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Golf TDI vs Prius

Which should I buy? And why?

Whichever one will make you happier. Don’t worry about what other people think. They are both good cars and more efficient than 99% of other cars out there.

Like them both - that’s the problem. Any advantages to one over the other? Costs are comparable.

I Don’t Recommend Either One.
Why Are You Considering Only These Two Cars ?
Are You Looking Only At 2011 Model Cars ?


Trying to be green. Just looking at new ones, 2010 or 2011. What would you recommend instead? About 40/60 city/highway driving, about 10K miles per year. Also 6’2", so can’t be too tiny.

What type of driving do you normally do? That makes a big difference is getting the most out of your choice.

If you primarily do stop and go, around town, and short commutes the Prius fits that type of driving pattern best.

If most of your miles and driving are on highways at 50 mph and greater, then the TDI would be a better choice.

Hybrids mpg actually can improve in stop and go driving as braking recharges the battery packs. The TDI gets less mpg in stop and go situations, but gets upwards of 50 mpg and more on the interstate. So if you take longer trips with little stop and go the TDI is the way to go.

Apples and oranges in my book. You either want a hybrid or you don’t.

Do you drive primarily on the highway or primarily in and around town? The Prius will get better mileage on local roads, the TDI is a highway car.

Each will require you to adaop to its idiocyncracies. The TDI will probably require the fewest compromises.

I hear the heater performance in the TDI is less than spectacular. Keep that in mind if you live in a cold climate.

The reliability of the Prius has been very good. The VW? Not so much.

Well that ugly “Humpbacked” Prius would be perfect for the headroom, its just ugly as sin.


If you’re trying to be green, buy a bike.

The Prius isn’t as green as you think, since the materials needed to produce and recycle a battery are extremely toxic, and damaging to the planet.

And while diesels have gotten cleaner, they aren’t that clean.

All in all, the TDI costs less, gets better mileage, and is a heck of a lot more satisfying to drive.

But a bike is much, much, much greener, and will help you feel better about the world.


You mean the PURCHASE price is comparable! Over the entire life cycle of a car, the initial cost is about 1/3 of the total.

If you do nothing but highway driving and are punctual about maintenance, the Golf would be less expensive overall. We are assumimg you drive at least 25,000 miles per year.

If most of your driving (at least 25,000/year) is city, the Prius would likely come out on top. Don’t worry about a possible $2800 battery replacement; the Golf will have several such expensive repairs, such as the turbo, gearbox, and other expensive items.

Neither is the most economical for the average driver; a Hyundai Accent, Toyota Yaris, the new Ford Fiesta, the new Mazda 2 will all cost considerably less per mile over their lifetime.

Happy shopping!

Neither. Consider a compact such as those mentioned by Docknik and there are more. We like our Cobalt XFE with a highway EPA mileage number of 37 with 35 being obtainable with little effort.

If you figure 50 mpg from the Prius and 35 from a Cobalt, for example, you will save around $2300 gas money over 100,000 miles with the Prius. The higher initial price of the Prius will cancel that out and then some. Also, the final story on battery life for the Prius is not yet available.

The VW will get mileage around what a Cobalt will do or possibly only a little better when driven normally. Look into normal maintenance costs for a VW including expensive fuel filter cost and higher change frequency as well as special engine oil cost. These will largely cancel out fuel cost savings compared to a similar size gasoline car. Keep in mind that the VW has a belt cam drive while the Cobalt has a chain.

One of the new, upcoming Chevrolet Cruze cars will have an EPA of 40.

Being Green the best possible will come at extra cost if you believe that a Prius will be that but overall, I don’t believe that anyone knows which of the above cars is the greenest.

If Cobalt gets 35, then the TDI is more than ‘a little better’!! Mine gets 47-50 and that’s mixed city and 75mph highway. So that would be a full 40% better. My experience with the TDI is complete satisfaction. Replace the timing belt on schedule ($500 if you avoid the dealer ripoff price), use synthetic oil, be willing to learn a few basics like draining the water trap, and enjoy great handling and a roomy solid car. At 200k miles mine still looks and runs like a new car. If you want to be ‘greener’, then convert a TDI to run on WVO. : )

If you are “trying 2 B green” I think you should drive a stick shift car if you don’t have too much stop and go. If you have a lot of stop and go, the regenerative braking of the Prius is going to be a benefit. I haven’t driven the TDI with an automatic, so I don’t know how the low end torque helps the driving dynamics, but then electric motors have a lot of torque, so it may not be as much of a factor. Saw that movie “the Other Guys” that prominently features a red Prius.HaHa. Yeah, a used corolla is pretty green, but it doesn’t create quite the same image. Maybe have your loved ones take a video of you test driving both cars, and see if you look better/ happier in one! In the meantime you can tweak all those lifestyle things (bicycle, LED light, less meat, power use) to leave a lighter environmental footprint.

Factor in the higher price of diesel fuel, 2.94 here vs 2.65 for 87 octane; knocks your 47 mpg down to an adjusted 42 mpg according to my calculation.

You did not disagree with the high VW TDI fuel filter cost, around $27 to $34 for the part alone depending on the year and more frequent changes required, every 20,000 miles.

I have a source identified for special TDI motor oil; only $9.95 per liter. Are you interested?

I agree that VW makes an excellent driving car. I definitely like the stable highway steering on center feel. I wish my Cobalt did that as well as a VW.

A stick shift Yaris will easily get 40+ mpg if driven by someone who grasps the concept that your foot does not have to be on either the gas pedal or the brake pedal all the time.

Only twice have I ever gotten less than 40mpg on a tank of gas and normally get around 43-45 mpg.

There’s a guy who beats me on the CleanMPG forum who has gotten over 10 consecutive 50+ mpg tanks with a Yaris but I’m not willing to cruise at 50 mph, remove the spare tire to save weight, change into shorts before driving home so I don’t have to use the AC, coast with the engine off, accelerate like the world’s most overloaded cement truck, etc.

I’m probably going to be hated for this, but I really don’t think that our cars do as much damage to the planet as some would like us to believe. If you want to be green, I think that is very noble. Don’t buy an Escalade ESV or a Ford Excursion to drive alone in. Buy a car that is large enough for your needs, but no larger.

This is 2010. There are fairly large, comfortable, and safe cars with 2.4-2.5 liter engines out there that get reasonable milage with pretty good power, and most newer engines run quite cleanly. Modern cars are pretty far removed from the muscle cars of the '60s that dumped raw gas into the gutter. We don’t have to drive around in sardine cans with horns anymore.

I’m 6’-1" and a fairly lean 250 Lbs. I find the latest Accord very comfortable, and the 2.4 liter four cyl. does pretty well. I test-drove it with my wife and the salesman in the car with me plus the A/C blasting and power was not an issue. Roomy back seat, too.

If you don’t need that much room, there are smaller cars (Honda Civic, Mazda 3, and others in that class) that are not tin-cans on wheels. Look around, and don’t limit your choices to two models.

If I had your problem, I would flip a coin. I’ve always liked the sound of a diesel engine. In fact, if I had a car with a diesel engine I would fit it with air horns. On the other hand, I like the technology of the Prius and like the way it silently rolls away from a stop. I guess I would take one of each.

BEST ANSWER, common sense!

Bought the Golf TDI. Better acceleration and handling than the Prius and more headroom in the rear seats. Averaging 37MPG mostly city for the first 120 miles. Very pleasant car.