Archive for November, 2009

Window Tinting and Clear Bra all done

November 4, 2009

Awfully fun to drive when you’re not hyper miling.     No worries on the clutch brake smell apparently…    to check in with dealer if it I smell it again.     My suspicion:  hypermiling is easy on the brakes, so I got a bit of a delayed brake break in.   Just a theory.

Window tinting and clear bra is done.   Picking it up I asked the guy if there was anything I needed to know..    and he said No.      Then as I’m getting in the car he’s like… Don’t roll down the windows for three days.   Uhhh… Sounds like something I needed to know.

Sad I won’t get to drive this for a few weeks. *pout*


Hypermiling at odds with Engine Break in?

November 3, 2009

Abandoning hypermiling on this first tank in favor of more mid level RPMs for engine break in period.    I read this, before I got the car, but clearly didn’t digest or retain any of it.   I think there were just too many words for my short attention span.

Anyways… looks like the idling and low RPM / higher load of hypermiling is not recommended for the first 1000 miles or so.     Of course neither is excessive reving (No danger there!)      Hopefully my first few days of snow driving + traffic jams + having a little fun with accelerations form time to time + changing gears to find the perfect highway speed have been enough to offset consistent low RPMs to the airport and Golden and back.

Apparently this is a case of got to use some gas to save some gas later. (Seating of the cylinder do-hickey something-mabobs to improve engine efficiency.)


Today’s Golf Mileage

November 3, 2009

Another trip to the airport… plus some around town shenanigans…     Avg. 48.8Mpg for the day.   316 Miles on half a tank so far.



48 Mpg Avg Today. Note the (1) in the upper right... the other trip shows (2) instead

Disturbing clutch smell towards the end of the drive.  I’m not THAT rusty.    Will ask tomorrow about that when I take it in for clear coat.   Also the first time the cooling fan has come on that I’ve noticed.  Trouble in paradise?   Hopefully not.


2010 Golf TDI Review

November 2, 2009

I picked up my new 2010 VW Golf TDI on Wednesday, in a foot of snow at McDonald Volkswagen in Denver.    I’m enjoying the thought that I have the only new manual TDI in Colorado right now… which may or may not be the true since VW hasn’t put one out stateside since ’06.   I suppose if I add enough adjectives… (united metallic gray…. with sunroof…  4dr…) eventually it will eventually be unique and the “Only one in Colorado.”

In any case, I love the car so far…   It’s got a very dual personality just like me.

Bingo's Golf

On the one hand, it’s a efficient and eco minded, especially when paired with hyper-miling.    I managed to squeeze 59 mpg out of it today on the way home from Golden…    Granted, Golden is a few hundred feet higher than Denver so that’s a bit of an unfair advantage…  but earlier in the day I was still managing a not too shabby 50 mpg to the airport and back.     If it’s true what I’ve been reading on, then this will most likely improve 10-15% after I get the engine nice and broken in.

On the other hand,  it’s very nearly a sports car.   In the past few days I’ve had the car,  I’ve also had my moments of reveling in the V6 like torque which pulls it very quickly up to speed…    I haven’t used full throttle yet, again due to engine break in period… just enough to hit the turbo curve.   From there it’s sort of an unrelenting thrust forward… and suddenly I realize I should really let off the gas before I’m speeding too horribly.

I suppose the sport and eco impulses aren’t always at odds…   the corner hugging suspension is fantastic for curves when you don’t want to brake and lose all the kinetic energy you’ve paid for with dead dinosaurs…   Also, the immense and early torque is plenty sufficient to use 6th gear going 65 mph up a slight incline on the plains.    Net result…   Frequently the trip computer reports 60-80 mpg while cruising around 55-70 mph.

Once I’m done with engine break- in and can really open it up, I’ve resolved to use a full tank sans hyper-miling to see what kind of impact I’m having with my reserved accellerations, coasting, brake avoidance.   The final verdict will have to wait for another blog post a  few thousand miles from now, but on my last car ( 2002 TDI Golf) mileage improvement from hyper-miling wasn’t all that tremendous (16-28%).   However, the automatic transmission made it a pretty difficult car to hyper mile on.   I suspect that the automatic transmission was a major drag on overall fuel economy generally, with it’s limited gears to choose from (4) and even then it’s inability to pick the correct gear for the occasion.   Non-hyper mileage on the 2002 Golf:36 mpg… with hyper-miling: 42 mpg, and an all time best of 46 mpg.   I’ve already quite effectively smashed those numbers on the new 2010

Looking beyond Fuel Economy, the automatic transmission on the 2002 was the only thing that made me NOT love the car.    It was so sluggish that if you put your foot down it was 3-4 seconds before it was at full power.   (Generally 2 gear selections by the slushbox to get there.)    TERRIBLE!

The big differences from the 2002 to the 2010 Golf TDI from my point of view:

  1. Engine –    The 2002 1.9 TDI engine wasn’t bad, but it was loud, and it smoked when you didn’t get it started on the first try on a cold morning, or didn’t wait for the glow plugs, or floored it.    You nearly always  knew the 2002 was a diesel (or else you thought it was a very sick gas car.)      The 2010 TDI can easily be confused with a gas car.     No smoke.     I still haven’t even seen the glow plug indicator light to wait for and it’s been 20° F  out already!  I guess I just start it right away and don’t have to wait anymore.     No heavy diesel chatter.   More power longer.    (50% more torque and HP with the new 2.0 L engine over the 1.9 L in the 2002.   Engineering wizardry!)
  2. Transmission –  I’ve not driven the DSG, but I hear it’s quite good.   Having just ranted about the automatic on the 2002, you can guess why I refused to even consider it.   However, it reportedly solves the sluggishness of the old transmission, and adds the two gears which actually gives it a better fuel economy rating.    (For non hyper milers I suppose.)    I’m in love with the manual transmission I bought, though.   But since I’ve not owned one for 4 years, I can’t say if it’s a fantastic manual as far as manuals go.    Compared to my old automatic however, it steals the show, putting me in charge of all the fuel consumption  and power decisions at last.    This is what people that go on about how good automatic transmissions are becoming  just don’t get… The lack of a clutch and explicit gear choice cuts you out of a big portion of optimizing the car for fuel and performance.   Yes you can approximate, with downshifts, slides into neutral and back (while matching engine speed), economy and sports modes (If offered on the car), but it will never offer the flexibility of control you can achieve with a manual more cheaply.     An automatic does stop and go traffic better certainly, and the more expensive versions can do 0-60 better, but that’s the only two categories it wins in my experience.   Had my last car had a manual, I probably would have hung on to it a few more years.   This most likely also would have resulted in my buying an A3 TDI when I upgraded as I wouldn’t have had the same level of aversion to the automatic that owning one has created.    (Can’t get the A3 TDI with a manual in the states, nor I might add with quattro.   What’s the point then?   Dealbreaker for me.  But that’s another topic. )
  3. Electronics  –  The level of tech in the car is really quite amazing.   The 2002 was underwhelming by comparison, even with the aftermarket iPhone integration I’d installed which I thought was pretty good…   Now there’s a touchscreen on the 2010 TDI with a nearly perfect ipod interface (stock)…sat radio,  aux in, bluetooth music streaming and call answering, amazing trip computer. (the US 2002 had room for one, but it was blank.)    It probably has more bells and whistles than it needs to, but I couldn’t say it was a tech car without some feature overkill…
  4. Suspension – much firmer in the new car.   Maybe it was just old shocks in the 2002… that whole car was just a slushy driving experience.   The 2010 Mark 6 Golf is crisp, and hugs the road…
  5. Interior quality – Feels like an Audi inside and not a VW.    I know they’re kinda the same thing… but this is Audi quality without Audi price.

Other Nice Additions:

  1. Don’t have to remove headrests in the back seat to fold them down.      Thank goodness..   I’d leave the seats on the ’02 down for weeks at a time because it was such a pain to reinsert the headrests.      It’s not all roses here, since the new seats don’t fold flat… but honestly that doesn’t bug me…     futzing with removing headrests does, as it was a 2-3 minute activity I could have been on my way already.
  2. Rear windows also get auto roll up and auto roll down.  (2002 only had door auto up / down switches for this for the front two windows)
  3. Air conditioned glove box…  I guess it’s not just passats!
  4. The Owner’s Manual actually FITS in it’s glove box holder (Small point, but annoying on the 2002)
  5. I managed to make my key fob open all the doors with one click this morning.   This is important because the key fob frequently misses the double click for opening all the doors and the trunk.    This was another annoyance on the 2002.      (It’s in the Setting menu in the trip computer under Settings->Convenience->Door Open->Manual.       Yes it’s a bit complicated to find)

    Settings Convenience Menu

    Setting the Key Fob to open all doors on first click.

  6. I also modified the default locking behavior to make the doors all unlock when you remove the key out of the ignition.  (Settings->Convenience->Door Open->Auto)    This has the nice effect of not requiring rear passengers to pull twice on the door handle to open it, in that weird German back door way.    Also nice that when I walk to the hatch to grab grocery bags, it’s open until I’ve locked the car rather than having to release the trunk like on the 2002.
  7. Gas door is push in to open, rather than only having an interior release.    This is WAY better, IMO.   If you forgot to pop the gas tank on the 2002, you had to walk from the passenger side back to the drivers door to open it.    If you want secure gas.. get a locking gas cap. [Updated…    Actually   the gas door locks along with the doors… so push in to open on the gas door only works when the car is unlocked….    pretty slick. ]
  8. Sunroof is much quieter than in the 2002 when it’s open.
  9. Car is quieter generally.. (One caveat is the default all weather tires are noisy on some surfaces)  Almost ALL noise in the cabin comes from the tires on rough pavement as near as aI can tell. )   Could this be the taughter suspension transferring the noise?   Prolly not.

Hidden things most people will never find or figure out how to do:

  1. Door keyhole is covered by a plastic cap and is only used if the fob battery is dead.    (The manual actually says be careful not to scratch the paint!)
  2. The nice “roll all the windows down on a hot day before getting in” feature which used to be accessed on the 2002 by turning the key in the door handle is now accomplished by opening the driver’s door and pressing down on the drivers window button for 2-3 seconds   to open all the windows.     Supposedly this can be reprogrammed to also be done from the fob on both models, but it requires more than the accessible car settings in the US version.    Why do they hide things like this?
  3. There are two trip trackers in the trip computer…   OK button toggles between them.   One resets automatically when not  driving for more than 2 hours… the other I *think* can be reset with when you refuel… though I haven’t tested this out yet.    Mine still reports the entire number of miles the car has driven  (380)


    48 Mpg Avg Today. Note the (1) in the upper right... the other trip shows (2) instead

  4. Aforementioned tricks with key fob / and automatic door locking.

Oddities and Dislikes so far

  1. Brakes have been singing…  when wet, and under 10 mph, with a continuous gradual stop.    (Will ask at the dealer next week)
  2. Alarm horn armed sound is Toyota-esque and overly cute.   Not as pleasant as the 2002 alarm armed noise.    I haven’t looked into turning this beep off yet.
  3. iPhone get’s confused when plugged into the MDI, if it’s also paired via bluetooth.    Important to plug it into MDI AFTER it has finished handshaking with the car EACH TIME you start the car or else it sends audio into the void after it finishes recognizing bluetooth.     scrolling though the artist list is slow.    This is iPhones issue I believe, not VW’s.
  4. Hard to tell where the climatic control knob for floor / defrost / face is pointing.
  5. Mirror defroster…    I swear I tried to turn the knob to the setting and it didn’t go..   it’s touchy…   now it’s working
  6. Similarly the rear armrest didn’t want to fold down the  other day for some unknown reason.     Today it worked fine… WTF?
  7. The manual entices with options (parking assist / dual climate / mirror memory / suspension stiffness adjustment/  etc. etc.) not available in the US.
  8. Tire noise transference through suspension into cabin.
  9. Passthrough to car cabin from the trunk area doesn’t accomodate a wider snowboard.    (Too Narrow)   Have to fold down a seat instead:
It's stuck

It's stuck!

Snowboard with Seat Folded down.

160cm x 32cm snowboard barely fits

I’m just obsessed with this car at the moment.   It is pretty much everything I wanted… minus the quattro that could have lured me to the Audi A3 if it had been available with a TDI.    By comparison to my old 2002 VW TDI Golf, the 2010 model is just a phenomenally better car.    I didn’t know what I was missing.      The trick for next few months will be finding one of these guys if you want one.     And getting it under MSRP?    Good luck with that.