In July, Edmunds’ Inside Line looked at the Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI compared to Toyota’s new Prius V Three wagon. Both are billed as eco-friendly, high-efficiency upgrades—the Prius as a gas-electric hybrid and the SportWagen as a turbo diesel. The VW Jetta SportWagen TDI was the clear winner of Edmunds’ head-to-head challenge. Here’s why:
These two cars are designed to appeal to space-conscious, eco-conscious families who still want some bang for their buck. The VW 2012 SportWagen has a lower, sportier profile than the Prius while sacrificing only 0.4 cubic feet of space with someone in every seat, and only 1.5 cubic feet of space with the rear seat down. The VW is a crossover made for eco-conscious families that still want to feel the power and adaptability of a real “car.”
In the Edmunds’ comparison, the VW’s inner workings blew away the Prius when it came to handling and power. According to the Edmunds’ comparison, “the Prius V feels slow nearly all the time, while the Jetta SportWagen never feels underpowered, even on hills.” The VW’s 2.0-liter turbo diesel engine and six-speed automated double-clutch manual transmission give it a feel that’s “more like a car and less like a driving appliance.” The Prius V does get slightly better fuel economy, but its continuously variable transmission (CVT) gives it an odd feel and “rubber-band” response. Add to that the Prius’ loud, unmistakable drone at highway speeds below a 70-mpg cruise (louder than the VW at full throttle by 2 decibels), and the VW is the clear winner.
The Prius V Three will be priced at $27,165, just over Edmunds’ estimated value of $27,000 back in July. In their estimate, it would take about two years to recoup the higher cost of the Prius over the VW, even with the Prius’ lower gas mileage costs.
According to Edmunds, the VW Jetta SportWagen TDI is “simply more rewarding to drive in every situation.” With a better bottom line, better performance, and a body built with the family in mind, it’s time to accept it – diesel’s back!
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