Ideas for a new car

Gotta agree with the others. There is a reason VW gets essentially 3.5% of the US sales, along with KIA. If they built a better mouse trap . . . .

@Bing VW has been in the US market since the late 50s. KIA is the fastest growing car company in America, and started from nothing not very long ago. KIA product quality and reliability is now up to Hyundai levels and the value for money is very good.

Germans don’t regard VW as their first choice either; they want more modern cars with more features.VW does quite well in developing countries; in Mexico, Brazil, China and other countries they do very well. Customers there are less picky.

Kia has been partially owned by Hyundai since 1998. It seems like their cars have been similar for quite some time. The Optima has been essentially a Sonata since 2000. Their quality levels should be similar.

I have a co-worker who seems to prefer VW’s since he has owned a few jetta’s and the '83 Rabbit convertible that was for the wife but ended up being the second car for the family. They seem to stick to the 90’s-early 2000’s due to budget but those have been the most reliable for them. The BMW they bought was more of a hassle and didn’t stick around long.

VW does better in the UK for certain models like the golf where it’s a little more of a premium car compared to the Toyota/Honda/Kia crowd. Or Vw’s Seat and Skoda brands with lower prices but the same basic parts.

German cars and a tight budget don’t belong in the same sentence.

I had a co-worker that used to swear by VW’s and bought a few of them. This was after a horrendous experience with a Chevy cavalier from the late 80’s.
He bought a few VW’s until his wife bought a 4 Runner; 12 years later and the car has been running with routine maintenance and he is amazed.

My DIL and her family insist on buying VW for their upscale interiors and dependability. I bite my tounge and don’t say a word. I doubt though that they ever get more than 30K on them in town before the lease expires and its time to get a new one. Hard to compare to a Buick with 500,000 on it before being retired. Each to their own though and they are nice cars when they are new.

@Bing‌ When you’re leasing, long term reliability means the car makes it to the end of the lease term, not how it’s gonna hold up after 150k miles

Bing, if they like them and can afford paying a small fortune for the privilege of a German nameplate, good for them. If they are depriving themselves or their kids of necessities, they’re delusional. I used to share an office with a woman who was nuts about her unreliable Passat wagon. A lovely, practical family car when it ran, but she was pouring money into it. She was also covinced her typically mopey teenage son was seriously mental ill and might need to be institutionalized.

The third guy in the office really was of questionable stability, one of those nuts who is always angry about some trivial matter. He lived in his Pacer, and smelled like it. Luckily he mostly worked nights. Yuck, the jobs I needed to take when starting out. That one got me to San Francisco 27 wonderful years ago. That I’ve never regretted.

At least your relatives are OK with VWs. A Mercedes, Audi, BMW, or Porsche fixation gets very expensive (though I do sigh wistfully every time I see an A7.) And you’re happy eking miles out of your old Buick. Different strokes, for sure. My partner’s mom was given a new BMW 325 a few years ago by her son-in-law, who has spent a lot of money at that dealership. He was there to buy an X5 for his wife, but thought his mil needed something nicer than her older Saturn wagon.

She still, a decade later, feels guilty driving the BMW anywhere she might be seen. She absolutely loves the car, it just doesn’t match her working class image. She lives in a modest home in a very wealthy town where the BMW isn’t even noticeable, but she still takes the Saturn to the market or drugstore. For longer trips to see friends and relatives she takes the BMW, since they all know she has it. Reverse snobbery is alive and well in New England.

" If they are depriving themselves or their kids of necessities," Naw, money’s no problem. Kids are grown for the in laws and son is a Doc and he likes BMW. Main problem is trying to make sure the oil gets changed on time.

Bing, now I’m surprised they are driving VWs. You think the dealer could have talked them into an Audi by now. Though they sound like they might be of an age that still associates a VW with freedom and fun, something different from their parents’ cars. Audis don’t have that going for them, being almost unknown until the early-to-mid-seventies, about when BMW also became a mainstream brand. A Mercedes was a fine car, but expensive and a bit dull. Porsche was a sports car for people who liked a little danger. People still remembered James Dean’s wreck.

So that left staying with cheap kooky VW, or a lateral move to Sweden. Many VW owners ended up buying Saabs (my partner did that, and like so many, came to regret it), just as eccentric as any VW , but a little more adult, or a Volvo if they wanted a safe family wagon and wouldn’t consider a domestic brand.

I always admired those late-sixties, early-seventies Volvo wagons. They may have been mechanical dogs, but there was a lot of cleverness in them and tons of space. They still look like nothing else.

“Reverse snobbery is alive and well in New England”.
@MarkM–I drove the same 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon coupe to the university where I taught from the day I bought it new in 1978 until I retired in May of 2011. With each passing year, it looked more and more shabby. However, it was great to drive to functions where the upper administration was there. You don’t want to look rich as a faculty member. When I was criticized by colleagues for driving such an old heap, my response always was "Lt. Columbo’s Peugeot gets him where he is going on his work for the LAPD, so if my old Oldsmobile gets me to work, why would I need anything newer?"
I had colleagues that drove BMWs, Volvos, Mercedes Benz and Saabs. The closest dealer for these makes is 55 miles away. I didn’t have the time to take a car that far to be serviced. I hate being a slave to my possessions. I have a good independent shop close to my house that takes care of my car. The only thing that took a little extra time near the end of the time I drove the Oldsmobile was to find out where the technicians were hiding when they saw the car roll in to their shop. I would have to drag one out of an empty oil drum or pick the lock to get one out of the restroom, but it still beat driving 110 mile round trip for car maintenance and repair.

Sounds very sensible. My partner’s mom lives in an upscale town where servicing the Bimmer is a snap. She just feels ostentatious driving it, preferring to be seen in her super frugal 15 yo Saturn, even though it is on its last legs. No one in that town is going to think a BMW is anything unusual. She’s 87, so not putting many miles on either one. We’ve all been telling her to dump the Saturn while it still runs so she doesn’t have to have it towed away.

A couple months ago, my son and his wife rented a Passat for a couple weeks job hunting. They put 4300 miles on it, and got well over 40 mpg. He was amazed. But, he does know renting is not the same as being owned by a VW.

Yes, in Mexico, there are every possible version of VW. They are made here, but most of all mechanical hourly rates are a fraction of what they run in the US.

A very successful friend in Puebla, got a new (Not sure of the letters, maybe GXI?) fast VW, And, on a trip to Vera Cruz on the toll way said he got it up to around 130 mph. He said, “Don’t tell my wife!”

It’s a GTI; a turbocharged Golf.

I enjoy going to Mexico and seeing the very different mix of cars. There are a lot of very small, cheap cars made for developing nations that we never see in the US. Things like the Chevy Pop. One of the more common sights is the Nissan Sentra of two generations back, still being made Nissan also makes the new one, but the old one is a staple of the police and taxi fleets. It was a pretty nice car, decently roomy and simple, so I understand keeping on making it if the demand is there.

Who knows, it may be the Beetle replacement, loved for generations. It is noticeable that there are a lot fewer Beetles than there were a few years ago, even in the rural areas where they used to be the standard car. I guess they’re finally starting to die.


" . . . the Nissan Sentra of two generations back . . ."

My brother had a US version, back in the day

It was NOT a “pretty nice car, decently roomy . . .”

But it was relatively simple


Oh, OK, it was pretty nice for Mexico. It’s still competitive with many of the cars sold there. The Nissan Versa sold in the US was designed primarily for those markets (and is made in Mexico). It’s interior is a sea of shiny gray plastic, no nicer than those older Sentras. I’m a bit surprised Nissan decided to sell us such a low-rent car as their entry-level car when almost everyone else does better. I don’t think they’ll sell many when people can buy a Mazda2, Accent, or Rio for not much more. The Spark is similarly depressing, but I suspect Chevy just wanted something really cheap to get people in the door. I do see a few on the streets, more than I ever saw Aveos.

Yes, when in Mexico last year, my wife was surprised that the taxi taking us to the airport was virtually identical to the previous car, a 1994 Sentra, but with rubber floor mats and vinyl upholstery.

They seem to like these little cars and just keep cranking them out.

If your Cavalier gave you good service then why would you not buy another one? They are cheap to buy because Consumer Reports has people convinced that other cars are better. I owned two of them, both bought new and had satisfactory service from them, now own a Cobalt. They and Cobalts get better with newer model years.