Growing up, I spent many a Saturday afternoon wrenching with my dad on his old MGB. Forty years later, I endear myself to my husband by being a bit of a petrolhead. Power-to-weight ratios and torque vectoring are things I know and care about.
Combine that with my bleeding-heart-liberal degree from Berkeley, and you get a passion for diesels. In particular, the diesels of the Car of My People. After my first (gas) VW, it was all diesel wagons, all the way - Passat, Jetta, then a 2014 Golf TDI, which was going to be the last car I ever owned. I even named her 'Sabine,' after Sabine Schmitz, the fierce Warrior Princess of the Nürburgring.
LIttle did we know, the VW Diesel Scandal was lurking in the wings. (If you've been living outside the world of cars for the last few years, you can read up on it here.)
I still believe that VW has done brilliant things with the amount of efficiency and performance you can get out of a diesel engine. I was proud to drive a diesel, and still believe in the place of diesels in helping us not drive ourselves off the planet. Heck, most of my relatives in Germany drive diesels, and most of those are VW.
The longer I sat with it, the more I felt... betrayed. I don't want to beleaguer the point, but as they reveal how far up the VW food chain the cover-up went, the more I wonder - do they deserve my loyalty? I can champion the technology, but not with these decision-makers behind it.
So yesterday I drove Sabine to my VW-Honda-Nissan-etc-etc dealer, and came away with ... A Honda CR-V. Not a hybrid, just a gas engine... so not the environmental helper I thought my diesels were. (Though it gets a respectable 34MPG.) Honda has won us over with their build quality, and I'm hoping that the new car will actually be the 'last car I ever own.'
This time, for sure.