By on December 29, 2011

 

Luiz writes:

Dear Steve/Sajeev:

I am a 35 year old elementary school principal, married with 2 kids (5 and 9), and a certified car nut who thinks and reads about them way too much, and who is a walking contradiction when it comes to cars.

Here are some examples: I appreciate older cars from my youth that are well-cared for, but I am not mechanically inclined at all, and don’t want to tinker with cars.  I don’t like appliances like CamCords, but appreciate reliable machines.  I dislike car payments, and fully understand the value inherent in keeping a car a long time, but can’t remember the last time I didn’t have a car note, as I’ve sold and bought too many cars to list here, all before their time.  I don’t aspire to own a premium luxury ride like a BMW or M-B, but I sold my last car, a loaded-with-everything-and-a-stick, pristine, 2002 Protege5, with only 52K miles, when I became a principal in March of 2009 and wanted a new car with a bit more prestige.  I know practically all the specs on any car in my price range (can’t go more than 30K max, as the wife has an ’11 Outback we’re happy with and plan to keep till the wheels come off-at least that’s the plan), but I buy cars too quickly.  I could go on and on.

So, in March of 2009, I wanted something sporty, with a tad bit more prestige, that could hold a family of four, and wasn’t too common.  I narrowed down my choices to the TSX, or the GLI/GTI.  Test drove the TSX, liked it.  Test drove the GTI twice, but leased a GLI with DSG as the deal was much better than the essentially-same GTI.  My lease is up in 8 months, and the car has been fantastic, with ZERO issues, and a letter from VW stating that my car’s DSG is covered for 100K miles or 10 years due to similar models having issues.  I also enjoy the car and its performance, which is enough for me, as I live in crowded northern NJ, and take trips into NYC and the outer boroughs from time to time; there’s not much space here to go flat out.  This was my first lease, and the buyout will be 15,000 including tax, for a 3-year-old GLI that will only have about 24,000 miles come March of 2012.  So, should I?

1.  Buy the GLI, which flies in the face of what everyone says (don’t keep a German car, let alone a VW, outside of the warranty period)?

2.  Walk away and buy something cheaper, so I can concentrate on paying down the Outback (I have a SAAB specialist about 3 miles from my house who offers clean SAABs with 2-year warranties, for roughly 3-8K dollars, that I drive by and wonder about)?

3.  Walk away and lease something cheaper (my current payment is $350 a month), knowing that I may have to give up some accessories, power, etc, in order to go down in price?

Please help,
Luiz
Principal / Affirmative Action Officer

(oh, BTW, I’m 6’3,” and it’s quite a bitch to find a car that fits, that isn’t a Chevy Express)

Steve answers:

As someone who was fortunate enough to escape from northern New Jersey, I would encourage you to spoil yourself a bit. The weather sucks. The cost of living sucks. I won’t even mention the horror that is daily commuting to NYC.

I would keep the car. First off you want to get out of the debt trap. At least you pretend to have this goal in mind. So why not do it?

Second, that price is pretty good for a retail transaction. You like the car and know it’s history. Plus VW has seen fit to make up for their recent quality transgressions. To me this all sounds like a winning combination.

Keep it. Pay it. Worry instead about why the title of your work also includes ‘Affirmative Action Officer’. I would fear that more than I would fear any VW.

Sajeev answers:

The buyout on your lease is surprisingly good.  Which makes me wonder if the down payment or monthly bill during the lease were brutal?  But I digress…

Odds are you can get just what you need in a $15,000 Mazda 6 or Camry SE (only the SE) but perhaps that’s more trouble than it’s worth.  Sure these vehicles are sporty and known for far better long-term value, but the time value of your money hunting for one is a difficult number to quantify.

If this is a “keeper” and long-term costs are a concern, you’d be wise to dump the GLI.  I don’t even want to know the cost if the DSG fails at 100,001 miles.  Then again, will you really keep it for that long? And the Camry SE is still a Camry.

Don’t listen to me. Listen to Steve.

Need help with a car buying conundrum? Email your particulars to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com, and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder.

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80 Comments on “New or Used: “Affirmative Action” on a Lease Payout?...”


  • avatar
    FiveIronFrenzy

    My 2006 Mk5 GTI is on its third DSG box. My dealership said they cost $6,600. My warranty will be up in about a month or so.

    Just food for thought.

  • avatar
    cackalacka

    TSI or FSI engine? Does the CPO warranty cover anything else to 100k?

    A 15k buyout is a pretty solid deal. If you had a manual and/or you have a solid warranty, this is a no-brainer, (particularly if your car is in good shape.)

    At this rate, the time will expire before the mileage. So keep it & take the kids camping as a pretext to carve it out in the Poconos/Catskills.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      I dont think there is a CPO warranty on lease buyouts. 2008.5 and up all have the newer TSI engine, and the DSG warranty covers ONLY the DSG, but since thats the most expensive thing, thats a good thing to have for 10 yrs and 100k miles!

      Thats my safety net with my GTI, the DSG is the only part of the car that makes me nervous…

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Used Miata with manual transmission. Crown Victoria LX Sport. Mercury Grand Marquis LSE. A 90s Camaro/Firebird that some collector has finally decided isn’t really collectable. (I’m just brainstorming fun used cars.)

    • 0 avatar
      56BelAire

      Dan,

      He would never consider those cars. They don’t have enough “prestige” for the newbie school principal, a school principal, yes a school principal. Boy am I glad I escaped northern NJ a few years ago and their “Affirmative Action Officers”.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadFlorist

        There was a math teacher in my grade school that drove a DeLorean, which she sold in the early 90′s because her arthritis no longer permitted easy egress. She was by far the most prestigious old lady I knew.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        . . .and you’re a what? I pray you’re an engineer, doctor, lawyer, or perhaps a profesor. Being a principal is a prestigious job, better than an auto mechanic or much of the white collar jobs out there. Lets not prick things without good reason lest you be pricked back.

        In general it sounds like he has a good deal on the GLI. I almost got one back in 08-09. Really his only other option I can think of is a slightly used A4/6 or a new Subie which his wife has, so why bother to switch?

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        I’d ask when this site got so ugly in the way we talk to each other but I have noticed the slow change. (As if it’s any of your business I work at central office and do some adjunct professoring. Fortunately living in NM if you want ‘prestige’ show up in any old pickup truck or a big American sedan. God bless the “Land of Enchantment.”)

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        LOL! My daughter-in-law is the principal of a middle school and her prestige vehicle this year is a Red 2011 Sonata. This does bear a little clarification since she puts around 180 miles roundtrip on the Sonata each day commuting to and from.

        With all these miles piling on she usually trades as soon as the warranty has expired, or rarely more than 18 months between new cars. And because the car is not financed that is do-able.

        So the prestige comes from that the principal drives a new car every school year. Is she overpaid? Many people think so but what they don’t know is that her husband, my son, makes well over $100K a year. So they are living within their means.

        And as far as people talking ugly, best I can figure it is that the ones who talk ugly feel threatened in some way. Ironically enough, I have found that those are also the same people who talk out of their ass because their mouths know better.

        Then again, it is easy to differentiate the knowledgeable authors, who base their comments on experience, from the BS artists who tell us everything they know from Google and Wikipedia searches, in 20 words or less.

        I have also noticed that the quality of the comments has diminished so maybe we’re seeing fewer knowledgeable people reading ttac. And that would be a shame.

        Since my brothers retired from the new-car retail business and sold the dealerships, they no longer frequent the auto boards. Maybe we’re just seeing a different readership evolve.

    • 0 avatar
      BigDuke6

      Lol…only a marketing nimrod would use the word “sport” in a Crown Vic model designation…..

    • 0 avatar

      So Mazda does not have enough “prestige” for some “Affirmative something” officer who makes living out of poorly allocated tax-payers money and has guaranteed full pension coverage for rest of his life again paid by unlucky taxpayers who drive non-prestigious cars. But VW has apparently. How funny. I honestly do not see how VW may be more prestigious than Ford, Toyota, Honda and so on including lowly Mazdas. If you ask me – I would not respect someone more if he drives VW instead of Mazda.

      BTW if someone interested I have PhD in Physics and work as an engineer for private company in Silicon Valley, pay taxes and drive non-prestigious cars.

  • avatar
    Ben

    Keep it. In my experience if the DSG hasn’t given you any trouble by now, you should be fine for next few years / 30,000 miles.

  • avatar
    jaje

    Try swapalease.com or leasetrader.com and look for people trying to get out of their own leases. They pay the upfront fees and often pay down the residual lease payment as well – often getting you a good deal. Be wary of bad deals, people who put too many miles on their vehicle. The only drawback is you have to join the site ($20 a year) to contact the seller (unless you can cagily find their add on Craigslist) and you have to have the leasing company check your credit and pay a ~ $600 application fee (often the lessor will pay that just to get out of their lease). The lease company then does all the work for you and and you arrange pickup (often I have to take a cheap flight and drive back). I’ve done this twice and have gotten an ’05 Silverado 2500HD Work Truck for $215/mo lease (with 900 miles I could put on each month – was a tow vehicle so didn’t need a lot of miles) and an ’08 Silverado 1500 Ext Cab LT with a bunch of nice fixins for $253/mo with 1,300 miles I could put on it). Both leases had over 2 years left on them. Worked out great for me.

  • avatar
    JKC

    My gut says run away from any VW with an expired warranty. Maybe VW has gotten its act together, but do you really want to be a test subject trying to prove the theoretical existence of VW quality control?

  • avatar
    pg123456789

    Having owned a couple of VW/Audi, I’d say, let it go. The Audi was a disappointment with lifeless steering and clunky suspension. The GTI is a better car, better steering feel, same hard but more refined suspension. They handle well for a FWD cars. But ultimately, they were cold, competent and characterless. Nothing went wrong with them, but the problem I have is that I’m not really stirred after driving them. If something were to go wrong, I don’t think I’d be very forgiving personally and moneywise. Go for something cheaper with more character, maybe like the Saab you mentioned. I’d forgive a car with flaws (not fatal ones though) and character. You have a robust Outback, and specialist nearby. Besides, you can end the car payment and flip a cheaper car if you change your mind.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Don’t keep a VW longer than its warranty.

    Don’t buy a Saab – that just looks foolish.

    You mention ‘prestige’/’premium’ several times. I believe this value guides you more than the others.

    Your hat tips to durability, value, economy, etc. are just false. If you embrace this fact about yourself, then just lease what you want and switch cars every few years to make yourself happy and forget about maintaining them.

    • 0 avatar
      FromaBuick6

      That about covers it. Accept the costs of satisfying your fickle, prestigious vehicular tastes or be prepared to make some serious compromises in the name of frugality. A lot of self-proclaimed “enthusiasts” have a hard time doing the later. And that’s fine; in this case, if it were me, I’d just dump the GLI and lease a new GTI – without the DSG.

      That’s not me, however, as I’m currently embracing the cheapskate route after going through two not-inexpensive cars in three years. My current ride is a very low mileage, decade-old slushbox Civic that I bought dirt cheap from a family member. I purchased it as a backup to my “fun” car, but I eventually decided it was all I needed. Yes, it sucks, but somehow life goes on. Turns out I enjoy greater financial freedom more than owning whatever my current dream car is.

      To each their own. The key is owning your decisions.

  • avatar
    Wunsch

    In 2006, I bought an A3 with basically the same 2.0T engine and DSG transmission. I’d heard all the horror stories about owning German vehicles after the warranties run out, so I had no intention of keeping the car past the end of the warranty.

    Around the three-year mark, I started looking for something to replace it. By the four-year mark, I couldn’t find anything I enjoyed driving more than the A3, that would actually fulfil the practicality requirements (being a hatch/wagon). Now I’m at 5.5 years and 99,000km, well past the end of the warranty, and it’s still a great car! A few minor issues, but nothing major or expensive. The dealer has treated me well, so I’m still taking it there rather than seeking out a private shop.

    I guess my point is, if you love the car, you shouldn’t necessarily let the horror stories scare you away from buying out that lease.

  • avatar
    DeadFlorist

    Prestige=invidious pecuniary comparison=conspicuous consumption=waste to signify to the world that you are wealthy enough to waste.

    A silly game, but if you want to play it without actually forking over the Benjamins, you gotta cheat a little. Rims and Sounds are the pecuniary reputability of the poor. Lease payments on a mid-lux late model vehicle are the pecuniary reputability of the middle class. Yet both of them scream of one posing above their class, a debt slave to the end. The truly rich don’t give a monkey’s uncle of the current blue book on their car. They are the ones driving the same pristine old Benz they bought new decades ago because they like the workmanship and visibility, and new cars are just so crass in comparison. So buy that car used and enjoy the prestige that comes with not having to care about prestige.

    • 0 avatar

      Poetic.

      -either that, or a seriously Yeoman-grade troll of our resident bourgeois-philistine, @jmo; who is sure to show up and start chucking napalm any second now…

    • 0 avatar
      fincar1

      I read a book about millionaires not too long ago (but long enough ago that old-fart memory doesn’t remember the title or author’s name). The author found that there wasn’t much interest on the part of most millionaires in prestige vehicles. There was a fair amount of Panther love. Full-size pickups were also prominent.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      So buy that car used

      With the current prices so far out of line on the high side – with depreciation on a Civic or Accord linear? What possible sense does that make?

    • 0 avatar

      “Rims and Sounds are the pecuniary reputability of the poor.”

      Prose worthy of the King James Bible

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      So buy that car used and enjoy the prestige that comes with not having to care about prestige.

      What’s so wrong with a guy who presumably makes 150k wanting to spend an extra 2 or 300 a month to drive a decent car? You act like it’s such a big deal.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadFlorist

        Nothing at all “wrong” with that. Such decisions as these are happily free from much moral weight. However, if decency is defined as displaying the trappings of wealth, and the wealthy display an eccentric practicality, then the most decent car is eccentrically practical. Eccentric practicality on the cheap is not only possible, but the community here is uniquely qualified to assist (Dan’s suggestions above spring readily to mind). Additionally, as crass, showy displays of wealth are the primary province of the non-wealthy (with the crassest and showiest displays reserved for the poor), one is being substantially ripped-off by paying for pecuniary decency in the traditional way, as the product falls short in its status-conveying object relative to cheaper alternatives.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        How about just enjoying a car that you like driving? You seem to be the one attaching way too much thought to this.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadFlorist

        Enjoyment v. cost is the long and short of my personal car-buying philosophy, but the OP did mention “prestige” twice, so I hope I can be forgiven for thinking it entered into his equation.

      • 0 avatar
        Mrb00st

        “Displaying the trappings of wealth” = “Driving a Jetta”?

      • 0 avatar

        What is wrong? US sovereign debt is over 15 trillion and quickly growing beyond sustainable level. And that is because we pay 150K to “Affirmative action officers” who move papers and essentially do nothing if not worse. As Herbert Stein said: “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop” meaning either US will make meaningful and painful reforms and get rid of “Affirmative action officers” with all their perks and prestigious cars or eventually US will default (according to trend somewhere around 2020) and then not only all those officers will loose job, pensions and drive bicycles but it will be seriously painful for everyone else.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Have you considered a used Lexus? You can get AWD on the 3rd gen GS for your NJ winters.

  • avatar
    carguy

    The lease payout is surprisingly reasonable so no one can blame you for going down that road. If you’re looking for longer term value, however, I would look for a used IS350/250 – drives well and is good for 200K miles.

    • 0 avatar
      smokingclutch

      Oh really? Where is your evidence? I sold these things and they were shit compared to the 01-05 versions.

      Just because it has a Toyota VIN doesn’t mean it’s any good.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        HAHA, who needs evidence?! In “TTAC comments world”, anything made my Toyota or Honda will run for decades without anything ever going wrong (except Honda auto trans!), and anything made by VW will spontaneously combust itself within 1000 miles of the warranty expiring. Oh, and anyone considering any type of car payment over a used Panther is a narcissistic snob.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    You obviously dont drive very much… 24k in 3 yrs. The DSG is the worst thing that could possibly break on your GLI, and its covered to 100k, which at your present rate will take you another 9+ yrs. And then, IF it implodes, you could swap in a manual… $2k or so should more than cover that. The 2009 GLI has the upgraded TSI engine, it isnt known for any big problems at all, it is going to be at least as reliable as a BMW or Saab or any other European car. Dont worry about all the naysayers, if you like the car, keep it maintained and enjoy it. $15k is a pretty good price on a 2009 GLI with 24k miles, esp since you know how it was treated for each and every one of them! Any used car you buy for $15k will be an unknown, and even a Camry SE can be abused. Plus, trust me on this, if you love the GLI, you will HATE the Camry.

    BUT… if you have to finance that $15k, that may change things. VW is offering pretty sweet lease deals on the brand new GTI, you might be able to get a similar deal on a new GLI too. So you might want to lease another one.

    One more suggestion: if you are dead set on changing brands, I think you might like the Regal.

    • 0 avatar
      SherbornSean

      +1. For the same payment, he’ll have the VW paid off in 4 years. It won’t cost more than $700/year during that period to replace brakes, tires, battery and coils.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    Your mileage may vary- I have had bad luck with used VWs, but you have a sweet warranty.
    Affirmative action- isn’t that how we got stuck with Obama ?
    Giving someone a job without vetting/experience ?

    • 0 avatar
      DeadFlorist

      Yup, and meritocracy must have been how we got stuck with Obama’s predecessor, who was most certainly not the dunderheaded scion of a powerful family, no matter what the media says. And now back to cars…

    • 0 avatar
      Beerboy12

      “Affirmative action- isn’t that how we got stuck with Obama ?”
      No… he was voted in by Americans using a system called democracy… look it up some time.
      Given your lack of understanding of democracy I am trying to understand how you expect anyone to accept your take on VW?

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      No, we got stuck with Obama for 2 reasons:
      1) The Republicans didn’t field a solid candidate – and that’s before even bringing up that train wreck Palin, and
      2) Many of those who did vote for Obama did so for the same reason that Obama was running – ego. They wanted to say they voted for the first black candidate for president.

      … and that’s why I would considering buying a Cayman with the IMS risk for 15k.

      • 0 avatar
        JJ

        Doesn’t any presidential hopeful run for that reason? Or are you referring to claims that Obama is a narcissist? Is there any real substance behind that claim, by the way? Here in Europe (well ‘my’ part of Europe anyway, but I think it holds true for the most parts) I think the general feeling towards Obama is quite positive. Of course that’s in part because Bush jr wasn’t a hard act to follow and maybe because the general inclination towards socialism (somewhat unfortunately) and liberalism that the democrats seem to have more and against (rigid) religion that oftentimes afflicts the republicans.

        Anyway, seems like the GOP is unable to field any real competition (the republican candidates have been mocked here on a prominent talkshow on public TV. or rather, the reality of them is a joke) so regardless I think everyone here (who can be bothered) feels Obama is going to get another term, but some ‘Mericans ain’t so sure, no?

      • 0 avatar
        DeadFlorist

        Euros sure do love Obama, so much so that they gave him a peace prize just for being himself. Rest assured, any difference between him and his predecessor is 95% in y’all’s heads. For those on the business end of US domestic or foreign policy, the results are largely unchanged.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    Stick with VW, they are not as bad as some people would have you believe because, lets face it, if you want reliable you would buy a Toyota. Personally I would go with a standard manual… Just less to go wrong I guess.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      FWIW, my friend just sunk $2500 into fixing his 2005 VW 5-speed manual at 130k miles (tranny ate itself). But somehow I don’t think “Luiz” needs to worry about a car with that kind of mileage.

    • 0 avatar
      JJ

      The ‘VW is hopelessly unreliable’ stereotype is a US only thing. Not saying VW has the absolute best reputation for reliability here in Europe but they definitely have a solid reputation.

      I don’t know who’s wrong, but I think in the US VW offered some crappy US/Mexican built products in the past that gave them a bad reputation and they’re still stuck with it, which is their mistake of course, but in general I feel the bad rep is overplayed nowadays (I see it come back here every time a VW is reviewed/considered/glanced over).

      That said if the US VW dealers are half as bad as they’re made out to be I guess that has a lot to do with the brand’s overall perception (for reliablity as well).

      • 0 avatar
        spyked

        Exactly. In the rest of the world, VW is tops. In the States we have anti-Euro/intellectuals. Some claim they don’t buy Euro cars for political reasons. But most claim they are all terribly unreliable. Of course, no one can explain why you see plently of 30 year old Euro cars and no 30 year old Asian cars.

        You want real Euro hate? Go to the U.S. based Miata board. Nuts over there! According to some, the Mayans predicted 2012 is the end of the world and it’s all because of VW!

      • 0 avatar
        Kevin Jaeger

        This trope about VWs just gets repeated ad nauseum by Americans who don’t buy them anyway.

        Actual statistics gathered by CR or TrueDelta don’t show Mark V VWs to be worse than average reliability-wise, but this stuff will just get mindlessly repeated like a Pavlovian response on every mention of a VW.

        In any case, I am always mystified at someone being happy to pay a huge price in depreciation in financing costs of a new car lease but being afraid of a repair cost unlikely to be more than a couple of months of a lease payment?

        No matter how you cut it the next three or four years’ operating cost will be cheaper than what was spent on the lease.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I don’t know who’s wrong

        Well, you are. But reliability doesn’t matter as much in Europe, where cars tend to be driven less, company cars are more commonplace, and there are usually more transportation options if and when the car doesn’t work. In the US, where the miles pile on and the owner suffers greater costs and inconvenience when things don’t work, reliability is necessarily more important for the average driver.

        My own car is German, and in my case, it has actually been pretty good. (And it’s certainly more fun to drive than is your typical Asian equivalent.) But I’m an ideal owner for a finicky car: I don’t drive it much, I treat it like a garage queen, and I can afford to pay for the maintenance.

        Regardless of my personal experience, reliability surveys usually put them below average for a reason. It isn’t because everybody hates the Germans or due to some vast conspiracy to sabotage the results. Some buyers may get lucky or be willing to overlook these sorts of deficiencies, but not everyone gets lucky or has the required level of patience.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        The reason people will pay “huge amounts” for depreciation but not for repairs is twofold:
        1. Depreciation is a hidden expense which has no impact on monthly cash flow. It is only realized when you sell the car.
        2. For the accountants among us, depreciation is a known, predictable expense. So, for accountants (not to mention the rest of us), suffering 3,000 depreciation in a year is less traumatic than discovering tomorrow that your car is inoperable unless you spend $1,500 to repair it, while knowing that the $1,500 expenditure doesn’t insure you against another unpleasant surprise in, say, 6 months. With older cars (which have been more nearly “fully depreciated”), the probability of such an unpleasant surprise goes up substantially.

        And, a bonus reason, that leaves all but accountants scratching their heads: What to do when the cost of the repair equals or exceeds the fair market value of the car? (Hint: look at it’s “replacement cost” not what you can sell it for.)

      • 0 avatar
        JCraig

        There is a lot to be said for ‘peace of mind’ when buying new. I am willing to take the depreciation knowing my car will be problem free, and if something does happen it’s a quick swap at the dealer for a loaner and no extra cost. My current car is the first one purchased new, and it’s amazing never thinking or worrying about anything. The biggest concern is making sure I change the oil regularly.

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        The VW ‘stereotype’ is supported by lots of experience – not hearsay – which has been well-documented at TTAC and elsewhere.

        In addition to my bad 02 Passat (electrical problems, oil consumption) and a friend’s 05 Jetta mentioned above (manual transmission), another friend just traded his 2010 Golf after its wheel bearings failed to the tune of $800. It was out of warranty (43k miles), and VW only offered him ‘VW money’ to use for future purchases. Instead, he bought a Kia, which has a 10/100 warranty.

        2002, 2005, and 2010 cars are fairly recent, the dollars are significant, and the problems are real.

      • 0 avatar
        fvfvsix

        43,000 miles in two years? There’s no way in hell I’d buy any European car for that kind of mileage.
        The driving experience of the MKV and MKVI’s is not to be missed (I own a 2011 GTI with a Manual), but as mentioned earlier – these things better suit Euro driving patterns and mileage rather than US ones.

  • avatar
    MrIncognito

    Buy it with an extended warranty that’s transferable. You love the car, it’s working well, enjoy it. Then sell it when the warranty is down to 3-5 months. Buyers love a warranty on a private party transaction, it should be a breeze to sell. If things start going wrong, you can still dump it.

  • avatar
    autobahner44

    I had an 06 GLI I bought new and put almost 90K miles on it in three years, and ZERO problems. Went to a ’09 CC-again, no problems. Get the GLI

  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    This is an absolute no-brainer: buy the VW. You only put 8k miles on it per year, which means that it’ll be 2019 before the DSG warranty runs out, and at $350 or so per month, you should have paid off your note three years earlier. Which means seven more years on a car you like, three of them for “free”, with no risk of the buyer’s remorse you’re pretty likely to have moving from a fun German toy to a compromise car.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    I’d stay away from turbos for short haul. They are tough on oil but having a Saab independent nearby sounds inviting if you don’t wrench(Saab is the least expensive and easiest to wrench on)

    How about a brand new Silverado for $19K. It be worth half that in fives years.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Make an icy cold decision based on logic not emotion. Don’t just look at the buyout. To lease then buy is not a smart move, you end up over-paying by thousands.

    To lease, experience an accident then return sans added accident depreciation is the silver lining behind a dark cloud.

  • avatar
    spyked

    You have a reliable, safe, stylish, economical, fun/sporty sedan. That has Euro roots and whatever prestige that comes with. All for $15k. And you are considering getting something else?

    WHY exactly?

    My CC lease payout is $15K as well. 2.0T and DSG. No problems either. We will be keeping it. Damn, $15k can’t buy a Hyundai Elantra!

  • avatar
    theonewhogotaway

    Driving an 18 year old German car most of the time problem-free, I just cannot subscribe to the “do not keep a German car past the warantee” bit (But I never owned a VW/Audi or Benz product, so I cannot speak for those, so that is a caveat.)
    In 8 months you will be sitting with a few options, it seems, and would have $15K to spend. And I know this area’s winters (I live about 70 miles west of you on I-78.) If it were me, I would not keep it. And since you are tall, and the family already has a bigger car, you got some real options out there, if you can deal with that prestige thing… My first suggestion would be to go and locate you nearest Suzuki dealer (I know that prestige thing) and look at the SX4 (probably one of the best little hidden secrets out there) and I mean the AWD hatch mini in steroids version. Look for a manual transmission, if you can deal with that. If you cannot, look for a model with a shiftable non-CVT auto (that may take you back a few years.) Not much prestige there, but those little things handle like German cars in the turns and can get you going through 6 inches of snow no problem. And they can fit seven footer drivers and passengers up front. It is my wives’ daily (’07) and it has been extremely reliable (other than getting rid of the original crappy tires.) And they can fit 3 kids in the back no problem.
    If you are looking for a more prestigious car, that last model X3 can be had for less than that 15K here. Same with several iterrations of the 3xx XI in sedan or a wagon.
    Since you like old cars, and you are open to smaller budget and no payment thing, and you have 8 months to go, you might want to look around for an e28 325ix, but, let me tell you, there will be a lot of competition for those in your area ;)

  • avatar
    George B

    If you like your GLI, buy it, but find a good independent mechanic just in case. I can’t think of a better choice if your buyout price is low.

    Sanjeev, Hertz says I just put 2122 miles on a 2010 Camry SE in a week and while I like the car, it’s very different than driving a Jetta. I rented the Camry SE specifically because my girlfriend decided we should haul a child’s bed, toy chest, and an IKEA kitchen table kit to her sister on our Christmas road trip. Drove it 940 miles in a day yesterday and my back is not sore. The Camry is Impala huge which is great for hauling furniture on I-20 and not so great on narrow streets with small parking spaces. SE basically means Camry with Honda suspension tuning and steering effort, but with Toyota sound insulation.

  • avatar
    skotastic

    I drive a 39 year old BMW. Works great…though the body won’t last long in NJ…

  • avatar
    raincoconuts

    You enjoy the car, no known issues, trouble free. Relatively inexpensive buy. Keep it till the wheels fall off-your wife may appreciate that too!

  • avatar
    Spartan

    I remember when my elementary school principal became a “principal” back in the late 80s. She bought a 1990 Mercedes 300E in white with all the trimmings. She still has that car to this day.

    So FWIW, if you want to be comfortable and have some prestige without coming off as a douche (read: BMW), then I’d buy an E350 and call it a day. Last gen model since by the later years all the kinks were worked out.

    Just my .02 cents.

  • avatar
    sidedraft36

    If your GLI is half the car my GTI is (and I know it is…except for that goofy DSG transmission…) then I’d keep the VeeDub. The Mk 5′s are the last of the REAL GLi’s. Hold on tight to that bad-boy. You’re a “car enthusiast.” So, man-up and drive something with a little life still in it. Won’t be long till they out-law forced induction, direct injection, 100 BHP per liter slot cars and we’re all be buzzzzzing around in 500cc gas/electric hybrid hell. Then, at least you can say to yourself, “Man, that VW was such a great car. Glad I was able to own one while there was still time!” Carpe Diem – we’re all food for worms, boys!

    Oh, and don’t fall for the Camry trick. Even the SE is slow ‘death by appliance.’ I know, I drove enough of them. None come close to a good german scoot. Keep the GLI!

  • avatar
    graham

    Keep it! Everyone knows an older VW is way cooler then a new one.

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    As an “Affirmative Action Officer” you should be less concerned with picking the best car for the job, and more concerned that it is the “right” color.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Keep the car. Given that you are a low mileage driver, your biggest car ownership expense is depreciation, which is largely independent of how many miles you drive (unlike repairs, maintenance and fuel). The way to drive that expense down is to not buy (or lease) a new car every 3 years. If you have a car that you like and has served you well, then keep it. I have owned my current car for 8 years, and my previous car I owned for 11 years. I liked them both. The car before that (a 1987 Mustang GT 5.0) was a little too “rude and crude” for me, so I sold it after 5 years.

    And an unsolicited bit of advice: in your line of work it is probably not a good career move to flash an expensive piece of German automotive machinery around. It sends out a message you should not be wanting to send.

    Just sayin . . .

  • avatar
    rickyc

    I had an MKV GTI for 2 years and 25k miles and it was a great car. I had it chipped to 250hp and it gave me no problems during those 2 years. However the a/c was weak, something since day one and the dealer could never find something wrong with it. Aside from that i was pretty much a great all around car.

    • 0 avatar
      fvfvsix

      I never understood the “AC was weak” comments. It’s over 110 degrees here for nearly 2 months every year, and I feel the AC is at least adequate. the Recirc button has a purpose…

  • avatar
    Diesel Fuel Only

    VW’s are very rust-resistant, which would be good for your area. The paintwork on VW’s is also very good compared to other small cars (I’ve owned VW & Toyota & grew up in a Chevrolet household), though black would not be my choice. The body is very tough and strong and has a high safety rating – the Golf had the highest score of any car tested in Europe a few years ago. From that perspective it is a very smart buy.

    If you do keep it, the DSG must be serviced according to the guidelines in your owners manual, no exceptions & no skipped services. Same goes for oil changes given that you have a turbo – you should change at calendar intervals if you’re not driving enough miles in a year – moisture will accumulate and oxidize the stuff eventually. You need to use VW approved motor oil for an FSI engine, not just any old oil. Dealer prices for service vary, so call around or use an independent if possible. You must factor in annual maintenance in the cost of ownership for any car – budget a few Benjamins per month for service and the same amount for tires. This is probably less than most people pay for everyday b/s anyway, but some people prefer their b/s.

    BTW, with the DSG you should set the parking brake before you shift to park – it has to do with VW’s rear brake caliper setup and it keeps stress off the parking pawl in the gearbox.

    -0-0-0-0-

    On the “VW’s will detonate the day after the warranty” bit…

    Years ago, several US railroads bought German made diesel-hydraulic locomotives in stead of US made diesel-electrics because of the superior power to weight ratios of the Mekydro & Voith hydraulic transmission equipped unit-body locomotives.

    They quickly gained a reputation for unreliability and complexity and were scrapped.

    Oddly enough, the same locomotives in Germany, Finland, etc. ran for decades. The UK built 400 under license and some are still preserved. The difference – US railroads historically ran equipment until it broke, European railroads maintained the equipment religiously. The lesson – don’t show up for class without doing your homework and expect to pass. It may work at the University of Weehawken but will not work at Princeton. The Euro philosophy tolerates complexity and more intensive maintenance as the trade off for better performance and higher efficiency. Some engines are designed with any old oil in mind. The TDI & FSI engines are not designed to use any old oil. The DSG has superior performance in continuous power delivery over slushboxes and manuals, the price is that it requires radiator cooling and a certain grade of fluid in the gearbox, not just any old degraded tranny fluid.

    I know three people who burned up German cars (two Mercs; one VW) because they never changed their oil – you know, even after it started making funny noises (one was my “superior” – needless to say I no longer work there!). They all drive Toyo & Mazda products now). There is just a different expectation about maintenance – vs. expecting it to work when you have done none. It usually goes for other areas of the vehicle owner’s personality and work as well, IMHO.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      So how exactly do you maintain a flywheel? A crankshaft position sensor? Followed by the crankshaft itself (lifters too)? An AC compressor? A power lock (3)? A dashboard light? A radio? Defogger?

      These cars were bumper to bumper crap. Don’t try to blame it on what was in the oil pan.

      • 0 avatar
        Eurylokhos

        That’s just what I was thinking. I never read any maintenance procedures for the flywheel that exploded in under a year and 10k miles in my DSG equipped 06 TDI Jetta. Same with the sunroof that would randomly open and close on its own or the locks that did the same. Or my Mother’s EOS that won’t let the top go up and down 75% of the time despite it only having 5k miles on it, or the trash Beetle they bought back under lemon law from my Father. PLEASE SHOW ME HOW TO MAINTAIN THOSE IN A SERVICE MANUAL!

        VWs are trash. Maybe they aren’t over in Europe, but the crap that they pump out of the plants in Mexico is all garbage, even if they are beautiful and drive great. Problem is, you have to appreciate them as stationary art.

        Make them reliable and I’ll buy another. I don’t expect perfection or low maintenance, but when the attention to detail and craftsmanship of English assembly combined with German complexity of my Mini Cooper S blows something away in reliability you know there is a problem.

  • avatar
    ldl20

    Guys: Thanks for the advice. The B&B has done it again. I finally decided to officially sign up after reading this terrific blog for the past year or so. FOLLOW UP: Long story short, I leased a 12 Jetta SEL (stick, at least) for 299, 36 months, sign and drive (not one cent out of pocket), and they made the last three payments on my GLI (which I miss, of course!).

    BTW: The Affirmative Action Officer just means I have to ensure my school district’s 5 schools are up to code with respect to tolerance, diversity, anti-bullying strategies, etc.. I don’t have a gun, but I do have to train staff members on how to avoid sexual harassment claims, which is real fun.
    Thanks,
    Luis (not “Luiz”)

  • avatar
    fvfvsix

    You’d be doing yourself a favor to spend the $15K on the GLI, and find a good independent service facility in your area (Jersey has a few). Get the DSG 40K service done, and enjoy the car. In a few more years, buy something cheap (and japanese) and make the GLI a third car. VW’s seem to fare better over long periods with light usage rather than the US model of near constant usage. Some people can’t fathom doing this, and I completely understand… but if you like the GLI, you should eventually buy something else to beat the snot out of.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    Last word ((possibly)
    @ beerBOY- You do not know whereof you speak. The United States of America is a representative republic- not a democracy. That is THE final answer.


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