Is America's Last $15,000 Midsize Sedan Worth It?

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang
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Volkswagen has recently confessed admitted to a steep decline in sales this past November thanks to a 25-percent decline for the Volkswagen brand and a mind bending, 60-percent cliff dive for the soon-to-be replaced Volkswagen Passat.

Apparently, there are still plenty of 2015 Passats and Jettas available to loyal would-be owners along with a variety of other weird birds, such as the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle R-Line Convertible and whatever dark backlot corner is still molderizing the aptly named Final Edition Volkswagen Eos.

All this corporate bloodletting brings on an interesting distinction for the Passat. You can now buy the very last, brand-new mid-sized sedan in America that is less than $15,000: a 2015 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T S with a 5-speed manual.

Should you?

My short answer is yes for an all-too-select few of the Best & Brightest.

If the car of your dreams is a large and fairly well appointed mid-size German sedan with a 1.8-liter turbocharged engine, no infotainment (but yes to Bluetooth), and a stickshift that almost maximizes your miles per gallon, do test drive a Passat. A 40-percent discount off MSRP is not a common day occurrence in the new car market, and I can see this exact type of vehicle working well with a specific set of folks.

Who exactly? Well, those of us who do a lot of traveling and could use all that room on a tight budget, for starters. Take that group and divide it buy the number of current Volkswagen owners who would be interested in this unique specimen, and you may have just enough interest to clear out the Volkswagen backlots in about six or seven months

In the world of road warriors, there are a few lucky drivers who pile up 30,000+ miles a year. These traveling folks want a car that can handle the rigors of highway driving with a lot of space, a suspension that doesn’t wallow like a late model Town Car, and has no serious noise issues. Highway miles aren’t exactly hellish on a vehicle. In fact, in the auction business, one of the more common formulas for auctioneers is to buy a relatively cheap midsize to fullsize car with 100,000 miles for around $5,000 to $7,000, then drive it until it hits around 250,000 miles.

You then sell that car for around $2,000, buy yourself another one, rinse and repeat. This method not only helps auctioneers easily track their mileage for tax purposes (a need for all self-employed road warriors), but also allows them to buy some of the more heavily discounted metal for a couple of quarters on the retail dollar.

Pontiac Bonnevilles, Hyundai Azeras, Saturn Auras and Toyota Solaras may be the bane of enthusiast tastes, but these vehicles have depreciation curves that make them pretty solid deals in the wholesale market. The public doesn’t want them, and that means there’s value to be had with these unloved rides. The same is true with this Passat, except it’s not used — just virtually impossible to sell at the moment.

Is a Volkswagen Passat S that can be had for less than $15,000 worth it to someone you know?

Steven Lang
Steven Lang

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  • Volt 230 Volt 230 on Dec 06, 2015

    I did a 500 mile search on and could not find one for less than $18k This seems bogus.

  • Jacob Jacob on Dec 09, 2015

    Sounds like a nice tuner car. Drive the hell out of it while under warranty, then chip the engine, install a sport suspension, performance tires, and high end aftermarket audiosystem.

  • 28-Cars-Later "But Assemblyman Phil Ting, the San Franciscan Democrat who wrote the electric school bus legislation, says this is all about the health and wellbeing of Golden State residents. In addition to the normal air pollution stemming from exhaust gasses, he believes children are being exposed to additional carcinogens by just being on a diesel bus."Phil is into real estate, he doesn't know jack sh!t about science or medicine and if media were real it would politely remind him his opinions are not qualified... if it were real. Another question if media were real is why is a very experienced real estate advisor and former tax assessor writing legislation on school busses? If you read the rest of his bio after 2014, his expertise seems to be applied but he gets into more and more things he's not qualified to speak to or legislate on - this isn't to say he isn't capable of doing more but just two years ago Communism™ kept reminding me Dr. Fauxi knew more about medicine than I did and I should die or something. So Uncle Phil just gets a pass with his unqualified opinions?Ting began his career as a real estate  financial adviser at  Arthur Andersen and  CBRE. He also previously served as the executive director of the  Asian Law Caucus, as the president of the Bay Area Assessors Association, and on the board of  Equality California. [url=][1][/url][h3][/h3]In 2005, Ting was appointed San Francisco Assessor-Recorder in 2005 by Mayor  Gavin Newsom, becoming San Francisco’s highest-ranking  Chinese-American official at the time. He was then elected to the post in November 2005, garnering 58 percent of the vote.Ting was re-elected Assessor-Recorder in 2006 and 2010During his first term in the Assembly, Ting authored a law that helped set into motion the transformation of Piers 30-32 into what would become  Chase Center the home of the  Golden State Warriors
  • RHD This looks like a lead balloon. You could buy a fantastic classic car for a hundred grand, or a Mercedes depreciationmobile. There isn't much reason to consider this over many other excellent vehicles that cost less. It's probably fast, but nothing else about it is in the least bit outstanding, except for the balance owed on the financing.
  • Jeff A bread van worthy of praise by Tassos.
  • Jeff The car itself is in really good shape and it is worth the money. It has lots of life left in it and can easily go over 200k.
  • IBx1 Awww my first comment got deletedTake your “millennial anti theft device” trope and wake up to the fact that we’re the only ones keeping manuals around.