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Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion: 70 MPG Hatchback... U.S. Won't Get

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Volkswagen Golf TDI BlueMotion

Volkswagen Golf TDI BlueMotion

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If you were to associate Volkswagen with one particular fuel-efficient technology, it'd probably be diesel.

VW's range of diesels is expanding in the U.S, but it's massive in Europe--accommodating a market where over 50 percent of buyers choose diesel vehicles.

As a result of Europe's love of diesels, they get some fairly interesting models denied to the U.S. With the Golf, that means a sporty GTD, and the model you see here--the BlueMotion.

Volkwagen's BlueMotion brand launched on the smaller Polo model over a decade ago, and has always represented the most efficient version of a particular model. In this case, it's a Golf that achieves 73.5 mpg on the European combined economy cycle.

Even if we take away the usual 15-20 percent discrepancy to get a figure more akin to EPA testing, the Golf BlueMotion is still near-59 mpg car--and that's combined economy, remember.

Real world results will naturally vary. That 60-70 mpg may well be achievable in steady freeway driving, but you could expect less in city traffic or travelling at sustained higher freeway speeds.

But how does it manage such high numbers?

With fairly simple techniques, as it turns out. While U.S-bound VW diesels all use 2.0-liter engines, a smaller 1.6-liter unit is quite common in Europe. The engine in the BlueMotion is newly-developed.

It puts out a modest 110 horsepower, and a more healthy 184 pounds-feet of torque between 1,500-2,750 rpm. Performance therefore isn't as strong as the 2.0-liter TDIs, but some may question just how much performance you need in a car designed largely to travel at constant speeds over long distances.

It really can travel long distances too - at the European combined figure, its 13.2-gallon tank is enough for 970 miles of range--enough to travel from Los Angeles to Portland.

The BlueMotion uses other common eco-tweaks too--low rolling-resistance tires, a blocked grille, a lower ride height, small spoilers to direct airflow, flat underfloor panels and aerodynamic wheels. This is an ecomodded car straight out the factory.

It's also lighter than previous Golfs thanks to VW's new platform, while long gear ratios and stop-start technology boost fuel efficiency at high and lower speeds alike.

All in all, it makes us wonder--just what would it take for VW to sell a car like this in the U.S.?

The Golf BlueMotion was launched at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show--you can check out more from the show on our dedicated page.

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Comments (25)
  1. Seems to me, this engine would sell well in the US. Same could be said for Honda's new 1.6 diesel in a Fit or a Civic. What a shame...
     
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  2. Well, in order to bring it over, it would have to add some costly exhaust modification. But people here are willing to pay for a Prius's 50MPG and I don't see why they wouldn't pay for an EPA rated 60mpg for the Golf...
     
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  3. Because of performance, that is why!

    That thing will run circles around the Prius and still get the same or better fuel consumption!
     
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  4. With only 110hp and similar weight. I seriously doubt that is true.

    Show me the stats for 1.6L in 0-60mph...
     
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  5. 10.7 seconds, for the 105 PS model here in the UK.

    While I can usually see your point about acceleration, it's also worth remembering that mid-range, in-gear acceleration for diesels is usually quite strong.

    10.7 seconds on paper may not sound all that fast to you, but in the real world it could well be quicker than something like a Prius. I've driven a few vehicles with the old version of VW's 1.6 TDI and I've never struggled getting up to freeway speeds, even on up-hill on-ramps like the ones you seem to have everywhere in the U.S.
     
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  6. That is about as fast as Prius Plugin and slightly slower than regular Prius...
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  7. "even on up-hill on-ramps like the ones you seem to have everywhere in the U.S. "

    When HWY is built above the surface street in many of the "older" cities, then all the entrace ramp are uphills... That is typically the case in SF Bay Area and many of the hwys of LA basin. Also, due to hills, many of the entrance ramps are extremely windy with 180 degree sharp turns where the speed of at the exit of the turn is around 25mph at best with a short ramp ahead and you have to get up to 65mph quickly so you don't get run over...
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  8. I guarantee you that the BlueMotion Golf has every possible exhaust aftertreatment.
     
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  9. VW didn't say in their announcement whether the BlueMotion Golf meets Euro Stage 5 or Euro Stage 6. But even if it meets Euro 6, that still wouldn't be enough to meet U.S. Tier 2 Bin 5 compliance, especially for particulates. So, no, VW hasn't used every possible exhaust aftertreatment.
     
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  10. We drove one of these from Siena to Cinque Terre, Pisa, Assisi, (don't miss Assisi)Montalcino, Cortona, Rome (twice), Vinci, and Florence on one tank of diesel. We fell in love with that car and that country.
     
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  11. Go to Italy....fall in love!
     
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  12. Okay, diesels get better mileage, but fuel costs about 10% more, and it's more poisonous than gasoline. The faster we get off fossil fuels, the better. That's why I bought a Volt, among other things. I've still got 1/2 tank of fuel left from my dealer fill up after 1300 miles. And my current MPG average is 116 and going UP with each EV drive.
     
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  13. Do you have any data to support your diesels are "more poisonous than gasoline" assertion?
     
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  14. The sheeple are finally realizing that pain at the pump is not a requirement, but a choice.

    I would buy a VW if: they offered a plug-in diesel hybrid AND they brought up their miserable reliability to the level of at least GM.
     
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  15. "It puts out a modest 110 horsepower, and a more healthy 184 pounds-feet of torque between 1,500-2,750 rpm. Performance therefore isn't as strong as the 2.0-liter TDIs,"

    We cannot really conclude that. Performance depends primarily on weight:power ratio, and if that is a light car, 184 lb/ft of torque could turn it into a bullet on wheels.

    What is the weight:power ratio?
     
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  16. We *can* really conclude that.

    There is no acceleration metric over which a 2.0 TDI Golf will not be quicker than a 1.6 TDI Golf - particularly if, like this Bluemotion, longer gearing is used to boost economy.

    The 0-62 mph of the 105 PS 1.6 TDI is 10.7 seconds, as mentioned to Xiaolong above. The new 2.0 TDI does the same run in 8.6 seconds. The 2.0 also develops 236 lb/ft of torque and around 40 more horsepower.

    There's no more than 100 lbs or so difference between the two either. The 2.0 would have to be *signficantly* heavier before the 1.6 was quicker. Even the existing 140 hp TDI is quicker.
     
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  17. To bring the BlueMotion Golf to the United States, VW would have to certify a completely new engine for CARB. VW uses the current TDi engine for the Jetta, Golf, and Passat. No economic justification exists to add an additional engine to the American lineup when the customer base can be satisfied with one engine.
     
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  18. Thanks Randall, but really it was a rhetorical question ;)
     
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  19. The reason the gov won't allow the high mpg diesel is because of all the pollution that the small diesel engine puts out compared to a big rig truck diesel or is it because of the money the gov would not get because we are taxed by the gallon.
     
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  20. "That is about as fast as Prius Plugin and slightly slower than regular Prius..."

    Even if that were the case, bear in mind that the Golf has no batteries, and that the engine, being a diesel, will last far longer than the one in the Prius, TOYOTA or otherwise.

    So even if the acceleration numbers were equal, and even if we assume that the fuel consumption numbers were equal, this Golf would still be a better purchase because it is simpler, much more simpler than the Prius.

    I mean, it is pretty obvious that Golf, for all Volkswagen's faults, is a better choice mechanically and economically. Why are we even discussing Prius at all? It can not possibly compete with this Golf!
     
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  21. You know that I am NOT a big fan of Prius, but you can't complain about its quality or durability. VW, on the hand, doesn't have the same reputation.

    Also, in the US, diesel cost more than the regular gasoline.
     
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  22. OK, I agree with you about Volkswagen's quality, which is dubious at best. Your point is well taken. Then again, TOYOTA's quality has slipped significantly in the last few years since they are suffering from what I term "the UBS syndrome" (corrupt management, internecine political warfare inside of company, dysfunction), so all things being equal, I would take my chances with the Golf in this particular instance.

    Not that I have any love for Volkswagen, believe me when I write, I despise Volkswagen.

    "Also, in the US, diesel cost more than the regular gasoline."

    Irrelevant, as even with the diesel being most expensive fuel, one saves 30% in comparison to running on 87 unleaded, and that is with 42-51 MPG car.
     
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  23. I have six words for any automobile manufacturer who will offer an afforable car that gets 60+ mpg... SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!
     
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  24. If VW were to offer the Golf or Polo BlueMotion in the USA (with the approx. 70 mpg), there would be such a HUGE demand that they wouldn't be able to keep them in stock. It would cause major problems for the competition, considering so many of the tiny 'economy' cars currently being sold in the USA only get between 32-40 mpg max. So why is our government preventing these from being sold? I have a '99 Honda that gets 37 mpg and am waiting for the right new car to come along because I'd really like to replace it. It's a shame that the USA lags so far behind.
     
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  25. @Jane: The current Polo has not been designed for sale in the U.S. and likely wouldn't do well on our crash-safety tests.

    The 70-mpg figure, incidentally, is on the European test cycle, which delivers numbers that are about 20 percent more efficient than EPA figures--so that 70 mpg is closer to 50 mpg.

    And, finally, the acceleration of the BlueMotion cars is slow enough to be unacceptable for some portion of U.S. drivers. We simply expect faster cars than Europeans do.
     
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