vehicle is in 4wd at all times (no 2wd option otherwise I would save more on gas).
--
"The hardest thing about any political campaign is how to win without proving that you are unworthy of winning." ~ Adlai E. Stevenson


BigSensFan
Premium
join:2003-07-16
Whitby, ON
kudos:1
I forgot to mention I have around 300k on the Jeep (6 years old) and the engine is running smooth


FaxCap

join:2002-05-25
Surrey, BC
Reviews:
·Shaw
reply to Styvas
Rented a Renault diesel in Europe a year ago. Unreal mileage, very
very quiet for a diesel, pulled 3 adults and all the luggage up hills with
what seemed like no effort.

I understand the newly redesigned Mazda6 will be available with a
diesel in about 6 months.

I wish Ford would get off their butts and bring the Euro diesel over
for the Fiesta and Focus.

FaxCap


Wolfie00
My dog is an elitist
Premium
join:2005-03-12
kudos:8
reply to LazMan
said by LazMan:

I'd expect to pay 5-6k for an '05 Jetta TDI, probably on the upper end for a wagon... Just as a ballpark.

That struck me as rather low, so took a quick look around. Found a 2004 TDI Wagon for $9K asking, and a 2006 for just under $14K. Closer to what I would expect.

On another comment about diesel longevity, true, but in most cases of average driving a modern engine will outlast the rest of the car anyway. The real selling point of a diesel is fuel economy, plus potentially lower maintenance, but at the tradeoff of higher initial cost.
--
"The promoters of the global economy see nothing odd or difficult about unlimited economic growth or unlimited consumption in a limited world."
-- Wendell Berry


LazMan
Premium
join:2003-03-26
canada
said by Wolfie00:

said by LazMan:

I'd expect to pay 5-6k for an '05 Jetta TDI, probably on the upper end for a wagon... Just as a ballpark.

That struck me as rather low, so took a quick look around. Found a 2004 TDI Wagon for $9K asking, and a 2006 for just under $14K. Closer to what I would expect.

Oops - thinking one thing, typed another... Good call.

yabos

join:2003-02-16
London, ON
reply to FaxCap
said by FaxCap:

I understand the newly redesigned Mazda6 will be available with a
diesel in about 6 months.

The new Mazda diesels look very interesting. They are taking their time bringing them here though. I had heard the CX-7 was supposed to be the first one to get it but now I've heard that they might get rid of that model and just have the CX-5 and CX-9, so who knows...

A diesel Mazda 6 might be enticing though.

IamGimli

join:2004-02-28
Canada
kudos:2

1 recommendation

reply to Styvas
Some of the downsides of diesel engines in Canada:

Lower tolerance for extreme cold weather. At -25 and below a cold diesel engine will be extremely hard to get running, unless you have an engine block heater plugged-in. Out in Alberta, when the temperature dips below -35 you'll see all the diesel trucks running in driveways through the night for that reason.

Noisier engines in general than gas engines. This isn't the case as much anymore since advancements in diesel engineering has reduced the engine noise, and gas engines are noisier than they used to be (especially on engines with direct fuel injection).

Exhaust gases smell. Bad. Especially when the engine gets older. Makes some people noxious.

Diesel prices, which used to be much lower that gasoline (almost half price) now pretty much keeps up or is slightly more expensive.

Diesel isn't available at all gas stations and when it is, it is often only one or two pumps, which may make refueling take much longer, especially if you have to wait for a specific car to get out of the way of the one pump.

Most diesel engines (even the turbo) lack top-end power. They generally have great torque but lower HP numbers than the same car with a gas engine. You might have to change the way you drive, or your expectations of performance.

Personally if more cars were available with a turbo diesel option I would certainly consider them but you do have to go in knowing what to expect.


koira
Keep Fighting Michael
Premium
join:2004-02-16
reply to Styvas
everything you wanted to know about VW TDI but were afraid to ask
»www.tdiclub.com/

MaynardKrebs
Heave Steve, for the good of the country
Premium
join:2009-06-17
kudos:4

1 edit
reply to Styvas
Not that this vehicle is priced where you'd like, but the technical details make worthwhile reading
»www.tc.gc.ca/eng/programs/enviro···2654.htm

This is a very comprehensive test with impressive results.


donoreo
Premium
join:2002-05-30
North York, ON
reply to Styvas
My dad had two different diesels, a VW Rabbit and a Nissan Sentra (87 last year they had it in Canada with a diesel). Both were great cars. They both had block heaters and we would plug them in overnight. If you were out somewhere for a long time in the cold, I would just let the glow plugs go a couple of times before I actually started it. Never had any problems starting either.

My dad drove from Port Hope to Montreal and back on under 1.5 tanks of fuel once in the Sentra.

He went with the diesels for the mileage. He worked in Pickering and had a Chev Suberban with a 350 and a 4 barrel carberator and it cost too much in fuel.
--
The irony of common sense, it is not that common.
I cannot deny anything I did not say.
A kitten dies every time someone uses "then" and "than" incorrectly.
I mock people who give their children odd spelling of names.

booj

join:2011-02-07
Richmond, ON
reply to Styvas
At 60k km of driving per year you have already justified the costs of buying a diesel. Used diesel VWs usually come with a lot of mileage on them, this is because it's mainly people with your driving needs who buy them. If over 200k get the carbon buildup in the manifold cleaned and it will run like new. Also ensure that the timing belt is serviced regularly.

Enjoy 1000 km/tank.


dirtyjeffer
Anons on ignore, but not due to fear.
Premium
join:2002-02-21
London, ON
reply to Styvas
when my parents were shopping for something to replace their 96 Camry, they ended up with a Jetta Wagon TDi...while the oil changes are about $100, they only need to be done about every 20,000 kms, whereas most gas cars recommend them every 6,000-8,000 kms, so it isn't really that much more to maintain.

an older VW TDi (2006 model year and earlier) are not "clean diesel" engines, so they will have more soot and smell from the exhaust...newer ones (2008 and newer) are all clean diesel engines and are comparable to gasoline exhaust (they have the same emissions requirements).

they do drive different...while diesel engines don't have that high revving engine characteristic, they make gobs or fantastic torque...personally, i much prefer it, as it means you don't need to rev the shit out of your vehicle to actually get it get moving quickly...aside from the "stigma", think about motorcycles...gas engines are like sport bikes, good power but high revving and diesel engines are like Harleys...not a lot of top end, but monstrous torque down low...it allows a more satisfying relaxed drive.

resale value on these cars is quite good, but the newer models are likely to more trouble free than the previous versions (of course, YMMV when it comes to used cars).

Chevy should be launching their diesel Cruze later this year (or next year) and Mazda is also launching theirs later this year...BMW also has a new one coming, and Mercedes offers their diesel in a number of models as well...in terms of "regular cars" though, VW is pretty much the sole choice...that's not necessarily a bad thing though, as VW has been making diesel cars forever, so they generally tend to be pretty good.
--
People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

- George Orwell


Anav
Sarcastic Llama? Naw, Just Acerbic
Premium
join:2001-07-16
Dartmouth, NS
kudos:5
reply to FaxCap
said by FaxCap:

Rented a Renault diesel in Europe a year ago. Unreal mileage, very
very quiet for a diesel, pulled 3 adults and all the luggage up hills with
what seemed like no effort.

I understand the newly redesigned Mazda6 will be available with a
diesel in about 6 months.

I wish Ford would get off their butts and bring the Euro diesel over
for the Fiesta and Focus.

FaxCap

I recall renting and driving a Ford Van in Spain and it was a mouth water turbo six speed manual diesel. I was running fully loaded with pacs on a highway at 140+Km and was in low RPM in 6th gear, plenty of juice left. Most frustrating for me has been the lack of manual vans and diesel vans.
--
Ain't nuthin but the blues! "Albert Collins".
Leave your troubles at the door! "Pepe Peregil" De Sevilla. Just Don't Wifi without WPA, "Yul Brenner"

LlamaWorks Equipment


FiReSTaRT
Premium
join:2010-02-26
Canada
Reviews:
·Velcom
For 50k a year, I'd definitely go with a diesel. Modern small diesels are clean, quiet and still economical while developing loads of torque. Even with older diesels I never had issues starting the car even at -35, but I'd run the glowplugs twice. Generally, you'll be able to find fuel wherever there are trucks, which is all over the place in any part of Canada. Small diesels have traditionally been sorely lacking on our market and I'm glad more manufacturers are putting them out there now. I think the biggest hole to be filled will be small pickups with 3l diesels. All the major manufacturers like Ford, Chrysler, GM and Nissan have small diesel trucks on other markets (loved driving the rented Chevy D-Max - needed a truck for a job I was doing for a client abroad), but they refuse to release them in North America.
--
If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.
—George Bernard Shaw


BonezX
Basement Dweller
Premium
join:2004-04-13
Canada
kudos:1

1 edit
reply to yabos
said by yabos:

said by FaxCap:

I understand the newly redesigned Mazda6 will be available with a
diesel in about 6 months.

The new Mazda diesels look very interesting. They are taking their time bringing them here though. I had heard the CX-7 was supposed to be the first one to get it but now I've heard that they might get rid of that model and just have the CX-5 and CX-9, so who knows...

A diesel Mazda 6 might be enticing though.

words to describe mazda 6 diesel, fat kid on triple layer cake.(would say wedding cake if it was the wagon model)

they are having to jump through hoops to get EPA certified in the US for the twinturbo diesel.

CX-5 was supposed to be the first N.A. vehicle in their lineup to have it but they couldn't get it certified in time, but there is talk of them adding it to the 2014 option list.

@gimli, Gearing can fix any "feeling" of no top end power. also, design of the engine has a considerable amount to do with it as well, a truck diesel is configured slightly different then a car diesel.


nitzguy
Premium
join:2002-07-11
Sudbury, ON
reply to Styvas
From a VW perspective....I feel like the automatic is a lot LESS available in a diesel vs their gas offerings....at least from a used market perspective...

I could be wrong on that, but if you can't drive a stick then it might be tough to come by to actually find one...

Either they didn't make many, or the auto VW diesels that are out there are just being held onto like crazy.

I can vouch for the cold weather...since there's no "spark", you really need to have it plugged in cold weather or you're going to run into problems....not problems you want to run into, even on a newer car.

The downside I'd say is price/convenience as well as others have said, yes you might get more fuel economy...but in Canada the price for diesel seems to hover around the gas price now...ironically in the US gas price is CHEAPER than Diesel price for some odd reason...


Styvas
Go Canucks Go
Premium
join:2004-09-15
Hamilton, ON
I have no problem driving stick, although my wife can't. I suppose she could learn. Convincing her it is worth it would be an uphill battle, however.


bryanviper

join:2002-10-12
Toronto, CAN
Reviews:
·TekSavvy DSL
reply to IamGimli
The old Diesel cars did have trouble in the cold weather however these newer cars from 2003+ or something in that range have no issues starting in very cold weather. In fact the new diesels I have read start easier then a gas engine so i heard anyways.

Correct new diesel cars generally make less noise then gas engines now.

No bad exhaust smells anymore on the new versions.

Diesel prices in the summer are lower then gas but slightly higher in the winter because they use the fuel to heat homes so more demand and less supply drive prices up.

When you have high amounts of torque you dont really notice the lack of HP on the top end. But if you think about how many people rev the crap out of their cars anyways? your usually in the low to mid rpm range anyways which is perfect for most people.

said by IamGimli:

Some of the downsides of diesel engines in Canada:

Lower tolerance for extreme cold weather. At -25 and below a cold diesel engine will be extremely hard to get running, unless you have an engine block heater plugged-in. Out in Alberta, when the temperature dips below -35 you'll see all the diesel trucks running in driveways through the night for that reason.

Noisier engines in general than gas engines. This isn't the case as much anymore since advancements in diesel engineering has reduced the engine noise, and gas engines are noisier than they used to be (especially on engines with direct fuel injection).

Exhaust gases smell. Bad. Especially when the engine gets older. Makes some people noxious.

Diesel prices, which used to be much lower that gasoline (almost half price) now pretty much keeps up or is slightly more expensive.

Diesel isn't available at all gas stations and when it is, it is often only one or two pumps, which may make refueling take much longer, especially if you have to wait for a specific car to get out of the way of the one pump.

Most diesel engines (even the turbo) lack top-end power. They generally have great torque but lower HP numbers than the same car with a gas engine. You might have to change the way you drive, or your expectations of performance.

Personally if more cars were available with a turbo diesel option I would certainly consider them but you do have to go in knowing what to expect.


--
»www.MaximumRepair.ca
Computer Repair/Upgrades In Toronto.


EUS
Kill cancer
Premium
join:2002-09-10
canada
reply to Styvas
There's also the added bonus of collecting old restaurant oil and making your own fuel.
--
~ Project Hope ~


Styvas
Go Canucks Go
Premium
join:2004-09-15
Hamilton, ON
lol! Can regular diesel engines run on bio-diesel? I suppose that makes sense but I'd never thought about it.


dirtyjeffer
Anons on ignore, but not due to fear.
Premium
join:2002-02-21
London, ON
said by Styvas:

lol! Can regular diesel engines run on bio-diesel? I suppose that makes sense but I'd never thought about it.

old style diesel's yes (although, i'm not sure of the exact process).

modern "Clean Diesel" engines though, no...you can use some bio-diesel in a modern diesel engine, but no more than B5 (5% bio-diesel)...modern diesel engines are more complicated than older style ones, which is one reason why the older ones were actually a little better in terms of fuel economy, but it's the emissions...the high pressure fuel lines, special sensors and other emissions related components on the newer units than can be damaged using bio-diesel.
--
People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

- George Orwell

booj

join:2011-02-07
Richmond, ON
reply to Styvas
said by Styvas:

lol! Can regular diesel engines run on bio-diesel? I suppose that makes sense but I'd never thought about it.

Some hobbyists convert their TDI's to run on veggie oil. Free gas if you are willing to filter restaurant waste!


dirtyjeffer
Anons on ignore, but not due to fear.
Premium
join:2002-02-21
London, ON
just make sure it is an old TDi engine, not a newer one.


Wolfie00
My dog is an elitist
Premium
join:2005-03-12
kudos:8
reply to booj
said by booj:

said by Styvas:

lol! Can regular diesel engines run on bio-diesel? I suppose that makes sense but I'd never thought about it.

Some hobbyists convert their TDI's to run on veggie oil. Free gas if you are willing to filter restaurant waste!

I was thinking about that in connection with this comment:
said by IamGimli:

Exhaust gases smell. Bad. Especially when the engine gets older. Makes some people noxious.

One guy who converted his Mercedes diesel to run on veggie oil noted that one side effect -- not clear if he considered it a positive or a negative -- was that everywhere his car went smelled like french fries!
--
"The promoters of the global economy see nothing odd or difficult about unlimited economic growth or unlimited consumption in a limited world."
-- Wendell Berry