By on April 26, 2016

2016 Mazda6 at LA Auto Show

Andre writes:

Bark,

I’ve lurked on TTAC for around eight months and just registered to ask for a recommendation. (Thanks! —Bark)

My daily driver is a 2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDI, and it’s likely I’ll be taking the buyback option on the vehicle based on the agreement-in-principle between VW and the government on the “defeat device.” It’s been a great car (stone reliable, a miracle according to the B&B), but any fix is likely to cut both performance and fuel mileage.

The question is, what to replace it with?

Things I like about the Jetta that I’d also like to have in its replacement:

  • Engaging driving experience.
  • Able to fit real adults in the back seat.
  • Large trunk.
  • Stick shift.
  • Straightforward, no-nonsense gauges and controls.

Things complicating the decision:

  • I’d really prefer another manual-transmission car, and those seem to be a vanishing breed.
  • I’m in the Denver area, so need something that’s not hopeless in the snow (with proper tires) and won’t run out of breath in the mountains.
  • I’d like to move up on the refinement scale, but …
  • … I’m cheap. My income, credit rating, and bank balance would easily get me into a premium ride, but I just can’t see paying $40,000 or more for a car.
  • I tend to keep cars a long time, so out-of-warranty repair costs do matter and I don’t know that a lease would make any sense.

Putting all those together makes it hard to find a car I’d be happy with in the long-term. I suspect I’ll have to compromise on the stick shift as there are so few choices left. My preference is to stay with a sedan. My wife has a hatchback and we’ve found it handy to have one of each, and I already have an impractical second car in the form of an NA Miata.

What’s the best blend of refinement, sportiness, big-enough-for-adults, price, and reliability out there?

Congratulations on an incredibly well written and well-thought-out letter, Andre. Also, thank you for already owning an NA Miata so that some dipshit here doesn’t recommend one for you — although, I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody recommended that you buy a second one.

I think that you have a few more options than you might think, Dre. (Can I call you Dre? Because I’ve always wanted a friend named Dre.) Let’s investigate some of them.

If you’ve read Ask Bark for any length of time, you probably know that the first rule of Ask Bark is that you don’t talk about Ask Bark. No, wait, that’s not right. The first rule of Ask Bark is that we don’t compromise on car purchases. Like, not never. There are just too many options and choices available at every price point to buy a car that doesn’t check all the boxes.

Therefore, I’m not going to let you compromise on your stick shift requirement. You put it first on the list, so I know it’s important to you. While you’re right that several OEMs ditched manual transmissions for 2016 in models that previously offered them, we can still find certified examples. So no compromising. Got it?

Now, which cars are offered with a manual transmission, powerful enough to be fun to drive, have a real trunk, are a step up in refinement from the Jetta, and are practical enough to go in the snow? I have ideas.

If you like your Jetta, then why not keep it in the VAG family (that sounds dirty) and step up a bit into an Audi A4? Here’s a certified example close by that’s well within your price range and ticks nearly every box. The one requirement you have is the ability to have cheap out-of-warranty repairs. Still, it’s a car that’s well within the paradigm your mind has created around your Jetta. Unfortunately, you can’t get the manual transmission any more in the new A3 or A4, so you’ve got to go lightly used. The Audi Certified warranty isn’t the best, either — it only extends the original warranty by two years or 50,000 miles. So, while I like this option, I think we can do better.

I’ve tried to avoid recommending the Honda Accord V6 EX-L sedan to you, mostly because this isn’t an Ask Jack column, but it’s really hard to come up with reasons not to recommend it. It really does check every box that you have. Best driving dynamics of any car in the class, high quality materials and construction, full-sized back seat, and a real trunk. In fact it’s … wait, what’s that? You can’t get the V6 sedan with a stick shift? Oh, for crying out loud. That’s just stupid. Well, scratch that one-off.

Another car that dropped the manual transmission option for 2016 is the Buick Regal GS, but you better believe that there are plenty of 2015s left on the lot around the country (I’ve even seen a 2014 or two), and the manual transmission cars, in particular, are lot poison. The sticker might say $40,000, but discounts of six or seven large aren’t uncommon at this point. If you can find a certified example, even better. The depreciation is strong with these cars. However, they have a torquey motor and a large-ish trunk. You’ll notice a real step up from your Jetta in refinement and interior materials. It might not be the first car that jumps to mind when you think of a fun to drive sedan, but all the better for you when you’re negotiating the price down. The Regal GS is a real sleeper of a car that deserves your attention. However, you might not love the Buick brand, and who could blame you? So let’s keep looking.

Again, this is TTAC, so I better mention the WRX. And then I’m going to unmention it, because you said the word “refinement.” Move along. Nothing to see here.

So with all that being said, I guess we’re gonna reach peak auto journo, because I’m about to recommend the Mazda6 to you. Loved by all and bought by none, the Mazda6 Touring is about as close as we’re going to get to fulfilling all of your requirements. It’s not as peppy as the Regal, but it’s considerably less expensive. It’s got a real back seat and a real trunk. You’re going to get good fuel economy (37 mpg estimated). The SkyActiv motors haven’t been around long enough for us to have a great sense of how reliable they’ll be long-term, but I don’t have any real reason to think that they won’t be. Plus, the nice thing about having a Mazda6 is that you won’t see yourself coming and going like you would with the Accord, and you get a bit of enthusiast street cred out of it.

However, the very best thing about the Mazda6 is that it stickers for about $25,000 with a whole list of standard features, which satisfies your cheap requirement better than just about anything else we’re talking about here. Not only that, they’re offering zero-percent financing over 36 months, so you can pay it off quickly and cheaply. And if you’ve enjoyed the quirky Volkswagen owner experience, the Mazda experience will make you feel right at home. It’s possible that I’m still coming down from the rush of driving a Mazda at over 130 mph at Watkins Glen this past weekend, but I still think you should check it out. Go drive one and let me know what you think.

Bark M. is simultaneously remorseful that he ever sold his RX-8 and thrilled that he sold his RX-8. Also, Mazda is the only OEM to ever send Bark a check, thanks to his SCCA MAZDASPEED contingency awards. Please help him focus on something other than his internal conflict and strife and write him an email at [email protected] or tweet him at @barkm302

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173 Comments on “Ask Bark: Buyback is a Bitch...”


  • avatar
    seth1065

    The 6 is a good choice assuming Mazda has solved their rust issues, no idea if they have or not, also I would check the forums to see how they are in mountains areas. Not a Ford product mentioned , I am proud of you Bark. I assume you will be getting a few of these types of letters from TDI owners in the coming months. I would roll the dice on the Audi for the overall car and he liked his VW. If he could live w/o the stick the Accord is a good choice or maybe a used TL or TSX.

    • 0 avatar
      Feds

      As someone who drove a Protege5 through 11 Ontario winters: Secondary Rust Proofing is your friend. Pick your favorite brand, but Krown kept my rear fenders and hatch rust free until the day I sold it.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      The Accord 4cylinder manual is still quite a bit quicker than the Mazda. Still, Mazda comes in just below the Accord:
      http://www.caranddriver.com/flipbook/buy-this-not-that-every-family-sedan-ranked-from-worst-to-best

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      Mazda changed their steel protection in 2008 or so. No idea what result it’s had, but at least we know they did something.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        my BIL bought a Mazda 3 in 2008, and it’s been through 8 Michigan winters now with no visible rust. IIRC previously they were only doing a phosphate conversion dip, now they’re doing a multi-stage dip like everyone else.

      • 0 avatar
        Giltibo

        My wife’s 2012 Mazda 5’s body and bottom look much worse than my 2008 Accord… YMMV

        • 0 avatar
          paulinvegas

          I’ve got a 2009 Mazda6 with the V6. No rust (but that’s not really a problem in Vegas). Great car and lots of room for kids and their associated cr*p. Fun to drive and it’s been hugely reliable.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    What about the new Civic? I’ve not driven one, but it’s had very favorable reviews. And they even switched to a traditional cockpit layout, which was a criterion you mentioned.

    • 0 avatar
      yamahog

      That’s a really good suggestion actually. Especially if OP can wait until the stick comes out. The dash seems a lot like a W220’s dash which is excellent.

      At the risk of derailing this with theology – I don’t blindly support manual transmissions. The manual transmission on my old Hyundai wasn’t good (though it was better than the automatic). But when a manual transmission is great (like an old Civic) it’s sublime.

      Apparently the Honda Civic is going to get a great transmission. People get insanely good mileage with the 1.5 turbo (45-50 on the freeway) and mid-30s around town. It’s at least as comfortable as a run of the mill midsize sedan and except for the rear room, it’s not a huge step down in useful size from my full size car.

      OP should check it out. If you’re fine with a CVT, you can get one with the turbo and all the safety gear for like 23.5k MSRP.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      I would also nominate the ever-popular Focus ST. Checks all the boxes and has great cargo capacity.

      • 0 avatar
        Lythandra

        I just picked up a 16 Focus ST about 2 months ago. Decent car and the price is indeed good. With all options checked I got out the door for right under $29k. I had $5k off msrp. My only realy complaint is that the hatch isn’t designed well. Back seats are not even close to flat and theres a extra large height difference between the hatch part and back seat folded down part. Theres also zero hooks to tie down on. Otherwise I’m happy with it.

      • 0 avatar
        5280thinair

        (Original poster here.) I might be wrong, but my general impression of Ford’s ST models is they’d fail to achieve the “step up in refinement” goal. That said, I have a coworker who’s telling me to hold out until the Focus RS becomes available stateside…

        • 0 avatar
          Lythandra

          I thought about waiting for the RS but highly doubtful you will even get it for MSRP the first year plus while the extra power is certainly nice I decided I just didn’t need it. The $5k off helped a bit also in deciding. I came from a VW GTI and I would say its a tad bit down in refinement from the GTI.

        • 0 avatar
          john yossarian

          I’d readily recommend a Golf R if you were happy with VW. I picked up a 2016 model with the 6-speed manual and love it. It’s less than your $40k limit, but barely. Mine is a base model that stickered for $36k.

          It’s definitely a step up in refinement from a Jetta. If you can find a dealer that’ll sell you one without markup then I recommend it.

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        The Focus ST lacks in the actual back seat department though, especially with the optional Recaros. And as for the RS? Refinement is likely the furthest thing from what they have in mind on that one – you’re trading it for balls out craziness.

  • avatar
    duncanator

    If he likes his Jetta TDI so much, why not keep it? Unless they’re forcing him to trade it in, I see no reason he can’t keep driving it.

    • 0 avatar
      Truckducken

      If he lives in a state that tests emissions, he will likely be forced to endure the ‘fix’, which will likely rob power and economy. If he doesn’t, then I agree with you.

      • 0 avatar

        You have to assume the “fix” is pretty bad, otherwise VW would’ve built them to pass in the first place.

        • 0 avatar
          jmo

          The issue wasn’t being able to do it. VW could have easily gotten them to pass. The issue was doing it at a given price point – which was impossible.

          • 0 avatar
            notwhoithink

            The issue was doing it at a given price point, with a certain level of reliability, and without impacting fuel economy or performance. There is literally no way on earth that VW can “fix” a 2010 Jetta TDI (remember, this one has no AdBlue) in a way that does not reduce fuel economy and power.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The “fix” will most likely be comprised of a token effort that does nothing except to check off a box on the settlement agreement between the regulators and VAG. I wouldn’t worry about it.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Yep, in Colorado we do emissions testing. No emissions sticker = no tag renewal. Sadness ensues.

        • 0 avatar
          2KAgGolfTDI

          In Colorado, the emissions test for diesels only measures smoke opacity, it does not measure HC or CO2 or NOx. Any TDI will pass emissions here, as long as it doesn’t fill the air with black smoke.

          • 0 avatar
            5280thinair

            (Original poster here.) That’s assuming the state doesn’t require proof that the fix (assuming there is a fix for the 2010 models) has been applied in order to pass emissions. That’s a given in California (where the DMV already has enforced recalls in order to renew registration) but it remains to be seen if Colorado will do something similar.

    • 0 avatar
      5280thinair

      (Original poster here.) I do live in an emissions test area, and while there’s no guarantee yet that Colorado will force VW TDIs to be fixed or returned it’s a very real possibility. There’s also the specter of the TDI’s dreaded “high pressure fuel pump” failure that can ruin the entire engine. VW upped the warranty on that to 10 years/100,000 miles, but I’m only four years from that expiring. If I’m going to sell the car before that, doing the buyback is almost certainly going to get me the most $$ back out of the car.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      Moving laterally to a gas Jetta might also be an option. Sport trims sell for $17-18k with the stick all day long around me and they’re fairly common if the dealer has any sports available in the first place.

      They have leatherette and heated seats, Carplay/Android Auto, still get 36mpg, and are bank vault quiet compared to my current commuter Mazda 3. I test drove one a couple weeks ago and liked it enough to put it on my short list.

      The MKVI are much more refined than the MKV and have a great-sized back seat too, unless OP is looking more for the outside appearance of refinement.

  • avatar
    s_w_hill

    Thank you for the question, Dre. Thanks to Bark for the answer as well. I find myself in almost the same predicament as Dre with the exception of the manual favoritism. However, I am considering one of the mini SUVs as I am 6’5″ and old, so climbing into cars is no fun these days. I have the Mazda CX5 high on the list as well as the Jeep Cherokee. The benefit for me with the Mazda is that the dealer i would likely take my Jetta back to also has a Mazda dealership. May get a better deal that way.

    The problem I have is this, my Jetta needs the timing belt replaced. I am at 125K. However, I have no desire to drop $800 to get it done when I know the car is going away soon. Thoughts?

    • 0 avatar

      $800 is cheaper than catastrophic engine failure. Unless you’re getting rid of it like, now, get it done.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Oh, I misread that. I thought you’d said the belt would soon need replacing. If it *needs* it now, get it done.

        Also, I don’t recommend the Cherokee.

        • 0 avatar
          s_w_hill

          “Needs” it based on their recommendations.

        • 0 avatar
          hybridkiller

          “Also, I don’t recommend the Cherokee.”

          Please elaborate? I have 2 family members who bought V6 KLs and love them (and these are people who are not easily satisfied).
          I love my Golf and it has been rock solid as well but I may take the buyback if the alternative is a neutered TDI. Have been considering a V6 Trailhawk (among other things) as a replacement.

      • 0 avatar
        s_w_hill

        I wonder if they will buy it back even if the engine fails?

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I’d hold off on the timing belt, too.

      I also like your CX-5 suggestion; it’s a very competent little crossover. I had a 2016 CX-5 as a rental last year, and it was great. The 2017 Escape looks a lot better than the pre-refresh version, but don’t expect much of a discount.

    • 0 avatar
      slance66

      I bought a CX-5 last August for mostly similar reasons. It’s a great little car. Make sure it has the 2.5L. Headroom in it is pretty remarkable.

      • 0 avatar
        Funky

        You’ve probably already guessed that I, also, would recommend the CX-5. I just returned from another 500+ mile trip in mine. It is very easy to live with. It is competent on a variety of types of roads. And plenty of room for the family and pets.

  • avatar
    smartascii

    Out of curiosity, is there a reason that the Jetta GLI is not in the running, Bark? It’s cheaper than the A4, and it’s bigger than the 2010, with updated electronics this year to make it at least class-competitive on that front. Also, VW dealers are pretty desperate to sell cars these days, so I’m sure some discounts could be negotiated…

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      He’s got a sedan preference. If the sedan isn’t really a big deal, a GTI, Golf R, FiST, FoST, and FoRS all can come out and play. Their turbos would take the sting out of the elevation.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      GLI or GTI seem like a no-brainer here. If gas mileage matters, you’ll be within spitting distance with a Jetta or Golf 1.8T.

    • 0 avatar

      A couple of reasons: First, he wants to step up in refinement. The GLI isn’t really going to deliver that. Second, and this is the biggie, is that Audi, despite using basically the same engines, has had better reliability than VW. I suspect they use high-quality components in the engine. This means that, according to CR, the A4 stick is actually a pretty safe bet.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        The 2010 Jetta was an MKV. That is basically 2 generations old in VW speak. The GLI has tons of improvements over the much maligned base models (independent rear suspension, soft touch interior).

    • 0 avatar
      5280thinair

      (Original poster here.) I did check out a GLI a few months ago when I had my TDI at the dealer for servicing. It’s a possibility, but:

      – While the current Jettas aren’t nearly as cheap-feeling as the 2011s (I bought one of the tail-end 2010s specifically because I didn’t like the bigger-but-cheaper 2011s), to me the 2016 still feels like a bit of a step down from my 2010. Things like no rear seat vent, cheap gooseneck hinges on the trunk, etc. I sat in a GTI right after getting done with the GLI and thought it felt much nicer inside.
      – I’m not sure I want to reward VW with any more business after their defeat-device shenanigans.
      – Based on reputation I seem to have been extremely lucky to have gotten an almost problem-free VW. Do I want to roll the dice on that again?

      Other than the general VW issues mentioned above, the GTI would be a serious contender if it had a trunk rather than a hatchback. As mentioned when I asked Bark, we already have one hatchback in the family and I’ve found it very handy to have one hatchback and one sedan. The GTIs not completely out of the question, but won’t be on the radar until I’ve finished checking out sedans.

  • avatar
    Jack Baruth

    What was this dude’s name again?

    Oh, yeah.

    It was Dre.

    I forgot about Dre.

  • avatar
    dougjp

    Mazda 3?

  • avatar
    nickoo

    Did you really just recommend a regal? That car is an unreliable p o s

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Why not keep it in the VWAG family and get a GTI?

    Stickshift? Yes.
    Fits adults? Yes.
    Large trunk? Yes.
    Simple controls? You better believe it.
    Engaging driving experience? If the 3 I drove is any indication of where Mazda is in that regard, the GTI will feel like a GT3 by comparison.

    Plus VW dealers are in dire straits so they will definitely cut you a deal. And you can buy a warranty once the factory warranty runs out. No naturally aspirated 4 banger mainstreamer is going to give you the urge you need at altitude.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I think you’ve become TTAC’s biggest GTI fan. I can’t wait until you tell us you’ve bought one. If you wait until July or August when the model-year closeout happens, they’ll probably have even better deals than they do now.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        I bought my Civic only a year and a half ago, so realistically a GTI is not in my cards any time soon. But I do think it is a phenomenal value. Working man’s 911. Closest I will be able to come to that is a new Tiguan for my wife… only if the version we get is not too huge. I want something the size of the Q5, which will most likely be a used Q5 or MKC, or a new Tuscon 1.6T/Sportage 2.0T. But for me personally, some suspension work, a new stereo and if fortune allows, a turbocharger, will be enough to keep me in the Civic for a while. Plus a couple of years will let me see what problems the GTI might have, at which point I could just get a used one.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “No naturally aspirated 4 banger mainstreamer is going to give you the urge you need at altitude.”

      This. It won’t be an issue in Denver, which is at 5280 feet, but up in the mountains you want as much torque as you can get, otherwise, with a naturally aspirated four-banger, you end up buzzing up I-70 at 5,000 rpm to keep up with traffic. Not pleasant.

    • 0 avatar
      5280thinair

      (Original poster here.) As I mentioned in my reply to some other comments, the strikes against the GTI are “Still a VW” (do I want to reward them with more money after this, and while my current VW has been reliable I appear to have been really lucky on that account) and a hatchback when I’d prefer a trunk (wife already has a hatchback, and I’ve found it good to have one of each as they’re each better suited to carrying particular types of loads.)

      I’ve read great things about the GTI, and it’s not completely out of the question, but finding a sedan that meets my criteria is my top preference.

  • avatar
    maxxcool7421

    335d, 550d, 755d … spendy. But ‘Refined” and still German and still diesel.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      An E90 335d is kind of on the radar now. That was a seriously cool car, and there’s nothing quite like it.

      • 0 avatar

        I was hot for a 335d before I bought my 2010 TDI, but if you look at the forums, there are some issues with intake valve buildup, which lead to 10k repair jobs…..

        Worse, was I test drove an MSport version, which was just amazing ! Big Block Torque-I drove up the back of Harriman State Park, and saw a speed I won’t report at the end of a long, long uphill. All the e90 goodness and 400 ft/lb TQ. I didn’t even miss the manual. Still, the propensity for the EGR to choke the engines requiring full teardown and walnut shell blasting, out of warranty, killed it.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I gotta say…an E90 335d is kind of on the radar now. That was a seriously cool car, and there’s nothing quite like it.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I drove a 335d, Kyree. Enough torque to pull stumps with, so around town or on the highway, it’s a beast. But once you spin it past 3,500 rpm or so, there’s nothing there.

        I also drove a manual 335i and it was probably one of the greatest drives I ever had. BRILLIANT car.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          I can’t see why anyone would get the 335d over the 335i. OK, the 335i is kind of obvious and generic…. but it’s also flipping brilliant. The E90 is on my short list.

          Diesel enthusiasm in general eludes me, especially now in the context of the “dieselfication” of the gas engine. That new 1.8 TSI pulls like a freight train from idle to about 4000, but doesn’t completely fall on its face all the way up top. And it doesn’t sound like a school bus either :)

    • 0 avatar
      xflowgolf

      335d is on my list. I’m in the buyback crowd with my ’11 Golf TDI.

      The lack of manual is a downer, but the gross amounts of torque and power potential of these would make up for it.

      To the guy who doesn’t get the diesel hype, a lot of it has to do with how you use the car. I’m not an average driver, I do 40K+ miles per year. The calmness that the torque of a diesel brings about on the interstate, the effortlessness, the low RPM’s, all bring an ease about it that’s hard to replicate. It’s not how it drives at 10/10ths, it’s how it drives at 1/4 throttle (where most actually drive most of the time) with that oomph needed to surge amidst traffic effortlessly.

      On top of that, once you get a 600 mile tank range, going back to 350 miles or less sucks. …and doing this in something that’s not a penalty box to drive? priceless.

  • avatar

    “… I’m cheap. My income, credit rating, and bank balance would easily get me into a premium ride, but I just can’t see paying $40,000 or more for a car.”

    You and me both. Especially when there’s so many great cars out there that tick the right boxes for dirt cheap used.

    Since the man likes Volkswagen, what about a late-model gas-powered GTI?

  • avatar
    bubbajet

    Sadly, Mr. Bark discounts the Accord 4-cylinder with the manual – which you can still buy. The two potential downsides: it’s not the most refined ride out there, particularly when it comes to noise; and with more than two adults in there the performance, which is already mostly feel and less go, dwindles to “we’ll get there…in a while.” Or get a lightly used Accord 6-cylinder if you can find one and pry it out of the owner’s hands.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      The Accord Sport is really, really good. Too bad they can’t offer CarPlay in it, but it’s still a great car, especially for the long-term enthusiast.

      I’d downsize those ridiculous 19″ wheels for 17s or smaller, though.

      • 0 avatar

        Can’t you get the manual with other trimlines in the US? In Canada you can also option a 4-cylinder Touring. Which gets you every feature possible on the Accord, minus the V6. I thought that in the US you can get the stick on the EX-L, which would have smaller rims.

        • 0 avatar
          kvndoom

          No, Honda with all their benevolence builds those in Ohio and ships them to Canada exclusively. The last 4 cylinder EXL manual you could buy in the US was in 2009.

      • 0 avatar
        omer333

        This. To both.

        I’m in SLC and my Accord Sport does pretty well, even with five adults. Although, there was one time driving around a neighborhood in the foothills I thought the engine was really working hard to make it uphill.

        Yet, I was able to make it to Wyoming for illegal beer and lottery tickets with no trouble.

      • 0 avatar
        kvndoom

        He’s better off with the EX than the Sport. The Sport is the emperors new clothes.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Surprisingly, I have to agree on the 6, given all the constraints.

    Absolutely avoid the A4 with 2.0T engine – look up “oil consumption A4” and you’ll see. Two friends have had their engines rebuilt for this issue, both around 50k miles, as a result of a class-action lawsuit.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      A senior Audi tech I know says that this problem has been fixed in newer cars.
      He also says that it only happened to customers who stretched the oil change interval. Of course, by his definition, stretching the change interval means following the “non-severe” recommendation in your manual (the one that says “change more often if you drive near dust, or air, or temperature…”).

    • 0 avatar
      White Shadow

      That’s been a non-issue since the 2013 model year. But yeah, gotta watch out for the 2012 and older cars.

  • avatar
    matt3319

    How about a new Honda Accord Sport manual?? $25K MSRP. Sweet looking too. Probably get a good deal if you can find one. I searched Cars.com and only found 1 in a 150 range.

    Otherwise the Mazda6 is a sweet choice too.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      There are 7 Accord Sport w/6MT units within a 250-mile range of me. They certainly are thin on the ground. But the highest-priced one is a shade over $25K, and I’m sure you could bargain them down at least another $500 below whatever they’re asking.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    Cruise manual.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I have a slightly interesting suggestion: BMW 320i

    With a manual trans, metallic paint, lighting package, heated seats, split rear seat, and “enhanced” USB/BT it stickers at about $36.4K. I’m guessing you could get around $2500 off that price. Add some snow tires and I think you’d be in good shape.

    Normally I wouldn’t recommend a BMW for someone wanting to own a long time, but you’d be dealing with a low option 3-series with manual trans, 17-inch tires, and a fairly under-stressed engine (that is still noticeably quicker than a diesel VW).

  • avatar
    tylanner

    I think you have some genuine leverage to get in to a newer GLI for cheap….you will miss the MPG and you won’t be moving up the refinement scale but you will love the 2.0T. It is overall more comfortable than a GTI but still fun to drive and the aftermarket is bountiful.

    Beyond that I’d look at other AWD german options from audi/bmw.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Does anyone read these his preference is a sedan, good call on the Jetta GLI.

    • 0 avatar
      notwhoithink

      No, nobody reads anything. That’s why Bark is so special, he actually pays attention to what the questioner says are their wants. Nearly everyone else in the comments instead tells you what **they** want.

      But for the record, I’m in nearly the same boat as Dre, minus the insistence on an MT. I came up with two options for myself:

      1. Mazda6, which checks the boxes but is a little down on fuel economy from the TDI.

      2. Accord Hybrid, which checks the boxes and gets fuel economy as good as I’ve ever gotten from my TDI. The only issue is we’re still a couple of months away from availability on the 2017 Accord Hybrid, but we’re also a couple of months away from getting our buyback offers as well.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    If you are feeling really frisky, what about a MINI Cooper Clubman? Available with a stick, FWD, AWD, 1.5T, and/or 2.0T. You can keep it cheap or go hog wild with options. The Clubman is a real improvement in refinement over the previous MINIs and compared well against the MKV GTI I owned and the MKVII GTI that I test drove.

    Of course, as I said above, a GLI, GTI, or Golf R would be a solid upgrade from your TDI. I wouldn’t go Focus ST because the rear seats are considerably tighter and the interior is a move in the opposite direction from where you currently are, IMO.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      MINI Is almost definitely a bad long-term bet. The brand has suffered from poor reliability and longevity rates since the start of its BMW days.

      • 0 avatar
        5280thinair

        (Original poster here.) Agreed, the people I know who have owned Minis have had a lot of problems. Some of them were very expensive to fix just outside of warranty. And it’s definitely not a sedan…

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        Purely anecdote, but my 2005 MINI has been far less problematic than the 2007 GTI that I had. I’ve generally been OK with MINI taking care of chronic out of warranty issues (steering pump, air bag sensor both covered out of warranty for free). Sure it has a BMW cooling system which means it is a wear part, but VWs are no better in using inappropriate materials in cooling systems.

  • avatar
    laserwizard

    I wanted to like the Mazda 6, but that company has ruined everything it builds now with thick belt lines and smashed roof styling – these are simply awful to experience any on the road time since the roof seems to grow closer and the belt line seems to rise up the longer you are in one. I can’t stand these thick bodied styled vehicles – it makes it seem so cramped.

    I don’t see the point in trading or accepting the VW deal – if you like the car it isn’t like the problem is going to kill you. Now if you live in an environazi gestapo area that sticks stuff up your pipe and tells you what you can and cannot drive, that makes a big difference.

    I’d keep what you have and start putting money away for five years and then use that to acquire something that you’d like rather than feeling like you are being forced into something.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    I’ll be that guy… Manual 2003 BMW 540i. Find a clean one for 10k and keep 5k available at all times for repairs.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Does an E39 540i w/6MT really still cost that much? For 6K, I’d consider it. For $10K, I’d be looking for something more up-to-date, especially because the E39 in any guise has a very aggressive and expensive maintenance schedule.

      The E39 is a *preservable* car in that it’s not completely dependent on radioactive electronics—that phase started with the E66 7-Series in 2002—so you can own one long-term, but you’ll spend quite the fortune to do so.

      • 0 avatar
        Cactuar

        I haven’t looked at prices lately, but I believe they are quite rare which skews the price a bit. An E60 wouldn’t be a bad choice and would be more modern, but it has to be the LCI version (2007+).

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          I’m not that fond of the E60. There’s really nothing about it that I like enough to take the gamble on one. If I just had to have a modern 5-Series, I think I’d just pony up for a newer F10 (2010+ for the GT, 2011+ for the sedan).

          Yeah, I think everybody knows the 540i w/6MT is the next best thing to an M5 of the same era…and that’s what drives up the price. Other E39 configurations are probably much cheaper.

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          E60s are growing on me. I was also considering them during my search for an E39 6-speed. I went as far as a PPI on an ’08 550i m-sport.

          tl;dr – E60s sound like they are on another level of maintenance requirements compared to the E39.

          The mechanic found $9k worth of work, and said that was par for the course (car had 85k miles). About half the figure was to get the engine to stop seeping oil, something I would consider a low priority. It also needed rear brakes and tires, which isn’t fair to hold against E60s in general, just that particular example.

          Actual problems were the need for a transmission service, gear selector switch, and one of the oil leaks had something to do with the brake booster.

      • 0 avatar
        Storz

        The 540i is worth it for the sound track alone, the engine makes glorious noises. My ’95 had 276k on the clock when I sold it with zero issues. BMWs last a long time with the right maintenance.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        The ’03s had the m-sport package (front and rear bumpers, black headliner, 18″ style 37 wheels) for the last year of production. There were only about 1200 of them imported to the US with a manual transmission. They do command a premium. I personally don’t think those upgrades are worth the premium and would look for an 01 or 02. Those should be in the $6k range.

        That said, it is damn hard to find one of any year that is worth buying, especially if you care about things like avoiding grey or tan interiors. Many of these cars are in pretty tough shape, and it will take the patience of Job as well as some luck to get a good one. I spent about six months looking for one with a black interior and gave up, deciding to put some money into my E46 and hang on to that a bit longer instead. I used to own a ’98 and I think it took my 9 months to find that one – back in 2008. And I had to settle for gray interior. Their viable numbers have not increased in the time since.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Oh man, a decade old V8 BMW as a daily driver?

      If I was feeling that bold I think I’d just go full psycho and buy an M5 or V12.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      High powered V-8 with RWD in Denver, Cactuar?

      I hope he works from home.

  • avatar
    eCurmudgeon

    If you can find one in good shape, 2012/2013 G37x perhaps?

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      That’s a good suggestion.

    • 0 avatar

      The trick is to find one that hasn’t be dude-broed to destruction. Most of the people that bought stick G37s probably drove them pretty aggressively (or, worse, modified them). As well, I think the stick was only available in the S model towards the end…and the S suspension is, according to what I’ve heard, hard as hell.

      • 0 avatar
        eCurmudgeon

        G37x’s in stock trim are pretty ubiquitous in the Denver area – out here, the “dudebros” prefer to abuse Subarus. Manual transmissions have never been available in the AWD model, though (and slowly phased out in later model years on the others).

        The problem is that the last I heard, CPO cars are still fetching pretty good prices, as a lot of G37 owners (including myself) aren’t enamored with the Q50.

  • avatar
    hubcap

    I think, if it’s feasible, you should wait and see what the Civic SI offers. From the rumors swirling around the peanut gallery, it seems like it will fulfill every requirement you have.

    Absent that, as many others have suggested, take a look at a GLI. And don’t sleep on the WRX. The new platform has really helped the car. I’d choose it over a Mazda6 in a New Yawk minute.

    If you do decide to do the hatchback thing then the GTI or a Cooper 4dr or Clubman comes in to play and if by chance you decide you’ll pay mid 30s for a car, by all means, take a look at a Golf R.

    What I think is most important is a$$ in seat time. Go out and drive the cars you’re thinking about. Some you’ll click with and others you’ll drop like a bad habit.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Much as I love the Mazda 6, based on Andre’s need for something that doesn’t wimp out in the mountains, and his need to get his cheap on, I’m recommending against it. Why? Because it’d be fine for getting around Denver, but 185 ft/lb of torque at 3250 rpm, in a fairly heavy midsize, is going to equal a LOT of time spent wringing the engine out in a lower gear on I-70 in the mountains. And the 6 isn’t particularly quiet, so that could be unpleasant.

    If Andre currently has a turbo diesel, he’s going to miss that low-down torque in any naturally aspirated four-cylinder car.

    Therefore, I recommend he stick with something turbocharged.

    If he wants to spend about $30,000, my first and only choice would be a Subaru WRX. It’s the ultimate affordable Colorado performance car – fast, AWD, and with the turbo and all that torque, it’ll be a BEAST in the mountains. Other sport compacts have turbos, but the AWD in the WRX would be the key selling point for me. Plus, it’s a Subaru and he would be able to drive the wheels off it. And since Colorado is Ground Zero for the Subaru cult, resale would be strong. Trade it at any dealer in Boulder and you’d be hooked up.

    The only drawback to the sport compact idea – WRX, GTI, FoST or FiST, etc – is that you’ll need a good set of winter tires to make the car livable in Denver winters. We don’t get as many huge storms as you’d think, but we do get 2-4 inch snowstorms all the time, and summer tires are going to make for miserable going (I speak from experience on this one).

    If he wants to be a little cheap, and likes VW, why not a current Jetta 1.4 TSI or Golf TSI? Both are torque monsters, and as a current VW customer, I’m sure they’d be more than glad to cut him a screamin’ deal. I know you can get a Golf with a manual – they’re rare but they are out there.

    My other thought was the new Civic with the 1.5 turbo, but if the CVT in the new one is even remotely as bad as the outgoing model’s, I’d pass.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      The WRX is always a good choice for a performance car below $30,000. The new interior and new platform have ushered in some much needed refinement.

      I’d recommend that the OP drive a WRX and Mazda6 back to back. The difference is immediate. It will be a slight refinement change but the engagement and capability when compared to both the current car and a vehicle like a Mazda6 or Accord Sport is glaring.

    • 0 avatar
      Frank Galvin

      Agreed 100%. As soon as you leave Denver proper and head towards the foothills, you can really notice the thinning air and corresponding lack of performance. With any requirement of sporting drive – having more than enough power is an absolute must for this area. My sister just spent significant time shopping for a new family hauler, and wrung out a few in the higher elevation. Anything with a CVT was cut – too much drone. The WRX is the only one that is going to get the job done.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Also had two more thoughts…if a midsizer is the thing, how ’bout a Hyundai Sonata or Kia Optima with the 2.0T? Also, Fusion with the 2.0T might be a good bet. Or perhaps the Passat TSI.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      The WRX was mentioned and then unmentioned.
      Also the 6 is not that heavy for a mid-size car. You may have heard that Mazda is a leader in weight reduction.

    • 0 avatar
      dividebytube

      So much this… I used to live in Boulder and getting around in my brother’s 4-cyl Sentra was a chore.

      The last time I was there, I rented a new Corolloa. Up in Estes park, the engine felt like it was putting out 10hp.

  • avatar
    thelastdriver

    One of the issues I find funny about people asking “What should I buy?” is that they never mention their location. In southern states where rust doesn’t exist I’d see an older V6 Accord or Camry as a perfectly viable option. Don’t forget the Acuras of the ’90s either — they were damn cool cars and tick your boxes.

    You mentioned “cheap” and your budget is $40k. Try $4k and another few grand to toss to a mechanic you can trust to refurbish the car.

    Between poverty and experience I’ve learned you can drive something cool, classy, and cheap if you know the right people. An odometer with the sixth digit showing a number other than “zero” isn’t as scary as you might think.

    If only I had Ludacris’ swing with Acura to get my ’94 Legend restored instead of totaled after it was hit. I loved that car and would happily buy another if I could find a non-rusty example. It ticks your boxes too.

    • 0 avatar
      thelastdriver

      Oh, and because this is TTAC…

      VTEC BITCH!

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I have a ’95 Legend in excellent used-car condition (Idaho/California car = no rust), and love it as a nostalgic toy, but would not recommend it as a daily commuter. Parts availability is too much of a challenge, and there will be downtime when something breaks.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    You could look at a Volvo s60 either w or w/o AWD, yeah the gas mileage sucks vs your TDI but great seats, good deals , much more refined and good in the snow and great seats.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    Denver? Cargo and rear seat space? Engaging? Under 40k?

    Outback 3.6R Limited.

    Go.

    (Actually, the above was predicated on misreading the original as “Jetta TDI wagon”, not “Jetta TDI”.

    But it’s not a bad idea anyway.

    Or for high altitude, a Forester with the turbo 4.)

  • avatar
    jkross22

    2015 Chevy SS with a manual. Get a set of snow tires for the winter. CPO I’ve seen them in the 38-42k range and negotiate a few grand knocked off that.

    Bigger car, different experience than your VW, though.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    Speaking of rare cars that meet all criteria, how about a turbo, manual 2015 VW CC? They exist in theory.

  • avatar
    dawooj

    I’m in the same boat as OP. I have a ’11 Golf TDI 6spd. Knock on wood, the car has been reliable but I don’t plan on keeping it due to high cost maintenance items such as the DPF and timing belt change coming up.

    I’ve narrowed the choice for my next car down to a GTI, CPO 328d (wagon?), or a 5dr-Mazda 3. Also in consideration is the new turbo Civic, but my fiancee just got one with CVT, so I’ll pass.

    From what I’ve read, NVH on the Mazda concerns me, and long term reliability/repair costs on the other two shouldn’t be overlooked.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Andre,

    If you can afford to wait, I’d try the turbo MT Civic before pulling the trigger. It’s a lot bigger than it used to be, and if reviewers can be believed it will hit a sweet spot that includes your checklist.

    Call me a doctor.

  • avatar
    zoomzoomfan

    I have a ’16 Mazda6 i Touring. Bought it new in October 2015 with 6 miles.

    Thoughts:

    – I love the way it looks and the way it drives. It is super comfortable and very sure footed.
    – The back seat and trunk are both huge.
    – I see 38-39 MPG highway very often, but mine is an automatic. My mix of city driving and highway (about 70/30) has me at a lifetime average of around 28. That’s from logging and doing my own math. The car’s onboard computer is about 1-2 MPG low.
    – It does have some road noise, but no less than my friend’s newer Camry. It largely depends on the road.
    – The 2.4 SkyActiv is a great motor. Plenty responsive and eager to get going, especially in “Sport” mode.
    – I have only driven it in the snow once, but even with its 19-inch wheels and lower profile tires, it did fine.

    The 6 is an awesome car. More people need to give it a chance. I did and never looked back.

  • avatar
    reastwood94

    How about a Cadillac ATS 6 speed? they have a fair amount of discounts currently and are a fantastic drivers car

  • avatar
    olddavid

    Were I you, I would be reticent to refer to your raison d’etre as dipshits, but self-awareness isn’t a strong suit. Also, a six year old car will get a buyback package?

    • 0 avatar

      The customer is rarely right.

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      *Looks at TWAT award noms*

      “Raison d’etre, vraiment”.

      How many people here own two?

    • 0 avatar
      5280thinair

      olddavid: While it appears all 2009+ TDIs will be eligible for buyback, the 2010 may be the *most* likely. As I understand it, 2010 is the first year that diesels were held to the same emissions requirements as gasoline engines and cars of that year will probably be the most difficult to retrofit to meet the standards (having the least effective emissions components, those cars will require the most modifications.) My car has pretty low mileage and is in excellent shape and so should have had top blue book value for that year prior to the scandal. Between that and the rumored $5,000 “compensation”, that should go a long ways to coming up with a hefty down payment (or helping me pay cash outright) for a replacement.

      • 0 avatar
        olddavid

        5280- Thank you for a very cogent and precise answer. I was curious as to the mechanism of this proposed money as in my former life I probably would have been an administrator through dealer accounts.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    It’s too bad the new Fusion Sport 2.7 ecoboost doesn’t come with a manual.

    Ticks all the boxes except that one.

    Refined, loads of power, AWD, decent back seat and trunk, quiet, less than $40K, no problems with altitude. Not sure about reliability, but I’d trust this over any VW/Audi.

    I’d imagine it’d be a riot with snow tires in Denver.

    • 0 avatar
      5280thinair

      (Original poster here.) Based on my last Ford experience, I’m not real keen to go back. I owned a V6 Contour and looked into trading it in on a new Mustang at my local Ford dealer. They offered me like 1/3rd NADA wholesale value on the Contour, despite it being in excellent shape and having all the maintenance done on schedule at their dealership. The reason given was “Those have had a lot of recalls and aren’t in much demand.”

      My response: “If Fords are this bad, explain to me why I should buy another one.”

      They didn’t have an answer and I walked out.

      • 0 avatar
        nels0300

        I’m a Japanese car guy and that Fusion 2.7T sounds awfully compelling.

        A FAT torque curve peaking at 350 lbs-ft at low rpm with AWD. 325 horsepower.

        At least try a different dealer and check it out!

  • avatar
    5280thinair

    Regarding Bark’s 2015 Buick Regal with a stick suggestion, I’m striking out finding any 2015s (regardless of transmission) on dealer lots in the area. What sites/tools do folks use to search for cars with specific options across wide areas?

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I’m not seeing any new manual Regals anywhere. And no used ones in the Denver area. The closest used GS is this pearl white one in Nebraska.

      https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/detail/665263391/overview/

      I would have thought there would have been a few stragglers left over.

      • 0 avatar
        Kevin Jaeger

        I really like the idea of a Regal with a manual but they are extremely rare and the few times I’ve found one I was surprised that they were not at all cheap – at least up here in the frozen north.

        I don’t think there are any new ones to be found up here any more.

    • 0 avatar
      rocketrodeo

      I use cars.com.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    Challenger. It checks every box when you think about it:
    *Huge trunk.
    *Can fit adults in the back at least for shorter trips.
    *Stick shift.
    *Power to spare.
    *It might represent an increase in refinement as well.
    *I don’t know exactly how challenging your winter conditions are or how strict your employer is, but snow tires really do work. I survived four MA winters in the previously mentioned BMW 540i. It won’t match a Subuaru, but it was more effective than FWD cars on all-seasons anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      BrunoT

      Having owned two 540i’s personally, and driven rental Challengers, surely you’ve noticed the huge difference in refinement, handling, braking, fit and finish, etc?

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        I loved my 540i, but the 6-speeds are getting very hard to find in good repair. Keeping one in good repair is also not going to fit everyone’s lifestyle. Challengers shouldn’t suffer those problems.

        I have sadly not driven a Challenger yet. I thought I would throw it over the wall since it fits the requirements and no one else mentioned it. It’s generally well regarded as a great highway cruiser and a competent handler, at least for its weight. It’s a theoretically viable option the OP might not have thought of.

        Bark typically covers all the easy answers in his reply. I try to think of something a bit different that still meets the stated criteria.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    How old is too old?

    Acura TL shawd- sick V6, AWD, luxury car. Made up until 2014.

    Mercedes C300. Could be had with a stick until 2011 or 2012. Not terribly expensive, but certainly rare.

    Lexus IS250. Available with 3 pedals up till 2011 or 2012 also. Toyota reliability, but you’d have to look up the engine specs to see if it has decent torque for the mountains.

    Cadillac has some decent options too. “Luxury on a stick” is rare but not impossible :)

  • avatar
    deanst

    Buy a 6 speed legacy (in Canada).

    Surprised no one has mentioned the 6 cylinder legacy. Only compromise is the CVT.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      If someone really wants a manual, that’s not a small compromise…

    • 0 avatar
      5280thinair

      I might test drive a Legacy, but as you mention it’s CVT only (at least here in the States.) The 3.6L would give more oomph than the base 2.5L, but the 81 additional horsepower looks to cost a $6k premium over the 4-cyl in the same trim level. 256hp/247lb-ft is kind of mediocre for a 3.6L (Honda’s slightly smaller V6 gives has 22 more horses) and as is always the case with AWD the fuel mileage isn’t stellar.

      As I’d mentioned in a different reply, if Subaru put the WRX’s turbo 4 and manual tranny in the Legacy I’d be seriously interested.

  • avatar
    Jagboi

    I would go for a 2013 or 14 CPO Jaguar XF in AWD. Ticks all your boxes except the manual unfortunately. Does have paddle shifters, so you could shift yourself, but I know it’s a not a true manual experience.

    3.0 supercharged, so would be good at elevation, and the AWD is great in winter. Certainly more reliable than Audi or BMW, and in my experience more refined than MB E Class. You don’t see them on every street either, so a bit unique and distinctive.

    • 0 avatar
      5280thinair

      “Certainly more reliable than…” Jaguar must have come a long way for that statement to be true, although the Germans certainly appear to have lowered the bar :-(

      • 0 avatar
        Jagboi

        They have. A few years ago they were tied with Lexus for the #1 position in the JD Power survey.

        • 0 avatar
          BrunoT

          There are multiple JD Powers surveys, and you have to dig into the criteria they use to know what’s what. Some include “satisfaction”, which is self-reported and will include confirmation bias. Others list “defects”, which could be a rattle, a leak, or a stranding on the side of the road. Consult it, but also consult reports from actual owners of various brands. I’m sure you belong to a Jag website. How are they liking them lately? Because in the past it was not good.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I own this car with a stick. I would recommend it to anyone. My only gripe so far is that I feel that the brakes aren’t the strongest. Does OK in the snow on all season’s. I live in Michigan.

    The newer models (as of 2016) have some additional sound deadening added, which I admit, would be nice in my 2014. Also have advanced keyless entry on Touring as of 2016. It is fun to drive, surprisingly quick if you choose to drive it so. I have mostly stop and go driving and return 30 mpg regularly. On strictly highway drives, easy to get at least 35mpg.

    I just passed the 36k mile warranty and the tires didn’t fall off, so I got that going for me. No mechanical issues thus far, I drive it hard. Already had to replace tires.

    Note there are even some nice incentives on these right now due to slow sales. You can go a week in these parts without seeing another one. Love it.

  • avatar
    blaster668

    What about the new Jaguar XE? It was announced last fall that it would be available with a manual, but isn’t listed on their website. Can anyone confirm this with more up to date info? Starts at $34,900 for the 240hp turbo 2.0L, 5 year/60k bumper to bumper warranty and free maintenance.

    • 0 avatar
      5280thinair

      That is a pretty good warranty for a car in that class, but as it doesn’t look like it’s available in the U.S. yet it’s going to be some time before actual reliability info becomes available. If this Jag channels the spirit of its ancestors and requires constant trips to the dealer service department I’d be unhappy even though I wasn’t picking up the tab.

      • 0 avatar
        Jagboi

        Jaguar has made amazing strides in reliability in the last decade. Pretty much top of the heap now. There are a number of people in the Jag club I belong to who have modern cars and they just don’t go wrong. They only see a service department for oil changes and brakes.

    • 0 avatar
      Jagboi

      I have driven the XE in England, and it’s a perfect size for there. Back seat is comfortable for an adult, but an XF will have more room. I drove the diesel version and averaged 56mpg (imperial gallons) out of it. Some slight turbo lag out of a roundabout in some situations, but generally there is none.

      The diesel is the standard engine, gas optional. Definitely worth a test drive

  • avatar

    When it comes to cars, I personally prefer to stay put with what I already have especially if it has not shown any signs of physical deterioration yet that could incur a hefty sum of money in the long run. I will however change to a new car should I either require a bigger space or more seats or vice versa.

  • avatar
    BrunoT

    Buy an affordable car that meets your needs and is safe until the day you can pay cash for a more expensive one. When you can write a check for it (while still maxing out your retirement and having a 6 months expenses emergency fund) then you can splurge.

    Or, you can “live for today” and spout platitudes about “you’re only young once” and be a debt slave like 90% of Baby Boomers who are still trudging into the office at age 68 because they can’t afford not to.

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