Where Your Author Spends Dollars on a Mexican Wagon

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
where your author spends dollars on a mexican wagon

All of you have shared in my car shopping experience, which began at the end of 2019. Starting with a solicitation for recommendations back in October, the process of finding the right replacement for a 2012 Outback extended longer than planned and was punctuated with a particularly poor experience at a Volkswagen dealer.

But it was all worth it, because now I’ve got a new (used) wagon.

Your recommendations were split roughly down the middle when it came to a 2018 (and potentially SEL-trimmed) Golf Sportwagen, or a new 2019 example that had a more efficient engine but maxed out at SE trim. The model revision and consolidation was due to the model’s cancellation at the end of 2019. For the foreseeable future, the Golf will arrive in North America in four-door GTI format only. It continues on with much broader offerings elsewhere in the world.

After the dealer in Illinois didn’t want my money, I started searching within a radius of 150 miles or so for a Golf I could check out before buying. Simultaneous eyes on eBay for one in the right specification made no difference: The majority of front-drive Sportwagens were delivered with a black interior. For shame.

There was one local to me, at a Volkswagen dealer just a few miles away. A 2019 in SE trim, it had 4,000 miles, the tan interior, and was CPO. Given the search results up to that time, it was an unusual combination to see. I went to check it out in the middle of November, and discovered its basically new condition. The condition was what you’d expect with such age and mileage, apart from an interior that needed a scrub. The dealer relayed this particular example was a service loaner at their location, which filled in the blanks on the year and mileage. CarFax wasn’t much help here — it said it was “well maintained,” with one oil change.

Like every other dealer I’d talked to, this one was keen to state, “These aren’t made any more!” and encourage that good old buyer rush. Their price was $23,000, and they were willing to negotiate a full $100 off that ask, and no further. Given that price was hundreds of dollars higher than even the KBB-suggested CPO price, I walked.

A few days later the sales manager followed up at 6:30 on a Saturday morning, letting me know the wagon I looked at was a great value against some attached comparable vehicles within an 800-mile radius. There were 11 used cars on provided list, and seven of those listed at $25,000 — what dealers ask for new ones. I explained there were just too few on the used market, which caused a price distortion (he agreed). I told the manager I was content to wait for prices to rationalize.

Weeks went by, and the original salesman I spoke with in November followed up December 10th to ask how my search was going. I didn’t hesitate to point out that the overpriced one I’d looked at was still for sale.

“We’ve had it a bit longer than anticipated,” he admitted. There was reassurance of more motivation to move metal, and $22,500 was the offer from across the table. Not good enough, as the money was still above that old KBB limiter. I countered with $22,300, and was quickly informed $22,500 was as low as they could go. Sticking to my guns, I declined.

Three days later another email arrived; they’d hate to lose a customer over a couple hundred bucks. Playing around with a lower purchase price and what it did to the taxes, the tactic changed to an out-the-door total of $24,300. That broke down to $22,428, plus taxes and the doc fee. Close enough.

I picked up my new SportWagen on December 21st, and enjoyed driving around economically [s]ever since[/s] for exactly two weeks. That’s when it went back to the dealer to fix a rattle up above my head. It’s still sitting there as of this writing. Look for an update soon, and we’ll see how wrong the build quality was from the factory.

[Images: Corey Lewis/TTAC]

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  • FreedMike FreedMike on Jan 22, 2020

    Didn't see this yesterday - glad this worked out for you, Corey! FYI, my bet is that the rattle is sunroof-related. My A3 has the same basic setup as your car (MQB FTW), and has a minor one. On the plus side, you can drive 50-60 mph with the roof fully open, and there's very little draft. It's nice this time of year. :)

    • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Jan 22, 2020

      I am thinking it is as well. I believe it's to do with a piece of plastic in the sunroof assembly. Seems I'm gonna have to try and fix it myself.

  • Claytori Claytori on Jan 23, 2020

    I purchased a 2016 Golf Sportwagen with 90K km last October and have put 8K more on it since. The dealer had to do some work on it to bring it up to snuff before I would buy it. It was low on power and they put a new turbocharger on it. I notice that it has three new coil packs, so they must have gone around the block a bit. The car has been very good, even the problematic pano sunroof. Those of us who want/need a smaller MT wagon have limited choices. I am not silly, as I purchased a 3 year VW full coverage warranty. I have the 1.8 TSI 5MT Trend Line. The the Canadian trim names for that year are "Comfort Line, Trend Line, High Line" with some different features to the US trims. Also, VW Canada put in a factory order for enough of these to sell all thru 2020 as this has been a very popular model here. I would be happy if the silly shift nudger went away as it isn't required here (just like TPMS). Overall, I am happy with the car.

  • SilverCoupe I am one of those people whose Venn diagram of interests would include Audis and Formula One.I am not so much into Forums, though. I spend enough time just watching the races.
  • Jeff S Definitely and very soon. Build a hybrid pickup and price it in the Maverick price range. Toyota if they can do this soon could grab the No 1 spot from Maverick.
  • MaintenanceCosts Would be a neat car if restored, and a lot of good parts are there. But also a lot of very challenging obstacles, even just from what we can see from the pictures. It's going to be hard to justify a restoration financially.
  • Jeff S Ford was in a slump during this era and its savior was a few years away from being introduced. The 1986 Taurus and Sable saved Ford from bankruptcy and Ford bet the farm on them. Ford was also helped by the 1985 downsize front wheel drive full sized GM cars. Lincoln in 1987 even spoofed these new full size GM cars in an ad basically showing it was hard to tell the difference between a Cadillac, Buick, and Oldsmobile. This not only helped Lincoln sales but Mercury Grand Marquis and Ford Crown Victoria sales. For GM full size buyers that liked the downsized GM full size 77 to 84 they had the Panther based Lincoln Town Cars, Mercury Grand Marquis, and Ford Crown Victorias that were an alternative to the new GM front wheel drive full size cars that had many issues when they were introduced in 1985 and many of those issues were not resolved for several years. The Marks were losing popularity after the Mark Vs. 1985 was the last year for the rear wheel drive Olds Delta 88 and rear wheel drive Buick Lesabre the rear wheel Caprice and Caprice Classic 3rd generation continued till 1990 when it was redesigned. B Body Buick Estate wagons continued thru 1990 as the Olds Custom Cruiser wagon and both were redesigned. GM held onto a few rear wheel drive full size cars but the Lincoln ad really brought home the similarly looking front wheel drive full size cars. Lincoln's ad was masterful.
  • SCE to AUX Toyota the follower, as usual. It will be 5 years before such a vehicle is available.I can't think of anything innovative from them since the Gen 1 Prius. Even their mythical solid state battery remains vaporware.They look like pre-2009 General Motors. They could fall hard.