Last post on Mar 16, 2013 at 10:24 AM
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#1379 of 1392 Re: Price of the car vs MPG? Also help deciding what to get. [hatchbacker]
May 04, 2012 (5:33 am)
I'm a huge fan of VW TDI's past....but the new ones just seem to be a big risk. They have had problems with US Spec diesel causing major damage to the fuel system. My neighbor needed $10k in repairs and spent a ton of time fighting VW before they would make it right. I guess there's an investigation by the feds into these problems as well. A used one would be a huge risk in my book.
Matrix might not be bad but I guess we would need to clarify what you want by "sporty"....looks, acceleration, handling...None you've listed are necessarily great in the acceleration dept.
I'll throw out another option: MINI Cooper. Lots of fun, less common on the streets, and the S-version has good performance and economy when you're not hot-rodding it. Maybe not the most reliable option (quirky perhaps) but no risk of major problems like say the TDI.
#1380 of 1392 Re: Price of the car vs MPG? Also help deciding what to get. [hatchbacker]
May 04, 2012 (6:55 am)
My question is when does a fuel efficient car end up costing more than buying a cheaper not as fuel efficient car.
Use a spreadsheet & compare models yourself. If you don't have Excel/MS Office, you can download OpenOffice for free at http://www.openoffice.org/.
Purchase Price (include tax, finance charges, etc.)
Fuel economy: X MPG
Anticipated life: Y miles
Anticipated gas price: Z $
Lifetime fuel cost = Z * Y / X
If you're really trying to determine costs, though, add additional rows for things like:
Insurance. The sporty car might cost more to insure. Call your agent.
Maintenance. Frequency of oil changes and is synthetic a requirement, other routine maintenance, possibly a timing belt replacement, etc. Example: a car with a 5,000 oil change interval will need 20 oil changes over 100K miles while a car with a 7500 mile interval will only need 13.
Odd/expensive size tires.
License registration fees if they vary by car in your state (some do, some don't).
Add columns for each car under consideration. At the bottom add a row for Total Cost.
Beyond cost, though, consider other potentials. As sebring95 noted, VWs might have higher maintenance costs. Which brands do you consider to be more reliable? Which car is more fun to drive? You want a hatch. If that's for cargo capacity & not looks, does what you want to haul fit?
#1381 of 1392 Re: What's the best vehicle for my needs? [tidester]
Jan 30, 2013 (7:49 am)
I'm new to used vehicle buying, so would welcome any advice! I'm currently driving a 99 Subaru Forester that was pretty much a hand-me-down. It has 290k miles on it, and is in pretty good shape, but some rust damage will probably limit my trade-in value.
I'm looking for something a little more fuel efficient and sportier. I'm looking to spend around 10k.
In the past, I've driven a few VW Jettas/Passats and have really enjoyed driving them. I've also heard only good things about them. However, their dependability ratings are atrocious. What is the merit to the claims that these VWs are unreliable?
I'm inclined to go with the VW for its great reputation, but if that reputation is misleading and I'd be better off with a Hyundai Elantra (which has excellent reliability ratings in the same sedan class) I'd like to know.
#1382 of 1392 Re: What's the best vehicle for my needs? [benrubinstein]
Jan 30, 2013 (8:26 am)
VW's tend to be quirky at times, but if you can do the work yourself or have a great private mechanic they're not bad vehicles. I had a Jetta Diesel for 250k miles that treated me well. It had a few issues here and there but nothing major that I couldn't fix myself. If you have to take the car to a VW dealer.... I've heard a lot of horror stories about that. Their labor rates tend to be up there with other Euro manufacturers that all happen to be luxury brands.....so paying luxury labor rates on an economy car can be hard to swallow. Parts are also pretty high and some have rather significant maintenance schedules.
I would have a hard time picking a used Elantra over a VW, but I do prefer the way the VW's drive (particularly the older models...the newest ones have been over-Americanized in my book).
Don't even think about trading that Subaru. A dealer won't give you anything for it compared to a private party. It will be an easy sale privately.
#1384 of 1392 Re: What's the best vehicle for my needs? [benrubinstein]
Jan 31, 2013 (8:28 am)
IMO and IME, the easiest way to upgrade a car to be more sporty is to get a car with a manual transmission. Now, I'm not talking a nasty rubbery mess like found in a lot of domestics and smaller brands but something that is almost video game easy to deal with.
Unfortunately, most everything made in Japan is as bland as a toaster oven. Subaru and Mitsubishi are notable exceptions as they haven't quite fallen into the vanilla ice cream (aka fleet sales) trap yet. Of the stuff made in Japan, I'd look at the Impreza and the Lancer if you want sporty. Reliability is fine for both.
If you want something from Europe, then it gets a bit trickier as the main problem with cars (especially from Germany) is that their government places stiff rules and regulations on imported parts. Why is this important? Because while the hard bits are built like no other, the electrical systems and accessories are often third rate additions. It's not the engines on a VW that die. It's the GPS, the windows, the heated seats, the right speaker, and so on. Also, since literally every car over there with automatic that's not a luxury model or SUV is used mostly for rental fleets and taxis, automatic transmissions are an afterthought. Usually poorly built and hideously expensive to fix or replace.
A good car to consider would be maybe something like a base model C230K. Manual transmission, and even manual seats if I recall. Cloth seats is the giveaway, though. Very very little to actually break. You can also get a 3 series set up similarly, and even VWs are fine (just avoid the turbo and V6 models entirely - stick with 4 cylinder or TDI only).
Also, another way to deal with this is to get something fancier for 6-8K and save the extra for repairs. This could be a classic, and old Porsche or BMW (like a near mint 318 or E36), Volvo (back then they made them in Europe), or similar.
#1385 of 1392 What should I do? Need CAR BUYING advice.
Feb 03, 2013 (10:52 am)
I don't drive much -- my three year old Kia Soul has ~15k miles. My lease is up March 1 and I need to find a new car. I have three kids but my wife has a minivan so it needs to fit everyone but doesn't need to be our main kid transportation. In face, like the Soul, I love having a small car for parking, efficiency, etc.
So, I don't drive much and I don't want to spend a lot ($300-$400/month max), but I do appreciate comfort, not having to worry about repairs, and technology like iPhone and Bluetooth integration.
I've been looking at the Audi A3, the VW Tiguan, Prius, Mazda...I'm all over the place. Any recommendations on this size/type -- what's better, or worse -- would be greatly appreciated.
Lastly, I've both financed and leased in the past. I'm open to either but if my main focus is total cost of ownership over three to fours years, it all seems to be similar...
Ok, thanks so much, any help is greatly appreciated.
#1386 of 1392 Re: What should I do? Need CAR BUYING advice. [markozm]
Feb 03, 2013 (12:45 pm)
The best car between the A3 and the Tuguan is actually the Jetta Sportwagen. You can also get one with a TDI engine and get this, a manual transmission if you want.
A TDI with manual drives almost exactly as fast as a gas engine with automatic in real-world conditions. It's *not* slow and actually is quite fun. VWs are known for excellent manuals as well and most people could learn how to drive one in 5 or 10 minutes. I'd personally rate only Mercedes, BMW, and Honda as better if you can find a manual any more from them, that is. And, yes, despite some complaining, anyone can learn to drive manual. If you drive 5K a year, it's even more of a reason to enjoy every mile, because you're obviously not getting stuck in traffic jams or driving for hours a day.
The BIG advantage, though, is cost and repairs. Any mechanic can drop a new clutch in a VW. That DSG automatic by comparison is a $4000 repair bill waiting to happen someday. The smart buyer avoids VW and Audis with automatics and gets manuals if they can. Almost every VW and Audi in Europe is sold with manual, and it's not because they love punishment.
TDI and manual is a match made in heaven and it simply crushes the hybrids. Plus, it adds a bit of techno-bling to your life. TDIs are hot, hot commodities as of late and command excellent resale prices (depreciation is almost negligible if the car is in great shape). Total cost to own is therefore amazingly reasonable compared to the standard gas engine models.
One thing to add - if you just want a normal non-TDI model, VW is offering $200 a month leases until the end of the month.
#1387 of 1392 Re: What should I do? Need CAR BUYING advice. [markozm]
Feb 03, 2013 (2:04 pm)
With the amount you drive, leasing is a waste of money. Even if you took the lowest amount of miles on your current lease, you've paid for 15k more that you haven't used.
If you like your Soul, why not buy it out? With those miles, it may be worth more than the buyout, and you've still got 7 years of powertrain warranty on it, right?
#1388 of 1392 Re: What should I do? Need CAR BUYING advice. [qbrozen]
Feb 03, 2013 (4:11 pm)
Agree with gbrozen on this. Leasing almost ALWAYS costs more from a total financial impact, particularly on sub $40k vehicles. Even if you decide you don't want to buy it out and keep it, I would recommend trying to trade it before you turn it in....you may have positive equity compared to the buy-out.
Have you looked at Mini Coopers? I've thought about one as a run-about and they hold their value pretty well. When you get bored in a couple years you've got a premium low-mileage version to trade/sell.