Apr. 8: Vehicle vex

I’m having a car crisis. The lease on my Passat is up this month and it’s time to decide what to do. These are my options:

  • Keep the Passat (pay residual)
  • Lease another VW
  • Buy a good car

And here are the reasons this is a crisis…

Keep the Passat

I love this car; it’s probably my favorite so far. Besides the simple fact that it’s a VW, it’s roomy, the interior is perfect for kids and dogs (practical vinyl-y upholstery they said “is just like leather!” but only a blind person would think so, although it’s certainly better than the stuff that was in our Ford Granada 30 years ago), and the trunk is huge. The reason I may not want to keep it is that it’s dark blue and impossible to keep clean. Also, it’s four years old. But most of all, I fear owning a VW again because they are not the most reliable cars in the long term. This Passat is the least glitchy VW we’ve had but I fully expect the serious problems to kick in any day now. I’m leaning heavily toward turning it back in.

Lease another VW

So far I haven’t found a car that’s as fun to drive as a VW. I love the way Volkswagens handle, the way they seem to hug the road. They’ve got good safety ratings. I don’t love the new models, but they’re alright. I would probably downsize to a Jetta or maybe even a Rabbit. Although I have enjoyed the Passat, it’s probably more car than I need and is more $$ than I should spend again. The reason leasing another VW might not be a good idea is for the simple fact that it’s a lease. Personally, I totally agree with the advertising about leases (when you lease, you can get a new car at the end of the term; when you buy, you have an old car at the end of the term!), but I realize there are some benefits of owning. Like eventually the car is paid for and you no longer have monthly payments. Heh heh. That’s kind of a big one; probably the only one. But [in whiny voice] I like new cars. And I hate selling used cars. Hate hate hate. [end whiny voice]

Buy a good car

If we were to turn in the Passat and purchase a car, it would probably be a Camry or Accord or Civic; something that’s proven reliable in the long term and with good resale value. This is what Vic would do if I would just keep my big fat mouth shut. The thing is, I’m not a huge fan of those cars. I know they’re among the best in my price range and I definitely like the looks of them but they’re just. So. Boring. Not fun to drive (to me). Not zippy. On the other hand, the idea of eventually having no car payments sounds awfully appealing. And not having to pour money into repairs that are virtually inevitable with a VW… not bad either.

So it would appear I need some advice. Here are my criteria:

  • A sedan or small SUV meets my needs
  • I hate wagons
  • I don’t want to drive a minivan
  • Decent gas mileage
  • Good safety ratings
  • Totally fun to drive
  • Did I mention that I really would like another VW?


  1. We're trading the Accord in on a Prius this fall or winter. Just saying... :)

  2. O.K. Here's my two cents. I just traded my Prius for a BMW X5. I miss my Prius :( I enjoy all the luxuries of the new car (especially the iPod connection) but I LOVED the roominess in the Prius and the way it drove. Jen, I think you should seriously consider one. After filling up the new car a few times, I now know why everyone's griping! I went from one fill-up every two weeks for $25 to a fill-up once a week for $65! Yikes!

    Second choice for you, would be a hybrid Camry or hybrid Highlander.

  3. Here's my two cents from what Lori wrote:

    I have a 2003 Toyota Highlander (not the Hybrid, but only because it wasn't available yet). I LOVE IT! It is a great vehicle: safe, reliable, same engine as the Lexus SUV without the price, roomy, and plenty of cargo room. Ours doesn't have the third row seat (again, wasn't available yet).

    We own ours (that last payment felt awesome!). After five years, it looks great. In fact, it looks almost as good as the day we bought it. When we eventually do need another vehicle, it will be a Toyota.

    All that being said, the gas mileage is not that much better on the Hybrid. If you are looking for better gas mileage, you would be better off going with another hybrid Toyota model. The technology in the Toyota Hybrids is the best.


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