My guess is that anyone reading this blog probably also watched the big game last night (congratulations to the Saints and perhaps more importantly, to the city of New Orleans--you deserve it). During the second half of the game, a 60 second commercial came on with the soundtrack "The Green Police" (a take on "The Dream Police" by Cheap Trick in case you couldn't tell) that ended with what appears to be a green police approved vehicle moving on down the road. Well, the commercial was for the 2010 Audi A3 TDI clean diesel hybrid … Read more
For the second year in a row, the Green Car of the Year award has been handed to a clean diesel vehicle. This time around, it's the 2010 Audi A3 TDI and its 2.0-liter direct-injected turbo-diesel engine that's beaten its way to the top of a field populated mostly with gas-electric hybrids from Toyota, Mercury, and Honda.
Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of the Green Car Journal, which sponsors the award, cites the A3's EPA-estimated 42 highway mpg, five-seater hatchback functionality, and fun driving experience seasoned with healthy portions of low-end torque as the reasons for … Read more
Every year, for the past four years, Green Car Journal picks its Green Car of the Year at the LA Auto Show. Well, the LA Show will be here before you know it, so it's time to start thinking about this year's contestants, which have been narrowed down to five finalists.
The finalists include the Audi A3 TDI, the Honda Insight, the Mercury Milan Hybrid, the Toyota Prius, and the Volkswagen Golf TDI. That's two VW turbodiesels and a trio of hybrids; or four small hatchbacks and a small sedan. No matter how you look at it, … Read more
When I first began talking with Audi about road-testing the company's new Q7 TDI clean diesel SUV on Road Trip 2009, I have to admit that I was more than a little bit suspicious of that term.
"Clean diesel." It sounded a lot like another new term of art, "clean coal," and I think we know pretty well that there really isn't much that's clean about coal. Plus, I think many of us have negative associations with diesel, a technology long known for sooty fumes, loud engines, and a whole lot of pollution. … Read more
HILAND, Wyo.--I've been in a lot of small towns over the years, but in even the very smallest, I've never seen a city limits line like the one I saw here.
It happened that I hit exactly 5,000 miles of driving on Road Trip 2009 in this one-store-seems-to-be-it town in central Wyoming. As the odometer rolled over to 1000.0--which in the case of the Audi Q7 TDI I'm road-testing equates to 5,000 miles since the odometer resets to 0.0 when you hit 2,000 miles--I was able to pull into a parking … Read more
SIERRA MADRE MOUNTAINS, Wyo.--When I was planning stages for Road Trip 2009, my wife told me, point blank, that if I fiddled around with either my iPhone or my iPod while I drove, at some point during the thousands of miles I'd be behind the wheel, I'd have an accident.
Fortunately, I was able to counter that argument by explaining that the Audi Q7 TDI I'd be road-testing was supposed to feature really nice integration between those devices and the car, and I promised a hands-free experience, no matter how much I drove.
After more than … Read more
OGDEN, Utah--I love my iPhone, but usually, I try not to depend on it keeping a phone call active for that long if I'm moving around much.
But on Sunday, I had what I thought was a noteworthy session of iPhone continuity. On my Road Trip 2009 project, I was here in Ogden, Utah, nestled at the base of the Wasatch Mountains, about an hour north of Salt Lake City.
It was a stunningly beautiful day, and Ogden features hiking trails that go straight up into the canyons of these first few miles of the Wasatches. So I drove … Read more
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo.--It still feels like Road Trip 2009 has just started, but I've already hit 1,000 miles. Unlike Road Trip 2008, where I hit the 1,000-mile milestone while driving along a nondescript section of forested, deep South highway, this time the odometer turned over to four figures while I was rolling slowly in the Audi Q7 TDI "clean diesel" SUV I'm road-testing down a picturesque lane full of high-priced houses with fantastic views of the Rocky Mountains.
I like to use each of the thousand-mile points along the way as an excuse … Read more
In the United States, the major east-west Interstate highways are denominated by multiples of tens: I-10 goes from Los Angeles to Jacksonville, Fla. I-40 goes from Barstow, Calif., to Wilmington, N.C. I-80 goes from San Francisco to New York.
The north-south Interstates, meanwhile, are denominated with fives. I-5 goes from the U.S.-Mexico border, through San Diego, Los Angeles, Portland, Ore., and Seattle and ends at the U.S.-Canada border. I-15 goes from from San Diego to the Canadian border near Sweetgrass, Mont. And I-95 heads north from Miami all the way to northeast Maine.
Over the … Read more
New particle trapping technology and significantly lower sulfur diesel fuel has opened the door for more diesel-powered vehicles to be sold in all 50 states. But the increase in engine cleanliness hasn't translated into increased diesel vehicle sales the way German automakers wanted.
The problem? Consumer perception hasn't caught up with engineering advances.
To combat the dated stigma that diesels are dirty, slow, expensive, and won't start in the cold, VW has launched TDI Truth & Dare, a new Web site that aims to debunk these myths.
The videos may provide a bit of entertaining education, but … Read more