Seeing the thousands of bought-back Volkswagen TDIs just sitting all by their lonesomes in big parking lots is hard. But what pulls at the heartstrings even more are the stories from owners who just miss their cars.
Among the many shitty things about the whole Dieselgate fiasco is the fact that Volkswagen TDIs were actually really, really good cars. And in a lot of cases, they were owned by enthusiasts who loved the torque, fuel economy and manual transmission.
I’ve come across quite a few forum posts, Reddit posts and emails from folks who just miss their TDIs. No, they didn’t technically have to sell them back, but that handsome buyback check was impossible to pass up. Still, even with fat pocketbooks, these folks’ hearts are hurting, and I totally understand why.
Here’s a post on Reddit by NotRoryWilliams entitled “I really miss my TDI” (that’s his car in the picture above), which includes “obituaries” from a number of other TDI owners. NotRoryWilliams wrote the obituary for his 2011 Jetta Sportwagen to me via private message, saying:
It was simply the best car I ever had. It was really well designed and well built. Aside from the gas mileage, which was amazing, it was fun to drive, comfortable, quiet, and really capable. It had no problem supporting week-plus road trips fully loaded with all of my whitewater kayaking and mountain biking gear as well as camping gear, and a few people too.
He went on:
My TDI Sportwagen served me very well. I got nearly 200,000 miles and six years without a major problem, and it was running beautifully when I turned it in.
NotRoryWilliams traded his brown diesel manual wagon (the holy grail of car-types, as we all know) for a 2017 gasoline Jetta, but he says things with the new car just aren’t the same, writing in the forum thread about his sorely-missed TDI:
I’m so nostalgic thinking of the first days with that car starting with picking it up. I just haven’t felt even remotely the same way with my new one
Redditer Bexlyp contributed his or her own TDI obituary, writing:
Ugh, me too. I live in North Alabama and I’m definitely missing the torque coming up the mountains. I’m also missing the range. I’ve had my replacement car 2 weeks and filled up from half tank twice within 500 miles. I wouldn’t use half a tank of diesel in a week unless I was doing some serious road time for work.
Jalopnik reader Matt, who sent me an email about his quest for a TDI replacement, told me there really just isn’t anything out there that can compete with his Sportwagen, so he’s struggling to decide whether to keep it, writing:
I have a 2.0L affected by all this cheating stuff. I considered the buyback, but I quickly discovered there are damn near zero decent family cars for sale in the United States. (Off topic, but seriously, just try looking for a well-handling wagon with a manual transmission. It turns out we already own a better family car than anything else we can buy new today).
Redditer bentripin’s story is probably the most heart-wrenching of the lot, as it chronicles the many journeys he took with his dream car, a Golf TDI:
Going to really miss mine when I give it back in 2 weeks; it too is the best car I’ve ever had.. When my Wife and I were dating over 10 years back we went on a big west coast national park road trip in my MK4 GTI; I dreamed of having a diesel with a lil trailer that trip.. then I finally got it (traded an Audi RS6 for it), then got a lil trailer for it and drove it all over the country several times in the last 4 years.,,Hope I dont shed too many tears for the Golf, it was great while it lasted and ended up being a great buy on so many levels.
Getting rid of a car you love is hard, as I learned when I sold off my beloved 1996 Jeep Cherokee. The money is nice, sure, but it doesn’t heal the pain.
What do you think former TDI owners can do to ease their pain, if anything?