CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Volkswagen vs Volvo

With number 3 on the way, it’s time to get a minivan. The question is do I get rid of my 1995 Volvo 940 with 97,000 miles or my wife’s (cosmic green) 1999 Jetta TDI with 132,000 miles? The only big difference right now besides the size is that the Volvo’s a/c and stereo are working better than the Jetta. My coworker says keep the Volvo because it’s bigger and I’ll get more money for the Volkswagen (and he won’t ride in it due to the kiwi-like color). Whichever car is kept will rarely be driven because I have a company car. It will really only be to run to the store or a back-up if the minivan is in the shop.

The Volvo would probably be a better backup for your minivan, especially if it’s a wagon. But I suspect you have a sedan, because a Volvo wagon is a great family hauler and you probably wouldn’t be looking at a minivan if you had one.

The Volvo will probably be more durable in the long run, if you don’t mind doing your own maintenance and repairs, which will also be easier than the Jetta.

I’d go with the Volvo, but I love Volvos.

You have a company car, and will be getting a new or newer mini van. So, the old Volvo and/or VW is a “backup”? I’d question keeping either? Which ever one you keep requires insurance, maintenance, and will deteriorate from sitting as much as infrequent driving. You’ll end up driving the back up car to charge the battery and then it will need an alternator, or radiator, or something.

I’d sell both old cars. Put the money in your vehicle maintenance fund for the mini van. If you have a service need on the mini van and can’t run errands with the company car you can always get an Enterprise rental, or a Rent A Wreck for a couple of days.

Keeping old cars for the few times you’ll need a backup is just going to cost more than the potential inconvience of the mini van out of service. What’s really happening is you don’t want to part with the old Volvo. Keep it if you want, but you’ll have to rationalize another story, this one is thin.

I agree. Sell both and put the money into a nicer minivan. It’s very expensive to keep a vehicle sitting around just as a “back-up.” You will have two vehicles. That’s all you need.

My wife (and your wife as well) would have a very different answer to that. Women don’t like sitting around the house without a means to get groceries, take the kids to the clinic, and all the other things wives do when the husband is at work. We did without a second car for 5 years, and my wife always had to drive me to work when she needed the car, a great inconvenience. So I bought her a $900 Chevelle Malibu and she was happy and independent.

In your case, I’d keep the VW due to its younger age and ability to get it fixed, since VW and a parts supply will around for a very long time. As vehicles age, parts supply becomes a real problem.

The future of Volvo is still very uncertain, Geely, the new Chinese owners may not be interested in keeping parts on hand for aging models.

If you’re buying a new minivan, check the dealer’s policy regarding loaner cars. If they will loan you a car while they service the van no one has to sit at home.

Docnick, did you notice the OP said he has a company car? So, the minivan will be at the wife’s disposal full time unless it’s in the shop or something. If they get a new minivan from a good dealer, dealer service often includes a loaner. No one would be left stranded without a car if they sold both old cars.

Sell them both.

Sorry, I lost count. I thought the minivan was going to be his company car!

In that situation, I would sell both vehicles. No use having them sit around. In case of a major repair, most good garages will give you a loaner for a few days.

the parts for the vw will be available, but the down side is you will need them.
the parts for the volvo might not be, and they are expensive when you do need them, but not as often most likely. sell em both, unless you want a car to use as a mechanics training car. In that case, toss a coin, cause it maksnix.

Wow, strong opinions. Yesterday the wife took the VW to the hospital to visit her sister for the day and I took the kid’s to the zoo in the Volvo. Looks like we’ll keep the TDI because it’s newer and gets better mileage. Thanks for the input.

I agree with selling both vehicles. I’ve owned 4 minivans and reliability hasn’t been a problem–I don’t need a back-up vehicle to license and insure. Some years back, my wife bought me a back-up lawnmower. I haven’t had the need for it either and my main lawnmower is 18 years old.