I achieved my highest score yet the other day, and no, I didn’t take out a list of pursuit blockers. But while driving from north Jersey through Manhattan, Queens and out to Long Island, most times in the hammer lane and passing much traffic (including several Prius…. what is the plural of Prius? Priuses, Prii?) I exited the Meadowbrook to Hempstead Turnpike and… 51.6 mpg! That’s in real-world driving, often downshifting to weave around some minivan plodding along at 50 when the flow is 60 and higher.
Once I stopped at the first traffic light I grabbed my camera and snapped a quick shot before the light went green again.
And one other amusing note. In this photo you can see I still have a half-tank of fuel remaining, despite already loggin 301.4 miles since the last fill-up. With a 14.5 gallon tank, that comes gives me a combined average of 41.5 mpg. Not bad at all for something so truly fun to drive.
UPDATE – 06/10/11: I can’t say what my highest score has been since the 51.6 pictured here, as I’ve really stopped watching the ‘consumption’ reading. I just calculate each time I fill up and I’ve seen tank-averages of 46.3 mpg on multiple occasions, and that’s with me driving in my usual ways, not puttering in economy. I’ll be posting some upcoming pics showing the latest mods, but in the meantime, for anyone seeking more information on these wonderful cars, be sure to check out MyTurboDiesel.com .
That’s what the Jetta logged last night as we dropped the kid back off at college. That’s one Jetta Sportswagen (Golf Variant) hauling 3 adults and dorm-room gear loaded to the roof, driving through NJ, Manhattan and out to Long Island via all the usual congested metro roads. Traffic was moderate, roads were rainy and the engine isn’t even broken in yet, so I anticipate even higher numbers in the future. The car is quick, agile, fun to drive, zipping easily between lumbering SUVs, and it was very satisfying to know we’d hauled the kid and her gear back to school on one gallon of fuel.
Oh, and for all you hybrid fans, here’s something to consider. Hybrids are designed to recharge by regenerative braking (so long as those brakes actually kick in) and by the engine. It’s a system designed for stop and go driving, not highway conditions. And if you’re plugging it in to charge your batteries, unless those volts were generated via solar, wind or hydroelectric power you’re just relocating your carbon footprints, not eliminating them. I’ve read some other articles questioning just how ‘green’ hybrids truly are; it’s something to bear in mind when the time comes to get a new car. Another option: stick with a good old clunker. Keep your car (refrigerator, washer, whatever) as long as possible. We did with the Mercury until fixing was no longer practical, and at a mere 11 years that was disappointing. The Volvo made it to 17 before lack of available parts and an excess of rust took their toll. The ’93 Dodge Dakota, on the other hand, just passed inspection with perfect emissions yet again. I expect a good 15-20 years from the Jetta, more if possible.
It went on for years. Every time one passed I’d sigh. That soft clatter of the little diesel, faint but distinct, would turn my head every time. Back in high school my mom drove one of the earliest models, a diesel-powered Rabbit, and I recall the car’s ability to run forever on minimal fuel. Years later I’d acquired an ’82 Volvo wagon with a manual transmission, and while the car was painfully slow and sounded like an old garbage truck I was very fond of the 30+ mpg it gave me on local driving. Sadly, underbody rust took its toll and the Volvo was retired in the end. Volvo was no longer building diesels and VW, at the time, wasn’t importing any to the States. We opted for the Mercury Sable which served us well, but after 11 years and 124,000 miles it was getting tired. And this time around, I knew VW was offering an ultra-clean 50 state certified turbo-diesel, not only in the Golf and Jetta, but in a Jetta Sportwagen (the Golf Variant overseas) as well. Even better, the model features a satin-smooth six-speed manual transmission, which makes driving immeasurably more fun for me.
Over the last few days I’ve logged over 185 miles on the odometer, and the fuel gauge still hangs well between 3/4 and 1/2 tank. A little ‘consumption’ meter on the dash reports I’m getting 30 mpg in local driving, sometimes more, and on highway rush hour driving I’ve seen consistent 43 mpg. The turbo diesel is zippy and responsive, the steering agile and fun. This car makes me so happy!
And this is amusing…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q91b-AIk-00
There’s some interesting videos here and more information:
And here’s the TDI forum…