There is no "apples to apples" comparison when you are comparing a $30K TDI JSW with a $20K JSW S. You'll have to live with "edible fruit."
Remember that the OP set the $30K price on the TDI. I set the $20K price on the S. I gave a reasonably thorough description of the differences between the extremes of a fully loaded TDI and a base S, so this is something that I understand. The premise of my post was "considering the purchase price difference, accept the S as sufficiently equipped and examine its value."
I took a pass on resale for a couple of reasons...but I will upfront acknowledge that TDI JSWs have insanely good resale. So much so that I ended up buying a new TDI rather than a used one because it was, in my view, a better deal to go new. But resale is only a factor if one actually resells the car
. I suspect that TDIs will hold their value in the long run, but I think that's dependent on proven durability, not on assumed durability, something I'll get to in a bit. You should also consider that the S has good resale value, too, and, with its lower price tag, that it doesn't have as far to drop in price.
The 800 pound gorilla in the room concerning total cost of ownership is maintenance...long-term maintenance
. (Did you "blatantly fail to consider" this
) I think too many owners just assume diesel = reliable based on older, less complex, dirty burning diesel technology. That's not what's in a modern CR TDI, and the jury is out on how well CR TDI technology will hold up. There are some good news stories from owners who've really loaded up the miles on their cars, but nobody has a 10-12 year old CR TDI yet, so we don't know exactly what to expect. That said, a CR TDI owner who bails after 5-6 years and under, say, 100,000K probably won't have any big service/repair bills. (These figures are simple speculation, though probably not unreasonable.) But, at some point, the complexity of the TDI will prove to be expensive. Why?
The HPFP should not be expected to live forever. It will be expensive to replace as a service part, perhaps prohibitively so if it fails catastrophically. (Some here report that exploding HPFPs have resulted in $10K repair bills.) The DPF will also get clogged up eventually, necessitating replacement, as cleaning the part is generally thought to be uneconomical. The turbocharger system is another potential maintenance liability, simply because they do wear out eventually. (There is also the potential for issues caused by the intercooler.) These, and any other CR turbo diesel-specific maintenance/repair liabilities factor into TCO, too. And, if maintenance/repair of these expensive components becomes common, expect resale to suffer as a result.
The inline five gasser has none of these complex engine accessories; therefore it won't have related failures...keeping its TCO down. The inline five already has a good record for durability, even if it is not otherwise exemplary. The JSW chassis should be assumed to be equal between the models, since it is common between them. So I don't think the S has much to lose in a very long-term TCO comparison...
IMO, there are some usage scenarios where the S will prove to be a good choice in the long run. Think very short trips, where the diesel doen't have time to get up to temperature. Think low annual mileage. You may not drive this way, but others do.
This isn't a one-size-fits-all proposition. Each engine has strengths and weaknesses. People ought to fully consider each option and make the choice that works best for them.