Here are a couple of reader questions – both about TDI diesel-powered VWs – along with my answers, such as they are!
Scott in Dallas asks:
Fixed TDI VWs are available (briefly?) at Dallas VW dealerships. Would it do your readership or you any good to find one in VA and give it a drive? Though not in the market now there was a time not long ago that I really wanted a TDI with a stick, probably a Golf… That time appears well past, for VW and for different reasons, for me. Sad!
Scott in Dallas
I’d love to be able to arrange a side-by-side test drive; a “fixed” VW TDI and an otherwise identical but not “fixed” example. The problem is that car jocks like me get the cars we evaluate from the manufacturers on loan for a week. Not from dealers, who are independent operators – franchises. They do not give out press car loaners. Too much liability, for one – and also too much cost. We’d put miles on the cars – so they’d have to be sold as used/demo cars rather than new. Dealers aren’t going to take that hit – especially for the dicey prospect of a review that might not favor the car!
All that said, the whole reason VW “cheated” was because the TDI could not be made Uncle-EPA compliant without compromising something that mattered to buyers – such as price, performance or fuel efficiency. I am certain the “fixed” VWs are inferior in one or several respects vs. the not-“fixed” VWs for exactly this reason.
The lease on my 2015 Golf TDI is up next year. I’m considering rejecting VW’s settlement money and purchasing it (though I would never “fix” it). Not only because the car is an absolute all-star, but because I know how rare it’s likely to be in 10 years or so. What’s your gut feeling on whether unmodified (i.e. “cheating”) Golf TDIs will become highly sought after by future VW geeks? Let’s assume the clovers don’t forbid me to sell it privately..
I think you can’t lose either way!
You love the car, so there’s that. And there’s also the fact that the cars are already in demand, due to factors including their goodness, their rarity (not “fixed”) and because some people (like me) just want to support VW and buy one as a way to let our views about this “scandal” be known.
So, keep that thing!
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On the leased car:
Sorry to point this out, but you do not own a leased car. You are renting it. VW still owns that car. They may not be permitted to sell it to you without “fixing” it first, since it would be a mandatory recall. My guess is that the lease agreement specifies that all recalls must be performed on the leased vehicle. I hope you get to keep it without modification, but I would be surprised.
Much of the value these cars have is in people rolling the dice on what the VW settlement will be. The government is basically extorting VW at gunpoint and there is a lot of money sloshing around in the settlement that may more than pay for the cost of a private sale.
In ten years, these will not be all that in demand, aside from some novelty to them. They can’t run on biodiesel, so are not as useful as older models, and they have so many electronics in them that they will be difficult to keep running and expensive to repair, regardless of having a TDI or not.
If you can figure a way not to have it neutered and keep it, I’d drive it until the wheels fall off. You obviously love it. They’re great cars, plus it’s a subtle way to stick it to Uncle every day you start her up.