Could VW’s Diesel Snafu Spell Good News for the 2016 Toyota Prius?
Last week, the auto industry was hit by scandal as details emerged of Volkswagen using special software on its diesel models to cheat emissions tests. Not only could this cost VW billions in fines, but it could also turn away some of its most loyal customers who bought their turbodiesel models on the assumption that they were using clean fuel. But VW’s potential loss could spell good news for Toyota, which is preparing to launch the next-generation Prius next year.
Volkswagen “clean diesel” vehicles were appealing because they offered outstanding fuel efficiency numbers alongside high horsepower and torque ratings. In other words, the TDI Clean Diesel models were VW’s answer to the hybrid. In the wake of the scandal, eco-conscious VW drivers will be looking for a good alternative, and the 2016 Prius might be their best option.
The 2016 Prius has a new look, with a sportier exterior, a floating roof, lowered hood and spoiler, and standard LED headlamps. Its new, lighter hybrid system is expected to earn the hybrid a 10% increase in fuel efficiency, which should put it at an impressive 55 mpg combined. Compare that to the VW Golf TDI SE, which claims 43 mpg highway, and it’s a no-brainer. VW customers who were previously turned away by the Prius’ frankly boring exterior could change their minds about Toyota’s famous hybrid once they see its new style for 2016.
VW surpassed Toyota as the world’s largest automaker earlier this year, but with the shocking news about the emissions test cheating, Toyota is in the perfect position to take back its crown. The only catch is that VW drivers will have to wait until the 2016 Prius is available for purchase in the first quarter of 2016. Those drivers who want to replace their TDI models ASAP will likely find another alternative in the meantime.