Volkswagen Passat TDI Sets Fuel Economy Record

By Jeremy Del Nero on 8 July 2013
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The Passat's TDI Clean Diesel inline four

The Passat’s TDI Clean Diesel inline four

Volkswagen announced that its 2013 Passat TDI Clean Diesel has broken the Guinness World Record for “lowest fuel consumption – 48 U.S. States (non-hybrid car),” achieving 77.99 mpg (3.02 l/100 km) on its tour of the continental U.S.  This beat the old record of 67.9 mpg (3.46 l/100 km), which was also set by a Passat TDI, by more than 10 mpg.

The stock Passat’s 2.0-liter TDI Clean Diesel inline four-cylinder engine produces 140 horsepower, and 236 pound-feet of torque. The Passat is rated by the EPA at 43 mpg (5.47 l/100km) on the highway. It comes standard with a Selective Catalytic Reduction System (SCR).

The record-breaking Passat departed Volkswagen’s American headquarters in Herndon, Virginia on June 7 at noon.  It arrived back 8,122 miles (13,071 kilometers) later on June 24, having visited all 48 contiguous states.  The entire trip used 104.94 gallons (397.5 liters) of Shell ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel.  The Passat stopped just six times to refuel.

The vehicle was driven conservatively and the drivers utilized special driving techniques.  These included planning a route with optimal topography, avoiding heavy braking and acceleration, and observing the posted speed limits, according to Wayne Gerdes, founder of and principal driver.  Hypermiling, the technique of maxing out a car’s potential fuel economy, also includes keeping tires fully inflated and driving without air conditioner use.

The record should serve as an attention getter for consumers looking for a fuel-efficient alternative to hybrids.  It’s even more noteworthy of an achievement considering the vastly superior performance of the TDI compared to the Kia Optima Hybrid – the current Guinness World Record holder for the hybrid class, which achieved 64.55 miles per gallon on its 7,899 mile trip across the 48 states in 2011.

In April, readers of The Diesel Driver named the Passat TDI Diesel Car of the Year.   The award was presented at the 2013 New York International Auto Show.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)