Originally Posted by dgoodhue
3.90 vs 3.20 it's 21% difference, its not insignificant. The vw deisel option isn't cheap either at $5k.
Very true - folks get hung up on a single number, without considering the entire package - taking the VW as the example, the Jetta SE is $19k and gets 26/36 mpg (city/hwy) while the TDI is $23.2 and gets 30/42 mpg. So 15% better city 16% better hwy mpg, but the vehicle costs around $4k more and you pay more for fuel (if diesel is 21% more expensive, while you get more miles per gallon of diesel, you are spending more $/mile with the diesel, plus as a bonus you got to pay $4k for the privilege!)
When diesel was cheaper or close to the price of gas, it made sense - nowadays, not so much. Where diesel does make sense is for torque - so if you are going to be towing, it's the engine to get (which is also why diesels are so popular for trucks) - just look at the Jetta 170hp/184 ft-lbs for the gas and 140hp/236 ft-lbs for the diesel.