2013 Toyota Prius V vs 2014 VW Golf Wagon TDI
2013 Toyota Prius V vs 2014 VW Golf Wagon TDI
2013 Toyota Prius V vs 2014 VW Golf Wagon TDI. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

There is more than one way to skin a cat, and if we’re talking about sanctimonious fuel usage in a compact package that can haul a lot of stuff, here are a couple of sharp Henckels. Okay, one is a Henckels, the other a ginsu.

Either way, the cat’s in trouble; let the fur fly.

My August routine this year has been: drive from Oakville, Ontario to Zurich, Ontario on a Tuesday, make a daily commute into Grand Bend, and then return to Oakville on Sunday. Depending on the week, I need to carry a bike and/or a bunch of musical equipment.

Total distance: 600+ km.

Amount I want to spend on fuel – as little as possible.

Okay, so the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT tester deep-sixed that plan, but that’s another story…

Enter the 2013 Toyota Prius V and 2014 Volkswagen Golf TDI Clean Diesel Wagon. The Prius tester is the base model at $27,425. According to Transport Canada it gets 4.5 L/100 km combined – both city and highway figures are within a tick of each other.

My 2014 Golf tester was just off the boat – it had 450 km on the odo when I picked it up. While the 2014 TDI Wagon bows in at $28,075 for the Comfortline six-speed manual, this tester is the top trim Highline with six-speed DSG twin-clutch tranny for a starting price of $33,185. Its predicted combined fuel usage is 6.7 L/100 km city and 4.6 L/100 km hwy.

Exterior Styling – A Golf is a Golf is a Golf. This is not a bad thing. The wagon looks trim, purposeful and elegant in a no-nonsense way. There is nothing flashy about this car – Golfs are not about bling or styling fads – yet its quiet sense of understated quality speaks volumes. The ten-spoke 17-inch alloys look good as do the multi-faceted headlamps.

Apparently VW considers the diesel crowd to be a conservative lot when it comes to colour selection. You can get white, black and three (count ‘em… three!) shades of silver. Arguably, the only real colours are a dark blue metallic and my tester’s classy Moonrock Silver Metallic.

2013 Toyota Prius V2013 Toyota Prius V2014 Volkswagen Golf Wagon TDI2014 Volkswagen Golf Wagon TDI
2013 Toyota Prius V vs 2014 VW Golf Wagon TDI. Click image to enlarge

If you need to cruise through the automotive landscape unnoticed, the Golf wagon seems to be a good bet. One of my bandmates dubbed it the Granny Magnet. Ouch.

This Prius V in Barcelona Red Metallic certainly doesn’t suffer from the wallflower syndrome. Like the rest of the Prius family, its steeply raked windscreen says this five-door wagon is all about cheating the wind. This is a tall vehicle – it’s got 71 mm on the Golf. It looks a tad slab-sided, not helped here by the standard 16-inch wheels shod with 205/60R16 low-rolling-resistance tires (17s are available on upper trim levels). Strangely, these are multi-spoke aluminum wheels with multi-spoke plastic wheel covers. Weird.

I like the red. I like the fact that the Prius V states its purpose. Like the Golf, it has a heritage – a much shorter one sure, yet arguably as significant. It is part of the Toyota legacy that has brought hybrid propulsion into the mainstream. Toyota sold over 260,000 hybrids in 2012.

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