Regarding Volkswagen

Volkswagen logo
Having been sidelined for a month with a combination of strep throat and a bronchial infection, I may be the last automotive journalist to weigh in on the Volkswagen TDI cheating scandal.  But better late than never.

As you most likely have read, the Environmental Protection Agency has accused Volkswagen of inserting code into their TDI Clean Diesel models that sensed when the car was in emissions test mode, and only activated its emissions control system when it was.  Volkswagen has admitted it's true.

In normal driving, the emissions controls switched themselves off, performance and fuel economy were enhanced and the cars, according to the EPA, emitted as much as 40 times the legal amount of certain pollutants, including nitrogen oxides, which have been linked to respiratory problems including, but not limited to, athsma.  11 million cars with the VW and Audi brand are affected.  Almost half a million of those are believed to have been sold in the United States since 2009.

Volkswagen's CEO has resigned.  Others will no doubt lose their jobs.  Owners of the affected cars have been promised their vehicles will be recalled and brought into compliance.  In other words, they'll be as clean as the law requires, but most likely slower and less fuel-efficient.

The cars affected are the 2009 to 2015 TDI Volkswagen Golf, Jetta, Beetle and Audi A3s, and the 2014 to 2015 Passat, all with the 2.0-liter TDI engine.  We here at TireKicker have reviewed the 2010 Golf TDI, the 2014 Passat TDI, the 2014 Beetle TDI, the 2015 Audi A3 TDI, the 2015 Golf Sportwagen TDI and the 2015 Golf TDI.  Apart from our driving impressions and observations regarding speed and fuel economy, which were unknowingly based on the same trickery that fooled the EPA and the world for six years, we stand by our observations about the cars in terms of styling, construction, handling and features. And we stand by our reviews of other VW/Audi product with other engines and thus not under the current cloud.

While we are disappointed that Volkswagen would stoop to cheating, we remain objective in our evaluation of their products going forward, as we do with every vehicle we review. Some with an appetite for snark may interpret this as going easy on VW.  But justice for VW should be and will be focused and far more serious than a couple of cheap shots in a review.  We'll be keeping our eyes on the road and bringing you straightforward information you can use.


Michael Hagerty
Publisher/Executive Editor, TireKicker