AD #1459 – Renault’s Super Efficient Concept, Take Caution With Tesla, 2015 VW Jetta

September 17th, 2014 at 11:59am

Runtime: 8:27

- Renault’s High-Mileage EOLAB Concept
- Analyst’s Tesla Stock Caution
- Ford Reveals New S- and C-MAX
- 3D Printed Parts Used During NASCAR Races
- Seat Time: 2015 Volkswagen Jetta

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily. In today’s show Morgan Stanley says to take caution with Tesla, Joe Gibbs Racing is using 3D printed parts during races and I’ll share my thoughts on the new VW Jetta. But now let’s get to today’s top stories.

Last year Volkswagen introduced a sleek, futuristic looking plug-in diesel hybrid called the XL1 which is able to travel 100 kilometers on one liter of fuel, or about 260 miles per gallon. But now it’s not the only vehicle that can achieve that. Renault just introduced a concept called the EOLAB which is able to match the fuel economy of the XL1. The EOLAB, which is powered by Renault’s gasoline-electric hybrid technology, has a sleek design but it’s much more conventional looking than VW’s high mileage car. The EOLAB only weighs 400 kilograms or 880 pounds thanks to the use of lightweight materials like magnesium and aluminum. While it’s unlikely this will make it into production, Renault says the technology created while developing the EOLAB will make its way into its line-up in the future.

Earlier this month Stifel Financial Corporation, an investment banking company said it could see Tesla’s stock price jump to a whopping $400 a share. But now an analyst from Morgan Stanley says to take caution because EVs sales are failing globally, Tesla’s growth in China maybe limited, battery-powered vehicles still require technological breakthroughs to become mainstream and autonomous vehicles are a threat to Tesla’s business. Sounds pretty sobering and it’s important to note this comes from a company that still believes in Tesla’s strategy and says it’s the world’s most important car company.

Ford is taking its reveals to the MAX ahead of the upcoming Paris auto show with the debut of the new C- and S-MAX vehicles. Let’s start with the C-MAX, which will come in 5-seat form or as the 7-seater Grand C-MAX. The styling was redone and now matches the rest of the automaker’s lineup, it will be powered by 4-cylinder EcoBoost and diesel engines and gets a refreshed interior with a suite of new technology and safety features. It goes on sale in Europe early next year. And now on to the S-MAX, which was also redesigned for 2015 and looks very similar to the 5-seat C-MAX. The S-MAX also comes in 5- and 7-seat configurations, will debut Ford Adaptive Steering technology in Europe and also boasts a new 1.5L EcoBoost engine. It’s also powered by other 4-cylinder EcoBoost and diesel engines, which can be had with either front or all-wheel drive. I’m sure we’ll have a closer look and more information on both these vehicles while we’re on the floor of the Paris show early next month. So, make sure you don’t miss our coverage.

Did you know that Joe Gibbs Racing is using 3D printed parts to helps its NASCAR drivers breathe clean air during a race? The housing for carbon monoxide filters equipped on the team’s cars are all 3D printed. Brian Levy from Joe Gibbs Racing tells Autoline that “The geometry in this part, we wouldn’t be able to produce, if not for the rapid prototyping technology.” Traditional manufacturing techniques would add time and cost for the team but 3D printing gets it done fast. If you want to learn more about the parts that Joe Gibbs Racing is making with 3D printing, check out the latest Autoline This Week on our website or on our YouTube channel.

The Chevy small block V-8 is a storied engine, but do you know the story of how that engine came together? That’s the topic we’ll be talking about on Autoline After Hours tomorrow night, and it’s a good one. So tune in tomorrow at 6PM eastern time on our website,

Coming up next, a look at the refreshed 2015 Volkswagen Jetta.

The 2015 Volkswagen Jetta is a small 4-door sedan that competes against the likes of the Chevy Cruze, Ford Focus, Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. The price of the vehicle we tested came in just under $22,500, which was equipped with a 2.0L diesel engine mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. In that trim it’s capable of hitting 31 miles-per-gallon in the city and 46 on the freeway.

The Jetta is Volkswagen’s best selling vehicle in the U.S. and it just received a series of subtle updates for 2015. Up front the most noticeable change is to the lower portion of the bumper, while out back a new decklid and taillights give the rear of the car a less-frumpy look. As you can see from those side-by-side pictures not much has really changed and the same goes for the interior too. The biggest difference comes in the form of a new steering wheel and HVAC controls. But it gets a host of new safety and technology features as well. I like when interior spaces don’t look too busy, like this one, but even though I can’t put my finger on exactly why, there’s just something about the design on this one I don’t like. I also wish the display screen was a little bigger. There’s plenty of open space on that dash and the screen can be hard to read, especially with the navigation on.

Base models will be powered by a 2.0L naturally aspirated 4-cylinder engine, which will be good for 25 MPG in the city with a 5-speed manual transmission, that number drops to 23 MPG with the 6-speed auto, but both get 34 MPG on the highway. The next step up is a 170 horsepower turbocharged 1.8L that gets 25 MPG in the city and 37 MPG on the highway. An all-new 2.0L 4-cylinder diesel engine is also available, which cranks out 31 MPG in the city, 46 MPG on the highway with the 6-speed manual and 45 MPG with the automatic. That’s 4 and 3 MPG better on the highway than the previous unit. This is the engine I went driving with and it was pretty good, the turbo spooled up quickly giving you that nice seat-of-the-pants feeling.

Sometime in 2015 a GLI and hybrid model will be available as well. The GLI will get a tweaked version of the turbocharged 1.8L, which comes in 2.0L form and is good for 210 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. The Hybrid is powered by a 1.4L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with a 27 horsepower electric motor, which will be mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission.

Getting behind the wheel is nothing to write home about, but that’s not what this car, or any car in this segment for that matter, is supposed to be about. The multilink front and rear suspension give the Jetta a nice ride, it handles well over bumps staying in a straight line and it can even take a more spirited maneuver here and there.

Prices start just over $17,000 including destination charges for the base 2.0L model, the 1.8T starts around $20,000, the diesel comes in at about $22,500, the GLI will start just under $28,000 and a well-equipped Hybrid comes in around $32,500.

Look for the 2015 Jetta to start hitting dealer lots in the 3rd quarter of this year.

But that’s it for today’s show, thanks for watching and have a great day.

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27 Comments to “AD #1459 – Renault’s Super Efficient Concept, Take Caution With Tesla, 2015 VW Jetta”

  1. Bradley Says:

    What is a S-MAX? A sporty C-CMAX?

    I like the 5th Generation Jetta styling better. It had an attractive athletic stance. The 2015 Jetta looks like it wants to be Ford Taurus, etc.

  2. HtG Says:

    How’d you like the Jetta’s seats, Sean? On the older model I found the vinyl grabby and the edges of the buckets were kinda sharp.

  3. Bradley Says:

    Vinyl, really? I didn’t anyone used that in interiors anymore.

  4. HtG Says:

    3 Well, I wouldn’t call it leatherette either.

  5. RumNCoke Says:

    My local Ford dealer just swapped out their Flex customer shuttle for a C-Max. No thanks. The Flex is a MUCH nicer people hauler. Too bad they don’t sell many of them.

    And BTW, who names these things? Have we run out of interesting car names already?

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    So will the C-Max no longer be a hybrid?

  7. Kit Gerhart Says:

    3, Everybody uses vinyl, especially expensive brands. Vinyl seats are standard in a $50K+ E-Class and 5 series. They don’t call it vinyl, though.

  8. dan878 Says:

    Isn’t the new Jetta diesel now getting the same mpg as the Chevy Cruze diesel?

  9. MJB Says:

    Ford definitely needs to ditch the -Max naming. They sound like cheesy internal code-names for vehicles still in development.

    About the leather/vinyl, most cars with leather are only supplying you with leather “trim”. Meaning only the parts of the seat that touch your butt and back. Maybe the top of the center armrest. There are a few luxo makers that extend that coverage area to the entire front and side faces of the seats + door panels. And then there are the stratosphere of makers (Bentley & such) who go all out full leather without even stopping at the alcantera table.

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Regarding vinyl names:

    BMW vinyl is SensaTec
    Mercedes-Benz vinyl is MB Tex
    VW vinyl is V-Tex leatherette

    The name “naugahyde” seems to have disappeared.

  11. MJB Says:

    9. I think you’re right. I haven’t heard the name “naugahyde” in ages!

    It’s all ‘pleather’ to me though.

  12. HtG Says:

    Went extinct, you mean?

    first! :)

    (sorry, everyone)

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    11, Yeah, I haven’t seen any naugas in the yard for years. I guess they were over-harvested.

  14. DH Says:

    XL1 and EOLAB are only 260 MPG on the European testing cycle, due to running pure electric during the first ~40 miles.

    Once the battery is dead, the XL1 drops to only 90 miles/gallon…. that’s the rating the EPA would likely give it.

  15. DH Says:

    The naugas are alive & well, but the Belgian Velcros are almost extinct. That’s why we don’t see Belgian Velcro sneakers any more….. the manufacturers had to revert back to shoelaces.

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    14 Maybe a nostalgia thing for laces.

  17. GUYBOB Says:


  18. Bob Wilson Says:

    The Jetta 2.0L turbo diesel, a compact car, compares to the Prius c, a compact car, not the Corolla which the EPA calls a midsize. When properly compared, we find:

    Jetta vs Prius c
    $22,500 vs $19,080-$23,360
    31 MPG vs 53 MPG city
    46 MPG vs 46 MPG highway
    94 ft{3} vs 87 ft{3} passenger space
    16 ft{3} vs 17 ft{3} luggage space

    Looking at top selling, fuel efficient vehicles, the Jetta TDI and Prius c frequently change sales positions on a month by month basis. For example, August 2014, Jetta diesels sold 3,988 and the Prius c sold 4,389. In July 2014, Jetta diesels sold 3721 and Prius c 3,700. These are two cars in head-to-head competition for fuel efficient buyers.

    The EPA also points out the Prius c saves $6,000 for five years over an average vehicle and the Jetta only $3,250. That is a $2,750 operational savings by the Prius c, enough for a few extra car payments or some dinner dates.

    Compare apples-to-apples and the Jetta TDI diesel is competing with the Prius c, not the Corolla.

    Bob Wilson, Huntsville, AL

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    17, To me, the Jetta TDI competes more closely with a Prius liftback, as far as comfort, noise level, etc. The Prius C is a great city car, but the Jetta would be much more pleasant for road trips.

    When I bought my Prius in 2010, its main competition was was from VW, the TDI Golf and Jetta Sportwagon.

  20. cwolf Says:

    Heck with the Jetta, its rubber band timing belt and VW’s continuously poor reliability. Of more interest is the high demand (30K units) for the new Colorado and resulting added employees to a third shift to meet demand! My hats off to you T. Bejma. It looks like you guys have a winner on your hands.

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    While I generally like VW’s products, one that I would never consider is the Jetta sedan. There is way too much competition out there, from every “mainstream” car company in the U.S. market. vW has a couple cars that are unique to the U.S. market with Golf and Sportwagon, both of which I like.

  22. HtG Says:

    19 yep, that third shift means only one thing if John is to be believed,….GRAVY.

  23. LVcurious Says:

    In real life, the Diesel Jetta gets much higher MPG than the EPA estimate, something that is true for pretty much all Diesel cars. The EPA underestimates Diesel and overestimates gasoline engines. Why? Not clear to me.

  24. HtG Says:

    21 emendation

    John is to be believed. My apologies.

  25. Bob Wilson Says:

    18, I am OK with comparing the Jetta diesel to other fuel-efficient, similar class, cars. Just the Toyota Corolla falls outside any reasonable range for comparison.

    Bob Wilson, Huntsville, AL

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    24, Yeah, I agree about the Corolla, at least the new one.

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    22, Diesels are exceptionally efficient at steady moderate load, which is why they do really well for highway cruising. The EPA tests, even the highway test, include speed changes and acceleration, so the ratings don’t do diesels justice.

    CR’s “highway” test is a good indicator of what VW TDI’s and other diesel cars will do. It is simply steady speed of 65 mph. I’d like to see cars tested at a steady 75 mph, to replicate driving on the interstate.