Are we crazy?

This will require some background. We have a 1991 Volvo 240 wagon which is less reliable than in the past and which isn’t driven much anyway. But it needs to go 2 or 3 hundred miles at a shot when called upon. We also have a 2004 Saab 9-5, a fine car but it’s a sedan and we now need a hatch or a wagon. To complicate things, my partner will soon be commuting 180 miles/day several times a week, so we want good mileage. So. Our trusted local import dealer has taken in on trade (for new Volvos) a 2005 VW Golf diesel and a 2001 Volvo V70 wagon. We’re tempted to dump both our present cars and buy the pair. How badly will we hate ourselves in the morning? Your comments appreciated.

Stay away from the '01 Volvo wagon. Looks good but will cost a bundle in repairs down the road, former owner of '98 V70XC talking. Don’t know about the Golf but it sounds better to me for the commuting car.

I’d put money into the 240 Volvo rather than trade it for the '01. I don’t think you’ll kick yourself for trading the Saab for the Golf. You’ll probably want the old Volvo back when you get one of those $2,000+ repair bills on the V70.

If pressed, the Golf maybe, the Volvo NO. Have you checked recent CU automotive addition just out on recommended used cars ? Between the VW, Volvo and Saab, I’d move to a totally different arena.

You haven’t told us the mileage on ANY of these vehicles, so it’s pretty hard to give a recommendation.

How many miles on your current cars, and how many on each of the proposed purchases? OK, forget the '01 Volvo; you don’t want it. Just tell us the mileage on the Golf.

I agree with other posters that you should move away from VW,SAAB, and Volvo.

Saab is going into banruptcy, Volvo is being sold to who knows and VWs, Saabs, and Volvos all have high maintenace and repair costs at higher mileage.

To start with a clean slate, analyze your needs, and the pick the best cars for those needs.

High mileage commuting will favor a reliable and reasonably frugal car; a late model Toyota Corolla or Mazda 3, or Honda Civic will go very long time and distance without serious problems. All are inexpensive to keep running. The Corolla is the quiestest one of the bunch; important in commuting.

If you need a hatch or a wagon, a Toyata Matrix or a Pontiac Vibe is about as good as it gets. Both are easy on gas and very reliable and inexpensive to fix. Mazda also makes a hatchback in the Mazda 3 model. A best buy is the Hyundai Elantra hatchback; inexpensive to buy and good reliability.

I’m sure your “trusted local import dealer” will not deliberately sell you a lemon, but he won’t be paying the lifetime ownership costs for these cars either.

In short, the fuel saving of the VW diesel will be wiped out quickly by the additional upkeep. A 2001 Volvo wagen is OK if it is not driven much, since it is very expensive in upkeep. The next ownwers of Volvo will likely be Chinese, and their plans are unknown. But it’s nice to go to the opera with and bring bulky packages home.

You owe it to yourself to shop around.

Good luck.

I’d keep the Saab and look for another wagon. The cost of the Golf and Volvo might add up to a new Passat TDI wagon. You might also find a used version of the same car.

180 miles/day? Yikes! I’d go for the TDI Golf in that case (assuming it’s a good one), but not the V70. Too bad Camry and Accord wagons are no more…maybe a 2wd 4cyl Highlander.

Good point. Mileage on the 240: 296,000; on the Saab, 61,000; on the VW, 80,000, and the V70 90,000. The latter two are local trades. We’ve had the 240 for 12 years and it’s getting tired. We’ve had the Saab for 2.

Thanks for the suggestions. Hyundai never occurred to either of us; certainly worth looking into. We have looked at/driven a Matrix and a Honda Fit. Matrix is still in the maybe column; the Fit was uncomfortable. Needing a wagon/hatchback puts in some serious limitations, as we’re discovering.

The more I think about it, you’re facing a big risk if gas prices spike. Here’s an alternative to the TDI that gets great mileage and has some wagon-like characteristics - a Honda Fit. You’ll probably get upwards of 40 mpg on the highway, and the rear seat folds in many ways.

The Hyundai Elantra hatchback and the Mazda Hatchback have the same good ride as the sedans. And lots of space with the backseats folded down!

Update, April 12: we bought a Honda CR-V… and might get a second.

Good choice. My neighbor, a school teacher finally parted with her CRV after 10 years of faithful and trouble-free service. She had owned a VW Passat before and it was an unending expensive ordeal.

Sounds like a great compromise between room, reliability, mileage, and highway power.

Time for a new timing belt (and water pump) for that VW.