“Yo Vinnie! Waddya Drivin’ This Week?” is a first look/first impression of the review vehicle I am driving this week for a future “Drivetime Road Test” auto review.
This edition of YVWDTW has us tooling around in The Volkswagen that America has been waiting for, The Beetle TDI Clean Diesel. I have already extolled the virtues of the latest edition of the people’s car http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2012/02/06/drivetime-with-vinnie-richichi-road-test-2012-volkswagen-beetle/ It is a solid sporty compact car that gives you good bang and a lot of style for the dollars spent.
Adding the diesel with the 6 speed manual and coming in with a price tag of $24K makes it much more in line with the original Bug that came to America quietly in 1955. Good green transportation with a unique look and reasonably priced. Driving the Beetle around the city streets you immediately are struck by the torque of the 140 HP TDI Diesel. The turbocharged engine delivers 236 lb/ft of torque.
Hit the gas from a standstill and the Beetle jumps to attention, moves out quickly and is surprisingly quiet as well. The TDI doesn’t offer a whiff of smoke or smell no matter how hard you push it. That’s why it gets the title Clean Diesel.
Once out on the road the engine also delivers in higher gears giving you the feeling there is more there to help you come out of curves or pass on the highway. VW squeezes pretty much every drop of horsepower and torque they can out of the dual overhead cam engine and it feels it.
The 6 speed manual is easy to shift with a clean easy gate. The throw might be a bit long but not excessively. My only complaint really is that it seems like you have to put the clutch through the floorboard to operate the start button. Something that could be a problem for us short legged folks.
There is an DSG dual clutch automatic available but the Manual is the way to go. There are three trim levels. I drove the base level TDI which was equipped with extra gauges, 17 inch alloy wheels, am-fm satellite cd with Bluetooth and iPod/aux connectivity.
Sticker price for this base TDI Diesel Beetle is $24,360. Gas mileage is a whopping 41 highway/28 city 32 MPG combined. The Beetle gets a Five Star overall safety rating in government crash tests. This may be the most true to the original concept Beetle to hit the street since they stopped making the original Bug. It also gives green car buyers an alternative to hybrids delivering high mileage and a low carbon footprint while retaining a fun sporty personality.
Is that enough to get the American car buyer to get past their fear of diesels? One can only hope.
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Get more reviews, news about cars and the people who drive them, interviews and tips on how to get more out of your driving experience all on Drivetime with Vinnie Richichi and Rob Pratte Saturday mornings 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA. Also listen to Vinnie on The Vinnie and Cook Show Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sportsradio 93-7 The Fan.