Help Me Select a Wagon

driver36driver36 Member Posts: 57
edited August 2014 in Volkswagen
I have been looking a sport wagon for awhile ever since the A4 came out. I love the way how the Avant drives but the Passat wagon has better rear seat room for long trip. I would love to hear someone chose one over the other and tell me why or how they pick their car.

Thanks in advance!


  • vwguildvwguild Member Posts: 1,620
    I think that the first thing that you need to do is determine your max budget...once done you need
    to decide what features are the most important.
    Whatever the product...the one that fulfills most
    of the *needs* on your list and falls into your
    budget is the one for you.

    In my experience the biggest mistake that people make is being short sighted about the things that they need and sacrificing them for a monthly payment. You don't want to go over budget; that's
    for sure, but you want to make sure that you get
    as many of the features as you can that fit into that
    budget...THAT IS VALUE. And make sure that you select
    a car that will work for you for at least 5-7 years. You don't want to outgrow the car before it is paid for. Best case is yours
    free of payments for at least 3-5 years...PS
  • tzretusntzretusn Member Posts: 5

    We had the same dilemma last year and opted for the Passat. The rear leg room was the key for us. If you plan on anyone sitting in the A4 back seat, you can't have the front ones all the way back. That plus it saved about $5-8K. But, the interior of the A4 was really nice. We got the V6 (I prefer the larger engine) so even our Passat has some wood, but the Audi was classy.
  • reblawreblaw Member Posts: 1
    I looked at the A4, which is nice, but opted for the 2001 passat wagon GLX, loaded. The interior is not inferior to A4, and the body is slightly larger (read cargo room adn back seat) as you can clearly see looking from the back of the vehicle. I think passat gives you more value for the $ for sure. If you ahve more money, skip the A4 and go for the BMW wagon.
  • sundance_goldsundance_gold Member Posts: 19
    While I agree that VW (comapred to AUDI, BMW, and even Mercedes) gives you more "bang for the buck", the basic bumper-bumper warranty for VW sucks. I've consequently written off the VW after bing told that repairs like to the sunroof are not covered after 2 yrs.
  • vwguildvwguild Member Posts: 1,620
    How long do you typically keep a car?
  • oyoungoyoung Member Posts: 10
    I am in the same situation. I currently have a '97 Golf Trek. Great car, blast to drive, but I got it basically to commute to and from work and to do an occasional road rally.

    Well, after having just gotten divorced, I now have to take my kids (3-1/2 and 2 yo) every day to and from daycare, so I figured it was time to upgrade.

    I've pretty much decided on the A4 with the 1.8T, Quattro, and a 5-spd. It's my understanding that a Passat with 4Motion only comes with the automatic. While Tiptronic is fun, it's still an automatic! Also, comparably equipped, the Passat came in around $32K while the A4 comes in around $29-30K. And, like Sundance_Gold said, I believe the Audi warranty is better.

    The Jetta is just too small, IMHO. And rear leg room isn't as big a deal for me since I'll be having two car seats back there for awhile!

    Would love to hear other opinions, since I am looking to do this within the next few weeks.

    Thanks, all!
  • tomwcarrtomwcarr Member Posts: 1
    Price comparisons between the Passat and A4 can be a bit misleading. The A4 comes with Quattro. As mentioned above, if you want AWD, VW forces you to purchase 6 cylinders and automatic, which greatly increases the price. The Audi comes with many "options" as standard; the list is long so I won't hash it all out. The warrantee covers routine maintenance for 3 yrs 50k, that's *everything*, including oil change or washer fluid - no cost.

    All that said, for me it came down to the AWD. If I wanted a FWD car I would have saved some cash, and got the Passat. But to say, as I sometimes hear, that the A4 is just a snobby and expensive Passat, is off the mark IMO.

    BTW, I was OUT THE DOOR (tax, title, etc) with an 2001 A4 Avant, 1.8T Quattro Manual, no other options, for $28,800.
  • sycipcrollsycipcroll Member Posts: 2
    We looked at the Passat awd wagon and A4 avant too. The only real advantage the Passat had on the A4 was size (rear leg room), IMO. But, 90% of the time I'm the only one in the wagon and we haven't started having kids yet so we opted for the A4. Plus, we think it's the best-looking wagon out there.
    I admit that I stare at my A4 in the parking lot. Pretty pathetic for some expensive piece of metal.
  • sycipcrollsycipcroll Member Posts: 2
    They compared the A4 Avant, BMW 3 Series AWD wagin, the Subaru Outback and the VW 4motion Passat wagon. Here are the results for the SPORT wagin comparision in the $30k range:

    4th place......Outback

    Drive the A4 and you might see why
  • gotenks243gotenks243 Member Posts: 116
    Keep in context though, that that test was about SPORT wagons. The Outback and Passat aren't and really don't try to be. So of course the Audi and Bimmer would win... If sport is less of a concern though...

  • milammilammilammilam Member Posts: 1
    Is Audi or Volkswagon going to import diesel wagons? I would order either an A6 or a Passat tomorrow. We already have a Jetty diesel, but we need a bigger car.

  • rockribbedrockribbed Member Posts: 44
    It's my understanding that there will be no diesels in the larger cars. The bad rap that diesels got here in the US (laid solely at the feet of GM), plus regulations (see above feet of US Gov.), plus the cheap cost of gas here just about kills the diesel. Mercedes doesn't even bring their oil burners over the pond. I agree, I love diesels and my ideal car would be an A4 with a turbo diesel automatic Quatro....
  • daotodaoto Member Posts: 6
    I have a 2000 Passat Wagon V6 5 spd and three kids. I was wondering if anyone in wagonland has installed a third seat for the cargo area? Also, I have cloth seats and was wondering if anyone has found good seat covers that work with the sideairbags. Thanks. Dana
  • vwguildvwguild Member Posts: 1,620
    I had a customer a couple of years ago that owned a MBZ wagon
    with a 3rd Row seat where his son and friends normally sat. Well...
    he was *rear-ended* at a stop light by a Suburban doing around 40 MPH.

    The Wagon collapsed to the back of the Regular back seats...fortunately,
    the son was sitting up front with his Dad.
  • jaypel2520jaypel2520 Member Posts: 2
    I currently drive a '98 A4 1.8T Quattro sedan and have never been impressed with the gas mileage [avg. 16-17 mpg in Los Angeles driving]. I am looking at the A4 Avant 1.8T Quattro but am wondering if any of you owners out there can tell me about your gas mileage experiences with the Avant? As I am also considering a Passat, I'd like to hear about actual mileage experience with those vehicles as well. Thanks.
  • pocahontaspocahontas Member Posts: 802
    Hi everyone,

    In order to simplify matters, I've removed the numerous makes/models names that were previously in this title and changed the name to "Help me select a Station Wagon!"

    One more note: To further enhance your experience at Town Hall, be sure to check out the Additional Resources box on the left side of this page. In this area, you'll find links to other related discussions/articles throughout Town Hall.

    Please note, not all of these discussions are from the Station Wagons Message board. You'll also find links to other message board discussions. (i.e. Women's Auto Center: Help me select a vehicle!)

    So if you need more feedback to your question..., don't hesitate to also post (copy/paste) your message in one of these other discussions. Hope this is helpful. ;-)

    Hatchbacks / Station Wagons / Women's Auto Center Boards

  • ksimosksimos Member Posts: 3
    I test drove and looked at the 98' Audi A6 and I thought that it was nice and roomy though kind of slow. I really want a wagon with room and it seems to have that.

    I am interested in the overall performance of these cars being that a test drive does not quite give one a true sense and also what are the maintanence history's of these cars as well as the cost of the maintenance.

    I also looked at a 2000 Passat GLS which was nice, any thoughts
    Many thanks,
  • dudleyrdudleyr Member Posts: 3,469

    My father has a 5-speed Passat wagon with the 1.8t, and averages about 31 in DC Subarban driving. He gets 32-40 on the highway depending on speed. Auto tranny and AWD probably hurt the Audi - not to mention traffic. My father is retired, and does no do the rush hour thing too often.

    If you want good mileage skip the AWD and get a good set of snow tires. FWD and good snow tires will do better than AWD without snows. Remember AWD does not help braking, but snows do. Actually if you live in LA you probably don't need either.

    Also someone was concerned with the VW warrenty being 2 years. Maybe this was mentioned already, but I think 2002 models will have something like 4 years 50,000, but will drop the free maintenance, and the 100,000 miles on the drivetrain.
  • skeewb_4287skeewb_4287 Member Posts: 17
    You want to also look into the Jetta GLX VR6 wagon.
  • perritoperrito Member Posts: 66
    It's overpriced, heavy-nosed, and for that price you can get the much more spacious Passat wagon. And I'm not saying this because I own a Passat -- I own a Forester, so there, I'm not biased!
  • ghuletghulet Member Posts: 2,628 overpriced, you're basically getting a GLS with power seats, just get the GLS with the V6, or better yet, the 1.8t stick. I don't think the world needs (though it seems ready, willing and able to have) a 30k Jetta wagon.
  • revkarevka Member Posts: 1,750
    you should check out this new article from Edmunds' Advise section: Low Interest Auto Loans and Rebates Abound, How to Use Their Money to Your Advantage, by Phillip Reed. Let us know what you think.

    Has anyone here taken advantage of the lower interest rates currently being offered...? Thanks for your comments. ;-)

    Hatchbacks / Station Wagons / Women's Auto Center Boards
  • eelmereelmer Member Posts: 2
    I'm looking at a 92 Audi 100 CS Quattro wagon with the 2.8 liter V-6 and auto tranny. The car has 168,000 miles on it and seems to drive and shift great. My questions are how many miles can I expect out of this motor and tranny, and is this the same engine as the VW VR6? If not, can a VW VR6 be installed without too much hassle? Any insight would be appreciated as I am having a mechanic check it out next week.

  • barsaecbarsaec Member Posts: 2
    Howdy All,

    I just thought I would fill everyone in on the fact that VW is putting the TDI in the 2002 wagon. I just saw my first one on the lot, w/auto tranny the wagon is rated at 45mpg on the highway.

    VW's web page doesn't mention the TDI in the wagon, in 2001 it was unavailable. So for all you diesel lovers, your wagon has arrived.


  • kkfmakkkfmak Member Posts: 2
    For those of you who have driven the new breed of sports wagons available today, how does the rear legroom on these cars compare? I am in the market for a wagon, and I have tested the Passat, IS300 Sportscross, and the PT Cruiser in the last couple of weeks. Overall, I like the Passat best for its value, the IS for its performance, and the PT for the style. However, the IS300's rear legroom number is listed at only 30 inches even though it did not feel that much less than the other two cars. Can anyone tell me how legroom is measure and offer some suggestions in my search for a wagon.
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Member Posts: 591
    The best way to measure legroom is to sit in and adjust both the front driver and passenger seats and then go in the back seat and try it out for yourself. Driving or sitting in cars "on paper" is a good way to start looking at cars but the only way to know for sure is to get your butt in one.

    Since the front seat moves back and forth, you may also find it useful to add the "on paper" front and rear legroom numbers to give you a total legroom amount, as you can adjust the available back seat room quite a bit that way. Some car manufacturers seem to give big front numbers and not worry about the rear numbers for cars where they don't think anyone is going to sit back there anyways.

    I bought a Saturn LW200 sport wagon myself, and find the passenger room to be very good, often transporting 4 adults and my son in a child seat. The Saturn large wagon is based upon the German Opel Vectra so I find it to be a very good value for people looking at the Passat, as it has a stiffer suspension and better road feel than your average North American wagon. It has very similar dimensions and pretty much the same features as a Passat wagon for thousands of dollars less so you may find it is worth a look.
  • tauyeungtauyeung Member Posts: 12
    My family owns two Subaru Legacy L wagons, and both my wife and I love them. No, these are not sporty but rather basic, but it is the best bang for the buck.

    If you are looking for performance (and fun!), the Impreza WRX and Outback VDC are worth a look at $24,000 and $31,000 (sticker), respectively. Consumer reports (this issue) did an article on the WRX, you may want to take a look.

    My dad owns a VW Passat wagon, and I agree it has more toys for the buck compared to my subie. It also has side curtain airbags for extra safety. I think the subie rides quieter on highway, but the Passat corners better (on dry road). Both wagons have comparable interiror space.

  • revkarevka Member Posts: 1,750
    here's an informative article that you may find interesting: Online Car Buying Revisited, by Philip Reed. Happy shopping! ;-)

    Hatchbacks / Station Wagons / Women's Auto Center Boards
  • revkarevka Member Posts: 1,750
    Hi Folks- If you need help deciding between a station wagon or suv, here's a good discussion to post your message: Station Wagon vs SUV. This discussion is also linked from this board over to our SUVs board, so you'll be able to solicit feedback from both station wagon and suv owners.... Happy shopping!

    Hatchbacks / Station Wagons / Women's Auto Center Boards
  • maxwellamaxwella Member Posts: 17
    I've just entered the market for a station wagon, and am beginning my research here.

    My main requirement is that it be stick shift, and at least pleasant to drive. It must also be large enough to be practical for home depot, but reasonably-sized enough to park in a city.

    Price is not so much of a concern. And while I would like it to be somewhat fun to drive, my other car is an Audi TT roadster, so i don't need something along the lines of an S6 Avant. Right now I'm leaning toward the Passat, but want to make sure I'm not forgetting something obvious.

    Any insight? I'd really appreciate it.
  • mikenkmikenk Member Posts: 281
    I was in about the same boat you were about 6 months ago. My other car was a Toyota Supra so I was not looking for the station wagon to be a sports car, and cost was really not that big an issue. My semifinalists were the Volvo xc, the Audi a6, the Passat, and the Outback H6. I eliminated the Volvo because of problems I had with my prior 850 and the ride was too harsh. The A6 was just too much money for the value, but it is really nice. The finalists were the Passat and the Outback VDC. I really liked both cars. The Passat had a sportier feel because of the transmission and a nicer interior. I liked the expected better reliability, quietness, ride compliance, and stereo better on the VDC.

    We picked the Outback VDC and have been very pleased. In my opinion, all of these cars have a different personality. Go drive them all and see which fits you better.

    I also wanted to look at the Saab, but my wife just didn't like the name. It wasn't worth the fight. The A4 was too small.

    I thought about looking at the Saturn and Taurus. They are both roomy and less money, but I thought they were too boring to consider.

    Good luck. Tell us what you picked.
  • maxwellamaxwella Member Posts: 17
    Thanks for the reply, Mike. Did you consider the Jetta wagon, too, or was it too small? I'm intriguied by the diesel version.

    There just aren't that many nice wagons out there, it seems. I am tempted to test drive a PT cruiser, too.
  • mikenkmikenk Member Posts: 281
    No, I did not look at the Jetta. I assumed it was too small. The Passat was the only VW I considered. For me, the PT Cuiser was never an option; too weird and too slow.

    You might look at the Toyota Highlander; it seems more wagon-like than most SUV's.

  • sgrstansgrstan Member Posts: 9
    Does anyone have any recommendations on the best wagon for a multiple pet owner, who must carry cages and carriers from time to time? I am thinking about the ability to fit more than one across, vertical space, ease of loading, etc. Perhaps these considerations are no different than for someone loading sports equipment or construction gear, but perhaps pet owners have had some good or bad experiences with particular wagons. Thank you.
  • revkarevka Member Posts: 1,750
    A major newspaper is looking to interview folks who learned how to drive stick in their adulthood, and either fell in love or hated it. Also welcome is any input on why people love to drive stick, and any unusual anecdotes about how you learned etc.

    Hope to hear from you before Feb 22 via the Talk to the Press discussion or at [email protected] with your thoughts and contact information.

    Thanks for your participation.



    Hatchbacks & Station Wagons Boards

  • garymetgarymet Member Posts: 3
    Hi everyone. Gary here, from Long Beach,CA. I'm looking real hard at a Passat GLX Wagon but I read in the Passat area where someone gets a horn stuck or something else not very pleasant, so I'm hoping someone can either persuade me I'm making the right decision or influence me into another wagon. My wife and I have an 11 month old, so we really want a wagon. Thanks all and Happy Valentine's Day
  • bill_1bill_1 Member Posts: 97
    The thing to remember about most of these boards is that the complaints you read on them about a vehicle can make the vehicle seem very much worse than it actually is. The reason is simple, people are far more willing to complain about something than to sing it praises, and those complaints are also very likely to stick in one's mind. Better tools are ones that look at large numbers of the vehicle over an extended period of time. Most VWs, though not perfect, do pretty well at holding up over the years. Mind you though, even the best built carline in the world will produce lemons now and then so there is no garuntee that the vehicle you are looking at will be trouble free.

    In other words if you like the VW Passat, I can think of no compelling reason not to get one.
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Member Posts: 591
    What are you looking for in your wagon? Answering that question will allow us to better help you select a station wagon.

    I have a 10.5 month old son. We bought our Saturn LW200 wagon last May shortly after his birth as our Geo Metro hatchback was a _bit_ small for a family vehicle ;-). The wagon is great with all the baby stuff we have to haul around, plus all the new furniture we've had to purchase, etc. The Saturn is big enough to seat 4 adults plus the baby seat which was one of the things I was looking for (this crossed off many of the tall, narrow wagons from our shopping list).

    We looked at the Passat as well as the Saturn. The Passat was very nice, but for us it wasn't sufficiently better than the Saturn to justify the higher cost of the VW, especially with the GM financing deals that were available at the time. If you can afford the Passat and like the addition features it offers, then you'll likely be very happy with it.

    As Bill said, you have to be careful when reading the complaints on these boards. Many people who have problems with a car make it their mission in life to try to prevent anyone else from buying one. You must take many postings here with a step back to see the big picture. Lemon-aid guides, JD Power surveys, etc. can be useful indications but of course it is always hard to predict what this year's model will be like down the road. If you want to be covered against big future repair costs, perhaps an extended warranty is a good idea though I think VW's now have 4-year standard warranties anyway.
  • revkarevka Member Posts: 1,750
    Be sure to check out some of the Edmunds' tools (i.e. vehicle search/comparison) and other related Town Hall discussions in the Helpful links on the left side of the page. Happy Shopping.

    Hatchbacks & Station Wagons Boards
  • dmichaeledmichaele Member Posts: 1
    I was not necessarily in the market for a wagon when 16 months ago I bought a spotless, pre-owned 1999 Taurus SE wagon (V6). I was looking for a good value and this car had only 18K miles on it and at $12.5K it was a very good bargain. It has power everything (locks, antenna, etc.)

    The car feels real solid, good on the open road and not as bad on gas as I thought. It has a very high safty rating.

    One thing I noticed on other wagons is that their are often no rear seats and having kids with friends who always want to visit, having rear seats is a big plus. In my neighborhood of Essex county New Jersey, I see Taurus wagons everywhere. It's a very popular vehicle and owning one I can see why. A very solid car.

  • revkarevka Member Posts: 1,750
    and glad your Taurus is serving you well. Here's a direct link to our ongoing Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable Wagon discussion where you can also share notes with other owners. Happy motoring!

    Hatchbacks & Station Wagons Boards
  • rickpctrickpct Member Posts: 71
    Just under a yr ago I was looking for a wagon to replace our SUV. Have 2 kids, sometimes haul junk in the back, and do 2-5 hour road trips every month to visit the outlaws:) Space, solid handling, fwd, decent luxury, good performance, and long term durability (i keep cars for 10 years) were my rqmts.

    If money were no object, I'd go for the MB E320 4-matic. Will last a lifetime, it's big and roomy but handles ok. BMW 5 series wagon is similar price range but is a joke -- as far as wagons are concerned - cargo area is ludicrously small. The sedan on the other hand....that's another story. Audi A6 was also on the list - but the cargo area in the A6 seemed small. Interior is probably the best in the industry though. Price of A6 was just outside my range though.

    That left me looking at Volvo and Saab. After driving both, the Saab 9-5 wagon won hands down. Much better handling, faster, slightly more room, better looking...more fun to drive, etc. We've had the wagon for almost a year. Zero problems and is a great car when cruising @ 80mph on long trips. If you're looking, test drive the saab - it;s my first saab and it's true when the say "..people who test drive a saab usually buy one...

    Passat was an outside choice. Build quality seemed cheaper than the Volvo and Saab and franly didn't think the passat is in same class as the others. Also, still question long term durability of VW. Lots of old Saabs and Volvos around..LOTS..., don't see too many old VW's - please no flames from VW fans - just my opinion. ..howver I do believe that VW is getting better, but believe their marketing is better than their products....
  • calico53calico53 Member Posts: 1
    I have a really great mechanic-he's taken care of
    my various cars for 18 years. I am shopping for
    a wagon, and he advised against the Passat wagon.
    I read an earlier posting that not too many old
    ones are seen-my mechanic verifies this. He says they are expensive to maintain and fix when something breaks, and elsewhere in the Edmunds reviews, current owners say they wouldn't buy another Passat or VW-just something to think
    about. I recently sold my 11-yr-old Honda wagon-
    (now THAT was a great car), but I need a little more power and rear leg room for an almost teenage boy-suggestions, anyone? Thanks!
  • koda2koda2 Member Posts: 1
    I currently drive a 1992 Eagle Summit Wagon which I dearly love. I removed the back seat and am left with a large flat cargo area perfect for my big dog who is a constant companion and goes just about everywhere with me. If additional passenger seats are needed, the back seat is just popped back in. The problem is my mechanic is beginning to have a very hard time getting parts for this car and advised me to consider buying something else. Does anybody know of a small wagon or suv that allows the back seat to be popped in and out? Thanks for your help.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Member Posts: 3,469
    The reason you don't see too many old Passats is that there weren't too many sold. They were probably outsold 10 to 1 by Accord and Camry.

    As an aside I put 180,000 miles on a 1980 Scirocco with no major problems. The new Passat is a much more reliable car than that car was.
  • revkarevka Member Posts: 1,750
    You may want to check out the Chrysler PT Cruiser. I'm aware that you can easily remove the rear seats in that vehicle. Someone else here may have another suggestion. Good luck with your purchase.

    Hatchbacks & Station Wagons Boards
  • dudleyrdudleyr Member Posts: 3,469
    Having a removable rear seat is the definition of a light truck (minivan-SUV) so you won't find any wagons with this feature. PT is classified as a light truck.
  • revkarevka Member Posts: 1,750
    The environmental protection agency classifies it's a car. The NHTSA classifies it as a van. Edmunds' has it listed as a midsize wagon in their New Vehicle guide. So take your pick. ;-)

    Anyway, for all practical purposes... it's a wagon, imho. We currently have the PT Cruiser discussion linked to the Hatchbacks and Station Wagons boards here.

    Hatchbacks & Station Wagons Boards
  • dudleyrdudleyr Member Posts: 3,469
    I fully agree that the PT cruuiser is a wagon for all practical purposes. However Diamler Chrysler would rather have it called a light truck to raise the CAFE average for that segment. And I suppose another reason is that station wagon is a dirty word to them, since them seem to be calling all their new wagons "segment busters", "cross over vehicles" or some such nonsense.

    If you look on page 15 of the 2002 EPA fuel economy guide you will see that the PT cruiser is listed as a "2WD sport utility vehicle" - right between the Chevrolet Trailblazer and the Dodge Durango. Since this is an EPA publication, to me that suggests that the EPA considers the PT cruiser to be a light truck (SUV) , but I could be wrong :^)

    Here is the link to the 2002 guide I mentioned above.
  • revkarevka Member Posts: 1,750
    This is interesting because I remember when the PT Cruiser first hit the market, sources I read (i.e. Edmunds First Drive: 2001 PT Cruiser) mentioned that the EPA had classified it as a car.

    I was following all the news pretty closely back then... and have been quoting my information on previous articles. This of course leads me to wonder if the EPA may have been changed the classification since then.... In any case thanks for the correction. ;-)

    Hatchbacks & Station Wagons Boards
This discussion has been closed.