Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Passat diesel keeps going, and going, and going...

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website

Sacramento, California – I could have driven to Los Angeles … and back.

Excuse me, I hate to be fixated on fuel mileage when I’m test driving a car, but when you have been motoring along for a bit and the projected range on your vehicle says 700 miles before the next fill-up, it gets your attention.

In fact, it seemed like the fuel needle would NEVER budge in my week with the 2015 Volkswagen Passat TDI SE (with sunroof) sedan.  It was absolutely amazing.

OK, so some of you are saying, ugh, it’s a diesel.  Wrong friendo, it’s an extraordinary diesel, with performance and pop and none of that old-school diesel balkiness that some of you still believe exists this very day.

What is under the hood is a 2-liter, four-cylinder, clean, turbocharged diesel power plant that gets 30 miles per gallon in the city and a whopping 42 mpg on the highway.  With an 18.5-gallon gas tank, well, you can do the math from there.

You say you don’t like shopping around for diesel fuel?  Who cares?!!!  The sedan gets such gaudy mileage that you can drive around town for an hour and lose relatively little in the bargain.

And with the turbo boost, the Passat responded to my right foot with authority, more than one would expect from a 150-horsepower-rated engine.  When I nailed the gas, I wondered if I was making a dent in the fuel mileage.  Best as I could tell, I failed miserably along that line.

I admit that I don’t think about diesel too much, until I get a ride like this Passat.  It sets me to pondering about the economical possibilities, which are considerable.

A few years back, VW was getting zapped for touting diesel in an age of growing hybrids and electrics.  After a week in this Passat, maybe the critics ought to rethink those barbs.

This looks and feels like a $35,000 car.  It’s not.  The starting fare is a reasonable $28,840.

For my ride, that paid for standard features that included multiple vehicle-control systems, the aforementioned power sunroof, a rearview camera system, heated front seats and leather appointments.

Yes, that seems rather generous.  The warranties are likewise generous.

The car measures about 192 inches nose to tail, and that translates to ample interior space for driver and passengers.  The field of vision from the cockpit was good.

The Passat’s look is relatively sedate, but it’s aerodynamic enough to park it with pride in front of the neighbors.  The 18-inch alloy wheels add just a touch of saucy appeal.

The Passat reportedly is getting some big changes for 2016, and that’s all well and good.

For now, this 2015 midsize everyday driver has  B-plus charms and A-plus fuel economy.

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