We have a 2002 VW Passat with some body damage (minor, just scrapes) but in excellent mechanical condition (around 94k mi) and a 2001 Corolla with about 120k miles. The Passat is a 1.8T fully tricked out with leather, alloy wheels, premium sound, etc.
The Corolla is, well, a Corolla. Nothing super special about it, but it’s solid and has been super reliable.
My husband uses the Corolla as his primary commuter right now and the Passat is our safe family car. We have a 19 month old who is still rear facing in her car seat and we plan on extended rear-facing (we use a Radian XTSL carseat).
When we replace the car (right now I’m lobbying to replace the Corolla), I’d like to buy a wagon or maybe a small SUV. We most likely won’t have a second child, so we are not in the market for a mini-van. I’m looking seriously at the new Passat Wagon, as well as the Volvo XC-70 (my first choice, I would buy used), a Honda CR-V, the Mazda 5 (and potentially one of the Mazda SUVs), as well as the Subaru Outback. I’m really not an SUV lover, so I’d prefer a wagon/crossover. I love my Passat and I learned to drive on Volvos (I come from a Volvo family). I know they aren’t sexy, but they fit me fine.
So, wise people, which car would you unload? And given that my priorities are longevity and safety, what would you recommend to replace it? I am looking to buy used and spend no more than 25k.
I’d sell the VW, that era is prone to expensive repairs (even though yours has been reliable). I’d avoid a used Volvo, the new Passat would be OK (but no wagon). You might buy a Consumer Reports car buyers guide, lots of info there.
Have you had many problems with your Passat? If not you might want to keep it. It is probably at least 2 years ahead on mileage compared to the Corolla. If you have not had a lot of problems with the VW since you bought it 9 years ago, it could be a decent commuter. While VWs tend to need more repairs than Toyotas, you seem to have gotten a solid VW. Working against the VW is gas mileage. What does your husband want to drive to work?
As for a new vehicle, you might also test drive a Ford Edge, Nissan Murano, and Toyota Venza. You can get a loaded used 2009 Edge or Venza for under $25,000. The Murano is more than $25,000 if fully loaded.
I love my mazda CX-7. I own a GT AWD model. Try one out and see how you like it
Agree with everything"texases" had to say…I have had Corollas pass 200k miles with but maintenance.
I’d sell the VW, it is more likely to have more expensive repairs in the future than the Corolla. Don’t buy a used Volvo wagon. After the warranty expires Volvo’s are VERY expensive cars to own. Super high repair bills and frequently need those expensive repairs.
I would also sell VW and keep Corolla as reliability wins over other comfort and unexpected maintenance costs anytime. You can still go 100K more miles on Corolla as they are very well built cars.
I’ve got to agree with most of these guys. I own an '01 VW, 1.8T, and have had weird problems with the motor. Not enough that I’m ready to dump it, primarily because an $1800 repair is still cheaper than replacing it. Having said that, it’s only at 107K miles. My toyota, on the other hand (and at 140K miles), has had to have a front wheel bearing, and a couple lights replaced. I also do my own work, so I save lots of money that way. If you can’t do the repairs yourself, then things get drastically more expensive, quickly.
Check the VW, and see where it was actually made. In 2000 they started shipping the parts and having both the cars and some parts put together or made in other places. ours was made in Mexico, and it’s had recalls due mostly to faulty build. I think they still made the Passat in Japan that year, but it’s worth checking into. There were a few years they were trying to get the practices all up to spec, and you’re smack in the middle of those years.