Golf 2.5i or TDI?

Is TDI worthy the extra 3k bucks in the long run (7-10 years)?

I test-drived a VW Golf 2.5 and loved it. However, the housepower is modest and MPG is poor. Should I go for the TDI version? Is it economically sound as the tax credit expired?

We have a three-person family and don’t drive much, 8k miles/year, mostly local. We are going to live in MA, which is cold in the winter. Does it affect the performance of TDI?


Buyer beware: some 2010 TDI owners are reporting a fuel pump failure that contaminates the entire fuel system with metal particles, requiring extremely expensive repairs.

If you’re driving only 8k miles per year, the economy of the diesel probably doesn’t make a lot of sense.

I would advise you to steer clear of VWs entirely, as they’ve had quality/reliability problems.


As far as I know, Most VW quality problems are related to Mexican Made Jetta. Recent GOLF has good reliability. That is why I tested it.

See comment #13. Fuel pump failures are occurring in the cars made in Germany:

good to know. I will stay with the 2.5L

Diesels like to run at low RPM for a long time. They are great commuter cars if you drive 50 miles to work and back. They are not great for short around town trips. Does not sound like your driving fits a TDI. I’d stick with a gas engine. Fuel cost is important, but second to depreciation in overall life time per-mile cost. Modern diesel engines will start up just like gas cars and not at all like their cold-blooded, smoke belching distant relatives. If I wanted a diesel, I’d go for a 2 - 4 year-old MB 320 CDI.

I don’t see where the 2.5 horsepower is that “modest”. 170 HP and 177 lb. ft. of torque should be able to move a 3000 lb. car pretty smartly! The TDI has only 140 HP, but it has quite a bit more torque, which you would certainly feel in the 1700-3000 RPM range where most normal driving is done.

If you’re only driving 8k miles a year, then you really won’t see any true advantage to owning the diesel, as far as ownership costs go. If you were putting on a lot of miles every year, then the extra expense of the diesel would make more sense.

Also, a gas engine car will get heat into the cabin in the cold winter months a lot quicker than the diesel engine version will. That might be important if your family’s comfort is part of the equation (for some people, its not, just pointing it out).


I worry a little about availability of regular 2.5L Golf. After checking inventory of most VW dealers in my region, didn’t see much 2.5L Golf. Most are TDI versions. I worry about lose advantage when negotiate with dealers.

I think I worry too much. The difference in availability of TDI and non-TDI is not significant.

Out here in Denver, I know I can get my hands on countless number of 2.5 Golfs at the 4 major VW dealers here, any day of the week. It might be helpful to you to just call up all the dealers near you, tell them you’re looking for the best deal, and you’re looking to buy by the end of the week.

Even if they don’t have your car in stock, they can get from the supplier, and give you prices. This time of year is when they want to make sales. Having a bit more cash in their pocket come the holidays makes the holidays that much better.

You could even call up a dealer in a further away area, and use that price against your local dealers. Tell them your parents live there, and you were planning on flying in, and possibly driving home, unless they could sell you one for the same/better price. Then you would happily drive your car both ways instead of flying.


You don’t drive enough to make the TDI a worthwhile investment, and you might not like the heater performance, especially in local driving. Diesels are slow to warm up, and they don’t produce much heat during short drives.

For your automotive use a gasoline engine is probably the better choice. The TDI excels at long distance highway travel, but that’s not what you do.

It will take a little more time to warm up, but it can handle the cold.  My current TDI seems to like the cold and my old Rabbit Diesel managed to start at -27? when all the gasoline cars were going nowhere. 

I would say it is a bit of a toss up if you are only driving 8k per year.  The diesels usually take a lot of miles to past the break even point.