by eurodiesels forever from DC metro area on Tue May 19 2009
The Passat TDI is great fun to drive. It is like the VW folks distilled the essence of driving fun and injected it into their cars. The 1997 Passat TDI is the best long-distance cruiser I ever have driven. The interiror is extremely comfortable -- at least as good as the Volvo S60 -- which is a good thing when you can go nearly 800 miles on a single tank. The handling and stability, especially on high-speed Interstate, is spot on. Plus, it handles twisty Appalachian back roads with aplomb. Acceleration from a stop is the weak spot in this car's performance, although it is on par with many four cylinder gasoline economy cars. The key to best acceleration is to shift early, allowing the TDI's low RPM torgue to do its thing. Revving the engine beyond about 3000 RPM is fairly pointless; doing so will decrease 0-60 times. Once the TDI is moving, however, the strong torque provides good performance. Importantly, the manual transmission is a must with the TDI. The manual allows the driver to shift the car at the appropriate time rather than waiting for the torque converter to spin up enough to shift. Not only does the automatic ruin the fun and performance of this car, it seriously reduces fuel efficiency. As I recall the EPA mileage estimates for the automatic were aout 8 MPG lower than the manual. Further, I generally exceed the EPA's estimates for the maual by about 2-3 MPG. I once got 50 MPG on a trip south from Maine. The copious torgue produced by the TDI allows the car to cruise effortlessly at and beyond US-legal speeds. It also enables the Passat to climb eastern mountains without the need for a downshift. In fact, the Passat TDI climbs mountains better than some V-8 SUVS.
Purchased a New car
Uses car for Just getting around
Does recommend this car!!
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