Welcome to Pop The Hood, a weekly autoMedia.com feature that examines the industry’s latest innovations and what makes them tick. Recently, we’ve poked around inside the SRT Viper, Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and Porsche 918 Spyder (full list below). Today let’s pay homage to a true industry innovation: the 2013 Volkswagen Golf TDI.
There’s just something about diesels. It’s become almost cliché for an automotive enthusiast website to extoll the virtues of the modern diesel engine, but the fact is that, in many ways, they are simply better than traditional gas engines. The 2.0L turbodiesel 4-cylinder in the 2013 Volkswagen Golf TDI is a perfect example.
Honed over time, the 2.0L TDI engine exhibits the best diesel qualities and amplifies them in the lightweight Golf body. Combining power and efficiency, the engine has also been used in the Touareg and Beetle.
The engine produces 140 horsepower, which isn’t a lot, and barely more than the FIAT 500 Turbo we wrote about this morning. But horsepower can be overrated sometimes, and that’s certainly the case here. What really matters is torque, and the 2013 Volkswagen Golf TDI has that in droves. An impressive 236 lb.-ft of torque powers the front wheels (the FIAT has just 150 lb.-ft) with max power coming between just 1,750-2,500 rpm. A direct injection fuel system and maintenance-free hydraulic lifters keep the engine moving swiftly. While horsepower may be low, the torque comes in early and strong.
More power is nice, but you’re probably just as concerned with fuel efficiency these days. With the 2013 Volkswagen Golf TDI, you don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. How can you tell that the diesel is so much more efficient? Even though it weighs about 20 lbs. more than its gas-powered Golf 2.5L counterpart, the 2013 Volkswagen Golf TDI returns significantly better gas mileage. We’re talking 23% better – 28 mpg vs. 36 mpg – regardless of 6-speed manual or DSG semi-auto transmission.
Of course, the 2013 Volkswagen Golf TDI will also cost you a pretty premium over the 2.5L. It retails for $24,235 MSRP, a full $6,240 more than the 2.5L. This is mainly because of the myriad taxes and fees that the U.S. places on diesel vehicles, and because Volkswagen doesn’t sell enough TDI vehicles to break even without hiking up the price.
However, with other automakers like BMW and Porsche looking to increase their diesel portfolio in the U.S., those prices may drop to more reasonable levels if American customers become comfortable with the idea of owning a diesel. In fact, TDI vehicles accounted for 19.4% of all Volkswagen sales in July – a marked improvement compared to past figures. Is the U.S. starting to embrace the diesel?
We hope so, because variety is a good thing for automakers as well as the consumer. It’s always nice to have choices, and for the eco-friendly or tech-minded buyer, the 2013 Volkswagen Golf TDI is certainly a good one.
Come back next week for another inside look at a cutting-edge car!
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