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Random notes from car shopping

2009-02-01 22:37:09.665932+00 by Dan Lyke 36 comments

Random notes from car shopping, a replacement for Charlene's car:

  • It's fun when the salesperson can give you the whole song and dance. The Prius sales-guy was great at stepping us through the demo of the car. The Honda guy, not so much.
  • A new BMW costs over a dollar a mile. A two-year old BMW costs a lot less. Either way, none of the recent BMWs we looked at excited me, though I'd buy an old 528e in a heartbeat.
  • There's a lot of little touches we've written down to check, and a number more that have been suggested to us by friends. It's amazing how many little details most car makers get consistently wrong.
  • Surprise leader right now: The Volkswagen Jetta TDI. Not a car we were remotely aware of, but we were at the BMW dealer and the sales guy listened to us and said "just sit in this one". Beyond the fantastic mileage, it gets a lot of the little touches just right. The accelerator foot placement is correct. The sedan version has 12v jacks in useful places, including the trunk. Apparently the wagon version, which nobody wants to sell us because lead times are long, even has 115v jacks. And the mileage R0xx0rZ. Our concern is long-term reliability.

[ related topics: Dan's Life Automobiles ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2009-02-02 00:59:43.136886+00 by: TheSHAD0W

VW should have good reliability. The only reasons I haven't bought a VW are because I'd never fit in one, and, well, as Sarah Silverman says, "Jewy people driving German cars, what the cock is that shit?"

#Comment Re: made: 2009-02-02 03:48:16.972254+00 by: Larry Burton

I know I stand to be laughed at with this suggestion but have you looked at any Buicks? Seriously.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-02-02 04:37:21.156307+00 by: Dan Lyke

The 2003-2004 or thereabouts VW Jetta drive train was seriously awful, I've got a friend who had huge problems at 30k miles or so and have seen a whole bunch of similar complaints on the web, and VWs have a bad reputation with wiring reliability. So build quality is a concern.

Larry, we've looked at Honda, Nissan, Toyota, BMW and the Jetta. The Jetta TDI is attractive because it runs 40+MPG and doesn't use batteries to do so, the BMWs got looked at because my 528e got 36 highway, but BMW stopped making the "e" a while back. I didn't think Buick made any seriously fuel efficient cars, and I have enough people in my social circles from Michigan that I'm not sure I could handle the ridicule were I to purchase a GM car. But should we look? My parents have a Hyundai because their mechanic said he only saw them for regular maintenance, so I'd like to go take a look at those too.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-02-02 04:52:49.064432+00 by: Larry Burton

You mentioned long term reliability. The Buick rates very high there. Better than Toyota. Buicks are not gas guzzlers but they are not economy cars fuel consumption will be significantly less than 36 highway. GM is not in trouble because it still makes crappy cars. It's in trouble for choosing the wrong car to make and signing stupid contracts.

Hyundais are great cars for 100,000 miles you will have very little, if any, problems out of them up until that 100,000 mile mark. The problem is that that is their designed life. After 100,000 miles things wear out quickly. Kias and Suzukis are in the same boat there. They are well engineered low priced cars. They are low priced because they used cheaper materials.

Something to consider when looking at gas mileage. Convert the fuel economy to gallons per mile instead of miles per gallon. That easily translates into cost per mile and gives you a better index to compare fuel economy between the cars with. (I may have read that in here).

#Comment Re: made: 2009-02-02 08:26:44.497284+00 by: meuon

It might be smaller than you want, but I still like my Mini. I'm getting 34-36mpg driving around town with a heavy foot. 42+ cruising on the highway at 70-80. Been comfy on longer trips (4-8 hours), even with two big guys..

#Comment Re: New Cars made: 2009-02-02 13:06:21.348416+00 by: jeff

I'd definitely consider a Hyundai if I were in the market for a new car, and the Jetta definitely sounds appealing. I've never owned a BMW (new or used), but probably will at some point in my future.

I used to get a new car every 3-4 years, but now I'm in a mode where I'm keeping them longer. One of my recent goals is to take my 1999 Acura TL (which I purchased on December 31st, 1998) over 200K miles. It's now sitting at 198K. Other than an air conditioner unit, I've done nothing but routine maintenance on the vehicle, and I recently replaced the timing belt, so it's probably good-to-go until a quarter-of-a-million miles. It gets 30mpg on the highway, seats five very comfortably, and everything still works (including the heated seats). The racing green showroom condition 1997 M-Edition Miata that I purchased last Spring has exactly 100K miles, but it too has many tens of thousands of usable (and fun) miles left. It gets approximately the same mileage as the TL.

My next car of choice could largely be determined by where I live. At some point in my future, I've considered building a place off-the-grid, so 4-wheel drive or all-wheel drive will be a consideration, as well as energy cost.

The 528e that you mentioned was a sweet car. I'm intrigued by what your final choice will be, Dan...

#Comment Re: made: 2009-02-02 14:34:10.941848+00 by: andylyke

Since you mentioned our Hyundai -- It has 96+k miles, and has had a cracked windshield and a defective door handle, both of which were replaced free under warranty. As to what happens > 100k, I'm holding my breath. It does not get good mileage. 22 around town and 28-29 on 700 mile interstate trips isn't state of the art. On the other hand - it's a V6 2003. I've no idea how they're doing now.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-02-02 14:50:55.019638+00 by: andylyke

Our local consumer advocate radio guy, Clark Howard, said last week that Honda is planning to offer a competitively priced hybrid sometime in the near future:


Also - Matt has a Toyota Yaris, and gets >40 mpg on an 11 mile commute (roughly - their house to the place we had breakfast last July). Sara gets ~36 mpg on her Corolla for a 28 mile commute.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-02-02 15:15:08.271937+00 by: jeff

I've had a two-mile daily commute to work for the past four years here in Columbus (OH), but I realize that probably won't last forever. I often times come home for lunch, so that makes my total daily work commute about eight miles. I typically drive about 250 miles on a given weekend (almost all highway) in order to visit family and friends in Cincinnati.

If there was less traffic, I'd ride a bicycle to work everyday if the weather was suitable. No easy way to do that from my current location near crowded roads, however. A small electric vehicle would be great to get to/from work at this time.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-02-02 17:18:05.850539+00 by: ebradway

The 2002-2004 Jetta with the 2.0l gasoline engine was a total lemon. The 1.8l was better. The TDi was in a completely different class. Prior to 2004, the TDi required a timing belt every 60K miles. 2004+ it's 100K+ miles. Two gripes: the 1.8l requires premium but gets better gas mileage and better performance. The TDi gets astounding gas mileage even if you drive with a heavy foot. I got 40mpg drive 100mph across the Mojave Desert between Vegas and LA with the windows down and sunroof open. The Jetta also is considerably more substantial than any high- mpg hybrids. Diesel engines just plain rock.

Oh yeah, the complaint. The TDi tech is almost as exotic as the hybrids. The transmission is the same but the engine is rocket science. The injectors in the new TDis pump at about 30,000 psi. So maintenance and repairs are pricey. Like the timing belt - expect to drop about $1000.

You might want to check where the car is manufactured. My 2004 Jetta Wagon TDi was built in Germany. The non-wagon body styles were all built in Mexico. I'm not sure how much of a difference it makes in Juan and Jose build your car versus Mahmet and Ahmad - but there may be stats someplace to make an argument one way or the other.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-02-02 17:28:14.638461+00 by: Dan Lyke

Thanks for the additional input.

Dad, Charlene's extended family has a mechanic who raves about the Honda Civic hybrid, and I think Honda's supposed to be re-introducing the Insight. I have my doubts about the general environmental impact of batteries, unless the car operates as a plug-in. We looked at the Prius, and there's a bunch of stuff I like about the design of the car (and the sales pitch for it was well done), but Charlene didn't like the ergonomics and the cockpit leg room was just barely enough for me.

Charlene wants something a bit bigger than her Sentra, which, of course, is somewhat at odds with mileage, and I think we're headed the small beater pickup-truck route for the replacement for my car, so hers should be something road-trippable (except when we're headed for the desert) which is part of why the multiple 12v jacks in different places was something worth remarking on (Or having the inverter built-in, which is apparently the case in the wagon).

Which, to Meuon's point, kind of pushes the Mini down. I was excited about the Clubman, but even if it feels solid and drives like a bigger car, I'm convinced that it's too small for road trippery. That, and the fact that we've either got to drive to Vacaville or into SF to look at 'em (and test driving in SF is not going to tell us what we want to know).

Larry, Charlene called this morning asking about the conventional Passat wagon, which I used as my opportunity to say "if mileage falls off the top of the list, we should look at other cars with good reliability ratings", so there's our chance to look at Buick (and Hyundai and the like). One of the things I wish I could suss out on reliability is how much of that is customer expectation; I suspect that the reasons that brands like Mercedes Benz (and VW) rank low is that buyers expect a lot.

And one of the other things that running the numbers is telling me is that it may not be that much more expensive to drive newer cars, especially when you get over 150k miles or so on the older ones and start to have expensive bits fail. Which is back to the "why don't automobile manufacturers publish operating costs like aircraft manufacturers do" gripe. I do find a couple of places publishing TCO numbers for the first 5 years, but that's all within warranty, so it's just scheduled maintenance and the cost of the money, ie: no matter which $20-25k car you buy new, 5 years/60k miles costs a thousand or two each way of $40k.

Eric, on timing belt costs, if that's at a hundred K miles, that's reasonable to just put in the spreadsheet. And we've both measured mileage with the 87 vs 89 octane in our two cars, that claim to want the 89, and concluded that paying for the premium is indeed an immediate break-even.

Other thing we need to do is drive the TDI on a steep hill, because apparently the "automatic" transmission is really a manual with computer controlled clutches, so starting on a hill is kind of weird. And, yes, this is the same transmission (6 speed dual clutch) that a friend of mine had fail on an Audi A3, under warranty, so I hope they're getting closer to figuring that out.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-02-02 17:54:58.856052+00 by: dexev

I love my VW diesels (early 80's models), but something to keep in mind is that diesel fuel has been 20-30% more expensive than gasoline over the past few years.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-02-02 18:02:04.639438+00 by: Dan Lyke

dexev, yeah, we ran those numbers based on our local historical data (which I found on a U.S. government website somewhere). Still seemed like a general win, and we get to snark on the hybrid drivers, which seems like it's worth a few bucks.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-02-02 19:30:21.447558+00 by: andylyke

Apropos maintenance on Mercedes - I have only one anecdotal datum. Neighbors had a Mercedes (purchased new), a Corolla, a Prius and two MG-Bs. They described the reliability of the Mercedes as down near the MG-Bs. Their direct comparisons were Toyotas to a Mercedes, and in their experience, the Toys were far more reliable and required far less scheduled maintenance than the Mercedes. (the mom insisted on the Mercedes)

#Comment Re: made: 2009-02-03 02:27:39.25963+00 by: Dan Lyke

Ouch. "two settings, flicker and dim" indeed.

An observation on thinking about the BMW thing a bit longer (and following Jeff's link to Wikipedia on BMW models above), since it's hard to verify longevity, aside from the size of the vehicle price of the car has largely been linked to one thing: Engine size.

Safety, crumple zones, and such are no longer much of a selling point, at least in mid-sized sedans, everything rates at the top.

There's not much difference in drive trains, at least for car lines that have the same platform at multiple price points (ie: any of the Japanese brands, Audi & VW, Buick/Chevy and Cadillac, etc), so differences in things like electronic stability control are mostly a matter of what version of the code you put in the engine, and do you want to be the guy who said "make this car less safe for less money even though it costs us nothing different"? The only differentiation there that'll get through legal is about driving performance.

Gadgetry is largely out. Back in the '80s, trip computers were expensive difficult things, now they're the purview of anyone with a microcontroller and a $80 dev kit, and next year consumers will be able to buy one that suction-cups on to the windshield for a fraction of what you can sell it to them for this year. Further, if flashy displays and buttons are what you like, the Prius has 'em for under $30k.

Even for people who are willing to pay extra for efficiency, until fuel is reliably $5-10/gallon, paying too much of a premium on mileage doesn't make sense; sure people are willing to drive a Prius as a matter of personal branding, but that personal branding also includes "sensible about price". If a new $20k sedan costs roughly $8k/year to operate for the first five years, $.66/mile vs $.70/mile kind of gets lost (Thanks, Larry, good to put those numbers in perspective).

So there are two things left to base on price, reliability, which it's really hard to put firm objective numbers on, and seconds to 60MPH and the quarter mile. It's no wonder that speed is the only thing left in the luxury market. No wonder BMW dropped the "e".

And the issues with verifying longevity are also what makes us so susceptible to a car where the ergonomics of the cockpit fit really well.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-02-03 03:58:14.288041+00 by: ebradway

TDi on hill: I never had any issue. I would occasionally shift it myself in the mountains but 95% of the time, I couldn't do better. The 6-speed Tiptronic is really good. I know of at least on person with a petro 2.0l Jetta, the same year as mine, with the 4-speed AT that just never seemed to shift right.

If we could buy another 2004/05 Jetta TDi Wagon, new, we probably would. We just didn't like the new body. And when we factored in the almost $10K premium over the Mazda3, well... It was hard to figure.

For interior room - our biggest problem is that Asha absolutely requires a telescoping steering wheel. Which is standard in the Mazda3 and the Jetta and the Prius. But most other makes you have to upgrade to a much larger car. And we already have the beater pickup.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-02-03 04:05:33.607187+00 by: ebradway

Oh yeah... Out where you are - where they practically invented the VW Bus - you should find some really solid VW mechanics outside of the dealership. Find a VW wrench you like outside of the dealer and you'll save at least 25% in repair costs.

Much of the repair costs on the VWs, especially the TDi, come from dealer bloat. They try to tell you how exotic the car is and only to trust it to their wrenches. It's still a car and a reasonably trained, properly equipped wrench will do just fine.

Also, TDiClub.

#Comment Re: TCO made: 2009-02-03 16:17:02.56161+00 by: jeff [edit history]

Depending on ones's finances, I think the total cost of ownership is a very important factor. I found a couple of sites which drill into this at a high level:

Edmunds.com TCO

Cars.com TCO

While we're on the subject of cars, it's very rare that I'm involved in an accident but, as it happened, I was involved in a very minor one yesterday in the parking lot of a gas station. Damn Ohio winter ice!

I also happened to see a white BMW 5xx-series similar to the one pictured in the afformentioned Wikipedia entry yesterday during lunch. The irony of it all!

#Comment Re: made: 2009-02-03 17:30:14.33531+00 by: Dan Lyke

Alas, Jeff, they don't have depreciation and maintenance numbers for the new TDI, so it's kind of a crap-shoot. And I've run a couple of cars through there, the purchase price seems to be the dominant factor in their TCO calculations, anything we look at is $8-10k/year. What's blowing my mind is that it seems like driving an older car only shaves two or two and a half hundred a month off of that, depreciation is replaced by repairs and maintenance.

#Comment Re: Leasing made: 2009-02-03 17:40:38.891873+00 by: jeff [edit history]

Have you looked at leasing as an option? I know the depreciation hit is pretty large but, depending on the cost of money (e.g. interest rate financing), there may be some good deals out there (with an option to buy later). And for peace of mind, you have the built-in benefit of little-to-zero maintenance costs for the length of the lease.

Here is a very interesting swap leasing site.

My Acura TL has now been towed to a collision center a couple of miles from the office (the front bumper was ready to fall off, and I didn't want to drive it like that). I'm debating whether to get a rental, or drive my little rear-wheel Miata for a week or so on potentially questionable roads in the winter. Or maybe I'll just tell my boss I'll be working from home for a few days (the weather will be better by the weekend).

#Comment Re: made: 2009-02-03 17:52:42.798252+00 by: Dan Lyke

No good deals on TDI financing, everyone wants one [grin] (except that money in general is really cheap now). And there's a tax credit that's available for purchasers that's not for lease. We also expect this car to be moderately high miles (Charlene's got a relatively long commute right now, and this will be our trip car too).

And in running the insurance numbers last night we came to the conclusion that four and a half years is the break-even on a thousand bucks vs 500 deductible. Lack of ice is good. In general I feel safer in rear wheel drive in slippery conditions than front wheel, with rear wheel drive the right thing to do is almost always to let up on the accelerator, with front wheel drive that's usually the exactly wrong thing to do.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-02-03 18:37:35.661345+00 by: Larry Burton [edit history]

I hate it when my finger twitches when I'm over a control. I've got nothing to add here just a twitchy finger at the wrong place.

#Comment Re: Awareness made: 2009-02-04 18:57:56.676015+00 by: jeff

It was ironic that I saw a white BMW E28 (5xx) series car on the road the other day. Just a few minutes ago I pulled into a new parking spot at the office just as a black VW Jetta Wolfsburg Edition (2.5L) pulled in beside me. Not the TDI version, but a Jetta nonetheless. A very clean looking car.

A new awareness?

#Comment Re: made: 2009-02-04 22:52:33.521234+00 by: Dan Lyke

Jeff, yep, all of a sudden we're completely aware of all of our neighbors that drive Jettas.

Went and test drove the sedan yesterday and looked at the wagon, this sales guy said he'd be happy to order it for us, but he couldn't promise delivery, his first guess was "8 months". Since that puts us strongly into the next model season, I'm starting to wonder who else is doing high efficiency automobiles, or what other body styles VW might be putting that engine in.

But this pre-computer graphics Isuzu commercial makes me want to look further...

#Comment Re: Consider adding a motorcycle to your stable? made: 2009-02-05 12:45:59.061465+00 by: jeff [edit history]

That's a great commercial. Love the music that runs with it. I'm curious how much of it was real video footage vs. computer-generated?

Here is a piece of classic Italian motorcycle synchronicity. No computer graphics.

Have you ever considered adding a motorcycle to your stable?

#Comment Re: made: 2009-02-05 15:47:01.000359+00 by: ebradway

FYI: The guy who bought our 2004 Jetta TDi flew out from Monterrey. You might be able to find what you want with a little traveling.

By the time you factor in the lack of deals, higher cost of and occasional difficulty finding diesel fuel, and the premium price, you might end up looking at the Jetta Wagon with the 2.0l turbo.

And if you haven't driven a car with modern traction control in the past 10 years, you really are comparing 80s style front-wheel drive with 80s rear-wheel drive. I used to play with turning off the traction control in the Jetta. As expected, it was easy to accelerate on a slippery turn and get the wheels to slip. With the traction control on, I couldn't make it slip no matter how hard I tried. Never had the chance to try it on sheet ice, but a rainy November day in Chattanooga with leaves coating the street is a close approximate. I also drove it about 15 miles into the Mojave to sleep on a giant dune in Nevada on a return trip from San Diego. The idiot light meaning the traction control was at work was lit the entire time but I hardly noticed.

Supposedly Audi is selling the TDi in the US but I can't seem to find it on their website. If you aren't seeing discounts on the VW, you might see better deals on the Audi. You might also see a really good deal on an Audi A3 2.0l turbo with Quattro and ESP. Although the Quattro is typically only in the 3.2l. Overall, the ergonomics of the Audi should be simply a step up from the VW.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-02-05 15:59:44.414595+00 by: ebradway

Sonnen Audi in San Rafael lists a 2006 A4 2.0l turbo with Quattro and 6-speed tiptronic with 10K miles for $24,000.

That's less $$ than the Jetta and you can have it this afternoon.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-02-05 16:42:45.663975+00 by: ziffle [edit history]

Entry 28:

  1. consider a used Lexus LS. Cheap, smooth, holds value.

in fact I am aghast at spending big bucks on an auto at this time. Seems counter intuitive.

  1. Audi. Having seen your affinity for BMW in the past it feels like an Audi would match your ego more closely :)
  2. VW will soon be built in Mayberry. I am still not convinced on their quality; hence I always turn to Consumers report. Black dots means don;t buy. Seems like VW still has too many black dots. Toyota, Lexus has fewer.

Have you considered a pick up truck? or gasp Minivan - very handy and they drive nice.

Used cars today are a better buy. Thats why new car sales are down - everyone is still driving the ones they have.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-02-05 18:24:07.401983+00 by: Dan Lyke [edit history]

  1. Thanks for the suggestion. We've been chasing the mileage, but if we do the simple math (16k miles/year, 25MPG is 640 gallons/year, 40MPG is 400 gallons per year, 240 gallons times average price of gas... with adjustment for diesel costing 20% more), with the premium people want for the wagon TDI we do need to start looking at whether paying for the higher mileage is worth it.
  2. The problem with all the luxury brands I've been aware of is that they don't really add anything I'm interested in. Leather seats would be nice, but they seem to come at a cost of gadgetry and mileage that don't excite me. Got a friend who's had a couple of Audis, he's really excited by 0-60 times in the low 5s, but if I get there in 11 or 12 I think I'm doing high performance driving.
  3. So far as I can tell, VW is duking it out with Mercedes Benz for the low spot on the reliability list, but somehow I've convinced myself that that's mostly expectations or noise on the far end of the statistics. So keep that drum beat going.

Yeah, the replacement for my car is going to be a beater pick-up truck. Charlene's got a commute, and we want a road-trip car too.

On used cars being the better buy, I guess I'm having trouble seeing it. When cars get as old as ours we seem to have to budget about $200/month for general repairs, safety improvements have been dramatic enough that insurance really doesn't change, and operating costs are similar. Early depreciation looks to be a fairly big hit, but when you account for more of the maintenance costs being included, depreciation and opportunity cost on a $20-25k car look to be about $400/month, or roughly double the old car. In the face of the eight grand or so a year it costs to operate an automobile, two and a half thousand is non-trivial, but it's not a bank breaker.

(Depreciation and opportunity cost on a $35k Audi or a $60k BMW are a different world, both of those are in my "used only" camp.)

Besides, relative to what the Federal Government is about to blow on this ill-advised theft "bailout", two and a half grand on my own personal stimulus package seems like it's lost in the noise.

#Comment Re: Total Cost of Life made: 2009-02-05 23:50:01.592924+00 by: jeff

The total cost of ownership (TCO) has been part of this thread, and another angle to take is the "total cost of life" (TCL) as it relates the quality of life.

At 16,000 miles/year, that's about 500 hours being spent (by one or more people) either behind the wheel or as a passenger in the vehicle. How much you're willing to spend on your "driving experience" is something to ponder.

#Comment Re: Luxury? made: 2009-02-06 01:25:14.57529+00 by: jeff [edit history]

I know you're not leaning towards luxury Dan, but I just saw an advertisement on TV about the Volkswagen CC, which led me here. Seems like a very nice car, even in base form.

Or, you could go for a futuristic VW bus, per chance?

#Comment Re: made: 2009-02-06 04:46:50.351989+00 by: meuon

If they make that in chattanooga, I'll buy one. Kewl camper bus.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-02-06 05:23:31.304054+00 by: ebradway

That used Audi comes in at several $K less than a VW Jetta Wagon TDi. 10K miles is practically new - you just miss the depreciation.

We're looking about $10K cheaper than that. And I'll look for a 10K used car. The Jetta Wagon TDi I had came with 11K miles and I saved about $6K - and still paid $21K. I put 33K miles on it in a year, so it was worth it and, because of the fuel prices, we managed to sell it for more than I owed on it (with a 5 year note from DCCU).

New does get you more incentives from the dealer. Like I said, we'll looking in the sub $18K range and hope for closer to $14K. Our car will be a stop-gap until technology gets better.

FYI: The cheapest vehicle I ever owned was a 1984 Toyota King Cab Pickup. I bought it from a farmer in North Georgia for $1800 cash. I drove it for three years and about 60K miles. In that time I put new tires on it, a new clutch and a new alternator. When I sold it, it leaked oil so bad that you had to put a quart in every time you drove it. Of course, I didn't really have to change the oil anymore. That happened every fifth trip! I sold it for $1000. The guy who bought it from me was shocked that he could drive it home. It had the fabled 22R engine. He's probably still driving it.

#Comment Re: Stop-gap Mode? made: 2009-02-06 13:44:33.305018+00 by: jeff

Eric--you and I are both in "stop-gap" mode. Like you, I'm waiting to see what kind of technology improvements we see in the next 1-3 years; hence, I'm trying to drive my 200K mile (almost) Acura TL until she drops. I'm just finding it tough to let her go.

Dan--I take it that you need/want something NOW?

#Comment Re: made: 2009-02-06 15:08:05.951564+00 by: Dan Lyke

But, Eric, it's apples and oranges: That Audi is a sedan, so we'd be comparing it to the Jetta TDi sedan, which is two thousand bucks less list price (decked out the way we want it), and the sedan has enough of an oversupply that there's lots of room to negotiate on price, and we'd have the mileage savings which are worth at least $2500 at current fuel prices.

Jeff, this started out as a "let's look around and see what's out there", and I think it's headed back that way. We don't need to replace anything right now, but we'd like to be prepared for when we do have to. If, in the past few days, someone had an automatic TDi wagon without the sunroof or the nav system for somewhere south of list price we'd probably have bought it, but all of them had extra crap we didn't want and were asking a thousand or two over list, and now we're looking at any orders being into the next model year. Waiting for that should bring other higher efficiency cars from various manufacturers, and maybe we're back to Larry's GM suggestion.

I really like the way the Jetta feels, at least new, but VW's inventory and manufacturing decisions have let that shopping excitement wear off.

#Comment Re: Car Shopping made: 2009-02-06 16:21:53.142002+00 by: jeff [edit history]

Some of what I remember from car shopping:

fun, annoying, exhilarating, maddening, exciting, enlightening, expensive, consuming, necessary, intriguing, imperfect.