The Passat wagon ("tooey's cah") is dead. It needs between $900 and $3000 of work, and the dealer can't tell us how much until they go in and take a look. Time for a new car.
We've had the Passat since 1995, and it's been an OK car. It is great to drive - good power and it handles beautifully. On the downside it hasn't really been reliable.
According to http://www.kbb.com/
, it's worth about $4000 for a tradein (in "fair" condition) so it's probably not worth spending $900 on it at this point (much less $3000).
Here's the plan: I don't want to deal with the hassle of selling it, so I think that I'll donate it to charity and take the tax writeoff, then buy a new (probably used) station wagon. I don't dig SUV's, and I don't think that we need a minivan. The good news is that there appear to be many station wagons on the market, where 5 years ago there were very few.
Requirements for the new car:
- mid-sized (i.e. no less room than the current wagon, but not a Buick Roadmaster)
- V6 (want 150+ HP, don't want a turbo 4, V8 is overkill)
- Auto transmission (stop giggling)
- Budget: $25000, but the closer to $20000 the better.
Not a very long list. It runs out that many of the wagons are either upscale (MB, BMW, SAAB, Audi) or very low-end (Focus, Hyundai, etc). It looks as if the lead dogs are the Saturn and the Taurus, or perhaps a used Volvo.
2002-04-20 - we drove the Saturn at the local dealership. It's true that Saturn is a relatively painless place to look for a new car, the only issue I had was the time it took: more than two hours. The funny thing is, Vicky and I are so busy that we really didn't mind sitting around waiting for the salesperson to do this or that, it gave us an opportunity to talk like adults. But don't go there if you're in a hurry. Anyway, the car seems very nice, and the price seems reasonable. The interior feels cheesier than the passat but the motor is strong (if noisy) and the ride is very good - not spongy but not harsh either. Many, many safety features. One last interesting feature: 0% financing with $0 down.
2002-04-27 - our pals at the Mass RMV indicate that we can't get rid of the Passat until we buy our new car because our snob license plates must be transferred
from one car to another. So the dead Passat continues to sit in our driveway. BTW, I had to jump-start it the other day to rescue our CD's from the changer. I wonder if I should pull the changer and pop it into the noisy red car?
2002-05-08 - picked up a shiny new Saturn LW300 at the dealer today. Call me cranky but I really dislike the "new car smell". Otherwise, though, it's a fine car, and I hope that we'll have it for a while. Now to figure out what to do with the Passat...
Ended up donating the Passat to some charity called "helping hands" which turned out to be a for-profit company which sells the cars and gives some unspecified percent of the money to charity. In the mean time I've seen a few others, for example Franciscan Children's Hospital (800-568-8688) and Special Olympics who have a place on Rt 109 in Millis where you can drop the cars off.