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Have you owned a TDI?

Have you or your immediate family owned a VW TDI?

  • Yes

    Votes: 21 39.6%
  • No but I've seriously considered one

    Votes: 9 17.0%
  • No

    Votes: 23 43.4%

  • Total voters


Well-Known Member
Feb 17, 2013
United States
This should be interesting... I suspect that there are a lot of people on TMC that upgraded from a TDI or owned one at some point in the past...

I sold my 2003 Jetta TDI for $3k when I received my $100k Tesla...

Prior to electrics the TDI was the 'Green Car of choice' in my eyes...
Yes. It cost 22 cents per mile for maintenance alone. The most disappointing car I've ever owned. (A few rental cars might tie with it in the "cars I've driven" category.)
Yes. It cost 22 cents per mile for maintenance alone. The most disappointing car I've ever owned. (A few rental cars might tie with it in the "cars I've driven" category.)

I've known some people that had a terrible experience... the worst thing I can say about mine is that the EGR valve and cooler got fouled and it would have cost $2k to fix... I got great mileage out of mine and was generally very happy.
No, but I currently own a bought used 2012 methane-propelled Euro VW Passat wagon. (~60% of all methane for vehicles in Sweden is sourced from recycled organic waste. And 0 fracking in Scandinavia AFAIK. Need ~80% more range than Leaf to keep day job and not have to move…)

Both my father and my brother own that car with the same propulsion system as well. So I guess we can take some solace in that VW is too big to fail...
I sold my 2003 Jetta TDI for $3k when I received my $100k Tesla...

I had a 2003 TDI from new, too - for about 6 years, after which I decided if I was going to buy a convertible at any point I needed to just go buy one, because the TDI clearly wasn't going anywhere.

Bought an Eos, then the Volt. Thinking an X will likely be my next car (but still in sticker shock.)
I have a 2006 (pre-scandal) TDI Golf that for years has functioned as the go-to car when the hauling capacity of the F-350 isn't needed. It is not, of course, anywhere near the auto that the Model S is but, for an ICE, it gets:

* good real mileage (about 46mpg; I can just tweak it to 50mpg by very careful driving);
* very nice zip (of course, anything has that after a 1-ton pickup)
* extremely low maintenance costs (I wonder why Jerry33 has the exact opposite experience).

This car was on the very last auto-transport ship from VW's Brazilian manuf'g site before they stopped selling diesels in the US....for three years...now, of course, we all know that they recommenced sales in 2009 once they figured out how miraculously to meet the new standards :mad: I still love this little car - but we really don't use it much. In its 9 years, I've put on it only 26,000 miles.

Oh, but wait: NO, I never will purchase another VW product in this lifetime.
Between my wife and myself, we've had five of them.

  • 2000 Jetta. Managed 67 mpg (imperial) one day doing 10 over, AC on, mountain pass, seven hour drive. It eventually had the coking problem nwdiver mentioned. I fixed it once, then traded for:
  • 2005 Jetta. Newer engine design sorted out the coking problems, at the expense of a few mpg. Not a huge loss, but I detected it. Helps me understand the relationship between emissions and economy! Ex-wife took it in the divorce, missed it much more than her... ;-)
  • 2005 Passat Wagon. Put something around 120,000 on it with no issues. Aware of a balance shaft module concern that would be an issue eventually, so traded for the '09 E-320
  • 2010 A3. DSG transmission was pretty smart and efficient. Wife's car, she wanted a trunk instead of a hatch so traded for:
  • 2015 A3. DSG again. Not many km's on it so far, but seems like a good car. Or was. We'll see what happens next.

I also don't know why jerry33 had such trouble - other than the coking problem in the 2000 and the Internet warning about the balance shaft module failure potential, all 5 of these cars have been extremely reliable and cost efficient. I always serviced at my favourite local shop though, rather than the dealership. Perhaps that makes a difference for customer satisfaction as I've heard stories about the dealer network. Like with most other brands!

Would I buy again? Not an ICE, but that's because I wouldn't buy an ICE from any manufacturer. If they offered an EV that made sense, I'd consider it. In spite of the scandal, there's no question the engineering and manufacturing capabilities at VW are huge. The ethics at the top... well, that's obviously another story.
I purchased a 2005.5 Jetta TDI new. The car was in a word, a "disaster". At 50,200 miles (end of the warranty) I took it with the title to CarMax and had them buy it.

In 50k miles it made 9 trips to the dealer; four times for EGR related issues that caused a limp mode, and 5 times for glow plug replacements.

The service department seemed pretty efficient/capable at fixing the car, but the little diesel couldn't seem to go more than say 5,000 miles without a service appointment.

I think the TDI cars are a good idea, assuming they are actually compliant with smog laws, but I would not be inclined to buy one or recommend anyone purchase one.

The problem for me is the maintenance erases any fuel savings. If the car is simultaneously now polluting more than "expected", I see no value other than VW making more gross profit per car vs a petrol car.

The problem I have with this scandal is if I were to purchase a TDI car absent my prior experience, I would consider the environmental impact as well as the imputed fuel savings. I'm sure a lot of people factored environmental impact in their purchasing decision, too. If VW's defeat device turns out to have been "negatively impacting the environment" beyond expectations, I really wouldn't be happy about that as a TDI owner.
When I bought my Prius I considered a TDi, but given that the Prius was cheaper, had a good record of reliability, given my driving profile and style and the fact that diesel prices get high here in winter, I decided that the Prius was the better option. My wife would have preferred driving a TDi instead. :p
About 8 years ago, I was looking for a cheap "commuter car". I had been driving a GMC Envoy SUV and switched jobs to one with a very long commute. At that time, the previous VW diesels were discontinued in Canada (perhaps the US too?) in anticipation of the new "clean diesels" that were on their way. I liked a 1 year old Jetta TDI but my wife didn't care for it at all. I ended up with a new Pontiac Vibe which she really liked. She has the Vibe now and even though it's got over 100,000 miles she won't let me trade it in.
When I had my Tesla Roadster, I needed a winter car. As you can imagine, it was extremely frustrating trying to shop for any car after driving the roadster for a few months. After several unsatisfying test drives in used BMW 3-series and Audi A4's, I tried the TDI Golf Wagon, and loved the torque of the diesel vs. the gas cars. The TDI became my off-season car.

I kept the 2010 VW Golf Sportwagon TDI until I bought the Model S. My friend purchased the TDI from me, but he started to have concerns about the maintenance cost of the Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF), and traded the TDI earlier this year.

With the latest news, I was wondering how the DPF replacement cost might be related to the decisions that VW made.

It was a great car... maybe too good to be true!