We looked at buying one of those (Jetta wagon) new last month. When I calculated the costs per mile though, the 5 cylinder gasoline engine version was actually much cheaper over our expected life cycle.
But, as always, the assumptions are where the calculations can be misled. I had to use current fuel prices, and nobody knows where those will go in the future. As of today, gasoline is $1.56 per gallon here, and diesel is $2.69. The better gas mileage of the diesel can't offset that disparity for us. Also, I found a lot of evidence that mechanics who are well-trained in VW diesel tech can keep those cars going reliably. But, if you are unfortunate to live where no such expertise exists, you can get into expensive trouble. So I didn't figure in maintenance costs at all.
In the end, we decided to just keep paying for repairs on our 14 year old BMW wagon.
To get back to the topic at hand, I love the look of classic LRs, but never actually got a chance to drive one. My dad has always had one form or another of Jeep since 1970. Right now, he has, I believe, a '47 Willys. Great off road. But, the controls are so heavy, and the brakes so primitive, that I don't really enjoy mixing it up with modern traffic. I had an early Jeep Liberty for a long time. It seemed to strike a good balance between on and off road abilities. The car magazines tended to hate it because it wasn't car-like enough, and the off-road crowd hated it because they though it was too "cute." Worked very well for me though, especially in deep snow. I would not have hesitated to take it way into back country. Yet it was still comfortable to drive in regular road traffic, any time of the year.
Jeep actually built a diesel Liberty, for one year only. If one could find a nice used for a good price...
Fuel prices are a big factor, the price spread in the USA is exceptionally large. In Canada diesel is more in winter, less in summer, so it averages the same as regular unleaded, maybe a touch less.
I had a Jeep Liberty diesel for 3 years. It was a very good vehicle, not too large. I drove it out to NFLD from Ontario twice.