By on November 15, 2019

2018 Buick Regal TourXRecently I reached out to you, dear readers, for some suggestions on replacing a 2012 Subaru Outback. The wagon has occupied my driveway for the past two years, but, for reasons outlined previously, it’s time for it to go. My initial idea for a replacement was a Kia Niro, but that didn’t seem like it was going to pan out. So I turned to the real experts around here.

Comments poured in, and four suggestions were clear. Let’s narrow things down a bit.

After more than 160 comments, the four main reader suggestions were the Hyundai Elantra GT, Buick Regal TourX, Volkswagen Golf, and Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen. Not coincidentally, the list there is in order of least to most desirable to me.

The Elantra GT’s interior is a big letdown in contrast to the restrained good looks of the exterior. Inside it looks cheap and cobbled together, and I’d expect better of Hyundai in 2019. The Regal TourX is outside of budget, even when used. Some commenters seemed to think dealers would be happy to knock of $10,000 just for asking nicely, but I’m not so sure. Nor am I sold on the reliability or later resale value on an Opel-Buick wagon which will surely be discontinued very soon.

The upper half of the class is filled by two Volkswagens. While I don’t take issue with the standard Golf’s purposeful interior and time-proven exterior appearance, it’s a bit smaller than I’d like (even though I’m downsizing). The Sportwagen is left as the Outback replacement worth considering. It’s in budget, I like how it looks, and prices are good because it’s as popular as getting a rash. It drives nicely, is quiet, and feels like it’s been put together well. But in this single model, I’m left with a new/used quandary.

2019 is the final year for the Sportwagen in the North American market, and it shows. The model lineup is consolidated this year, with just three trims on offer. The highest trim is the SE, which features a smaller 1.4-liter turbocharged engine. Said engine replaces the 1.8 from prior model years. With this change, horsepower dropped from 170 to 147, while estimated fuel economy went up a couple of highway MPGs.

2018 is the used year of consideration here. The 2018 version received an infotainment update with a larger touchscreen, and was also the last instance the top-tier SEL trim was available.  SELs featured more standard equipment like navigation, nicer interior trim bits, sport-design seats with additional bolstering, Fender audio, and more exterior bright work.

Either option is thin on the ground with a tan interior, though a few new ones are out there. As new, dealers seem to want $24-25k for 1.4T SE, apart from a large volume dealer in Illinois that’s asking $23,206. Used 2018s with around 10,000 miles ask between $20,000 and $21,000. But that figure includes a higher trim SELs with a larger engine, like the one pictured.

What do you do in this situation — spend $24,000 on a new one that’s a lower trim, or $20,000 for a used one that’s more powerful and has more equipment, but is less efficient?

[Images: GM, Hyundai, sellers]

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112 Comments on “Where Your Author Selects an Outback Replacement, but Asks: New or Used?...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “Hyundai Elantra GT, Buick Regal TourX, Volkswagen Golf, and Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen.”

    Corey really hates his bank account.

    • 0 avatar

      Oh come onnn they’re not that bad.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Well if it wasn’t for resale value being a factor due to your Automotive Attention Deficit Disorder. (AADD)

        The winner would be easy to pick: TourX.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          That’s beautiful.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          Yup!

          Are you still trading the OB?

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          …Well if it wasn’t for resale value being a factor due to your Automotive Attention Deficit Disorder. (AADD)

          The winner would be easy to pick: TourX…

          100% this. And I really don’t see how the VW resale value proposition will be any better with this being a final model year of a discontinued vehicle that is overdue for an update as it is.

          • 0 avatar

            TourX is out of price range.

          • 0 avatar

            Additional TourX misses:

            21 city(!) 29 highway
            AWD which I don’t want
            Stop-start cannot be defeated
            Premium fuel

            Guys these are big issues.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            TourX doesn’t “require” premium fuel, but you won’t get all 250 HP/290 lb ft torque on regular. This is/was typical on a number of vehicles.

            You can defeat auto stop/start after market quite easily (admittedly having the ability built-in is better).

            No arguments from me on 21/29 from a 4-pot and I’m a bit surprised going from Subbie to [fill in the blank] you actively don’t want AWD.

            To each their own.

            But surely the B&B must be correct that you can get a CPO TourX with a Trifecta Tune that makes it go from 0 to 60 in 4 seconds and gets 50 MPG for $9999 from a number of Buick dealers. ;-)

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            Nothing worse than an auto writer who is misinformed about autos!

            The TourX 2.0T with torque vectoring AWD can see 35+ mpg and close to 40 mpg if the speeds are at the limit. That is all on 87 octane as premium is recommended, not required.

            Now imagine what the Regal Sportback 2.0T FWD could do on the highway!

          • 0 avatar

            “The TourX 2.0T with torque vectoring AWD can see 35+ mpg and close to 40 mpg if the speeds are at the limit.”

            Norm your magic figure go against what the EPA and also car mags got out of the TourX. Reviews cite 24mpg combined.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            As an owner I will never claim Norms magic numbers.

            30 on the highway is realistic, even at 85 mph. You flatlanders in places like Ohio with aggressive speed enforcement will do better.

            I am seeing roughly 21 mpg around town when I have “all city” tankfulls. However I have a heavy foot and enjoy spooling up the turbo.

            I’m not posting this for Corey but for anybody researching the car and want a little info from an owner approaching 9000 miles on his vehicle as of 11/18/19

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            Not just me seeing close to 40 mpg but several TourX owners on Facebook have seen similar, stellar fuel economy numbers. Almost makes the RAV4 Hybrid moot!

            Dan, I think the TourX is too much car for Corey as he seems very misinformed about it being an auto journalist. It is about 6″ longer than his Outback(have not seen any reviews on how wonder that ownership has been yet) or about 9″ shorter than a S-class.

        • 0 avatar
          Blackcloud_9

          Dan,
          I was wondering if that was your TourX in the lead photo. Being that you out there in New Mexico way. ;-)

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            lol no Buick being who they are did the intro of the TourX somewhere in AZ. Which treated us to a video of TFL Car reviews freaking out about whether they would be able to get over a 5 in tall rock sitting on a gravel road. (eyeroll)

            Our intrepid author got an easy to find press photo.

          • 0 avatar

            That photo was already uploaded even!

            I watched that TFL review this past weekend. The exaggeration about off-road credibility was a bit much.

            They do that to Subaru as well.

  • avatar
    davewg

    My son has a ’17 SEL with the lighting package. No way I would want any less power. Go for the used one that’s more powerful and has more equipment, but is less efficient.

    He gets about 350 miles out of a tank, but he also has a heavy right foot, so his fuel mileage is probably on the poorer and of the spectrum for this.

    • 0 avatar

      The 1.4 felt plenty zippy, which I was a bit surprised.

      Good news is the lighting package is standard on SE for 19.

      • 0 avatar
        Jon

        Not sure if kids are in the mix, but is it still zippy enough with 2-3 kids and a cargo area full of stuff for the weekend?

        • 0 avatar

          No kids evar!

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            FYI the VW turbo 4s seem to punch above their weight.

            The ratings for hp/tq seem like they should be back of the pack but their 0-60s usually are close to the higher HP competitions engines.

            Example performance numbers for VW Arteon vs. Buick Regal 2.0T

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            At 6 cu ft less cargo this Regal Sportback 2.0T FWD is good for 3-years warranty with CPO and is only $16K for an Esseance with heated seats and steering wheel. See if they ship it 5o your door for $16K plis tax/title/doc fees.

            https://www.romansgm.com/VehicleDetails/certified-2018-Buick-Regal_Sportback-Essence-Independence-KS/3458056333?cs:o=303637800

  • avatar
    SSJeep

    Buy new, its not worth $4000 to end up with someones old shoes. Negotiate a deal over the phone and fly to Illinois to pick up the car.

    • 0 avatar
      Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

      Normally I’d agree, but 10,000 miles of use isn’t much of a compromise against the better power and equipment levels of a 2018. The efficiency advantage of the 2019 is little more than a rounding error.

      • 0 avatar

        The $23206 is the final price, there is no further negotiation. Does not include $179 doc fee.

        • 0 avatar
          snakebit

          Lose the ‘doc’ fee, and go for the used car with higher trim level. The more people make the dealer scratch off the ‘doc’fee, the more dealers will wise up and stop with this pure profit rip-off. Unless you’re fine with the whole deal, including fee.

      • 0 avatar
        SSJeep

        Id still buy new. Why did the previous owner trade in something one model year old with only 10000 miles? Either they just didnt like it and wanted to get rid of it for an Atlas – or it was loaded with gremlins that couldnt be fixed so they just dumped it. Remaining factory warranties dont compensate one for the amount of time they spend in the service bay.

        • 0 avatar

          But how would new be different in that case than used with 8k miles? They’re all built the same.

          • 0 avatar
            ToolGuy

            Corey,

            In theory, yes. But if problems have revealed themselves on the particular example you are purchasing, the fact that you just bought it will not reverse those issues.

            To SSJeep’s point, it would be good to be able to see the service history on a used one.

          • 0 avatar

            CarFax is always there at least.

        • 0 avatar
          87 Morgan

          Just have the or A VW dealer run the VIN in the service department and you get a print out of every time the vehicle was in the shop. You will know very quickly if the 10k was a shop hound or not.

          • 0 avatar
            SSJeep

            I agree, having a service history would help make a case for the used version.

            Remember, this is not just a used car, it is a USED VW. People dump unreliable VWs like a hot potato, and VW reliability seems to be hit or miss. IF the car was involved in a collision (doesnt always show on CarFax or AutoCheck) or took on some water, be ready for a few years of misery at some point due to electrical gremlins and failing sensors.

            Why take the risk? Spend a few coins and get a virgin, unmolested VW.

  • avatar
    retrocrank

    2016 Sportwagon with the 1.8 L turbo, stick, and AWD: With family and vacation supplies loaded, I get 35 mpg highway at sustained speeds that would be lethal to my license in Ohio. With the bike rack and bikes on top, that drops to 30 mpg. Driving around town I get about 25 mpg.
    What’s not to like about the bigger engine used car? If it’s been taken care of well and has 35k or less on it, my guess is you’ve got 90% of the car remaining in exchange for 80% of the price (if not less). Sounds like a good deal to me, especially when you can’t replace it new for any price.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Yeah, used so long as the warranty caries over in this case seems to be the good bet and I am typically a new car sort.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    147 HP in 2019? Who dug the original VW Beetle engine designer out of his grave?

  • avatar
    Rick Astley

    I am genuinely confused how you can be down on the Hyundai interior, yet happy with the Golf Sportwagen’s interior?

    Friends have had a Sportwagen for the better part of 2 years now and the only polite things to say about the choice of materials, unreasonably uncomfortable seats and laughably crummy switchgear is that they would be excellent choices for a police cruiser.

    Having driven their car briefly, the succinct review would be: Why do people buy these?

    When a 1991 civic hatchback can do 130% of what a modern Sportwagen can do, and with more style, class and comfort, you should be looking elsewhere…..

    It’s the last model year of that car for a reason.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s a small wagon which is unpopular. That’s why it’s dying here. Lives on elsewhere.

    • 0 avatar
      eng_alvarado90

      “When a 1991 civic hatchback can do 130% of what a modern Sportwagen can do, and with more style, class and comfort, you should be looking elsewhere…..”
      Can you elaborate on the 130% you’re talking about? Did the 91 Civic offer airbags? ABS? A soft padded dash? A nice infotainment with decent speakers? Comfortable heated seats? 66 cubic feet of cargo room? optional AWD?
      As much as I respect the Honda Civic (I like the 5th and 6th gen better), I wouldn’t want an old one as a daily driver. Those are death traps

      • 0 avatar
        Rick Astley

        I’m glad you ask…

        Now, lets leave the modern measurements for what they are, goalposts to be moved for the sake of making flashy media print material.

        Sportwagen:
        – More cargo room: No, you can fit five 1/2 barrel kegs in the back of the civic, only four in the VW. Both are limited to 4 adults unless entering each other. A childseat takes 1.5 spaces in each
        – Airbags: sure, this can go to the vw
        – ABS: Yes, my Wagovan has ABS.
        – Soft padded dash: Yes, my wagovan has that where the Spoortwagen has plutonium derived plastics used for seating criminals or those bleeding out vital fluids. Has a modern mid-market vehicle ever had worse interior plastics than what VW engineers design for minimal off-road use????
        – Nice Infotainment: Not only does the Sportwagen not have that to begin with, but its possible to wire an aftermarket unit in the civic.
        – Comfortable heated seats: The Sportwagen seats are not comfortable to start with, irrespective of heating. I suppose you could be sit uncomfortably yet warm in them?
        – Optional AWD: Yes, my RT4wd utilizes 4WD which was an option, and includes a super low 1st gear on the 6-speed manual transmission equipped cars.

        Your points aren’t winning on technicalities or in real world.

        Since aftermarket support, easy of repairs, not being beholden to the Kaiser to suck your wallet dry at every opportunity, and function all go to the Civic, plus VASTLY more fun to drive (those extra 38 hp don’t count for much since the GVW is nearly doubled in the VW), and the absolute joy that is driving a properly funky late 80’s Honda, that’s about 30% right there…..

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          @Rick: so you actually still have a late 80’s Civic Wagon Realtime 4wd? We loved ours but traded it in more than 25 years ago. Haven’t seen any on the road for over a decade.

          If you still have yours, does it have A/C? And if so, does it still work?

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Other than look better if you are into 90’s hatches and it isn’t a door dinged rustbucket and be cheaper, their is literally nothing the Civic does better for a daily driver.

      I owned a 91 SI. I loved it. But it was slow compared to pretty much anything new, it was loud (in a cool to 19 year old me way), and it folded up like a coke can when it was hit in the rear. I miss it because nostalgia, but you couldn’t sell something like that today.

    • 0 avatar
      conundrum

      A 1990 Civic hatchback can do 130% more than this Sportwagen, you say? Not in any rational world I’ve lived in — it’s tiny — been in enough of those things to know. So, another delusional comment to go along with the other one that equates 147 hp with the 36 hp the Beetle had when I grew up. And that was 36 hp SAE gross with its tongue hanging out, the generator disconnected and the cooling fan belt left off. It had about 25 hp at the wheels. Getting to 60 was a half-minute affair unless you grabbed it by the scruff of the neck to save maybe five seconds.

      I’ve driven a 2010 version of this VW Sportwagen car with the diesel, owned by my pal. The quality was so-so, broken spring, DPF failure, usual VW rubber moulding tearing issues, but it drove well. He changed to a Mazda3 for his next lease in 2014 and raved about the quality and handling. Got a 2018 when that four year lease was up.

      The VW EA211 1.4 turbo is an aluminum block belt-driven overhead cam engine with a magic belt that runs in oil “and lasts the life of the vehicle.”
      https://www.motorreviewer.com/engine.php?engine_id=116

      The old 1.8 is the EA888 thinwall iron block, same as the current GTI engine and always seemed pretty good. The latest iteration 1.5l EA211 from the 1.4t VW engine has been driving customers crazy in Europe with unexplained shutdowns and rubber-banding acceleration. It has the same infamous Budack-cycle cylinder head that saps the life out of the VW EA88 2.0t in the Tiguan and entry level Audis. VW is at least bright enough to test the 1.5t out in Europe before foisting it off in North America. Hasn’t always been the case. I owned five new Audis in a row over twenty years and hindsight is so perfect when you buy something else and it doesn’t constantly go wrong. Ah VW, quality kings forever!

      https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/forum/post/127714/skoda-karoq–
      https://forum.whichmobilitycar.co.uk/forums/topic/problems-with-vw-1-5-tsi-petrol-engine/

      I never offer outright advice to a prospective buyer – they never take it anyway. If it has to be VW, I’d say get the used 1.8t on the balance of probabilities, but that’s no guarantee with that outfit. It could crap itself in a hundred miles. Cue the VW owners saying they’ve had no trouble and not to worry, but they’re the lucky ones who show up VW’s lack of process QA, which is all over the place so you’re never sure if you’re going to get a “good one” or Piech’s revenge.

  • avatar
    redapple

    new outback

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Does the used model come with a warranty of any kind?

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Corey; Cash or financed? That is the major question. if cash and the warranty carries over, then go used. If financed then what are the different finance rates/terms. With only a $4k purchase price difference (and we are assuming that is after you have negotiated everything) then the difference in financing may bring the cost of the used in-line with the new.

    And is the Sportwagen being discontinued in Canada? I heard rumours of it continuing here.

    • 0 avatar

      Cash buyer is always me.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I again implore you to accept my business as a financial advisor.

        • 0 avatar
          ToolGuy

          One clue to Corey’s method is his “No kids evar!” comment elsewhere on this page.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @toolguy

            I have the same portfolio and yet somehow its not paying off as well.

            @corey

            I think you already know we have similar philosophies along those lines. There has to be be moarrrrr lol

        • 0 avatar

          It’s all about keeping the monthly expenses low, I find. I don’t have an iPhone 11, or 15 subscriptions to TV crap. My house isn’t enormous. Consistently contribute money to an interest savings account.

          And I don’t buy things until I can already afford them.

          And yes, no childrens.

          • 0 avatar
            SilverCoupe

            I agree with your philosophy. Keep expenses low, pay cash, never pay interest, only buy what you can afford (and no children, though that’s just my choice.)
            I won’t tell you what to buy, but I will tell you that I chose to get a lightly used three year old with a higher level of trim and a six cylinder in lieu of a base new car that now only comes with a four cylinder, giving me close to a second off the zero to 60 time.
            My car (an ’08 A5 S Line) is now near 12 years old, and I am still happy with it. And I have cash in the bank for an S5 when the time comes to replace it.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        In Canada, particularly in the larger urban centres like the GTA that is not a wise investment decision. Better to keep your used car, or go with a cheap zero down lease and use that cash to put a down payment on a new build or existing condo

        Instead of exchanging your cash for a depreciating commodity, your condo would have appreciated by over $50k in the past 2 years. (Link below).
        https://toronto.listing.ca/real-estate-price-history.htm

  • avatar
    Acd

    A brand new car will quickly become a used car as you put miles on it. If the new one doesn’t have the stuff on it you want but the used one does go used.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      Am acquaintance of mine fell into this trap a couple years ago. He had a 2003ish Jetta VR6 that gave up the ghost around 2015 and he needed to get a new car. He bought a slightly used 2014 Jetta with the 2.0 which all of his friends advised against because they knew it was a dog. He had it for 6 months before ditching it in favor of a new GTI. He was lucky because he only lost $60 in trade and that was his only monthly expense (still living with parent and not contributing to the household to my knowledge).

  • avatar
    MeJ

    How about a Crosstrek?

  • avatar

    https://www.cars.com/vehicle/2018-volkswagen-golf_sportwagen/3vwl17au6jm758182/

    The 2018 sold already. LOL.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Why not get a used base Stinger? Have you seen the cargo area?

    They can be had in the low 20’s.

  • avatar
    SpeedJebus

    Shop in Canada. VW Golf Sportwagens are still pretty popular here, and your USD goes much, much, much further.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      Can a Canadian car be registered in the USA and vice versa? At least before the 25 year mark.

      • 0 avatar
        SpeedJebus

        USA to Canada, not a problem if it was also sold here. Can’t speak to the other way around, but can’t think of a reason why not (unless California emissions or something?)

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Yes if it is a US spec car. There is a local wholesaler that specializes in Canadian imports and exports. Lots of off lease coming south and older stuff going back north.

    • 0 avatar
      Whatnext

      Just a note because I don’t think it was mentioned here: there are no 2020 Alltracks or Sportwagens in Canada. Dealers apparently just stocked up on 2019 models to satisfy the known demand . Once they’re gone, that is it for them in North America.
      https://motorillustrated.com/volkswagen-golf-sportwagen-and-golf-r-inventory-dwindling/36632/

  • avatar
    tallguy130

    No no no Corey. Don’t get the plain Elantra GT, get the N version. 200hp and better suspension. It will be much more fun then anything on this list and I’m confident you can find a dealer that will play ball on price. Plus it will be dead nuts reliable and have a better warranty then anything else you are considering. Boom, just solved your problems!

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    You know I’m going to say used. But then, I may not heartily endorse your choice of VW.

    If you get a used one, go out to dinner on the $179 (doc fee schmock fee).

    • 0 avatar

      There’s a very lightly used one locally that’s a 19 in white/tan, at Fairfield VW. Probably go have a look see.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Regardless of choice I would go used. Most of the depreciation occurs in the first year – so why lose all that money just for that new car smell?

      Next bit of advice: always get the most optioned up model possible – if not you’ll just be kicking yourself later when you missed out on some random feature. Life is too short to be unhappy with your car.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Were I in your shoes, I’d be looking for a Prius v.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Man Worries about Opel Reliability; Buys VW

    Film at 11.

    o_O

    (I kid I kid)

    • 0 avatar

      I want to be proved wrong.

      I’m also buying their traditional strong point model, and avoiding DCT and AWD.

    • 0 avatar
      Blackcloud_9

      This was my thought exactly. Personally, I am biased against VWs because the one I had, my sister had and my daughter had were all mechanical nightmares but that just me…and my sister…and my daughter. I think your reliability would be equal or better in the TourX.
      If you’re only planning on keeping the car 4-5 years tops, then definitely buy used. Me, my plan is always to drive my cars into the ground, that’s why I like to buy new.
      If you’re into unicorn hunting, try and find a lot queen of a TourX. They are about as popular as a communicable rash but if you find one a 10k discount is not unheard of.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I’d absolutely get the used SEL, assuming I could find one equipped right and in excellent shape.

    I made a similar decision last spring when I chose a three-year-old Highlander Hybrid Limited Platinum for $34k (new price when comparably equipped with accessories: $51k) against a new Highlander Hybrid LE for $37k. Every time I turn on the seat cooler or open the pano roof I’m happy.

  • avatar
    eng_alvarado90

    If I was in the market I would go for the Golf Alltrack. There’s a 2017 with Manual transmission and 25K miles for just $18.9K. at Kings Toyota.
    There are also a few Automatics from $17K in a 100 mile radius

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Fresh back from my kid’s car search, and the Elantra GT and Golf were both on her list, so some thoughts…
    1) The Elantra GT (which is what my kid bought) does have a cheap interior, but it’s a surprisingly spry little thing, and a ’19 is a ridiculously good deal. My kid picked hers up for a touch under $16,000 and got 2.99% financing with it. So there’s that.
    2) I just turned in my old Jetta with the 1.4T – no issues whatsoever with the drivetrain or anything else on the car. I averaged about 34 mpg when I was driving it (again, this was a stick, and the Sportwagen is going to be a touch heavier, so YMMV).
    3) The 1.4 and 1.8 *feel* similar in everyday traffic, but I prefer the 1.8 – it has more top end power. The 1.4 will willingly rev over 5,000, but it’s pointless – absolutely nothing (and I mean *nothing*) happens there. In everyday traffic, particularly with an automatic, you won’t see much difference.
    4) My kid shopped for CPO ’18 Golfs, and the extended warranty makes a ton of sense – these came with 6/72 warranties to begin with, so you’re covered for a long, long time. VWs aren’t trash anymore, but they’re still VWs. We found a ’18 SE hatch with 3,900 miles that the dealer had on the lot for a couple of months, and was asking 18 for. That’s the car I’d have bought if I were her.

    My personal advice? Find a good ’18 CPO. I think the 1.8 is the better engine overall.

  • avatar
    MKizzy

    Unfortunately, given the limited choices available, the only equivalent replacement for an Outback is…another Outback with the only option for variety being the relatively rare 6-cyl.

    Regarding the Tour X. In addition to its other faults, the darned thing requires premium fuel which means an extra $5 or $6 dollars per fill-up vs the others, at least where I dwell.

  • avatar
    johnds

    I would get the best warranty you can, something that will last as long as you own it because I know too many people who have been burned by VW. My VW You Tube mechanic, the Humble Mechanic has videos to explain some of the issues with the newer VW cars and possibly ways of minimalizing the issues. Good Luck! I would definitely stay away from the Buick!

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    My wife and I had a 2019 Jetta sedan for a rental. It did really well in the mountains of Asheville; and the mileage was amazing. Almost 40mpg with a lot of mountain and city driving thrown in.

    Still thinking of buying one since my wife drives a bit for her new job. And the 15 to 20 mpg on the Infiniti starts adding up quick!

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I am sticking with my new rule; no need to pay more than 20k for a car. Their are literally thousands available that you can search for and I have zero issues getting on a plane to save several thousand dollars. For example, I bought my vette on Ebay and flew to Milwaukee to pick it up, my neighbor bought his car from a dealer in CA (Audi A6 — he is a brave sort!) and had it shipped.

    Shopping used is easy; prior to making the final decision call a local dealers service department with the VIN and ask them to run a report for you. I have yet to have one not print one out for me, and usually they will email it to me. You can see all the work that completed by a franchise dealer, maintenance and warranty work. No reason to not know what you are getting into.

    Best of luck in your search Corey, careful up there in the great white north. I was at an Automotive conference this week and learned a lot about Canada’s lack of auto retailing laws. You can get straight up bludgeoned if you are not careful.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m gonna stay here in the Midwest I think. No importing for me.

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        I was thinking you were in Canada Corey, my apologies.

        Late model new in the MW is fine, anything more than 4 or 5 years I would travel to a mountain or dry state to avoid the rust issues.

        Best of luck in your search

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Yes, up here in Soviet Canuckistan, the government takes a largely hands off stance in regards to automobiles and new homes.

      In Ontario the ‘new home warranty’ program/complaint process is actually run by the builders.

      The Canadian Motor Vehicle Arbitration Plan (CAMVAP) which applies to cars less than 4 years old and with less than 160,000kms is decidedly pro-manufacturer and if you use it, you give up your right to sue.

  • avatar
    ShoogyBee

    You should read up on the problems that some VW Sportwagen owners (and Tiguan owners, among other models in the VW line-up) have been having with the panoramic moonroof. Leaks, creaks, rattles, etc. I’d only consider the base S model since it doesn’t come with any kind of moonroof.

    I wouldn’t rule out the Buick. Used ones can be had for cheap. They are also made in Germany, if that matters. Unfortunately the resale value won’t be too hot, but yolo.

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    Normally I am a new car guy to get the latest improvements, but the last year of an end-of-the line model/platform would see me picking the used SEL. You’ll appreciate the additional features and upgraded quality of seats/interior over the life of ownership. Anything under 20K miles is hardly broken in.

  • avatar
    Stanley Steamer

    Ah yes one of my favorite games; burn them all and buy (and drive) a Crosstrek.

  • avatar
    walked48

    I have a 2018 Sportwagen S FWD Auto, bought it new in Dec. 2018 for, I doubt you’ll believe me but $16,800 brand new before tax, title, reg.

    MSRP was $24,000 less: $6k from the manufacturer ($4k to dealer, $2k to customer). I joined SCCA in the salesman’s office so another $500 and my mastery of negotiations skills (I just asked for a lower price) and got around $700 and roofracks thrown in. Man, they really wanted this little wagon GONE. Maybe wait until next month, Dec if you want to buy new, the rebates seemed to peak then.

    I chose the S because I’m cheap and I also didnt want the sunroof (I don’t like them and some seem to leak), leatherette seating that is found in the SE (hot in summer, cold in winter). Also the S came with a lot of features I liked eg: Heated mirrors and washer nozzles, android auto, ski pass through, well designed trunk options, decent 8 speaker sound system, the interior is bland but looks and feels like its from a much more expensive vehicle.

    I love this wagon so much. It fits my family of 4 for now, probably need to get something with more rear legroom when the 6yr/72k warranty runs out. Fun to drive even with an auto(good torque low down, handling is good, strong brakes), fuel efficient, pretty quiet, runs on 87 octane, fits my windsurfing equipment perfectly, low roof to put boards up there.I also like the backup camera hidden under the VW logo so it’s always clean even in Ohio winters, excellent outward visibility.

    In 1 year and 12k miles the problems: the brakes squeak at low speed and the driver window binds a bit. I’ll ask them to fix it at the next service, 10k or annual oil changes.

    Having said all that, I really like the Buick Regal sportback and tourx. Hopefully they are around when my golf’s warranty runs out because that would be a perfect size upgrade.

    2018 is the last year for a FWD/1.8T combination.

    • 0 avatar
      EV-Guy

      Great article – I’ve been wanting to get back into a manual hatchback or wagon, looks like this sums up the choices. I hadn’t given Hyundai a lot of attention before, but the Elantra GT (in Intense Blue) looks fantastic. 5yr Warranty, low price, cheap financing or lease rates, seems like a solid contender to me. Nice to have the N-Line option available – would have to try both to see if it is worth it. Would also love to get a Golf Sportwagen, but may not be available by the time I am ready to buy. Other options include Golf or Mazda 3, but I’m still leaning towards the Hyundai for the added space.

  • avatar
    Rengaw

    Don’t be so sure the regular VW Golf wouldn’t be a great choice. Families in Europe, where the hatchback is king, do just fine.
    That 1.4 with the 8 speed auto has fantastic gas mileage, puts up performance numbers nearly identical to the 1.8, and thus far has received good commentary on its reliability and drive ability. That long warranty helps build confidence in purchasing a Golf.
    Im old (76) and big (6’3”) and I love this car. To me, it is quite comfortable, handles nicely, rides well on the highway, and the power is enough to have a little fun. I also like the understated design of the car with no unnecessary angles or protrusions.

    • 0 avatar

      I always keep in mind that the more simply a car is styled, the better it ages. That’s partially why I am a fan of the Golf in general. But for me, the panoramic roof that is available with the wagon is appealing.

  • avatar
    Rengaw

    I would just like to add, Corey, that some of my favorite reading on this blog has been following along your pursuit of selling and buying a different vehicle. Thanks for inviting us all along for the ride. Interesting enough, when you were contemplating a Lexus RX 350 or Subaru Outback I was doing the same. I have dropped the Outback but still have an eye for the RX. Where I live, up near Seattle, I see them everywhere but my wife wants to wear out our 2009 Toyota RAV 4 and I am finding that hard to do.

  • avatar
    teddyc73

    “Nor am I sold on the reliability” (the Buick) People are still hung up on this old tired false perception.

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