What Cars Should VW Diesel Owners Get with Their Buyback Cash?

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What Cars Should VW Diesel Owners Get with Their Buyback Cash?

Volkswagen’s diesel scandal may have a lot of people looking for a new ride soon, as the German automaker is potentially offering 500,000 TDI owners a full buyback.

While loyal diesel Volkswagen owners can opt to get their car retrofitted with a device that will reduce emissions, the fix comes with some pros and cons. While those who opt for the fix will get an extra $5,000 to put in their pockets, it’s reported that the current repairs in consideration will reduce fuel economy and performance.

Alternatively, VW owners can get their vehicles bought back by the automaker. The total price of the car will be calculated using the vehicle’s pre-September 2015 value, before the scandal severely impacted resale value. For drivers opting to get the buyback, let’s take a look at roughly how much money they’ll be getting and what their options for a replacement car are.

See Also: 6 Things You Should Know About the VW Dieselgate Settlement

While full details of the compensation and fix will be shared in June 2016, VW owners may want to plan ahead.

For our calculations, we’ll use VW’s most successful sales year: 2012, when the brand sold 438,000 vehicles in the United States. Using a resale calculator, we’ll get an above average resale value of the car, to compensate for the difference between 2016 and 2015 value.

From there, we’ll look at what current owners can do with their buyback offer. Listed are three main options: Use the money to buy a similar car, use the money to upgrade to something fancier, or use the money to buy a vehicle with the same or better advertised MPG as the VW owner expected. Buyers may also want to just get the 2016 model year version of their old car, so we included the starting price of new VWs as well. Here are some cars they can put that buyback cash towards. Right now, we’re only looking at cars powered by the 2.0-liter diesel four-cylinder, as plans for the V6 haven’t been announced yet.


VW Jetta TDI – estimated resale value of a 2012 model vehicle: $12,376

2016 Jetta starts at: $18,500

2016-toyota-corolla

Similar: Toyota Corolla (starts at: $18,135)

If you’re looking to stay in the diesel world, there may be leftover Chevrolet Cruze diesels to pick up. A car that’s basically Chevy’s interpretation of the Jetta TDI, it features the same fuel economy, similar performance and a similarly low-key style. If you don’t want a diesel car any longer, the Toyota Corolla may be a great alternative due to its impressive interior space and simplistic design philosophy.

2016-acura-ilx

Upgrade: Acura ILX (starts at: $28,930)

Volkswagen owners know that their cars are built to last – much like Honda/Acura owners. The Acura ILX may not sound like much, but it’s an affordable entry-level compact car that could be seen as a moderate upgrade from the sterile-looking Jetta.

2016-honda-civic-sedan

Same MPG: Honda Civic 2.0L (31/41 MPG) (starts at: $20,275)

If MPGs are what you’re after, the new 2.0-liter Civic will do the trick, earning 31 MPG in the city and 41 MPG on the highway. Unlike the Jetta though, the transmission is a CVT unit and no manual is offered with the upgraded engine right now, but that’s the tradeoff you’ll have to take if you’re looking to maintain your MPGs.

ALSO SEE: 2016 Honda Civic Review


VW Jetta Sportwagen TDI – estimated resale value of a 2012 model vehicle: $14,556

2016 Golf Sportwagen starts at: $22,445

2016-5-mazda-cx-5-updates

Similar: Mazda CX-5 (starts at $ 22,695)

There really isn’t a compact wagon on the market that can keep up with Jetta Sportwagen, but the Mazda CX-5 crossover comes close. It features similar cargo and passenger space, and is as fun to drive as the Sportwagen. One positive change is that you can opt to get the CX-5 in a few different engine choices or equip it with AWD for added capability.

Volvo-V60

Upgrade: Volvo V60 (starts at $37,090) BMW 3 Series Wagon (starts at $43,645)

If you still want a wagon, then you probably have to spend a bit more on the BMW 3 Series wagon or the Volvo V60, the only entry-level luxury wagons offered in the U.S. While the V60 is undoubtedly attractive, the 3 Series is probably the better choice, since it can be equipped with a fuel-sipping diesel engine, manual transmission or even all-wheel drive. That’s the true upgrade choice.

toyota-prius-v

Same MPG: Toyota Prius v (starts at $27,510)

If all you want is eye-popping MPG numbers and a ton of cargo space, then there’s no better choice than the Prius v. While not exactly a hair-raising driving experience, this hybrid wagon does the trick at the pumps earning a combined 42 MPG and also features an impressive total cargo space of 67.3 cubic feet.


VW Golf TDI – estimated resale value of a 2012 model vehicle: $14,496

2016 Golf five-door starts at $20,995

mazda3

Similar: Mazda3 Hatch (starts at $19,665)

This is easy: Golf buyers want a practical, fun-to-drive hatchback, and that’s exactly what the Mazda3 hatch is. While our former Car of the Year winner is also available with a ton of technology, car shoppers will really love how impressive the interior is.

Lexus-CT-200h

Upgrade: Lexus CT200h (starts at $32,200)

There’s only one sporty, fuel-efficient luxury hatchback on the market today and that’s the Lexus CT200h. The Lexus is a tiny bit less practical, featuring less rear-seat room and cargo space, but not by a huge margin. On the plus side, this Lexus is quite fun to drive and can get 42 MPG combined.

2016-toyota-prius

Same MPG: Toyota Prius (starts at $25,035)

The Prius is a compact hatchback with amazing fuel economy numbers, easily eclipsing the Golf TDI’s fuel mileage. With the ability to earn 52 MPG combined, there are few compact cars that can keep up with it. A new wrinkle in the Prius’ game plan is that it handles better than the old model.


VW Passat TDI – estimated resale value of a 2012 model vehicle: $13,665

2016 Passat starts at: $23,260

2016-mazda6

Similar: Mazda6 (starts at $22,315)

The Mazda6 would be the perfect replacement for a Passat because it looks high-end and is great to drive. The Mazda6 is only available with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, and it’s not very exciting compared to the old TDI, making just 184 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque, but it makes up for that with its fantastic driving dynamics. The interior is the biggest highlight to the Mazda6, as it’s stylish, simple and packs some premium touches.

2016-BMW-340i-xDrive-01

Upgrade: BMW 328d (starts at $40,845)

Although it’s technically a bit smaller, the 3 Series diesel would be a nice upgrade to Passat drivers, featuring fantastic fuel economy, great driving dynamics and a luxurious edge.

2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid-3

Same MPG: Toyota Camry Hybrid (starts at $27,625)

High-MPG family sedans are now a dime a dozen, thanks to hybrid versions of popular cars like the Accord, Malibu, Sonata and Fusion, but it’s hard to bet against the tried and true Toyota Camry Hybrid, which earns 41 MPG combined.


VW Touareg TDI – estimated resale value of a 2012 model vehicle: $28,270

2016 Touareg starts at: $43,615

2016-Nissan-Murano-01

Similar: Nissan Murano (starts at $30,560)

The Nissan Murano is a great option with beautiful styling, a powerful engine and a gorgeous interior. It’s a perfect replacement for the Touareg.

2016-Mercedes-GLE-SUV-off road

Upgrade: Mercedes GLE 300d (Starts at $53,425)

If you want a diesel mid-sized SUV, the Mercedes GLE is one of the best bets, featuring a 2.1-liter four-cylinder turbo-diesel that makes 201 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. If you towed with your Touareg, you’ll find the GLE plenty capable, with a maximum tow rating of 6,600 lbs.

2016-Ford-Edge-01

Same MPG: Ford Edge (starts at $29,595)

While the Nissan Murano is a solid replacement for the Touareg, the Ford Edge is the better bet in terms of fuel economy. Front-wheel-drive Edge models equipped with the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine earn 30 MPG on the highway and 20 MPG in the city, while all-wheel drive models maintain the 20 MPG figure, and get 28 MPGs on the highway.

  • Hound

    I hate to see VW suffer thru this “diesel scandal”. To me, there is nothing wrong. I applaud VW, and ANY other auto manufacturer, for giving the metaphorical middle finger to over bearing and nanny political B.S.!! Job well done I say. Keep up the good work VW!!!!!

    I think all the car companies need to tell the gov’ts of the world to go get stuffed. Global warming is a bunch of horse shit. It is about control over everyone’s lives, and about $$$. If people REALLY think that they can stop the Earth’s cycles of warming and cooling, good luck by the way, they are flat out delusional. BTW, it is all caused by the solar cycles and solar activity, NOTHING to do with gases.

    CO2??? Really… we have too much in the atmo, they say??? Hmmm… let me see, what is it that plants absorb… CO2. Now, what do plants and trees release into the air… O2 (Oxygen). SO, it is really simple, want to cut down on gas emissions?? Here are a couple of suggestions;

    1. Plant more trees and plants.
    2. Stop breathing (and probably in some cases breeding)
    3. Cap off ALL if the volcanoes on this entire planet. (Good luck with that.)
    4. Gain control over the solar cycles. Better yet, control the physics of the solar system. (Again, REALLY good luck with that!)

    I just wish people would think for them selves, and do a bit of their own research. This is all lies. That is what control does, lies to the public to get their agenda rammed up our rear ends. While we all have to suffer and loose more of our hard earned $$$, all for a “good cause” that is all fictitious, and doesn’t exist.

    Have a nice day everyone!

  • smartacus

    MITSUBISHI MIRAGE!!
    no doubt about it.
    maybe they will do their own buybacks :p

  • smartacus

    BTW, the pictures of the Acura ILX and Honda Civic are so strikingly similar.

    They should shutter Acura and just re-purpose it as a sub-brand like Maybach.
    Instead of a full on Maybach, you buy an S-Class Maybach Edition.
    Instead of ILX, just buy a Civic Acura-Edition.

  • Dookay

    What about us folks who bought a 2016 Touareg AFTER VW came out and said “no, no, the 3.0L diesel is fine”, when it actually was not.

    That’s the boat I’m in. 8-/

  • Godlike

    what laws do you break?

  • RaviBlr

    Its not the CO2 of Diesels, but the NOx and PM that VW should be ashamed about!

  • Andrew Gardner

    You know a lot about science and are not reacting in an oppositional way.