Toyota Prius or Golf Diesel?

Is Hybrid technology just a wolf in sheeps clothing? It has been found that a Toyota Prius get 45 to 50 miles per gallon while a Golf diesel can get as much as 85mpg. Givein this fact and the fact that most Hybrid cars go less then 20 miles on the batteries before the engine kicks in and can not be charged buy anything but the engine, will this really do anything to help our Environment?? Also if you have an extra $10,000 there are companys that can make your Prius a plug in Hybrid or other brands of Hybrid as well. But we are still using gas in these cases so weather you use 9mpg or 200mpg the fact is your still giving money to the big gas and oil companys.

If you drive a lot of city miles, the Prius will drastically reduce the amount of fuel you use and carbon you emit. Ditto with the Golf if you do more highway miles (though 60MPG is a more realistic figure). If you’re using less fuel and putting less carbon into the atmosphere, that’s good for the environment.

A Golf diesel gets 85 mpg? Maybe on a perfectly flat road at 35 or 40 mph with a stiff tail wind, but not in the real world. Sorry, I just don’t believe it.

Refining capacity for diesel fuel is limited, and the demand keeps rising. What do you think that’s going to do to the price of diesel fuel in the near future?

A neighbor who commutes from FL to New England feels his VW diesel is a good car for long trips in this day. I tend to agree. City driving where electricity is the king…highway, nothing still beats oil. As long as oil companies are unfetted then you directly or indirectly will be donating money to their coffers regardless of what you drive. They may eventually sell you hydrogen for prices that will make you wish for the daqys of “cheap” $4 a gallon gas. They have us by the …with a down hill pull. Get what’s cheapest and most reliable for you and don’t worry where the money goes.

The limitation of the refining capacity of oil (of which gas is a by product) is contrived.

Even though I’ve heard that the VWs often give owners headaches I would be tempted to go that way on principle. Public enthusiasm notwithstanding I think that the Prius is a joke and that Toyota should be embarrassed to have put it out. The technological “achievement” was little to no achievement IMHO.

But on the practical side I would think about what others have said - city (Prius) vs. hwy (Golf) would be foremost in my mind.

First off no Golf Diesel will ever get anywhere near 85MPG, not even close. More like 50-55MPG on the highway. However, right now diesel is almost $1 more a gallon than gas, so any gains the Golf may have over the Prius are lost. The Prius is quieter, especially when the electric motor is active and outputs less pollution. Aditionally gas is easier to get quickly than diesel in some areas.

I’ve got two different thoughts to weigh in on this one. First of all, I’d agree that if it’s city driving get the Prius and if it’s highway driving get the Diesel. BUT, just to make your decision harder chew on this. I’ve heard from several people that their Priuses (Prii?) have had SERIOUS problems not long after the warranty expired. One lost a transaxle at 107,000 miles (a $7,000 repair), several had a set of batteries go out (also very expensive) etc, etc. I’m concerned that many small repair shops can’t/won’t work on Hybrids, and that if you plan on keeping it you’re stuck going to the dealer where they charge more. I’m also unconvinced of the overall reliability of these cars.

Diesels, on the other hand, are known for lasting longer than their gasoline counterparts when properly cared for. Thus, the VW has a higher resale value for more of it’s life because the engine is expected to last. Diesels are proven technology (although some companies are finding ways of screwing them up like Ford’s 6.0). If you want to keep the car for some time I’d get the Diesel. HOWEVER, while VW’s engines have been top notch, they’ve had serious problems with fit/finish and wiring harnesses on their last couple years of production on the smaller cars like the Golf and Jetta. Be forewarned of this. I have no idea about their '08 model year, hopefully they’ve addressed this.

As for the comment about limited Diesel production, that’s crap in my opinion. Diesel is high right now because the military uses it in nearly everything, and a ton of it is being shipped over to the war efforts. Diesel has also, historically, always been a bit higher than gasoline (which is stupid because it is actually less refined, but whatever). Also, many refineries are currently still making the switch to the newly mandated “Ultra Low-Sulfur Fuel”. This conversion cost is being passed on to you, the consumer, much the same way that gasoline got mroe expensive during the switch over from MTBE to Ethanol as an oxygenating ingredient.

Isn’t the higher price due mainly to higher taxes because of the (alleged) effort the feds have to put forth to clean up the air due to diesel use? I thought that diesel was cheaper to refine than gasoline. Rocketman


While your mileage figures for the Golf diesel are not based on reality, I do agree with you that a diesel vehicle is ultimately more practical than a hybrid for most drivers–with strictly urban driving being the exception.

However, once again your logic has a tendency to fall over the edge. You said: “But we are still using gas in these cases so weather you use 9mpg or 200mpg the fact is your still giving money to the big gas and oil companys.” Who do you suppose makes the diesel fuel that powers that Golf? Do you think that it might possibly be THE BIG GAS AND OIL COMPANIES?

Before you tell us that you will power your diesel car with used frying oil from the local fast food joint, you should bear in mind that there is already a lot of competition for that stuff. Or, does your cost saving plan include opening up your own restaurant in order to save money on fuel?


There are a lot of reasons diesel is more expensive. I have read that there are two different types of refining process used to turn crude oil into gasoline/diesel/etc. The older method tends to produce more diesel than gasoline while the newer method favors gasoline production. US refineries mostly use the method that favors gasoline. European refineries mostly use the other method. European taxes also favor diesel fuel, while US taxes on diesel are higher than on gasoline.

The road fuel taxes are higher on diesel in an effort to get trucks to pay more for road maintenance, since they tend to cause more road wear.

I’d not recommend running any modern diesels on WVO (waste veggie oil). I did it for the last 30,000 miles in my '85 Lynx wagon just fine, but on modern cars especially ones with turbos it causes all sorts of problems. Plus, a number of them have fuel sensors to detect off-road diesel that are screwed up by WVO making your car not even run.

I’ve also heard of the plug-in conversions but they have their own set of unknowns and potential problems. For starters, the Prius’s batteries are not designed to be deep-cycle. They’re designed to charge a little, discharge a little, charge a little, etc. I’m certain that these conversions void your warranty on the batteries, and many hybrid owners are having to have these abtteries replaced under warranty even without messing with them. It’d be a shame to pay $10k to install that kit, and then another $4k to replace the batteries in 30,000 miles. Not to mention that even at the purported 200mpg of the plug-in conversion (and their math is a bit fuzzy on the mpg) you’d have to drive MANY miles to even break even on the kit, not to mention on the car. Most people these days don’t keep their cars that long, and I’m not sure a hybrid will run long enough, to reap the benefit of a plug in conversion.

Lastly, plug-in conversions (and straight electric-cars as well) have the added downside of being a draw on the power grid. With home electric costs rising in many areas, what do you think the supply and demand would be if the millions of cars on the road also used the same electricity. The fossil fuels used to make electricity are rising just like everything else, and in many states the power grid is already strained to max capacity. If the majority start running plug-in conversions or straight electric cars we’ll need more power plants (hopefully nuclear) and the costs will transfer to electricity instead of gas. Then you’re home heating costs will skyrocket. There’s no free ride.

As others have stated, the VW Golf will get 85 mpg going DOWN A STEEP HILL. Having said that, think of gas or diesel consumption as 1/3 of the lifetime cost of operating a car. The other 2/3 are maintenance & repairs and depreciaiton.

The Golf will cost more to maintain and keep running over its lifetime, and the Prius has proven in taxi service that it will easily go 300,000 miles without major component repacement, that includes the battery. So the lifetime cost would be less for the Prius.

The cost of gasoline and diesel will gradually converge; the refineries are still gearing up to make all that superclean diesel.

I would buy the Prius because of better fuel economy, better reliability and longer life, as well as easier starting in cold weather where I live.

The choice is yours.

Refining capacity for diesel fuel is limited, and the demand keeps rising. What do you think that’s going to do to the price of diesel fuel in the near future?

The same thing it will do to gasoline and heating oil.

Highway driving is no question it is the Golf, but don't even think about getting 85.  Yea someone might have done that, but more likely they did not compute it properly.  65mpg is possible, but remember that will be at 55 mph in the summer.  

In the city I believe it will be about even but at this time with the price current pump price difference you may come out ahead with the Prius in the city.  The Golf should be about to do 45 mpg in the city with careful driving. 

At this time we don't have THE answer.  Hybrids, electrics, NG etc are all ideas that need to be followed up on, but at this time there is no clear single answer, we are still in the early research state, but we have a few test models out there.

If there was a Toyota Corolla Diesel on the market; it would be a no brainer. On the Golf the best thing is the engine, but VWs have along history of expensive troubles on all their other components. Consumer Reports and other surveys consistently show bad performance for small VWs (the Passat is average) and great performance for Prius so far.

One coastal city now has 35% of its taxis as hybrids, mostly Prius models. So, forget the rumors, a Prius is a better car than a Golf, regardless of the Golf’s resale value. That’s mostly because it is fun to drive, has great seats, and very clever advertising!


You are right on target by saying that a diesel Corolla would be a great idea. Unfortunately, Toyota has apparently concentrated their efforts on hybrid technology, and either ignored further diesel development or at least not fully engaged themselves in the new diesel technology.

Just recently, my financial advisor recommended the sale of Toyota stock, simply because he foresees that company suffering in the next couple of years, due to not fully engaging themselves in diesel development. He predicts that other companies (Nissan, Subaru, Honda, VW) will gain in sales, and Toyota will begin to lose market share as Blue Tech diesel catches on with the public.

Since I don’t own any Toyota stock, I don’t have to worry about this, but I can tell you that I am eagerly awaiting the 2010 model year, when I plan to buy a Blue Tech diesel vehicle!

Heating oil IS diesel fuel…Heating oil has a die added.

One lost a transaxle at 107,000 miles (a $7,000 repair), several had a set of batteries go out (also very expensive) etc, etc.

According to Toyota’s web site…they haven’t replaced a battery for failure in ANY of their hybrids.

If there was a Toyota Corolla Diesel on the market; it would be a no brainer.

There is…IN EUROPE.