Used Car Face Off: Diesel Duel

Welcome to Used Car Face Off, a new feature where we find two similar or similarly priced used cars and ask you which one you would buy. Choose wisely!

Whenever someone in the market for a new car asks me if they should get a hybrid, I immediately tell them to go drive a diesel. Sometimes this results in people, who would have dropped nearly 30 large on a Prius, leaving their local Volkswagen dealer with a Jetta TDI Sportwagen that's infinitely better to drive and nearly as economical.


Trouble is, a modern TDI is kind of a pricey proposition. So for people like me looking at spending less than $5,000 on something bizarre and fuel efficient, here are two possibilities.

For a buy-it-now price of $3,600, you could have a VW diesel that costs as much as a down payment on a new Golf TDI. This 1980 Rabbit Diesel is a wonderful shade of 80s red, complete with an equally red "leatherette" interior. Everything is just red and red-er, like the interior of my grandfather's Dodge Aries.

Ignore the dash that's cracked to all hell and it looks pretty sharp for being 32 years old. It has less than 86,000 miles, too, but mileage isn't so much a concern since these old diesels can go for 300,000 miles without breaking a sweat. In a Bay Area hipster kind of way, I kind of like this car.


But my eye is weirdly drawn to this French sedan, a 1978 Peugeot 504 Diesel Automatique with just 92,000 claimed miles. It's just so absurd from every angle, starting with the angles on the front end and ending with the fantastic "automatique" badge under the Peugeot name on the tailgate. I think I want the car just for the badge.


Those French seats are flat and look overstuffed, too. It must be the originality of this car that gets me, because it looks great for a Carter-era car that's French, synonymous with fragile cars. It's got rarity going for it, too.

Between the two, there's clearly a more sensible buy. Every instinct says the VW is the way to go if I were trying to go diesel for cheap. It's something I could drive every day and my only problem would be the humiliation of merging on a freeway on-ramp.


But I'm not sensible, so I'd have the Pug. I must like to make life difficult for myself.

Which one would you choose? Tell us in Kinja below!

Photos credit eBay, Craigslist

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