Buying a new car... need help

I have a choice between the following two cars.

(1) Saab 2005 9-3 Linear - Red - 51k miles - 4dr - 2 previous owners - Brooklyn Area Origin - 2008 to Present spent in Massachusetts - One minor small claims accident in '05 - Automatic

(2) VW 2006 Jetta GLI - Black - 141k miles - 4dr - 1 Previous owner - Albany NY area - Hit a Deer in May 08 - Manual 6spd


How long do you plan to keep the car?
How difficult will it be to get Saab parts as the years pass?

Pass on the Saab, see if you can find a VW that hasn’t been crashed.

I would pass on both. Part and service for the Saab will become harder to get. The VW is at the age that $$ problems will start showing up, if they have not already.

Pass on both!!! There are better choices in the market.

I would pass on both but if I had to pick one, I’d take the GM built SAAB. No way would I go for a VW with that kind of mileage unless your brother in law has a VW dealership.

Keep looking. Just about anything is better than the two choices you gave.

Another vote for neither!

If those were the only choices, otherwise public transport or walking, I’d choose the VW. The manual transmission is much less likely to cause expensive to fix trouble, we don’t seem to get many problems w/Jettas reported here, and its probably easier to get parts and service for a VW than a Saab.

No harm done to consult Consumer Reports on what they say. You could ask a shop how much it would cost to do the same common repairs/maintenance on both cars too, for comparison.

  • change oil and filter
  • replace water pump
  • replace front struts
  • replace radiator


That’s the only part of the post I agree with

Considering OP wants to buy a crashed VW . . . which wouldn’t be reliable, even if it weren’t crashed . . . and an orphan car, they do need help. And that help comes in the form of advice

Which is to buy neither

I don’t quite understand how out of all the cars for sale, these 2 fine examples are the only ones mentioned

I would imagine both of these cars might have rust, based on where they’re located

Agree with the others. avoid both cars. The Saab is now an orphan and there’s no getting around that. Don’t care how nice it is, and how few miles are on it. Parts and service conditions will only get worse. Don’t let any Saab fanatic try to convince you otheriwise. Take Daewoo for example. Those care disappeared almost overnight when the company was closed down.

As for the Vdub, keep looking. There are so many cars out there for sale, and the internet makes it so easy to look for them, I fail to see why you need to settle for one that’s been damaged in an accident.

Be patient and choosy.

The make of the cars would not concern me nearly as much as the asking prices (?) and the fact that both hail from a somewhat rust prone part of the country.

I think TSMountainbike asked the question before .Someone asks for used car buying advice , why do they have such poor choices ?

For the record, I’m a poor college student with a limited budget and no job. The Jetta deer incident is apparently a minor claim and I still haven’t seen the cars. They’re being supplied to me by my “brother-in-law” which is about all I want to say there. I already took a car that was supposedly fine (06 Chevy Equinox) and it ended up having back suspension issues, and about a laundry list of stuff that wasn’t actually working. So this is a “return” and “pick up” situation.

If I had an extra 3500$ I could go with an 09 Mini Cooper S that is pristine and has a perfect Carfax (except for it’s 110k miles…) but I don’t have it.

@vwlover A Minicooper S is certainly not known for being reliable . . . FAR from it

This is one time you should be glad you don’t have that “extra 3500$”

The more off the beaten track the car is the more it will cost to service. As a struggling college student my suggestion would be to skip the more exotic stuff and buy a bland, boring, dullmobile.

This means a 4 door Crown Vic, Grand Marquis, Buick Century, etc, etc. They’re common, reliable, service and parts are readily available, and there’s room to lug that dorm room crap back and forth.
Flashy? No. Functional and right for the situation? Yes.

Once school is done and with a degree in hand then you can wade into the agonizing world of off the beaten track cars.

Also, don’t believe that Carfax is the final word on the condition or reliability of a car. It’s a tool but should not be taken as the full Gospel truth.

First of all, 2005 & 2006 are not new cars…

“Someone asks for used car buying advice, why do they have such poor choices ?”


I suppose that the OP could have found worse possibilities for purchase, but it would be difficult to do so. Is there some reason that the OP seems to be drawn to vehicles with little upside potential and the probability of major repair expenses in the near future?

As ok4450 mentioned, the OP should concentrate on “boring” cars such as Buicks or Ford Crown Victorias/Mercury Grand Marquis. They may not be exciting, but well-cared for examples will run reliably for many years with much less need for expensive repairs than the models that the OP is currently thinking about.

The OP stated “this is a “return” and “pick up” situation”, which I interpret as:

He somehow got the Equinox from his brother-in-law that has a ton of problems, and now his brother-in-law will let him swap the Equinox for either the Saab or the VW. So he is stuck between those two choices.

Me, I’d pick the Saab just on the mileage. At 141k the Jetta is past it’s lifetime.


Daewoo never closed. It was purchased by GM and is now called GM Korea. Most (all?) Holden manufacturing is moving there. Some Chevrolet models like Malibu, Cruze, and Spark are built in Korea, and some are sent to the U.S. Market.