Come late 2014, the Volkswagen Golf, Beetle, Passat and Jetta will offer a new turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine that could get as high as 46 mpg highway in EPA figures. Final numbers are still pending, but Volkswagen announced that its new turbo-diesel four-cylinder — dubbed EA288 — will replace the existing turbo-diesel four-cylinder (shown above) in TDI versions of all four 2015 models.
Volkswagen notes that it has sold more than 47,000 diesel cars in the U.S. year to date, which represents more than three-fourths of all diesels sold here.
The engine has similarities to its predecessor — turbocharging and direct injection — and it should have the same 2.0-liter displacement, spokesman Mark Gillies told us. Beyond that, Volkswagen says it has a slew of new features, including better exhaust-gas treatment, numerous friction reductions and integration of the intercooler with the engine’s intake manifold. If that’s all Greek to you, VW says the end result should improve gas mileage and sharpen accelerator response. The new diesels also have slightly more oomph: 150 horsepower versus the outgoing TDI’s 140 hp. Torque remains the same, with a diesel-appropriate 236 pounds-feet.
The midsize sedan is one of the most popular segments in the U.S. It serves as a family car, commuter, road tripper and more.
Because of this popularity, automakers offer a dizzying amount of styles and options for their midsizers. This differing content makes it hard for car shoppers to compare apples to apples from one automaker to the next.
We analyzed the segment for the features most drivers would want in a car of this class and uncovered some surprising results.
When Volkswagen's largest sedan was redesigned for 2012, it got a style overhaul as well as significantly larger dimensions. For 2014, the Passat again sees some big changes, and chief among them is a new engine.
A new turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder replaces the Passat's 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine in SEL models and above; VW says it's gradually phasing out the 2.5-liter unit altogether. The 3.6-liter V-6 and 2.0-liter diesel carry over to 2014 models, as do the five-speed manual, six-speed manual, six-speed automatic and six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmissions.
The new engine is good for 170 horsepower and 184 pounds-feet of torque. Compared to the 2.5-liter, horsepower is the same, but the 1.8 offers a bit more torque. Fuel-economy figures haven't been released, but the "new engine is expected to offer significant highway fuel mileage gains over the 2.5-liter unit," Volkswagen said in a statement.
Volkswagen's turbocharged, direct-injected four-cylinder engines are no strangers to the automaker's high-performance vehicles, including the GTI, Jetta GLI and Beetle Turbo. For 2014, more mainstream versions of the Jetta, Passat and Beetle gain this engine technology; a new turbocharged, direct-injected 1.8-liter four-cylinder is joining the lineup. It will deliver better gas mileage and performance than the current non-turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder.
The automaker estimates the new 1.8-liter improves highway gas mileage by 16% compared to the Jetta's current five-cylinder while the Passat's fuel economy jumps 9% and the Beetle's highway mileage goes up 17%. By our calculations, that could take a Jetta's 31 mpg EPA highway rating with an automatic transmission to 36 mpg and the Beetle's from 29 mpg to 34 mpg; the Passat's 9% gain means an increase to 33 or 34 mpg. Volkswagen says the new engine runs on regular gasoline as opposed to the premium fuel some automakers recommend for small turbocharged engines.
If you go on a road trip with Wayne Gerdes, be sure to hit the restroom before you leave. He won't be stopping off for gas a lot — and he has a world record to prove it.
Gerdes (pictured, far left), a veteran practitioner of "hypermiling," this week added another mileage milestone to his list of more than 100 when he and his co-pilot, Bob Winger (pictured, middle, with Guinness World Records adjudicator Philip Robertson to the right), broke the Guinness World Record in the "lowest fuel consumption — 48 U.S. states for a non-hybrid car" category, driving a Volkswagen Passat TDI diesel sedan. The Passat averaged 77.99 mpg on the 8,122-mile trip, more than 10 mpg better than the previous non-hybrid record, and more than 13 mpg better than the record for a hybrid, according to Volkswagen.
Gerdes, founder of Cleanmpg.com and primary driver in the attempt, and Winger, an electronics engineer, embarked on their long drive on June 7 from Herndon, Va., with their tires touching every one of the contiguous 48 states before they made it back on Monday. They used less than 105 gallons of diesel fuel during the entire trip.
Hoping to shore up weak Passat sales, Volkswagen is adding a new model to the sedan's lineup. VW says the Passat Wolfsburg Edition "offers a number of additional convenience features for a competitive price."
The Wolfsburg Edition will slot between the base S ($21,640) and the midlevel SE ($24,740) trims and go on sale in mid-2013 starting at $24,290; all prices include a $795 destination fee. To the S model — which comes standard with a six-speed automatic transmission, Bluetooth connectivity, a steering wheel with audio and phone controls, automatic headlights, power exterior mirrors and driver's seat lumbar support — the Wolfsburg Edition adds 16-inch alloy wheels, perforated V-Tex leatherette seats, a power driver's seat, heated front seats, satellite radio and a Media Device-Interface with iPod cable.
Sales of VW's midsize sedan, which is built in its Chattanooga, Tenn., plant, were down 5% in March compared to last March, and the automaker recently announced plans to lay off 500 workers at the facility.
There was no movement this week atop our list of most-read reviews, as the 2014 Subaru Forester maintained its commanding lead in the top spot and the 2013 Toyota RAV4 hung tough in second. Further down the ranks, however, the list hosted an encore appearance from one car and the debuts of two others. The 2014 Chevrolet Impala returned this week with a vengeance, rocketing straight up to No. 3, while newcomers the 2013 BMW 3 Series and 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI bowed at Nos. 6 and 9, respectively.
Check out what was popular this week:1. 2014 Subaru Forester
With its roomy backseat, ample trunk and sky-high fuel-economy numbers, the 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI has the makings of a perfect family-friendly sedan. But Cars.com Family reviewer Carrie Kim had some mixed feelings about this clean-diesel car because of its unforgiving six-speed manual transmission. She says to skip the stick and try the dual-clutch automatic transmission instead.
The 2013 Buick LaCrosse eAssist doesn't offer the Volkswagen Passat TDI's value or the high-end Lexus ES 300h's fuel economy, but Cars.com reviewer Jennifer Geiger says it "pleasantly" splits the difference between practicality and price. The mild hybrid version of Buick's largest sedan improves gas mileage with its lithium-ion battery pack and 15-kilowatt electric motor combined with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine; the result is seamless acceleration and a "pillowy" ride. While the LaCrosse's lush interior draws nearer to "luxury" than "near-luxury" competitors, backseat comfort and cargo space may necessitate hanging on to that hyphen.2013 Buick LaCrosse Review
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