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not thoroughly impressed with the TDI

1020 Views 28 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  TurboniumHillfolk
Well, as most of you know it was love at first drive for me when i drove the new beetle 1.8T GLX, so fast, so smooth, so QUIET.... well everyone i talked to told me to at least try the TDI as i was a bit worried about 1.8T durability over the long run, well my choice was just made this evening after testing TWO TDIs, one new beetle and one jetta *both GLS* i live in southern california and there aren't many TDI's here so i was very very surprised to see two TDI's on the dealer lot, i was very enthusiastic to try them as i love the sound of a diesel engine when it's idling and even the exhaust smell isn't bad! Well, first the new beetle GLS TDI, it was automatic, leather, very nice, the dealer started it up, and i smiled at the sound of it, the starter was like that of a jet engine, kinda like a schweeeschweee, and then that lovely clatter, well he pulled it out and faced it towards the exit, and let me hop in the drivers seat..... i put the car in drive and let my foot off the brake and was very surprised that i didn't have to even think about touching the accelerator to exit the dealership, that put a huge smile on my face already and i had a feeling this was going to be everything everyone ever said it was..... boy was i wrong, as soon as i pulled out of the dip and turned right i pushed gently on the accelerator... then harder, and harder until the engine finally got some boost, very sluggish feeling after driving the 1.8T, i figured it was just because the engine was cold, the temp cold blue light thingy just proved that and the salesman confirmed that TDIs are gargantually slow when cold, so i drove it nicely for at least a mile and a half, and a few minutes later the cold light went off and a bit up the road there was a light, so i stopped at the light and as soon as it turned green i jammed the accelerator to the floor, hoping for something of amazement............. didn't happen, the wheels let out a little chirp and the engine sounded like an old 69 beetle trying to make it up a hill, sure it had a little pull on it, but was far from what most people led me to believe it was. i wound it out until the tranny shifted into 3rd gear then i backed off..... now on the return way to the dealership he said i should get on the freeway, i did, having to floor it to enter the freeway also disappointed me, then the amazement started......... wow freeway driving was breathtaking, this little motor pulled on the highway above 65 almost as well as the 1.8T.... i was doing 55MPH and i slammed it to the floor once again, the dealer was becoming a little squirelly but i told him i had to test it, as i was a serious buyer, it flew from 55 to 75 without even fluttering. then i got off my little short freeway jaunt and on the short road back to the dealership when that city lag came back in, this car would be absolutely perfect if all i did was freeway driving, i know it, but i don't. the jetta had a 5 speed and while it was a little quicker off the line, it was heavier and the manual gearbox felt very very notchy, and the clutch felt like it had way too much travel, anyways i wasn't impressed with that either, even though i only took the jetta on a VERY short around the block run. well i hope i haven't gotten anyone mad, maybe the TDI is quicker as it breaks in, since it seemed very tight, and i will try to have an open mind but it seems like the 1.8T with automatic is the one for me, very smooth, very quick in both city and highway and it's not too bad on MPG.... sorry for the length and thanks for reading
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Re: not thoroughly impressed with the TDI (GreatGooglieMooglie)

Interesting story.
That's confirming exactly what I thought and what I am reading on the technical subject. Many people seems to think that torque is more important than HP. Well, it is not less or more important, both are simply totally different technical qualities.
So, according to the official details. First the HP category :
2.0 gas = 115,
TDI = 90,
Turbo = 150.
Of course, 1.8T wins in this category, by a big 60 HP more compared to the TDI.
Then, the second official fact. The torque relative to the optimum RPM :
2.0 = 122 hp at 2600
TDI = 155 hp at 1900
Turbo = 162 hp at 2200 to 4200.
See the almost identical ratings between TDI and Turbo in this category.
What I am now understanding and that some people seems to misunderstand is that HP is the pure official power of the machine. Power which involves POTENTIAL energy, related to an element NOT moving. In other words, HP is the quality of moving an object from the start, or off the line, with all the weight. That is why the TDI is much less efficient in this kind of drive test, as it has only a little 90 HP to move the same big weight at start.
Now, I may be wrong, but I think that your experience confirms this. And the torque ratio, which implies "rotation", seems to be the power of the car related to movement. So it seems to be much more related to KINETIC energy, related to a the car already IN MOTION. And that is why, as the Turbo and TDI have almost the same ratio, that you are experiencing about the same quality of driving (or passing) at highway speeds.
In conclusion, that would mean that the 2.0 gas engine is better than the TDI at start off, with 25 more "potential" HP than the TDI (115 vs. 90), but a relatively poor quality of passing cars on the highway compared to the two turbo engines, due to the little 122 "kinetic" HP once moving.
So... HP = potential energy, torque = kinetic energy.

I'll confirm if I get the passing note in my physics course in a couple of weeks, when I'll do some drive tests at my VW dealer. I am only postponing because I'm afraid to fall in love with the car...

[Modified by Nounours, 12:59 PM 2-10-2002]
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Re: not thoroughly impressed with the TDI (GreatGooglieMooglie)

You should try to find someone with a chipped tdi. I've got a 1.8t and have driven unchipped tdi's. My problem when I tried the car was not knowing that you should not be downshifting for highway acceleration.
Most people who talk about this say it's a world of difference with the chip.
read through the posts over at http://www.tdiclub.com for more info.
Re: not thoroughly impressed with the TDI (Knife_Fighting_Monkey)

I will add my $.02. I am a TDI owner (as you can see) and bought it not for it's speed, but for many other reasons. One being the "potential" of mods. You see, the TDI is 90 HP because of the EPA. The engine can and has many times blown 1.8T's off the face of the earth. Simple fact - Diesel has more energy per gallon then Gasoline. The chip makes a world of difference. I don't have it but have driven TDI's that do. I know people that have put the Euro injectors in and are getting well over 160 HP out of this unit. And the nice thing is that the engine is designed to handle that kind of HP. But if you just want to buy and drive then a 1.8T is for you. Us TDI'ers are just into automotive technology. (...and great milage
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Re: not thoroughly impressed with the TDI (theguero)

When you put an upsolute in a TDI you should make a budget on the side for police tickets. uhm.. also the tdi is the only car that I know of where you can remove the muffle, run 2" straight pipe, and get ANOTHER power upgrade equiv. of a chip. You can also get euro injectors from the bigger tdi's for even more fun.
Re: not thoroughly impressed with the TDI (benares)

I experienced the same thing when shopping for my 2002 Jetta GLS 1.8T 180hp. I figured that I should finally drive a Jetta TDI. Maybe this was the car for me. It turned out to be very slow. It even felt slower than my '99 Golf 2.0.
Just my 2 cents.

[Modified by JohnTT, 3:42 PM 2-11-2002]
Re: not thoroughly impressed with the TDI (JohnTT)

the upgrade thing is true, but after all that, a simple APR chip in a 1.8T would reblow the TDI off the face of the earth
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Re: not thoroughly impressed with the TDI (GreatGooglieMooglie)

quote:[HR][/HR]the upgrade thing is true, but after all that, a simple APR chip in a 1.8T would reblow the TDI off the face of the earth
The 1.8T would BLOW UP before it would even have a chance. That power plant is doing all it can do from factory. It is not designed to give any more power than it is giving now. The water jackets are not designed to handle any more heat. You would blow that litte 20 valve to pieces. A TDI on the other hand is built to withstand over 200 HP and well over 250 lb ft torque. As has been proven a few times. A TDI would give you 3 times the life of any GASSER too!
Notice that the 1.8T has not been put into any watercraft yet.... hmmm... I know why!
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Re: not thoroughly impressed with the TDI (GreatGooglieMooglie)

dead wrong, the 1.8T can withstand up to 300 HP without any modifications done to the engine. the 1.8T is NOT even close to it's full potential stock, do your homework, the 225HP audi TT has the 1.8T engine in it. man, can you said "biased"? the 1.8T with the same modifications as a TDI *to be fair* will blow it off the road. Oh, and talk about HP, there is one 1.8T with over 800HP, don't know where though, check 20vturbo.com don't make accusations like that without even having a background it makes you look stupid.
Re: not thoroughly impressed with the TDI (theguero)

LOL. Surely you know many of us here checked out the specs and test drove both the TDI and 1.8T before making our choice. Not sure who your sources of facts about diesel vs gas are, but if they were true, the whole world would have switched to diesel long ago. Even in Europe, with $3-4/gal gas prices, VW sells more gas engines than diesels. The loads and heat produced by a diesel engine are much higher than gas engines, due to the ultra-high compression ratios necessary to make them run. The amount of heat the water jackets can handle is indeed an important consideration, but that heat at full throttle is much higher in the diesel....this is why VW now recommends synthetic oil only in the TDI. On the other hand, the extreme heat of combustion is the reason diesels deliver better fuel efficiency.
I have no idea why you would predict the TDI engine to last 3 times longer either. You'll have to explain why an engine with much higher internal loads will last as long as the 1.8T. If both cars are driven over the same conditions and in the same way, I believe the 1.8T will last longer than the diesel.
Dan 00nbglx
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Re: not thoroughly impressed with the TDI (dhk)

actually dhk, i believe the TDI has a lower operating temperature *overall* then any gasser, and the fuel is oilier, therefore more lubrication, and the compression in which these engines run makes for more powerful components, so it may last a little longer, but not 3 times *lol gotta love TDI'ers* however, the 1.8T was rated one of the best automotive engines in the world by more than one popular magazine, motortrend said it, the 1.8T, was the greatest 4 cylinder ever created, hmmmmmmm and isn't the TDI also a 4 cylinder?
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Re: not thoroughly impressed with the TDI (GreatGooglieMooglie)

GreatGM: It's too bad you didn't drive the TDI first...or better yet, one of the original Rabbit Diesels so you could see how good it really is. Also, there is little, if any difference in weight between the Jetta and Beetle. Few know this, but the Passat is only 2 to 400 pounds more than the A4's, depending on equipment.
Lastly, I doubt you had really warmed up the TDI in that length of drive even if the low temp light was out.. Diesels are notoriously slow-warming.
DHK: VW Diesel sales have gone up hugely in the last year and account for almost 50% of sales in Europe.
Re: not thoroughly impressed with the TDI (GreatGooglieMooglie)

Here are some results from Salt Falts last year....
You sound like your mind is made up to get a 1.8T so... knock yourself out. I bought the TDI for the level of technology that the power plant is made of. The bottom line is you will get more life and better milage out of a TDI. It is going to pay itself off a few times over. If "fast" is what you want then you should get a gasser. Also if you are going to lease the car then get a gasser. Not trying to be biased. I have owned many gas powered vehicles. They just don't compair to the TDI. You buy what is best for you. Don't want to start any name calling here.
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Re: not thoroughly impressed with the TDI (theguero)

you know i did enjoy the TDI on the highway, i would consider it fast on the highway no doubt about it, but the fact is i do way too much city driving where darting is the key, the TDI will not dart half as good as the 1.8T will, and on that one link you put, i think the guy in the 1.8T was either, running out of gas, didn't know how to drive, or didn't have time to get up to speed, a stock 1.8T turbonium is limited at 134 i believe, not 100% sure, but if all he got was 109MPH he needs to take that thing into the dealership to see what's the matter with it. and no i'm not calling any names or making enemies, i was just merely calling you upon your false accusation of the 1.8T engine.
Re: not thoroughly impressed with the TDI (GreatGooglieMooglie)

I just noticed you are in Norco, Ca. Now for all of you that don't know where Norco is.... well that is not important. But Norco is 100% COWBOY COUNTRY. My father lives in Mira Loma which is right next door. Anyway back to what I was saying. You see many Ford Powerstroke's, Dodge Cummins, Chevy/GMC Duramax's, and "by golly" JOHN DEER'S too.
My point is you will turn many heads with a TDI there. I love to drive mine out to eat at Pat's Kitchen on 6th street. I always get a couple of Cowboys that want my car. All because it runs on deisel. Of course my dad is the one doing all the talking. I think he loves my TDI more than I do. (and as you can see I really like it...)
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Re: not thoroughly impressed with the TDI (theguero)

What many of you guys seem to be missing is that there are arguably advantages and disadvantages to BOTH types of engines. They're both exceptional engines in their own right.
If you're looking to mod & street race, not driving high miles, and don' t mind paying high prices for premium gas, get the 1.8T. If you're looking for a car that goes 700-800 miles/tank of fuel while being able to have some serious fun on the street, get the TDI.
On my TDI I'm breaking 700 miles/tank consistently in the summertime, and have also had many people in gassers wonder what I've got under the hood after I've embarrassed them. The funny part is to see their face when I get to tell them they've been "smoked" by a lowly 4cyl. diesel.
Too many people assume (keep in mind the true definition of assume) that because it's a diesel, it's slow. With all the different mods available for the TDI, it's much more of a car than many give it credit for.
Obviously my choice was TDI, but that's in part because I put over 40000 miles/year on the car, and the 1.8T would be far too expensive to drive that kind of miles (for me, anyways). Again....they're both good. Why argue?!
Another interesting note...most of the TDI owners respect other VW owners (2.0, 1.8T, VR6), but many (note I didn't say all) owners of the 1.8T and VR6 are completely intolerant of anyone who is so stupid as to not get the same kind of engine they did. Come on...grow up! The VW is an exceptional car, regardless of what powerplant is in it. As stated earlier, each engine has it's own advantages and disadvantages...pick whichever one suits you best, and shut up. Why bash someone else's choice because it's not the same as yours?
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Re: not thoroughly impressed with the TDI (theguero)

I have a golf 115 pd tdi 6 speed, and a 1.8t passat wagon tip (wife's).
there is no comparison with throttle response, the diesel has 228 lbs of torque, and just goes, it has better in gear acceleration without question, in the gasser, i have good acceleration, but usually only after a down shift or have built the revs a bit.
I have driven some 90, and 100 hp diesels (hire cars) and if they are like the 90 in the US, then you definately need to chip if you want the same get up and go.
The kicker for me is only using 7 liters of fuel, per 100km, and driving like a madman with my foot on the floor as much as I can sanely do. you drive nicer, and it get's much better.
the gasser just uses too much fuel to treat that way and still only gives around 9-10 /100km when you drive nice
When i get back to the US, I'll definately get a turbo, and I'll make it faster, but I haven't decided whether diesel or petrol yet, but the economy of the diesel give's it the edge in my opinion
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Re: not thoroughly impressed with the TDI (Wagonuser)

Hrmmm. .
It was said that the highway acceleration was not far off from the 1.8t.. Are you really comparing apples to apples?
the TDI is an efficient lump of metal and gears tuned towards economy and very few sporting intentions. It's got enough power to get up and go, but is not a fireball.. It is a long term relationship type car so don't get one if you buy a new car every 3 years.. On the freeway, the engine sound falls away into nothingness, and you are left to listen to music, or friends or whatever..
the 1.8t is more sporty, but being a gasoline burning engine, it suffers from higher fuel consumption, and higher emissions than does the TDI. Sure it is more fun, but that is what it's there for. It is more likely that this car will be worth less than the TDI as fuel prices climb again and people will be more willing to pay 1.20 a gallon for something that can get 50+ MPG as opposed to paying 1.40-1.50 (or whatever premium happens to be in your area) a gallon for something that can get into the lower 30's on the freeway. As you said, while on the freeway, there is very little difference so i have to ask: do you go for the short term quicky? or do you go for the steady?

oh, and one other thing.. buy the car that makes you happy... don't listen to these biased TDI and 1.8t fanatics...

[Modified by Godlike, 8:46 AM 2-12-2002]
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Re: not thoroughly impressed with the TDI (GreatGooglieMooglie)

I have a tdi and all i have to say is that I now two guys which have diesel jettas. One jetta has reached 750,000 kms and the other 1,000,001 km's. And on more thing, in europe more diesel engines are being sold than gasoline engines. Why? For two reasons, 1) fuel is less expensive and 2) diesel engines last longer.
Re: not thoroughly impressed with the TDI (GreatGooglieMooglie)

quote:[HR][/HR]...and as soon as it turned green i jammed the accelerator to the floor, hoping for something of amazement............. [HR][/HR]​
This is one big mistake you made in driving a TDI! Someone use to driving gassers and with no TDI experience will slam their foot to the floor. I've done this myself without thinking. Instantaneously, nothing happens. You have to learn to drive a TDI by pressing the accelerator. The fastest way to accelerate, say when passing on the highway, is to feed it some throttle. As the car starts to accelerate, give it more. Always be feeding more throttle so that the acceleration is trying to catch up with the throttle. If you do that just right from 60 to 90, you will not hit the floor with the trottle and at 90 it will be accelerating like mad. The real trick is to learn to handle the throttle (and clutch) from a stoplight.
The above is my experience with 5 speed. I have not driven an auto, and the only one I've been in (Golf) had 3 people and a trunk full of parts, but had an Upsolute chip and tuning box. It accelerated like a BIG V6--very smooth and fast! Compared to a 1.8T auto I've driven, the 1.8T seem lacking in torque.
Then again, I've not impressed with the 1.8T with auto. My previous V-TEC Honda Accord with auto was faster, got better mileage, and ran on regular gas. For similar mileage, I can drive a real fast car--a V8 Camaro!
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