Mid Week Match-Up: TDI Replacement

If this next Mid Week Match-Up story sounds familiar, don’t be shocked, because it is surprisingly similar to the story DT’s CFlo told on the radio show about his wife’s TDI Jetta Wagon and recent purchase of a Volvo V60.  Anyway, today’s Mid Week Match-Up comes from Matt W in Milwaukee, who writes:

I currently have a 2010 VW Jetta Sportwagen TDI (wife’s ride) that
has some… (ahem)… issues.  Suffice to say I’m hoping to have these
“remedied” by mid-October – and by “remedied”, I mean my Very Wealthy
German friend is going to buy the car from me.  I should have about
$14000 to spend on a replacement.

We really
like the Jetta from a features and performance standpoint and will miss
the fuel mileage (FWTW) and general feel. We’ve come up with the
following parameters to begin searching for the replacement: On a daily basis, this is a commuter vehicle and used for short trips in the 5-10 mile range. We
need to be able to haul two youngsters and a mid-size dog around, but
would like to have room for two additional people if possible
(third-row?). This is also currently our “road trip” car, so gets used for 1400+ mile trips on an annual to semi-annual basis. I’d like to be able to pull a small-ish trailer (karting). Did I mention we really liked the fuel mileage of the TDI? We live in the Milwaukee, WI area, so access to service is workable for almost any make of car.



We’ve had-

1999 Saab 9-3 – We loved this one (good mpg, good space, good performance) but lost it to an accident…

1985 & 87 VW Quantum Syncro Wagon(s) – Loved both; ’85 engine died, ’87 was sold to make room for a *gasp* mini-van

2003 Volvo XC70 – Loved this car (comfort, safety) needed more room, fuel economy wasn’t our favorite feature

Honda Odyssey – Also loved this one – great room for
trips/kids/dogs/re-supply trips, OK fuel economy. Moved back to
civilization, huge dog passed on; didn’t need as much space – sold.

(current) 2010 VW Jetta Sportwagen TDI – stupid cheaters…wish they still made a Passat TDI wagon, or Audi A6 Avant TDI…?!

(current) 2000 Lexus ES300 – commuter mule, <10k miles/year – don’t love (or even like), but it’s cheap to run and paid for. 

haven’t ruled anything completely out at this point (cross-over, wagon,
pick-up, classic, etc.) with the possible exception of something that
gets in the 0-18 mpg fuel economy range or another mini-van.  With the
age and fuel economy of the 2nd car (commuter) and it being paid for and
fairly cheap to run, so we’re not really looking to shift the work load
around to accommodate something strange.

Do you think you can help?

DT E-i-C Vince:

If you really need that 3rd row of seats, but don’t want a minivan, your options are limited when it comes to newish cars.  The only ones that return decent fuel economy is the Toyota RAV4 4-cylinder (yes, you can find these with the 3rd row seat and they are rated 22 city 28 hwy) or the Toyota Highlander Hybrid — but these get expensive quickly.  I’m going to recommend a this 2012 Mazda CX-9 here on eBay offered for $13,995 buy-it-now or make-offer even though it might not meet your fuel economy requirements with EPA rated 17 city 24 hwy.  Regardless, it should be marginally more engaging/fun to drive versus the equivalent Toyota/Honda snoozefest.  However, there are many more options open if you can live with a 5-seat vehicle.

What do you recommend for Matt W? Comments below.