Saturday, December 7, 2013

Golf TDI Review - 40,000 mile Service

The TDI hit the 40,000 mile mark a couple of weeks ago so it was time for service.  This is the first service that I would have to pay for since all routine maintenance is covered for the first 3 years and 36,000 miles.  I was dreading this service because I had read quite a few posts and articles that priced the 40,000 mile service at north of $800.  It's expensive because the DSG transmission fluid needs to be changed as part of this service.

Prior to heading back to the dealership I looked around for a mechanic that services VW diesels and came up empty in my area.  The closest shop was about 30 miles away so I decided to stick with the dealership.

When I arrived at Vista VW, the service advisor told me that there was a package price for the service and DSG transmission fluid change.  The cost was $625 plus tax.  I was mentally prepared for a bigger number so while $625 is a lot of money, I found myself somewhat relieved. 

I also asked for a quote on tires as most of the tread is gone from the stock Continentals.  I was given an "all in" price of $1100 dollars for 4 new Continentals which included mounting, balancing, alignment and disposal.  I had priced replacement tires through Tire Rack and Tire Kingdom prior to heading to the dealership and was confident that I could get the same tires elsewhere and "all in" for right about $800. 

So, the dealership performed the service but did not replace the tires.  I haven't noticed any change in performance but will be keeping an eye on fuel economy now to see if the service has any effect on how often I visit the pump.  I'll be replacing the tires sometime within the next 60 days so I'll be back with an update on the new rubber.

Happy Holidays to everyone, be safe & thanks for reading!   

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Golf TDI Review - 40,000 Mile Update

The Golf TDI has now hit the 40,000 mile mark. The miles have been uneventful and to this point all maintenance costs have been covered by VW.  Fuel economy for the first 40k comes in at 37.43 miles per gallon.  Long highway trips have been few and far between.  While there is some highway driving, most of these miles have come commuting to work, running errands and delivering the kids to never ending practices and events.

Next week I'll be returning to the Volkswagen dealer for the 40,000 mile service which will be the first one that I have paid for.  The TDI will also soon be in need of a new set of tires.  I will keep everyone posted on how this goes and outline the costs associated with this maintenance.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Golf TDI Review - 35,000 Mile Update

The Golf TDI is now 2 years old and has hit the 35,000 mile mark.  The first 35K has gone really well.  The car has been rock solid mechanically putting my concerns about VW reliability at ease.  I have had no trouble finding diesel fuel on the rare occasion that the TDI needs to refuel.  Over the past 90 days the TDI has averaged 37.46 miles per gallon.  Over the life of the car, the TDI has delivered a solid 37.5 miles per gallon.

All in all the Golf TDI is an excellent package of fun, versatility and stellar fuel economy.

My first Volkswagen has delivered a solid ownership experience and I will not hesitate to consider purchasing another VW diesel in the future.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Golf TDI Review - Highway Hero

It's unfortunate but I don't often get the opportunity to enjoy a nice stretch of highway with the TDI.  When I do though, this car really shines.  Today I left work, dropped off a friend at the airport and then headed home.  

The round trip was 51 mostly highway miles (Blue Arrow).  

The average speed for the trip was 57 MPH (White Arrow).  For most of the trip the cruise control was set between 65 and 70 MPH.  The overall trip speed was reduced because of time spent at 15 MPH moving through the airport.

Overall fuel economy for the trip was an amazing 49.2 MPG (Green Arrow)   

This means that if this pace continued the TDI would have a cruising range of 575 miles (Yellow Arrow).  This is in addition to the 107.7 miles (red arrow) that the car had already traveled on this fill-up, bringing the estimated total to 682 miles on one 14.5 gallon tank of diesel fuel.  That is pretty amazing!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Golf TDI Review - Gasoline Not Welcome

Last year Volkswagen sent out "Diesel Fuel Only" stickers to the owners of diesel vehicles.  These stickers were to be installed in and around the fuel door in order to prevent customers from mistakenly filling their vehicle with gasoline.  It appears that the attached warning labels have not kept owners from filling their diesel vehicle with a nice big helping of gasoline.

In order to better protect diesel vehicle owners from what can potentially be a very costly mistake, Volkswagen will be installing a misfueling guard in the fuel filter neck of diesel vehicles.  This guard "is designed to prevent a gasoline fuel pump nozzle from entering your vehicles fuel filler neck, thereby reducing the risk of fuel system contamination from gasoline."

The letter below was recently sent to to the owners of 2009 - 2012 Model Year Volkswagen TDI Clean Diesel Engine Vehicles explaining this change which will be covered free of charge by VW dealerships.
Click on picture to enlarge letter.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Golf TDI Review - 30,000 Mile Update

The Golf TDI has hit the 30,000 mile mark!  All in all it has been a relatively uneventful first couple of years of ownership.  Volkswagen covers the vehicle for 3 years/36,000 miles bumper to bumper for anything that goes wrong and also covers all services for the first 36,000 miles.  So, my out of pocket, other than fuel over the first 30,000 miles has been $0, you can’t do much better than that.  Recommended service intervals come at 10,000 miles and include what you would expect, oil change, tire rotation and even a free car wash with each visit.  Outside of the scheduled maintenance the TDI has made a trip to the service center for a recall and a blown window motor.

Total fuel economy through the first 30,000 miles comes in at 36.943 MPG.  Over the past 90 days the TDI has registered an impressive 38.08MPG showing that fuel economy is continuing to improve as the diesel motor breaks in.  While 38MPG is pretty impressive on its own what makes this car an impressive package is the sporty performance that accompanies frugal use of fuel.  Put your foot on the accelerator and this car moves, it loves the highway, corners like a go-kart and has put a smile on my face any time that I have pushed it towards it limits.  A Prius may match the fuel economy but can’t compete on the fun to drive front.

The interior space is very useable as the rear seats fold flat and the hatchback on many occasions has swallowed my Cannondale road bike as I have transported it to local bike shop or the starting line of an event.  The driver and front passenger are treated to tremendous head and leg room.  I am 6’5” tall and have considerably more room driving the TDI than I did in my previous vehicle, a Honda Accord.  When passengers (front seat) enter the car they quite often move their seat up as they are uncomfortable with the amount of room provided in the front of the TDI.  How is all of this room possible in such a small car?  Seat travel.  VW allows the front seats to travel way back which ultimately causes problems for rear seat passengers sitting behind a driver or front seat passenger with their seat all the way back.  Generally, I am the only person in my car as I primarily use it to commute back and forth to work.  On occasion when there is someone sitting behind me I move my seat up a bit to allow them room which does cramp my driving position a bit.  Again though, at 6’5” tall I am not an average driver, the TDI would deliver adequate space for 4 average sized adults.  

When I started writing about my Golf TDI purchase I was committed to sharing my experiences, good or bad, in the hopes of helping someone else who may be trying to make an educated decision on a vehicle purchase.  As I write this today the TDI postings have been viewed 12,500 times and I believe that I have helped at least a few people to find the answers they needed as they were considering purchasing a TDI.

I will continue to write about my experiences but in the mean time if you have any questions that I haven’t answered please feel free to leave a comment or you can reach me directly at  Thanks for reading!  

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Golf TDI Review - A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Sometimes, a picture can say more than words ever can.  The picture to my left illustrates what is great about the Golf TDI

Green Arrow - Cruise control set at 48 miles per hour

Red Arrow - Instant fuel economy reading is 59.4 miles per gallon

Blue Arrow - 500.1 miles since the last fill up and still going..........

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Golf TDI Review - Time for Some Fun

Most of my quests since purchasing the Golf TDI have focused on fuel economy.  How many miles can I get on one tank of diesel fuel?  Can I make a nearly 600 mile round trip on 1 tank of fuel (read about it here)?  These tests have been fun and I've always come away impressed with the TDI.

There is another side to this car though (read Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde).  While fuel economy is a key selling point of this car, fun to drive is in its DNA.  So, on my last tank of diesel I decided to just have some fun.  I shifted into sports mode on quite a few occasions, utilized the gear shift and the paddle shifters to take advantage of manual shifting and definitely left a little bit of my front tires in a few different locations.  I went around corners like I was driving a go cart and I refused to use cruise control.  I also chose not to display my instant MPG stats in the gauge between the speedometer and the tach.  I drove the TDI like I was a teenager.

Do you know what I learned?  This car is fun to drive!  It loves to accelerate, corner and stretch its legs on the open road.  What was the trade off?  I averaged about 3 miles per gallon less than I normally do.  35 MPG instead of 38 MPG.  I find that to be as amazing as getting 600 miles on a full tank.  A fun to drive sports car that you can push and still get 35 MPG.  Good luck finding something else that can match the fun to fuel economy ratio of the Golf TDI. 

I refused to look at this display.  Fun not fuel economy was the goal of this experiment!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

2011 Golf TDI Review - 25,000 Mile Update

As 2012 comes to an end the TDI has hit the 25,000 mile mark.  When I posted my first thoughts (You can read it here First Post) I wasn't sure what exactly to expect from the Golf TDI.  I had been a Honda owner in the past, and decided to take a chance on my first VW as well as my first diesel.  25,000 miles later the TDI has not disappointed.

The turbo-diesel Golf promised exceptional fuel economy, along with spirited performance and has delivered every step of the way.  Overall fuel economy comes in at 36.94 MPG in driving that is generally a mix of 30% highway and 70% city.  On long highway runs it has been no problem to average over 40 MPG.  While these are hybrid like fuel economy numbers, the TDI is a very different animal.  It loves the open road where the diesel motor and German engineering truly shine.  It's taught handling and quick acceleration also make it fun to drive in the city but it does not offer hybrid fuel economy when traveling from stop light to stop light.

Mechanically the TDI has been very sound.  In addition to the scheduled services which come at 10,000 mile intervals (and are fully covered by VW), the TDI has only stopped by the dealer for a few other minor issues.  The first was a recall (You can read it here Recall Service) and the second was for a defective window motor (You can read it here Mechanical Issue).  Beyond these couple of little hiccups though the TDI has been rock solid.

I also spent a little time during my first year of ownership shooting a few videos to try and give people an idea of the fuel economy that the TDI delivers at varying speeds.  You can check them out below.....

All in all the first 25,000 miles with the Golf TDI have been a pleasure, I am happy with my decision to purchase.  I hope this blog has helped at least a few others to make an educated decision in their quest to purchase a vehicle.

Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read this blog along with those who have commented and asked questions.

Happy New Year to everyone, here's hoping for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2013.