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Help Me Select a Wagon

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Comments

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    $19k is so close to new that I'd just buy new. You can actually get a Legacy L/SE for less than that, also new.

    The Forester is taller and the bikes will fit it upright if you remove the front wheels and lower the seat.

    -juice
  • rogertc1rogertc1 Posts: 66
    Now if you want something you can roll the bike into without taking off the wheels get a Ford conversion Van. Heck the back will even fold down into a bed.
  • julnorjulnor Posts: 1
    Hi. I am looking for some advice in regards to purchasing a used A4 Wagon. My husband and I are looking at 1999 and 2000 A4 Wagons as an alternative to my city car, VW Cabrio. We are expecting a child in a few months, so instead of buying a minivan or another SUV we thought a station wagon would be good alternative. Any thoughts about the A4 wagon? Good or bad.
    Thanks!
    Julie
  • leifleif Posts: 41
    Have you considered leasing a new A4?Audi is offering some attractive lease deals and you get a great warranty along with free scheduled maintenance for 50,000 miles.If you have to go the used route,get a "certified Audi".Great looking wagon!
  • I don't know how much of a concern this would be for you and your husband, but in comparing the A4 wagon to Subaru wagons or the VW Passat wagon, the A4 will have less cargo and/or rear seating room. That was a deciding factor for us when we purchased our new Passat.
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    If I were you, I would take your baby equipment (let's face it, it's the stroller that's the space eater) and try putting it in the A4. I didn't specifically shop that vehicle when we weere in your situation (we're now 22 months into the parenthood scene), but everything I read pointed out that the A4 was one of the smallest of the wagons (we did shop the Volvo V40 - way too small).

    IMHO, the important dimension is whether you can place the stroller in the car fore to aft, on it's side or on one of the wheeled edges. This frees up the maximum amount of room when you need to go shopping, on vacation, or whatever.

    With our stroller, the Volvo failed, the Subie could do it, but the stroller would touch the rear glass (I feared for the defroster grid's longevity), and the Passat did it without any touching. Ding, ding, ding - we have a winner! The plethora of airbags and other safety features swung the vote further. We just took a trip a few weeks ago, and the way-back held 6 suitcases and the stroller, winter coats, and a bag of gifts without overflowing into the seating area or blocking our vision. All with over 31 mpg on the interstate.

    YMMV. Good luck with your search. Enjoy parenthood...it's a very special and very fleeting time.
  • allhorizonallhorizon Posts: 483
    Julie,

    The A4 is a very nice car. If you make use of the AWD, I'd say perhaps go for it. I'll explain the 'perhaps': we had a Golf and an older Subaru wagon when out child was 0-4 yrs old. The Golf was newish and more reliable, so we ended up taking it on vacations and longer trips, as well. Now we have a Passat GLX 4Motion, so the longer trips are with that. But at 7years, our son still fits very comfortably in the back of the Golf, also with additional luggage etc.

    So ..., if you think you may buy a larger wagon eventually (next 3-7 yrs, perhaps in addition), I think the A4 is perfect. If you are just smitten with its looks but could care less about the AWD, a new Jetta or Passat wagon are about the same price as the used A4 wagon you describe. Other, slightly more practical options with AWD include the Passat and the Forester or Legacy models.

    BTW, I can fit two large (touring/racing) bikes plus a kid's bike in my Passat wagon, and my child can still sit in the back.

    - D
  • rogertc1rogertc1 Posts: 66
    If you want a larger wagon please look at a Fort Taurus or Mercury Sable. The twins are much larger than anything mentioned in the past threads and they even cost less. The gas milage is the same.
    JMO
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Yep, you're right. We rented one during trip when our daughter was an infant. Worked out fine.

    You can even "sport" up the Sable with a floor shifter in their top-o-the-line model, if that's your thing. The only down side is that they depreciate rapidly. But this isn't a problem if you keep your vehicles for a long time. This could even work to your advantage if you buy a two year old model.

    One other thing I would recommend: leather upholstery. Leater seats clean up easier than velour (very important if you plan to bring food/bottles into the car).
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    We have 2 kids and 2 Subies. The Forester does the job, but the Legacy definitely holds the edge for stroller carrying.

    Do take your stroller and car seat with you. On the Legacy, we can fit the stroller in transversely (side-to-side) and still have room left for a platform where we can change a diaper.

    As a bonus, the rear gate acts as a rain shelter.

    Check out an L/SE wagon. For the price of a used A4 Avant, you'll get AWD, a moonroof, CD, ABS, and 16" alloys. New, with a 5 year warranty.

    -juice
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Isn't it fun packing everything you might possibly need, when infant/toddlers are involved, for a trip? :-)

    I can do the transverse (versus longitudinal) placement in our Passat as well, but I find that I lose more space at the triangular gap between the bottom of the stroller and the back of the seat. The longitudinal orientation was the most space efficient for us, and still plenty of room for a diaper changing station.

    Are you using a double stroller, or is one of your children out of that stage already?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    All of the above. :-)

    We're now using an infant carrier that snaps into a stroller. That stroller converts for toddlers. We have a front pack "Snugly" as well, but the baby's outgrowing it.

    Then we have a back pack carrier, for when he gets bigger. Our 3 year old usually walks but we just got a used double stroller from my cousin.

    Whew. Any and all of these fit easily in the Legacy. To be honest, they fit in the Forester, too, you just have to be a little more creative.

    The A4, though? It's almost a big hatchback vs. a true wagon. The Passat is bigger and the rear more squared off. IMO it's better suited for kid duty.

    -juice
  • I agree that the Taurus / Sable wagons have more cargo and seating room than most of the other wagons out there. I've driven them often as a rental / company car and certainly feel they have adequate get-up-and-go and due to their size I feel relatively safe.

    However, if you are comparing these against Audi, Subaru, VW, or other Euro wagons I really don't think its a fair comparison. The Ford products give you a lot of car (size-wise) for the money but they are not in the same category in terms of available features (AWD in particular), creature comfort, and styling (personal opinion). The Taurus / Sable are also not necessarily more reliable than the other vehicles either.

    When we were shopping for a new wagon I looked at American choices and just didn't see anything currently available that offered the combination of size, styling, AWD, features, safety, and reliability that was available in European and Japanese vehicles.

    Granted, I paid quite a bit more for my Passat 4Motion wagon than a Taurus, but I plan on keeping this vehicle for 10-15 years and it has everything, and a bit more, that I was looking for. I would have considered the Subaru Outback H6 VDC wagon more seriously if the whole dealer experience hadn't been as unpleasant as it was. The purchase of the Passat was quick, simple, and painless from the VW dealer.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    We rented a Taurus for a week in Florida, including a pair of road trips from Orlando to Cocoa Beach. They were sedans, though.

    The one thing that bothered me the most was the shape of the rear door, it made getting in and out, or loading a child seat, difficult. The wagon's door tapers down in a similar fashion. Head room in the back was tight for me, though the wagon is probably better in that regard.

    The previous generation wagon actually had a square window over the rear door and made getting in and out easier. My dad has one, and the 3rd row is a rare features nowadays. But his wagon has been very unreliable.

    The funny thing is that he ended up buying an Outback after seeing my Subie. He still has the Taurus but it's his beater car now. He's sunk too much money into it to get rid of it.

    -juice
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Juice,
    Well, I see you are going through all the permutations of transporting children! We used an infant carrier that snapped into a stroller and also into a base that remained in the car. An extra base for our Honda made life convenient. We never went through the snuggly or back pack stage (surprisingly, since I always suspected my wife thought of me as a beast of burden)! A double stroller sounds ideal for you.

    The rear doors on our Passat wagon are squared off at the back. It was the first thing I noticed when we did a trial run on the car seat. It's like gaining 6 or 8 inches of extra room and a real "back saver".

    Westrid,
    You're certainly right that the Taurus isn't in the same category as the others, but perhaps not option that they considered. I guess it depends on your needs, demands, and wallet!
  • allhorizonallhorizon Posts: 483
    Juice,

    As we all said in here, it is good to take a close look at the space in the wagons, perhaps bring something like a stroller, and see it fits and how much you need. Some people like to go bigger than what they really need, others like to get by with as little as possible.

    Cargo space in the A4 Avant is smallish - but it is much more than what I have in my Golf, and actually almost identical to the space in the Forester. It is also nicely squared off at the bottom with no wheel well intrusion. The A4 wagon holds more than what you would think from its outside looks.

    If we got by with a Golf with a kid in the first 4 years, a Jetta or A4 or Forester will do for many - but of course not all - people.

    - D
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yes - that square back is useful, especially for boxy items. Our Forester is very boxy (and tall) in the back, and it has hauled an oversize clothes washer home still in the box! Hatch closed.

    No way an A4 could do that, but I bet the floor space is similar, and if you're not stacking items, yeah, it probably offers similar capacity.

    The Outback/Legacy have a bit of an angle to the rear window (like the A4), but the floor space is bigger than the Forester, and the shock towers are not very intrusive at all.

    It all depends on what you want to haul. If you look at CR's biggest box test, Forester beats out even some mid-size SUVs, because the low floor/high ceiling really optimizes the space for tall boxy items.

    -juice
  • allhorizonallhorizon Posts: 483
    That's right, the Forester cargo area is very tall. That can come in handy not only for tall boxes but also for things like plants etc.

    However, the A4 is wider and has more floor space, with the total cargo volume being almost identical.

    Per their respective web sites, the Forester has 29.6 to 32 cubic feet (depending on model), the A4 has 27.8. Rear seats folded, the numbers are 61.4 to 64.1 vs. 63.7.

    I don't want to beat this topic to death, and there may not be too many cross-shoppers. I just find it interesting to compare the cargo area of these smallish wagons. I believe manufacturers have made much progress in recent years packaging a lot of usable space in what looks like a comparatively small car from the outside. Some people may underestimate just how much space there is!

    - D
  • conradwconradw Posts: 2
    I am seriously considering the Volvo V40. With the 4k Volvo promotion and another 1k my dealer could provide, the basic model runs only around 21k, with all the safety features even the Subie VW and Audi models could not touch, such as the inflatable curtain. I think the price is much better than the Germans. And the spacing is comparable to the Outback although the wheel wells do standout more (I had a 98'Outback). The interior and overall quality should also be superior to the Subies, or maybe the VW's (which I had no experience).

    So I am wondering what I am missing. Why is there no one here even mentioning the V40?

    I am wondering
  • conradw, that's a very fair question. At the price you mentioned, yes that could be very appealing. For our needs, we didn't consider the V40 because it was too small, no AWD, and a little underpowered in my opinion. The XC70 was more along the lines of what we were looking for but we couldn't make the $'s work out in our favor and were concerned about reliability over the long haul. The Passat 4Motion wagon won out.
  • allhorizonallhorizon Posts: 483
    >> with all the safety features even the Subie VW and Audi models could not touch, such as the inflatable curtain <<

    The VWs/Audis do come with side and curtain air bags standard, and have several additional safety features (like ESP available very inexpensively). I don't consider the V40 as one of the better Volvos. It is small, about the size of the Jetta but with even less rear legroom and less cargo space with rear seats up.

    Many view it as nothing more but a rebadged Mitsubishi/Ford. That reputation and its small size may be reasons it is not much discussed here.

    - D
  • mikenkmikenk Posts: 281
    >>The interior and overall quality should also be superior to the Subies, or maybe the VW's (which I had no experience).<<

    I just had to comment on this earlier statement. People so often misuse the word 'quality' for 'luxury features'. Quality is the ability of the product to reliably meet the customer requirements over the entire expected life of the product. It has nothing to do with desired features.

    By any measure, Volvo is not a high quality automobile. Subsystems fail early and are very expensive to fix. Those are design problems and quality problems. I loved the seats in my Volvo 850, beautiful and comfortable, but the leather wore quickly and the seat mechanism quit on a trip leaving my wife in a permanently reclined position. That is lack of quality.

    Mike
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The V40 is really just a Mitsubishi Charisma with Volvo's inflatable curtains added on. It's built in Holland at a Mitsu plant. In fact now that Mitsu has closer ties to Chrysler (and therefore Mercedes), the partnership is ending as the next small Volvo will be built elsewhere.

    A co-worker Niels had one that was a lemon, though Volvo really took care of him and put him in an S60 for a bargain deal. He like the S60 a whole lot better. His V40 had 11 pages of service history in just a couple of months.

    I took another co-worker to test drive an S40, it was OK but really no better than an Accord, which is what she ended up getting. It just felt to me like an average smallish sedan, not bad but not a stand-out.

    Subies cost less and are bigger, plus they offer AWD. The Forester does have side air bags that also protect the driver's head, even on a $19 grand base model.

    Audis are much nicer inside IMO, and a lot sportier. Again, AWD is available so it doesn't drive like a plain FWD economy sedan.

    -juice
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    When we were cross shopping the V40, Focus wagon, Saturn LW200, Legacy Wagon and Passat wagon we found the V40 was the smallest of the bunch, both for cargo and rear seat room, plus it was quite expensive. Even the Focus was too narrow to fit three people in the back, though it was by a large margin the cheapest one. The other three were pretty close in size, with the Passat being the nicest overall for drive, ride, fit and finish but the highest price to go with it. The Legacy was nice but we didn't think we needed AWD and at the time things like in-dash CD were a dealer installed accessory, as was remote keyless entry, both things we wanted which brought the price up; not great on gas either.

    We choose the Saturn based on 0% finance, GM card points, and comfort. The Saturn's rear strut towers are a bit intrusive in the back but not too bad, still lots of space for strollers, high chairs, playpens, etc. Not everyone has great reliability with the Saturn L-series but our 2001 has been great (replace the awful Firestone OEM tires if you get one though). In winter on Arctic Alpins it is good on snow and ice. Even Saturns have curtain airbags these days.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Bummer on the timing - the keyless and CD are now standard on the 2003 Legacy.

    We got keyless as a pre-installed option on our 2002, and I installed a 6CD changer out of a WRX, they go for under $200 nowadays (they're getting lots of XM and Sirius units).

    My wife's Legacy averages about 25mpg, not bad for a mid-size AWD wagon.

    -juice
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    Legacy wouldn't really be considered mid-size. It's smaller than an Accord and has a 4 banger. I would be disappointed if it didn't get at least 25mpg, even with the AWD.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Your expectations may be unrealistic for an AWD vehicle.

    You mention Honda, so let's look at the 4 cylinder CR-V, which actually uses a version of the Accord's 2.4l engine. Perfect comparison, two AWD wagons, similar size, price, and displacement.

    The manual tranny CR-V gets 20/25, while our 5 speed Legacy gets 21/27, despits the slightly bigger displacement. And Honda's AWD is part-time, so the 20/25 is in FWD mode.

    Accord is a FWD sedan, not wagon, so that's apples to oranges.

    What would you buy if AWD was a pre-requisite? Nothing out there beats the Legacy in that regard.

    -juice
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    I'd guess that aerodynamics has to enter the picture in that comparison, i.e., the more "brick-like" design of the Honda.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    True, but the Legacy carries a pretty good advantage. The gas tank is also bigger so the difference in range is significant IMO (that was a factor when we cross shopped both those cars).

    Look at other 2.5l cars, the BMW 323i gets 19/26 with AWD, and it's a 2.5l wagon, only smaller, plus it burns premium fuel.

    The A4 Avant 1.8T is only slightly better, but it too burns premium, so fuel costs will be higher overall.

    The Jag X Type gets 19/28, but it's smaller and doesn't offer the room of a wagon.

    We had a 626 2.5l V6 5 speed and it got 21/26 on premium, also worse than the Legacy, and that was FWD.

    The 2.5l Contour and Mondeo also got similar mileage, again with FWD.

    So, I'll say it again, for a 2.5l with AWD, the Legacy is very efficient. We traded in that 626 and our fuel costs are down, we average about 3 mpg better on regular instead of premium.

    -juice
  • ncvolncvol Posts: 196
    The Saab 9-5 Wagon is very intriguing in many ways, it gets good mileage, has an upscale feel, good cargo space, and an above-average track record for reliability. It's biggest drawback to me (other than being possibly a little higher than my preferred price range) is the lack of AWD. It's got stability control and traction control, and I'd only need it for snow, ice and rain (as opposed to any off-roading) so I haven't ruled it out. I've got to think a car from Sweden would work passably well in snow, even if it doesn't have AWD.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Don't they have that cool cargo loading system where the floor slides back? I like the 9-5.

    -juice
  • ncvolncvol Posts: 196
    I think that's right. I like Saabs, they're kinda offbeat, sort of like the Subaru of Europe.
  • The Saab 9-5 wagon was definitely one of the choices we were looking at when we were shopping at the beginning of the year. AWD was one of the options I considered almost a must, however, with the Saab's history of "winter living" and the optional traction control it was still in the running. What finally ruled it out was the fact that we don't have a local Saab dealer here in Boise. We have been very pleased with our new Passat 4Mo wagon.
  • ncvolncvol Posts: 196
    The Passat 4Mo is definitely on my short list. That's encouraging to know that it can handle the snow of Boise. Should cover anything I get here in Raleigh.
  • nelsoncmnelsoncm Posts: 103
    From other owner discussion groups I've read, you should have no probs with the Saab in snow or cold weather, although even here in So Cal, I noticed slower starts this past winter.
    The main drawback for me with my Saab is the lack of storage space. Not cargo room, but storage space, ie cupholders, place to put wrappers, trash, cell phone, umbrellas, blah blah. Of all the wagons I shopped, Saab had the least amount of storage cubbies but is otherwise nice enough, and very solid.
  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    ncvol - funny you should compare Saab to Subaru. I remember when Subaru was just getting a foothold in the US. Car reviewers compared it to an other "quirky" car... it was like a Japanese Saab.

    -james
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It's funny because a local club founder has both a Saab and a Soob, and he has clubs for both! We even had a joint meet, it was a Covered Bridge Tour in PA.

    -juice
  • CindyMCindyM Posts: 15
    Am in the throws of trying to decide between a Volvo V70 2.4(non-turbo), a VW Passat 1.8T Wagon, the new '04 Toyota Sienna Mini-Van and possibly taking a look a the Saturn L300 Wagon or Vue. My objective thinking process is being clouded by my gut level feelings about the (lack of) reliability and high cost of maintenance on a Volvo or a VW; however, re: the new Sienna -- there's the adage about not buying the first year of a new model as you don't know what the (new) problems might be!! And as for the Saturns, well, perhaps reliable and safe, but don't seem to pay attention to detail and use cheap build materials. Our search is limited to vehicles that have the side curtain airbags (head impact).
    Any thoughts or advice on the above? Thanks!!!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Volvos have been better lately. They also cost a bit more. The standard 2.4l isn't very powerful, I prefer the turbo.

    VW has also been improving. The Passat also has good resale, and a nice interior.

    The Sienna is new, and any v1.0 is a risk. The first-year Camry fell to "Average" reliability, but that's still not bad. It is very innovative - split folding 3rd row, rear windows that open, AWD optional.

    IMO I think the Saturns are a little out of their league here, but they could be seen as budget buys. But you say they're "cheap" yourself, so I'd avoid them. I doubt you'll be happy in 5 years if you don't even like them much now.

    I'd add one to your list - the Subaru Forester. It has side air bags, but they are L-shaped and also protect the head (front passengers only). They're proven reliable (I love mine).

    I'd suggest you attend a car show and check out the interior of all of them. Narrow it down to your 2 or 3 favorites, then drive them.

    Then pick the one that brings the biggest smile to your face. The most fun car will probably be the one you'd like the best 5 years down the road.

    Good luck.

    -juice
  • CindyMCindyM Posts: 15
    Well, have to admit that driving the Passat Wagon did bring a smile to my face! Another piece of the puzzle, however, is a 7-year-old and a 2-year-old in the mix - which makes that '04 Sienna so appealing! It's still a mini-van though!!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    A Passat fits four plus their cargo easily, the question is do you car pool and take other kids along frequently?

    If not, get the Passat.

    -juice
  • rollierollie Posts: 337
    What's your price range? If it's in your range, stylistically you would be hard pressed to be an Audi Avant.

    Othewise, I'd take a long look at the Volvos. If you check their True Cost to Own numbers here on Edmunds you'll see they cost a fraction of the cost (over 5 years) of a cheaper Toyota, Subaru, etc. If you opt for Volvo's Overseas Delivery program you can get the V70 2.4 for $25,400 or the 2.4Turbo for $28,100 (and these prices include airfare for two, first night hotel, insurance, delivery to U.S., etc.). If it's in your range it's a pretty good deal pricewise (and there's a special vacation package for under $300/couple to get you five nights in either Nice or London, airport transfers, and airfare.)

    As an aside, noticed you are looking at wagons and a minivan. I highly recommend you get some extended test drives with the wagons and your full family to insure a wagon will meet your needs over a minivan.

    Good luck.

    -rollie
  • CindyMCindyM Posts: 15
    Thank you both, rollie and juice --- appreciate the input. Yes, we have to consider our longterm needs in a vehicle with carpooling and hauling other kids around at some point being a given. I am just sooo piqued that Toyota can insist on full MSRP on the '04 Sienna for the forseeable future (it's also the only one that presently has the curtain airbags too.) Gas mileage is a consideration too as is, again, no track record for this model yet. We're in sort of a bind in that we need to make a decision and purchase something within the next 3-6 weeks..... aagh; One other thought is to get a wagon now, and a used minivan later.....
  • When we were shopping at the beginning of the year we also found it difficult and frustrating at times trying to figure out what the best vehicle for us would be. Neither my wife nor I could handle the thought of a mini-van (no offense to mini-van owners), so we were looking primarily at wagons. We (I) also considered the Honda Pilot as an outside shot, it was an SUV (another no-no to my wife), however, it did have some redeeming qualities. It was sort of shaped like a big wagon, it had the fold-down third row seating, and it got decent gas mileage, which made it appear a bit greener. But, like your comment on the Toyota, the Honda dealer was charging a $3000 "Actual Market Value" surcharge to MSRP, and not dealing below that. That pushed it above our budget for that type of vehicle.

    We ended up looking hard at the VW Passat 4Mo wagon and the Subaru H6 VDC wagon. We drove them quite a bit, and based our decision on the test drives, various reviews from forum boards such as this, and on the dealer experience.

    We've been very pleased with our Passat thus far. It may not end up being singularly the most reliable vehicle compared to what the other options were, however, it has the best blend of safety, features, fun, uniqueness, quality, and value. We also have two kids, 9 and 13, and lots of stuff we throw in the back. It's been great.

    Good luck with your choice!
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    How would you compare the power between the Outback H6 and the Passat 4motion? (I assume you have a V6 4motion)
  • bodble2,

    You have to keep in mind what I was driving prior to owning my Passat V6 4Mo wagon. I have an '89 Subaru 4 cyl. 4WD wagon, with 189,000 miles. It is no speed demon by any stretch of anyone's imagination!

    Given that, both the Outback H6 wagons and the Passat V6 4Mo wagon provide more than ample power and acceleration for my needs. I don't recall exactly, but they both probably have similar 0-60 times, in the low to mid 8's, if that's relevant to you. Although the Subie has a little more horsepower, they are both similar in torque. What is more important to me is the passing acceleration, and that is what I was kind of keying in on during my test drives. Again, they both had an adequate kick-down gear at merging and highway speeds, although, the Passat did feel smoother during acceleration.

    Now, after a few months of ownership, I continue to feel I made the right choice. Again, the Passat is very smooth throughout its power range. Although I would have preferred a manual, the 5sp auto in Tip mode does provide for very smooth shifts while going up to and back down from the ski resort. Also, its been a long time since I've had a car that can cruise comfortably at 80 and have enough oooomph left over to still take off when I stomp the gas pedal.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The VDC has more HP, 212, but it has a 4 speed automatic. The VW has 190hp, but the 5 ratios and Tiptronic make up for the difference. So on the road the results are similar.

    That said, the VDC isn't particularly fast, it's more about quiet cruising. The engine is very silent. When we test drove it, my wife didn't realize the engine was already on and was about to try to start it again.

    C&D tested a Legacy with the H4 2.5l engine, albeit with a 5 speed, and the 0-60 was similar to the H6. The H6 is much smoother, though. We own a 2002 Legacy L and it's never lacking in power.

    If you want real power in a Subie, go for the WRX, or wait 'til the Forester turbo arrives. On a Passat, get a 1.8T with a 5 speed manual and chip it, or get a V6/manual.

    -juice
  • allhorizonallhorizon Posts: 483
    What Juice said.

    One thing to add: both the H6 Subaru and the V6 Passat have a lot of power when you are fully packed and need to tow something or go up a mountain. Not necessarily sportscar acceleration, but much more power to lug things/people than many smallish cars.

    I can go up a mountain at 6000 feet (without turbo) and loaf at 2000 rpm fully packed with my Passat, where other makes are winding in the 6000rpm range trying to get by.

    That said, don't underestimate the acceleration of the V6 automatic Passat. It is quite responsive over an incredibly wide torque band, even with the auto trans, and you can pull away from more than 90% of the drivers/makes at a stop light if you wish. The Subaru H6 feels a bit more domesticated in comparison.

    - D
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    True, torque is good, and both are better suited for towing than most turbos.

    However, at altitude, turbos will carry a distinct advantage. Normally they'll bleed off any excess boost, but at altitude they'll use more of that boost and produce the same HP they do at sea level, while N/A engines will be wheezing and losing significant power.

    Perhaps the V6 has power to spare, so you don't even notice. Or perhaps you're not at very high altitude.

    The 2.8l V6 likes to rev, they put a bigger engine in the A4 for better low-end.

    -juice
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    Then the Passat seems to defy the laws of physics because the 4motion is a heavy car. The power-to-weight ratio is not impressive. Unless they compensate via shorter gearing. But then, one would think, that would be reflected in lower gas mileage and higher cruising RPM, which don't appear to be the case.
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