New Car Help

My wife is going to need a new car here in the near future and we were intrigued by the 2013-14 Volkswagen Passats. I just wanted to know your opinions. Pros, Cons?

They are a decent car. 2014 offers a much better MPG 4cylinder motor instead of 5cylinder.

I believe consumer reports have them with average reliability.

You might look at the Jetta as well; a much improved car at a very competitive price.

What’s your budget? I might see what new car I could get for the same $$. I’d consider a Mazda 6. I would not consider a 2013 Passat with the 5 cylinder, not great mpgs. So now it’s the 2014, what do they cost?

We don’t really want to spend more than 17 or 18k and I am kind of leaning toward the '14. I liked the '13 Jettas, but they didn’t get the best safety ratings. The Passats seem like a nice car which relatively decent gas mileage. I believe the 1.8L should get better fuel mileage than the 2.5.

I had a 03 Passat V6, and liked it. But VW dropped the station wagon version, so I bought a Forester. A bit lower price, better MPG (and regular gas).

I’d stay away from the turbo models (if you can).


Rather than give an opinion, I looked up the survey on Consumer Reports. the 2013 have below average reliability, apparently due to a lot of problems in the fuel system. The 2014 rose to average, but that may be because it’s too new for the problems to show up. In general, not a very reliable brand.

Any vehicle with better that the worst Consumer Reports reliability rating is fine. The ratings are so compressed now that even some of the Much Worse Than Average vehicles are not all that unreliable. Note that the worst category has 4% or worse problems, and that doesn’t seem all that bad to me. Drive the Passat and Jetta if you haven’t already and decide which one you like better. If the are other, similar cars that you like, drive them, too. Now is the time to test anything that strikes your fancy and see if they can remain on the list. Since you are looking at used cars, you can take a nice, long test drive ove 20 to 30 minutes to check ergonomics. You can also check cost estimates for repairs, maintenance, insurance, fuel cost, and a couple other items over 5 years at using the True Cost to Own feature. I like looking a cost estimates rather than descriptions like “much worse than average”. Everyone has a different view of what the subjective terms mean. Most of all: Have fun!

Consumer Reports also publishes a car “Reliability Guide”. Good idea to see what it says about this model. Focusses on known design problems rather than reports of reader’s reliability experience.

Thanks for your help guys. I’ll check all of that out.

I have to agree with @jtsanders. Consumer Reports reliability ratings are so compressed that, to me, they are meaningless.

I disagree, there is a clear difference between makes, as this plot shows:

It’s fine not to worry about it (I didn’t, my two most recent cars are Fords), but it does exist.

@my2cents They become more meaningful as the car ages. By year 10, the good ones have about 3 problems per 10 cars while the “blackball” ones experience as high as 12-13 per 10 cars per year. That’s major cash. So, for long term ownership, pick the ones with the most “red balls”.

If you trade every 3-4 years, the difference is small, since all cars are better now than they used to be.

With the exception of Honda & Toyota all the other brands have about 1.2 to 1.5 problems per year per car at ten years. That’s not a lot of difference. My beef with Consumer Reports in the past was the compressed range of “much better than average” and “much worse than average”.

After 6 years the major brands shown finally have 100 problems per 100 cars. At 15,000 miles per year, all brands shown have vehicles with no problems at about 90,000 miles. This is quite an improvement. About 10 years ago, the only brand with fewer than 100 problems after 10 years was Lexus. That is the reliability compression I mentioned earlier. I know that you have posted that graph at least twice before @texases. How old is it, and is there a more up to date version if it is the same graph?

2-3 years old, newest I can find. Makes the point. Like I said, difference doesn’t matter to many, but it’s there. Take a look at this month’s CR car issue. Not model by model, but by brand. There are differences.