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Volkswagen Passat 1.9 TDi Car Review | July 1, 2000

Driven July 2000

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There isn't room here to tell you everything there is to know about the Volkswagen Passat. Suffice to say that it's come out top in both our '98 and '99 Top Cars supplements because we feel it's better at just about everything than every other car in the class. No, there's not much fun for the driver (not as much as a Mondeo or Primera offers), it's not the cheapest car in its class and you can't get it as a hatchback, but otherwise the Passat is tops.

Now, among its vast range of engines there was a diesel rejoicing in the name of TDI 110, the 110 referring to horsepower. That's no more because it's been replaced by this, the 1.9-litre TDI PD 115; same price, five more bhp and the PD standing for Pumpe-D�se which, loosely translated from the German, means Unit Injector.

Because I've been economic with words thus far, I can now explain a little about what this means. So standby for an update of the latest in diesel technology and I'll try and slip in some jokes in an attempt to hold your attention.

PD is an advanced fuel injection system which can operate at much higher pressure - up to 30,000psi (10,000 more than contemporary 'common rail' systems). The injector and pump are now combined into one camshaft-driven unit for each of the four cylinders. Previously there was one pump feeding the four injectors.

This means lower emissions, more horsepower, more torque (up from 193 to 210lb ft at the same 1,900rpm), improved performance (0-62mph to 10.7secs from 11.3) with no penalty on fuel consumption at 53.3mpg (combined). In addition, the PD costs no more (from £17,465) and gains ASR traction control as standard.

Without having driven the old TDI 110 back-to-back with the new TDI PD 115, I have to admit I'd be hard pressed to tell the difference, but despite loathing the pong of derv as much as the next man, I can't help but be impressed by the new engine's muscle. It doesn't seem fast as such, but it's strong, responsive and not particularly bothered about which gear it's in. It clanks a little bit when starting up from cold but from there, and from inside, the car is quiet and you would barely know it was a diesel. In short, the diesel engine has progressed still further.

Oops, I promised some jokes. Here's three rolled into one. Did you hear about the dyslexic devil-worshipping pimp who bought himself a warehouse, went to a toga party dressed as a goat, then sold his soul to Santa? OK, so you've already heard 'em, but at least you now know a bit about high-pressure diesel injection.

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