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Advantages / Disadvantages of diesel autos

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Old 09-05-2007, 11:22 AM   #1  
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Default Advantages / Disadvantages of diesel autos

My 2000 Dodge Caravan will be due for replacement in the next few years, just as the "clean diesels" start showing up in autos in the USA. Europe and Canada have had them for years. Volkswagen is supposed to have them in the Jetta in 2008, Honda in 2009 and a lot of other folks in 2010.

Please give your opinions on diesels, the positives and issues, keeping in mind that the technology is not the same as the failed effort years ago.

A secondary question relates to Volkswagens, since I am considering the Jetta sedan or wagon in 2008. Thanks for your help.
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Old 09-05-2007, 12:03 PM   #2  
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Let me tell you why I think the new diesel automobiles are a very good choice.

Some of the soon to be released diesel automobiles that will use the new Ultra Low Sulphur based diesel fuel and some of these new diesels could achieve 50 to 80 mpg, Smart diesel to be here in 2010 comes to mind, and there will be others.

The new Ultra Low Sulphur diesel is a cleaner more refined fuel then the previous version of diesel, it has only 15 parts per million (ppm) or less of Sulphur, this is a natural part of Crude oil from which diesel fuel is derived and is the key cause of the particulates or soot in diesel, Soot is the main culprit of the diesel's noxious black exhaust fumes and a prime contributor to air pollution. The previous version had an average of 500 ppm of sulphur, that makes the new diesel 97% cleaner then the older version.

Diesel vehicles will still cost more then the average gasoline version, unless we buy enough of them to kick in economy of scale to bring the prices down but, they will still cost less then a hybrid does and they have the added benefits of lower maintenance costs because they do not use spark plugs and most of them only require oil changes every 7500 miles not 3000 miles and the engines because they are designed for use as a diesel engine, generally are much more robust in construction with stronger engine blocks and internal parts an because of this have attendancy to last much longer then the gasoline versions do.

And depending on the state you live in diesel cost less then gasoline, in alot of states 10 to 20 cents less per gallon, so you have lower cost of maintenance, longer engine life, generally better fuel economy and normally lower fuel costs, then yes, I would say they are a very attractive alternative to the normal gasoline versions of automobiles.

Just make sure any diesel you buy, that the engine was designed to be a diesel engine and is not a modified gasoline version (that is what killed diesel autos back in the 70s, when GM tried just that and the engines failed in large numbers).

Last edited by unotis; 09-05-2007 at 12:08 PM..
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Old 09-05-2007, 12:40 PM   #3  
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unotis,

Thanks for your quick response. One of the reasons that I am looking at Volkswagen is that they are the leaders with diesel engines (along with Mercedes). Their engine is supposed to be 50 state complient without using any additives.

Honda (and others) are developing new engines, which is why I am a little leery about being among the first to buy. Experience counts with me.
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Old 09-05-2007, 01:39 PM   #4  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SLedford View Post
unotis,

Thanks for your quick response. One of the reasons that I am looking at Volkswagen is that they are the leaders with diesel engines (along with Mercedes). Their engine is supposed to be 50 state complient without using any additives.

Honda (and others) are developing new engines, which is why I am a little leery about being among the first to buy. Experience counts with me.
I don't blame you about being leery and careful, but in so far as Honda I would never worry about them, their engineering and manufacturing capabilities are second to none, when they come out with a new diesel, which they've had in development for several years and it will be as close to perfect as any engine could be.

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Old 09-05-2007, 08:04 PM   #5  
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The fact that other companies than VW will finally be offering diesel alternatives has me excited. I've always been a fan of them as I love the marbly sound they make, and love the good low rpm torque they can make. Also for now, diesel is usually cheaper than petrol at the pump which is an added incentive to the fact that they get better fuel economy. Of course when petrol prices drop during the non-drive months in the winter, diesel will be more expensive.............
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Old 09-06-2007, 02:42 PM   #6  
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Not to just blatantly bash VW, but I'm leery of anything they've produced recently. their QA processes seem to have really dipped based on my reading (and experiences) over the last few years. therefore, if I were in the market for a Diesel in 2009/2010, I would weight Honda's technology and VW's at least the same, if not tipping the scales a little toward Honda.
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Old 09-06-2007, 10:12 PM   #7  
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Default I am leaning toward Honda

One of my soccer families has a Passat. They will replace it with the Honda when it comes out. My reasoning for leaning towards the Volkswagen was that diesels are old hat to them and new to Honda.

Based on what I have read in this forum and on-line, the solid reputation that Honda has, the fact that I like to keep cars for 10 or more years is causing me to lean towards waiting for the Honda rather than getting the Jetta.

Bale Honda is just down the road from where I live, so service will not be a big issue. If I have to leave the car in the shop, I can walk home.

Would love to see some more opinions and comments.
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Old 09-07-2007, 08:14 AM   #8  
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Would just like to emphasize, that in my short driving life (12 years), I've owned 4 Hondas. Since I've never owned one beyone 70K miles, I can only attest to my experiences within that timeframe.

They are by no means God's gift to the automotive world. But there are things that really stick out to me about Hondas that I always mentally gravitate back towards when considering a car purchase:

1.) Going from a 98 Prelude to the '01 Lightning: The L was fun, but honestly, I always had this feeling that the Prelude would've driven another 100K miles no problem. I traded it at 70K miles on a whim. I wanted more power. And power I got. But with that power came horrendous gas mileage (to be expected w/ 380+ HP). The Prelude at 70 miles, properly kept (not garage kept mind you), looked REALLY good at 70k miles. I got $11K on the trade with those miles AND the car was mildly modified. I think that's a really good number for a car that only cost $25K brand new. Honda's resale value is great - but this isn't a factor so much for someone planning on keeping the car for 10 years.

2.) I had an S2000 for about a year. I got rid of it because it really was bad in the winter - to the point of dangerous. Insurance was high and I was transitioning from being a renter to a home owner. It was sacrificed only for that reason and no other. I still say, at $32K, the S2000 is among the top of the food chain considering it's class and price. An engineering feat: 240HP out of a naturally aspirated 2.2L engine. The quality, the sound, the FEEL of that engine, was something that's both addictive and gratifying. I'm proud to say I owned one and I miss the car almost every day.

3.) The current car - '06 Civic Si - is the middle ground car best suited for where I am today. I'm a 30mile/day commuter, back roads, type of driver. For $20K, Honda created a truly great machine. More than proportionally impressive, the engine in this car is an engineering marvel - it's blend of power, sound, efficiency, and economic impact, are really impressive. I could've bought a "nicer" more luxurious car, but with that comes bigger payments and bigger headaches in the long run. I can easily see myself driving this car to well over 100K miles and I have no doubt that with regular maintenance, I can drive the car in a spirited manner, every day I get behind the wheel, without worrying about breaking something.

Just taking my experiences into account, I wouldn't hesitate to stick to Honda on a new-to-them technology.

My wife had a pretty horrible experience with a top of the line '02 Jetta which pretty much screws me out of ever owning a GTI or an Audi. She ended up trading the car just outside the limits of the lemon law, losing thousands of dollars on the deal. But whatever you decide, I wish you luck.
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Old 09-09-2007, 01:16 PM   #9  
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I kind of use my '04 G35 C. the way you use your Si. In fact the Si was on my new car list over a year ago, but instead got the G used because the one I eyed was so immaculate and I knew the owner personally.
(He ended up with a bimmer 550i which he has some regrets. Lots of performance, luxury, and great ride for a family car, but dealer service and irritating little problems suck big time.)
Even with a couple of 1K mile round trips over the past year, the average mileage on the G is still under 8K a year.
But I love burning up those back roads!
The S2000 was definitely another choice, the limited space was the only reservation, as it is our car of choice if the wife and I go off on a small vacation.
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