I've driven hatchbacks since I could make the purchasing decisions myself. I started in a truly top-notch 2008 VW R32. I loved that car. That car was the one that got me online, talking to other people about cars.
When it was time for me to become a father, moving into something more 'sensible' seemed like a good idea. I researched for months before I started to pick up on the TDI program, and the quantum leap it seemed to have taken from the days of the TDI Bug (shudder). I went into the dealership ready to be unimpressed by the sluggish feel of a diesel engine, but it simply wasn't there. When I saw the A3 TDI in white, I could immediately see myself behind the wheel. It was a good looking car with great pickup, 4-doors and this new diesel engine that hadn't been done this well before.
For years I drove this car in awe of the gas mileage I was getting without giving up much zip compared to my R32. Driving from LA to San Francisco was an exercise in efficient driving, which turned out to be strangely fun. I talked a co-worker into buying a 2012 A3 TDI. I sold diesel to everyone I encountered. I felt some strange sense of pride pulling into a gas station with a small hatchback and filling it with diesel fuel.
If only I had known then that it would all turn out to be a farce.
Now, I'm not saying that the diesel isn't a great engine (it is), nor am I saying that I don't get great mileage (6 years on and I still do). But maybe I wouldn't have spent so much time convincing others that diesel was the way of the future. Maybe I wouldn't have had the smug grin on my face every time a gas station attendant would ask "are you sure that's diesel?".
So I'm left now to wonder where do I go from here? The buyback program started this month, but according to the terms of the suit, we still have nearly 2 years before we need to turn in our cars. That buys the less decisive among us quite a bit of time before we need to part with our diesels, but what's next?