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For anyone who is interested, while I was in picking up a fuel filter for Petra, I decided to have a quick look at the 1.8T 4Motion 5m sitting at Northland Volkswagen. On the Transport Canada sticker, it had the mileage as 24 cityt/37 highway (or in US gallons, 20 mpg city/30.8 highway) for the sedan. For reference, I glanced at the next car over which had 40 highway (33.3 USmpg), but I didn't look close enough to see if it was a wagon or if it had a tip.
 

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My 2000 Jetta TDI (auto) got about 45 MPG. My 2002 Mercedes C230 got 27 MPG, and my W8 is rated at 25 MPG. I drive over 100 miles/day. If I had any brains I would have waited for the TDI Passat, but I'm afraid that in typical VW fashion you will probably only be able to get it in basic trim. Same with the 1.8. I like comfort and "extras" since I am in the car 2 1/2 hours a day so I have to sacrifice economy. I wish VW would allow "full luxury trim" in their fuel efficient models!
 

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I work in an automobile manufacturing plant (not VW) and can tell you some details about the numbers your talking about. When they put the numbers up on the sticker, they should all be the same unless as Petra stated, it has different engine or transmission configurations. They numbers are not exact, but a derived average.

In the plant, to test vehicles on the dyno for mileage, performance, HP, etc., the cars are placed for 24 hours in a soak room. This room has the "perfect" humidity, temperature and environment. It's placed there to acclimate it to temperature and humidity before the test. Before the test begins, a few "cheaters" are put into place. 1) The tires are pumped up harder to like 50 - 55 psi (less rolling resistance) and 2) A little go juice (race gas) is added. Then they'll put it on the dyno to receive numbers. This is a common practice for all manufacturers. They do not test every vehicle, only the required penetration for the day...say 10 or so. It does give it a slight advantage, but the numbers you see on the window are close to what you can expect and a result of the average testing that has been done. Your real world numbers derive from the same type of environment. Tire pressure, oil resistance, wear, altitude, High Performance Stickers all have some type of bearing on the fuel mileage. The biggest factor: The drivers habits.
 

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1BadWGN makes good points. Because I spend so much money on gas, I pay attention to my mileage and am always trying to improve it. Since my Passat's computer will tell me the exact mileage I'm getting in real time (ish) it's easy to obsess on it. But you can use that to see the results of driving styles and habits. Avoiding jackrabbit starts, passing cars gradually instead of heavy acceleration, and in my opinion - maintaining consistent speed (cruise control) all help considerably. Getting caught in heavy traffic will decrease your mileage. Under inflated tires will decrease your mileage. I have also found that cars get much better MPG in the warmer months. I think the fuel atomizes more efficiently with warm air than with cold.
Luckily, most of my driving is freeway with cruise control on so I usually get the high end on mileage. Obviously speed makes a difference too, but that does not mean slower is better. I'm still trying to find the "sweet spot" for the W8, but it seems like around 72 MPH gives me better mileage than say 68 MPH. Remember, the slower you're going - the longer you're driving! It's better to find a good spot on the tachometer and work in that range - where speed and wind resistance (coefficient of drag) have reached a nice compromise. Ever notice that you get poorer mileage with a strong headwind or crosswind on windy days? Same thing.
 
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