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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My mom currently drives a VW Passat 4motion wagaon with about 80k on it, and she' starting to think about a replacement. The car's been great mechanically, but 3 thinsg really bother her:
-bad gas mileage
-radio cuts in and oout (dealer never was able to fix)
-VW dealers are always screwing thins up (although I tell her all car dealers are like this)
-the car has what I can only call a "locking fetish". It locks the doors when moving, it won'tunlock the rear hatch unless the other doors are unlocked, etc. Anyway, the locking drivers her crazy "I just want to press teh button and have everything unlock". VW Dealers swear that this cannot be programmed. OTOH, she really likes the solid feel of hte Passat and its AWD system, and also likes its clean, inconspicuous looks.

She would like something with AWD, but with better mileage (so no SUVs). SHe's probably looking to spend no more than low 30s. Other than AWD, she's looking for heated seats, "normal door locks", feels "solid and safe", and a radio that works. She's on the fence about whetehr she needs another wagon, but she's always hauling gardening or horse related stuff around, so I think she does. She has mixed feelings about BMWs-- she doesn't like "flashy brands", but she really likes my 3 series. But, she'd want AWD, so she'd have to get a used XI if she wanted one. SHe also has vague fantasies of buying someting with a manual trans-- although I doubt she will. My dad can't drive stick, so he'll nix that idea. Here are my candidates:

Subaru Legacy GT
Audi A4 2.0 Quattro
Volvo S40/V50 AWD
Volvo V70 AWD (if she decides that she needs a larger wagon than the A4 or V50).
used 325xi (I highly doubt that she'll end up with this-- and I don't particularly like the way the old Xi AWD system works)

Right now, I'm thinking that the Subaru is probably the best choice, followed by the Audi. She drove RWD Volvos for about 20 years prior to the Passat, but a recent Hertz V70 cross-country rental left her indifferent. Too abd there's no x-drive 3 series available right now--she might be interested.

Any other ideas or comments?
 

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I think the Subaru is the best bet if she is determined to get an AWD car. If she will bend on the AWD, maybe the Mazda6 wagon could be another option :dunno:

In the Subaru line, she might look at the Forester as well. The turbo XT model gets almost the same mileage as the Leagacy GT, is AWD, yet offers a bit more cargo room than the Legacy and might offer more in line with what she had in the Passat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Desertnate said:
I think the Subaru is the best bet if she is determined to get an AWD car. If she will bend on the AWD, maybe the Mazda6 wagon could be another option :dunno:

In the Subaru line, she might look at the Forester as well. The turbo XT model gets almost the same mileage as the Leagacy GT, is AWD, yet offers a bit more cargo room than the Legacy and might offer more in line with what she had in the Passat.
She's not willing to bend on AWD. But, if she was, she'd probably get the Saab 9-5 wagon-- she really likes it for some reason-- lots of cargo capacity.
 

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As I was reading the first part I was thinking Subaru... :dunno:
 

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robg said:
My mom currently drives a VW Passat 4motion wagaon with about 80k on it, and she' starting to think about a replacement. The car's been great mechanically, but 3 thinsg really bother her:
-bad gas mileage
-radio cuts in and oout (dealer never was able to fix)
-VW dealers are always screwing thins up (although I tell her all car dealers are like this)
-the car has what I can only call a "locking fetish". It locks the doors when moving, it won'tunlock the rear hatch unless the other doors are unlocked, etc. Anyway, the locking drivers her crazy "I just want to press teh button and have everything unlock". VW Dealers swear that this cannot be programmed. OTOH, she really likes the solid feel of hte Passat and its AWD system, and also likes its clean, inconspicuous looks.

She would like something with AWD, but with better mileage (so no SUVs). SHe's probably looking to spend no more than low 30s. Other than AWD, she's looking for heated seats, "normal door locks", feels "solid and safe", and a radio that works. She's on the fence about whetehr she needs another wagon, but she's always hauling gardening or horse related stuff around, so I think she does. She has mixed feelings about BMWs-- she doesn't like "flashy brands", but she really likes my 3 series. But, she'd want AWD, so she'd have to get a used XI if she wanted one. SHe also has vague fantasies of buying someting with a manual trans-- although I doubt she will. My dad can't drive stick, so he'll nix that idea. Here are my candidates:

Subaru Legacy GT
Audi A4 2.0 Quattro
Volvo S40/V50 AWD
Volvo V70 AWD (if she decides that she needs a larger wagon than the A4 or V50).
used 325xi (I highly doubt that she'll end up with this-- and I don't particularly like the way the old Xi AWD system works)

Right now, I'm thinking that the Subaru is probably the best choice, followed by the Audi. She drove RWD Volvos for about 20 years prior to the Passat, but a recent Hertz V70 cross-country rental left her indifferent. Too abd there's no x-drive 3 series available right now--she might be interested.

Any other ideas or comments?
Rob,

My sister in law's picking up a V50 overseas June 11th, when she returns, I'll give you her impressions.

We're getting a legacy wagon, the 2.5 (non gt) model sometime this summer. In this field, the sube is hard to beat, imo, they're nicely finished (finally), cheap, reliable and just the right size, all areas where your other candidates fall flat at one point or another.

Ed
 

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robg said:
My mom currently drives a VW Passat 4motion wagaon with about 80k on it, and she' starting to think about a replacement. The car's been great mechanically, but 3 thinsg really bother her:
-bad gas mileage
-radio cuts in and oout (dealer never was able to fix)
-VW dealers are always screwing thins up (although I tell her all car dealers are like this)
-the car has what I can only call a "locking fetish". It locks the doors when moving, it won'tunlock the rear hatch unless the other doors are unlocked, etc. Anyway, the locking drivers her crazy "I just want to press teh button and have everything unlock". VW Dealers swear that this cannot be programmed. OTOH, she really likes the solid feel of hte Passat and its AWD system, and also likes its clean, inconspicuous looks.

She would like something with AWD, but with better mileage (so no SUVs). SHe's probably looking to spend no more than low 30s. Other than AWD, she's looking for heated seats, "normal door locks", feels "solid and safe", and a radio that works. She's on the fence about whetehr she needs another wagon, but she's always hauling gardening or horse related stuff around, so I think she does. She has mixed feelings about BMWs-- she doesn't like "flashy brands", but she really likes my 3 series. But, she'd want AWD, so she'd have to get a used XI if she wanted one. SHe also has vague fantasies of buying someting with a manual trans-- although I doubt she will. My dad can't drive stick, so he'll nix that idea. Here are my candidates:

Subaru Legacy GT
Audi A4 2.0 Quattro
Volvo S40/V50 AWD
Volvo V70 AWD (if she decides that she needs a larger wagon than the A4 or V50).
used 325xi (I highly doubt that she'll end up with this-- and I don't particularly like the way the old Xi AWD system works)

Right now, I'm thinking that the Subaru is probably the best choice, followed by the Audi. She drove RWD Volvos for about 20 years prior to the Passat, but a recent Hertz V70 cross-country rental left her indifferent. Too abd there's no x-drive 3 series available right now--she might be interested.

Any other ideas or comments?
We got our mom a new C230 Compressor, she was very happy with it. Great car for a mom to have.
 

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robg said:
My mom currently drives a VW Passat 4motion wagaon with about 80k on it, and she' starting to think about a replacement. The car's been great mechanically, but 3 thinsg really bother her:
-bad gas mileage
-radio cuts in and oout (dealer never was able to fix)
-VW dealers are always screwing thins up (although I tell her all car dealers are like this)
-the car has what I can only call a "locking fetish". It locks the doors when moving, it won'tunlock the rear hatch unless the other doors are unlocked, etc. Anyway, the locking drivers her crazy "I just want to press teh button and have everything unlock". VW Dealers swear that this cannot be programmed. OTOH, she really likes the solid feel of hte Passat and its AWD system, and also likes its clean, inconspicuous looks.

She would like something with AWD, but with better mileage (so no SUVs). SHe's probably looking to spend no more than low 30s. Other than AWD, she's looking for heated seats, "normal door locks", feels "solid and safe", and a radio that works. She's on the fence about whetehr she needs another wagon, but she's always hauling gardening or horse related stuff around, so I think she does. She has mixed feelings about BMWs-- she doesn't like "flashy brands", but she really likes my 3 series. But, she'd want AWD, so she'd have to get a used XI if she wanted one. SHe also has vague fantasies of buying someting with a manual trans-- although I doubt she will. My dad can't drive stick, so he'll nix that idea. Here are my candidates:

Subaru Legacy GT
Audi A4 2.0 Quattro
Volvo S40/V50 AWD
Volvo V70 AWD (if she decides that she needs a larger wagon than the A4 or V50).
used 325xi (I highly doubt that she'll end up with this-- and I don't particularly like the way the old Xi AWD system works)

Right now, I'm thinking that the Subaru is probably the best choice, followed by the Audi. She drove RWD Volvos for about 20 years prior to the Passat, but a recent Hertz V70 cross-country rental left her indifferent. Too abd there's no x-drive 3 series available right now--she might be interested.

Any other ideas or comments?
Is a new 325xit late this fall out of the question. It'll be on the high end of the price range (I'd estimate a base price around $34,000, with stuff like automatic and heated seats bumping it into the $36,000 range.) Can she wait that long to see one and see if she likes it?

Otherwise, I like the S40/V50, but I think they are way too small. I also think the new A4 Avant looks nice, but it has that wierd Audi grille on it that I just can't get over. I'm not a Subaru fan, so I won't comment on that one.
 

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What's real-life fuel economy on the Legacy like? I know that in Europe, the new VAG FSI engines, despite their claims, have gotten pounded on for poor fuel economy, and the lard-ass weight of the A4 I'm sure doesn't help.

I like the S40/V50, but it is noticeably smaller than the others on this list (remember it's on the euroFocus/mazda3 platform). It drives WAY better than the V70 boat, which I actually drove back-to-back with the Legacy and the E46.
 

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I just visited a friend who bought a new Subaru Outback 2.5 XT (turbo) Limited for his wife. It's supposed to get 19 mpg city/24 mpg highway, but even in mostly highway driving he can't get over 20. Aggressively tuned turbos suck gas and rarely get the numbers posted on the window sticker.

If she wants better gas mileage and doesn't care as much about 0-60, I'd say get the Legacy 2.5i which gets 22/30 with an automatic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
SARAFIL said:
Is a new 325xit late this fall out of the question. It'll be on the high end of the price range (I'd estimate a base price around $34,000, with stuff like automatic and heated seats bumping it into the $36,000 range.) Can she wait that long to see one and see if she likes it?

Otherwise, I like the S40/V50, but I think they are way too small. I also think the new A4 Avant looks nice, but it has that wierd Audi grille on it that I just can't get over. I'm not a Subaru fan, so I won't comment on that one.
Maybe, but highly unlikely. She's also averse to first-year models (as am I), especially when they come from german carmakers. I also have a feeeling that it may not meet her space requirements. And, paying 36k is probably going to be too much. Maybe BMW has turned over a new leaf on the e90 and won't screw up stupid stuff like they usually do-- I'll keep my findger crossed.

As I write this, I'm making a note to check on Audi's history w/ the 2.0 engine.

Realistically, theyre probably looking for somehting in the Legacy/ V70 size range. If she does go w/ a compact wagon, I think the A4 might be a slightly better choice than the v50 w/ slightly more room, but we'll see.

BTW, why don't you like Subaru? It is true that the turbo 4 and 6 don't get great gas mileage, so that might be a consideration. But, then again, its not looking like any of these candidates are going to, with the possible exception of hte A4.
 

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robg said:
BTW, why don't you like Subaru?
I have no bad stories or disasters to report. I just don't like them-- it's one of those brands that has zero appeal to me. I'm sure they make great cars, and I do realize that they have a number of strong qualities, but I'm just not interested.

That's why I said I had no comment-- I'd rather say nothing about them than to say negative things about them. I really have nothing bad to say about them, I just have nothing good to say either. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
SARAFIL said:
I have no bad stories or disasters to report. I just don't like them-- it's one of those brands that has zero appeal to me. I'm sure they make great cars, and I do realize that they have a number of strong qualities, but I'm just not interested.

That's why I said I had no comment-- I'd rather say nothing about them than to say negative things about them. I really have nothing bad to say about them, I just have nothing good to say either. ;)
Understood. I actually have similar neutral feelings about Subaru-- I know I should like them-- they have good engineering and are good, practical cars, but its hard for me to get interested in them. She was considering an Outback for her last car, but rejected it based on the cladding. But, overall, I think a Subaru may be the best fit for my mom. Unless the Volvo or Audi "grabs" her, I think that's what she'll end up getting. Volvo has been having some "fire sale" prices recently, so I wouldn't be surpirsed if that was the best deal. Plus, I can get X-plan prices fwiw.

Although, she is partial to European cars- atleast VW, Volvo and Saab. (I think she still has outdated notions of Japanese cars, though she wont' admit it). I don't think she'd be comfortable driving a BMW or Mercedes-- its just not her style. She had to use my dad's car (an e38) over this weekend when I was visiting, and she was annoyed at having to drive it! I'd also hate to "push" the idea of a BMW, have her buy one, and then have it turn into a disaster. Then again, she seems to like the 3 series. It'll be interesting, but right now I'm betting on Subaru.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
PhilH said:
I just visited a friend who bought a new Subaru Outback 2.5 XT (turbo) Limited for his wife. It's supposed to get 19 mpg city/24 mpg highway, but even in mostly highway driving he can't get over 20. Aggressively tuned turbos suck gas and rarely get the numbers posted on the window sticker.

If she wants better gas mileage and doesn't care as much about 0-60, I'd say get the Legacy 2.5i which gets 22/30 with an automatic.
Good points. Its actually harder than I though to find AWD wagons w/ decent gas mileage. She's finicky about performance-- some cars are "dogs", but she seems ok w/ the performance of her Passat which, in my mind, is not so great. When she was looking at cars last time, she test drove an a6 3.0 and reported that it had "too much power". So, I have no idea what she thinks is good. A regular Legacy should be acceptable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Kaz said:
What's real-life fuel economy on the Legacy like? I know that in Europe, the new VAG FSI engines, despite their claims, have gotten pounded on for poor fuel economy, and the lard-ass weight of the A4 I'm sure doesn't help.

I like the S40/V50, but it is noticeably smaller than the others on this list (remember it's on the euroFocus/mazda3 platform). It drives WAY better than the V70 boat, which I actually drove back-to-back with the Legacy and the E46.
Interesting-- i'll have to look into the FSi engines a little bit more-- I thought the whole point of them was better fule economy. Out of curiousity, what did you tihnk of hte Legacy driving-wise compared to the S40/V50?
 

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robg said:
Interesting-- i'll have to look into the FSi engines a little bit more-- I thought the whole point of them was better fule economy. Out of curiousity, what did you tihnk of hte Legacy driving-wise compared to the S40/V50?
Well, I didn't drive the S40 and the Legacy at the same event. I've posted my S40 driving impression here in the past, so that'll have more details on what I thought about that car (no wagon nor AWD at that time). And the only Legacys at the event were GT Limiteds. so I have no idea how base models drive (note I liked the base S40 best) The Legacy IS significantly larger, and starts several $k lower than the V50 as well.
 

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My milage after one week in the Turbo Legacy is 21.77 average, but that includes a lot of immature turbo blasts on the highway, showing off the 0-60 to friends etc...when I drive it like your Mom I get 28 on the highway. But the regular engine is fine if your Mom doesn't need that blast in the lower back, and it's a very reliable brand. Last year Consumer Reports survey reported 8 problems per 100 for the entire line, lowest of all the carmakers, even Toyota or Honda.
 

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I got the Subie Forester XT for the wife and it's been great. Less backseat room than a Legacy but with the seats folded down it's rather big for cargo storage.

The fuel economy is a sore spot, though, between 18 and 21 typically. But man is it a blast to drive.
 

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iateyourcheese said:
I got the Subie Forester XT for the wife and it's been great. Less backseat room than a Legacy but with the seats folded down it's rather big for cargo storage.

The fuel economy is a sore spot, though, between 18 and 21 typically. But man is it a blast to drive.
I was doing 100mph on a stretch with a Forester XT yesterday on the way home...that thing goes!

Sometimes I covet the mileage in my old Saab turbo, 32mpg average.
 
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