For more information on this story, How Far Can You Drive on a Tank of Diesel? and for regular updates please visit AutoGuide.com.For the most part, diesel engines achieve superior fuel efficiency compared to their internal combustion gasoline counterparts.
When fitted with a sizable fuel tank, they can offer bladder-busting range. This makes diesel vehicles great for long road trips with minimal stops.
But just how far can you really stretch a single tank of diesel? Well, that is a bit of a loaded question. Semi-trucks can carry hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel and travel thousands of miles between fill-ups. But what about passenger vehicles, especially those in the more affordable price range?
To find out, I’ve grabbed a 2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI. Refreshed this year inside and out, the big news for the Jetta is a redesigned 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine. Making 150 HP and 236 lb-ft. of torque, at first glance it may not seem like much has changed with this engine, but most of the internals are new. The largest noticeable improvement is fuel economy which is now rated at 45 MPG on the highway when equipped with the dual-clutch automatic transmission.
That’s up three MPG compared to last year’s TDI which, combined with a 14.5 gallon fuel tank, should net a 652.5 mile range. So why even test this out when the range easily be calculated using the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) figures? Because those are optimal condition results. What happens if I test this out in the real world, where it isn’t always 75 degrees and sunny (unless you live in California of course).
For this test, it’s the dead of winter in Ontario, Canada. The temperature during my evaluation today will be a chilly 1F to start, going up to 14F, then back down to 1F by the end of my 11-13 hour drive. The all-season tires that come equipped on the Jetta TDI have also been swapped out for less efficient Continental ContiWinterContact winter rubber.
This should all add up to reduced range, but just how much? Well, my plan is to leave this morning with a full tank of fuel and spend the day on freeways, highways and secondary country roads. Keeping with the real-world testing theme, I will drive roughly 5 MPH above the speed limit most of the time. My goal is to still achieve a total range of 650 miles, which is just over 1,000 km for the metric readers out there. Will I achieve it? Following along with my travels on twitter (#TDIDrive) as well as checking back here often throughout the day.