Although the Takata air bag recall may have stolen some of its buzz, the Volkswagen Diesel scandal is still far from over. Unlike Takata, which seems ready to implode under the weight of its fines and sanctions any day now, VW is one of the largest companies in the world, and is offering U.S. owners some pretty impressive buyback options on affected vehicles. We aren’t going to forget VW’s deception any time soon, and since we imagine many of you won’t, either, we’ve come up with a list of alternatives to four of the most popular affected VW vehicles.
Recalled Vehicle: Volkswagen Jetta
Although its bland styling and responsible reputation aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, the Jetta TDI was a seriously efficient, relatively fun sedan. So what’s a former Jetta owner to do with that VW refund?
Ideal Replacement: Kia Optima Hybrid
The Kia Optima Hybrid is about as long as the Jetta, and manages to get very similar gas mileage despite having an engine that passed emissions tests without cheating the system. Being one of the best-looking non-luxury cars on the road certainly doesn’t hurt the Optima’s case here.
Recalled Vehicle: Volkswagen Golf
You don’t have to be a VW dealer to appreciate the Golf. A well-executed hatchback is a thing of beauty, and not many hatches are hotter than VW’s Golf. Looking for a hatchback that will give you the Golf’s joie de vivre without also giving you a defeat device?
Ideal Replacement: Hyundai Elantra GT
This was a tough one. While the Elantra GT isn’t able to match the Golf TDI’s fuel economy numbers, it gives you an extra 25-or-so horsepower, and the extra money it might end up costing you at the pump is offset by its lower buying price.
Recalled Vehicle: Volkswagen Beetle
VW’s most iconic vehicle is also one of its hardest to replace. It isn’t particularly powerful, zippy, or inexpensive, it’s hard to find a car with as much personality as the Beetle. Well, except maybe the…
Ideal Replacement: Kia Soul
The Kia Soul !, pronounced Kia Soul Exclaim, has personality for days, a fuel-sipping 2-liter engine, and more car for your money than the Cheetle at a better price point. That’s a pretty good way to ease your TDI regrets.
Recalled Vehicle: Audi A3
The lone member of VW’s luxury badge to be recalled stateside, the A3 is a beautiful car that manages to balance style, fuel economy, and drivability. How do you beat that, even when accounting for the dirty diesel dilemma?
Ideal Replacement: Ford Fusion Hybrid Titanium
More horsepower. More torque. Better looking. More fuel efficient. Less expensive. More loaded. The only thing the Fusion doesn’t have is a luxury badge, and if that’s why you bought an A3 to begin with, logic probably isn’t going to win you over now. That said, the Fusion Hybrid in the Titanium trim package blows the A3 out of the water all day.
We know that trading in a car you liked because of a company’s deceptive business practices is not the most fun experience, but we would love to help you find the right replacement. We hope this little rundown has helped, and if it hasn’t, feel free to call us up and ask for more suggestions!