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Need to Replace the V50 Wagon

Jim Yu April 21, 2015 All Things Hoon, For Sale 136 Comments

That, lady and gentlemen, is $9,199 worth of damage. A matte black Yukon with a pre-runner bar rear ended my beloved wagon. The car, 1 of just 400 FWD 6-speed manuals sold in America, is a total loss. As many of you know, it takes me a long time– typically more than a year– to choose and find a car. Well, I don’t have the luxury of time and need your help. Make the jump to see what I’m considering.

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1. .

Pros: It’s a W8!

Cons: It’s a W8!, just about as popular with mechanics as the Phaeton.

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2. .

Pros: Rare, RWD, low miles.

Cons: Dealer has less than stellar reputation on .

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3. .

Pros: Known quantity, solid performer.

Cons: A dime a dozen.

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4. .

Pros: A Turbo what?, only 150 of these wagons sold in America.

Cons: Almost impossible to work on, although says some parts (like the differentials) are shared with the Buick Lacrosse.

Truth be told, I had never heard of the Turbo X until this week:

And just to add a wild card component, I got a quote from a shipping company and I’m putting in an application with NHTSA to let me import that that was featured on Bring A Trailer.

  • PotbellyJoe★★★★★

    I’m going to point you towards 2 and 4 and here’s the reason.

    2. It’s depreciated to a point now where it will slow substantially, so the cost of ownership in value has flatlined. Next, the dealer is clearly a credit shop. They tend to have worse ratings because they wear plaid suits and hammer the ever-living-crap out of customers. Here’s the good news. They beat the crap out of the guy who traded that in, meaning they own it low. Feel free to dig in on the price. Take it to a neutral mechanic and get it in the air. Lexus repairs will never look factory and therefore are easy to catch with a flashlight. My suspicion is that there is a bump in it’s history, I hate to be like that, but the passenger side air-bag doesn’t line-up in the pictures the way “Lexus Precision” would normally obsess over.

    4. It’s rare. It’s fun and it has a devoted base of enthusiasts that know more about these goofy cars than most people know about making a grilled cheese sandwich. You wouldn’t be in the dark when the troubles start. Plus you had the Volvo, so you weren’t too scared of maintenance.

    Just my $0.02

    • Sjalabais

      The Volvo V50 is one of Europe’s most reliable cars, on par with the Toyota Avensis in Sweden, according to Bilprövningen/Swedish tech inspection.

      • PotbellyJoe★★★★★

        They must keep the good ones and send us the rest as I wouldn’t consider it reliable by all accounts here.

        Major engine problems (turbo engines specifically), A/C issues and problems with the suspension are all more frequent than most.

        • Sjalabais

          Very interesting! The most troublesome motor here is the PSA diesel in the DRIVe-line. Not sure about exact numbers, but I think it’s responsible for two out of three engine issues. Not sold in the US though.

          • PotbellyJoe★★★★★

            I can’t claim any personal experience, but I work at a place that is very wagon/hatchback (and leather elbow-patch sportcoats) friendly. That was the last Volvo a number of them bought. I think they started a support group shortly there after. Most have Subaru Foresters now.

            • Sjalabais

              Just a logical conclusion, I guess, if people experience so much trouble – sobering in regards to brand prospects, too. The T5 is probably a pretty common engine choice in the US, while it is a rare performance car in Europe. Maybe most of the different perception can be attributed to that.

              • PotbellyJoe★★★★★

                You’re probably close to the truth on that. I don’t know the T5 adoption-rate in the US, but I would assume it’s on the higher side vs. EU.

      • Tamerlane’s Thoughts

        Mine has been incredibly reliable. I am so pissed. I bought it last year (it’s a 2006) with just 69,000 pampered miles. I was going to drive it to the ground!

        • So, have you specified salvage rights with your insurance carrier?

        • Vairship

          And you’ll also lose out on that license plate:
          5UYJ400 = (00) 4J.Yu (5) spelled backwards…

          • Tamerlane’s Thoughts

            I know! Hey, check out Friday’s last call. I’ve got a Saab question.

    • The problem with sleazy dealerships is that, no matter how much you know about cars, they have home court advantage. They know much more about this car’s history than you do. Furthermore, they are professionals; they do this all day, every day. You’re an amateur coming into their environment, which is never a level playing field.

      • Sjalabais

        That neatly sums up why I haven’t bought a car at a dealership – so far. There are way better deals in the private market for a bottom er like me…

      • PotbellyJoe★★★★★

        True to an extent. When I sold, the used car lot was where I made my pay check.

        A sleazy place certainly knows more, but that’s why you need to push to investigate. If you’re shrewd, you can know as much as them.

        And no, I would not recommend my grandmother to even think about buying a car from these guys.

        I assume that the knowledge of the Hoons can be a powerful thing in really looking over a car.

  • William Robinson

    I’m gonna go with the Century. But the 9-3x comes in a real close second.

  • GTXcellent

    DO NOT BUY THE SAAB. I repeat, DO NOT BUY THE SAAB.

    Why? You will NOT be able to find parts – oh sure they say, all the parts are still good to go. Orio AB has taken over parts so no problem they say… wrong! There may be millions and millions of parts available, but not for the parts that actually break. Right now as I type this, I am waiting for a fuel pump that is supposedly coming from Arizona (and was ordered 2 weeks ago). Last Friday, the rear window regulator broke. Guess what, that particular part has been unavailable for approx 3 months with no fill date known. After a good day of internet searching (including Europe) and about 30 phone calls to various salvage yards I finally found one in New York – and I’m still not convinced that the right one is coming. We never were able to find Aero front springs and even though we probably shouldn’t have, we put in regular front springs.

    • I have dealt with a few SAAB’s and have been able to find most parts or interchanges for them. I like the challenge of finding odd parts. If you have something that you haven’t been able to find, reply with the part and I will see if I can find something

      • I could use a rebuild kit for the pneumatic fuel pump on a two-stroke ’67 96.

        • Hmm, Just so I am looking at the correct parts, what displacement is that motor. Any reason not to convert to an electric pump?

          • It’s the standard 850cc, although I believe the pump is the same regardless. I have already converted to an electric pump in the 96 that I race but I’d rather keep the other two-stroke 96 stock.

            As far as that goes, I’d just as soon convert the race car back to an original pump, too, if I can find a replacement diaphragm, as I am quite fond of its simplicity.

            • mzszsm

              I wonder if you could get a flat sheet of the appropriate thickness and cut it to shape.

              • Not easily, as there’s a pneumatically-driven piston affixed through the middle of the diaphragm in a way that doesn’t look amenable to disassembly and reuse.

            • Cool, I’ll see what I can find. In the meantime here is some entertainment that I stumbled upon while searching:

            • I will continue to look but you may have stumped me. You may have to get pieces made. Most of the standard Swedish spots I search point me to electrical pumps.

              • I keep running into the same problem whenever I look. Thanks for checking and please let me know if you find something out there. By the way, it’s this style of pump:

  • I like all of these choices well enough. I’d actually go for the VW for one reason alone: price.

    I’m like you in that it takes me a long time to buy a car (excluding sub-$1K beater French cars)–it took me three years to decide on my Buick, and more than 18 months of hemming and hawing on my van. The search has already commenced for my next ride, but I don’t expect to purchase anything until 2016 or 2017. Or maybe 2018.

    If I were in the Bay Area and had no wheels, I’d probably just get the cheapest thing I could find at the next AutoReturn auction, and run that until I found exactly what I wanted. But I recognize that you probably want something a little more turn-key than an impound beater.

    • Tamerlane’s Thoughts

      Thinking of a first gen Insight or 1-owner SC400 as a “hold” car.

      • Also good ideas. Was everybody OK in the collision?

      • Buy a beater Insight or Civic Hybird. I just wrote on how to fix batteries this morning:

  • LEROOOY

    Oh, it’s not that broken, is it? Find some glass and make it a V50 ‘Continental’…just cover up that damage with a spare tire.

    Sure, you can’t open the hatch anymore, but that’s a small price to pay for avoiding the purchase of a very complicated Volkswagen, orphaned SAAB, etc.

    • Manic_King

      From that photo it’s very difficult to see where this $9k worth of comes from, is roof crooked or maybe other side? If not, then Jim should just take the money from the insurance co, source an hatch from a junkyard and let friendly body shop fix this Volvo.

      Edit. Lexus is the best choice from above, BMW I6 had problems, engine noise because of poor oil lubrication. That was mostly fixed 2009.

  • Sjalabais

    What a shame, good that everyone’s all right!

    Since you’ve read the BaT-thread, you know I support the Century with big-eyed-leaning-over-the-counter-style eagerness. This would catapult your autocool rating into unchartered territory.

    Next out is the Saab. I figure parts availability might suck, but it would be an awesome comparison/followup to the Volvo, I’m sure you can haggle like a madman, and it is still a very cool car. Despite me just posting below that I’d never own a GM product, I like this one.

    Also, the Lexus might free up funds for a toy car, and it sure is the most reliable choice. Spoken with clichees in mind. I know you care about the obscure, so the BMW seems like a bad fit, it doesn’t interest me the least, to be honest. The W8 is very cool, just as filling a swimming pool with greenbacks for a bonfire might be cool in some circles.

    • Tamerlane’s Thoughts

      I think the Century is the only sedan that could out-cool the Phaeton.

      • Sjalabais

        By multiples!

        There are options though. 10-12000€ will yield you an excellent specimen of this kind:

  • PotbellyJoe★★★★★

    Asn an aside, what’s wrong with a Mazda5 with a manual? Or even a Mazda6 wagon with a manual (they did exist)?

    • Guest

      • Manic_King

        Whoa. They sold liftback 6 in NA…..

        • ramLlama

          They are very rare. I have seen exactly one on the road in the last 6 years. I’ve seen more wagons.

        • PotbellyJoe★★★★★

          My cousin had the liftback. very slick and awesome for utility. The rear seat was noisier than the sedan because of the hinge and seams.

    • PotbellyJoe★★★★★

      2005 Mazda Mazda6 S

      It’s in CA, I think.

    • PotbellyJoe★★★★★

      Another Oddball for the Mix.

      2005 Subaru Legacy 2.5 GT Limited Wagon <– WITH A STICK.

      • I support the LGT wagon

      • Scott W.

        The Legacy GT (or Outback XT) has the potential to be a nice and fun car, but a used car dealer is NOT the way to buy one. Service records are critical on a turbo Subaru of this era, especially when it comes to the frequency and type of oil changes. The turbos themselves are not tolerant of being neglected, and when they lunch themselves, they have been known to take the whole block out with them. Find a one owner, private sale car with service receipts whose quantity is measured in pounds, and you might do alright, IF you keep up with the maintenance religiously yourself as well. Otherwise, you’re making a (minimum) $4000 gamble the second you sign the purchase check.

        • PotbellyJoe★★★★★

          All good points, and thankfully there is a very healthy Subie Owners group who collect and care for these cars.

    • Tamerlane’s Thoughts

      Weren’t the Mazda6s unreliable?

      • PotbellyJoe★★★★★

        Not for anyone I knew who owned them. It’s essentially a dressed up Fusion in those years.

      • Manic_King

        I had 1, nice to drive and reliable, a bit road- noisy, they added more insulation 2008 or 2009. Also, rust problems, probably not that important factor in SF.

      • Compared to a late model Saab/BMW/VW? Shirley, you must be joking. Think of the Mazda as a Timex and the others as always breaking iPhone Galaxies. And think of the W8 as a wooden cuckoo clock.

      • Sjalabais

        The Mazda 6 is fairly common in my neck of the woods, and it appears to be a mechanically reliable car. Just that rust kills them surprisingly early, which is reflected by used car prices. A very good friend of mine is a Mazda-guy (his family had a “Bongo” when they were missionary in Japan), and he says that Mazda got control of the rust issue a while ago, but if you’re looking into 2002-2005 cars, these are certainly susceptible to decay.

    • quattrovalvole

      Mazda6 wagon with a manual at least exists in Canada. I know because I was close to pull the trigger on a white one. Until I found out that the underbody resembles Swiss cheese, that is (shouldn’t be an issue on the west coast though)

  • mzszsm

    I’m so very very sorry, but good news is that until just now you never even knew you wanted an el V50mino, save nine grand! If you decided not to go that route, the Lexus is one I always wanted myself, but maybe not that particular one. I think the Century would be a hassle, possibly impossible, go and prove me wrong as choice #3.

    • PotbellyJoe★★★★★

      Is the V50 on the C1 platform? Would it be a V50chero then? Or just start a new nameplate the U35.6 for how much of the body is left.

      • Tamerlane’s Thoughts

        You are correct!

      • engineerd

        Ha! I just saw you said basically the same thing about 30 minutes before I did.

        • PotbellyJoe★★★★★

          Pick one of the following:
          -Great minds think alike.
          -Fools find fellowship together.

          • engineerd

            Only one?

            • PotbellyJoe★★★★★

              You can’t pick 2 of 2, 2 of 3 maybe (it ain’t bad), but I couldn’t cleverly write Mediocre car-frenzied eccentrics lurk in areas where they find brotherhood.

    • The tail light design means the upper rear bodywork would have to be retained as a large set of fins. In itself this is another point in favor of the idea, but it would require care when cutting diagonally through the side windows.

      • mzszsm

        My idea was screwing some trailer lights onto the 2×6 used for the rear bumper, but I like your idea better now, there will be plenty of extra material removed that can be repurposed for aesthetics!

    • engineerd

      Since Volvo is most closely related to Ford, wouldn’t it be a V50chero?

      • mzszsm

        GIS “a-traktor bygge volvo” sometime, I think we know now what that Swedes call these 😉

  • quattrovalvole

    If you end up with the Century, you’ll be my hero!

    That said, I’m gravitating towards either the Lexus or the BMW. The Saab is a nice car when it’s working. The question is, how long can you keep it working?

  • dukeisduke

    Doggonnit, man! Sorry to hear that. I saw an early V50 wagon yesterday that had a dent on the edge of the roof on the driver’s side, that apparently caused the rear quarter glass the break – they had black plastic covering it.

  • dukeisduke

    Is this the car that replaced the Phaeton, or was that something else? I would say the Lexus, but I’ve never liked that goofy instrument cluster.

    • Tamerlane’s Thoughts

      V50 replaced the Phaeton. BTW, guy who bought my Phaeton just bought a second Phaeton last weekend.

  • Bummer about the collision. My wife’s car got rear-ended last year and, although we were able to drive it home, the estimate for repairs was still high enough for it to be declared totalled.

    Regrettably the Century is almost certainly a non-starter with the NHTSA, so that just leaves the 9-3 Turbo X… at twenty THOUSAND dollars?!? Yikes. That makes it a lot harder to buy three of them in order to keep one on the road, which would otherwise be my advice.

    You know, there are less expensive wagons out there on your local Craigslist:

    • Tamerlane’s Thoughts

      But only 150 of those wagons were ever sold here!

      • But 150 of those wagons were sold here!

  • Eric Masek

    VW Jetta sportwagen perhaps in tdi format with 6mt. They’re sort of dime a dozen also but it seems to fit the bill based on your other choices.

    • Tamerlane’s Thoughts

      I know, I know. Excellent car, too common.

  • As a former and recovering W8 owner. Please do not do it. You’ll want to kill yourself after the first month. Seriously, I spent 10k on mine, then another 8k in the first few months trying to just keep it running properly. Go over to TST and read my article or listen to the TST 150ep, I talk about it there..

    That said, I might steal that W8 away from you.

    • Tamerlane’s Thoughts

      How about this W8 in SoCal with a 6-speed manual?

      • STOP IT! I DON’T NEED ANOTHER VW! GRRR MUST NOT LOOK! AWWWW I WANT IT!

  • John Raffo

    There are three good choices.
    The Lexus will last forever and be the most reliable thing you’ve ever owned. And its RWD.
    The BMW is soccer mom cool, a little boring, expensive to fix.
    I love the Saab (I have one, a 9-5 wagon). It’s not all that hard to work on, there are parts out there, and there’s a ton of help on the web. Change the oil a lot and use synthetic. But the best part is that the car is worth… absolutely nothing! When negotiating remember you have the seller over a barrel. There is no one else considering it. And any one else considering it they are offering less than you are.

    • Tamerlane’s Thoughts

      I should at least test drive the Saab this weekend, no?

      I am leaning towards the Lexus, but shady dealer.

      • Manic_King

      • mzszsm

        Do you know someone that can run the VIN for you?

        • Tamerlane’s Thoughts

          No. I’m just going to pay for Carfax.

          • mzszsm

            Autocheck lets you get a subscription for I think it was only $10 more than one carfax where you get to run as many VINs as you can in a month.

      • John Raffo

        I have an old Lexus that my wife (and now my kids) drive. It’s indestructible. If you do the eye test on the oil, you’d change it every ten-thousand miles. If you do the same test on my Saab (a vanilla 9-5 turbo), you’d change it every five hundred miles. It’s the nature of a turbo. (Both cars are at around 110K. The Saab reliably clocks 33mpg on the highway which is… ridiculous. I suspect the 9-3 will be even better.)
        I’ve driven the 9-3 platform in the wagon trim, though not that model. If you hate FWD, you’ll probably hate that car.
        The others are right, Carfax, whatever service records, try and get a sense of mileage beyond what it says on the odo. I love the simplicity of the is300.
        You gotta drive ’em if you can.

  • engineerd

    I had a friend who knew a guy who was related to someone that had a BMW Phaeton X Turbo. Don’t do it. All they are is a problem. (Please tell me I’m doing the internet comment thing right. PLEASE!)

    In all seriousness, I’ve been looking for a new DD so I am not putting so much wear and tear on the Jeep and so we don’t put so many miles on the wife’s Edge. I’ve been looking at E90 BMWs because they have depreciated to the point they are affordable with ~40k miles on them. From everything I’ve read on the forums and whatnot, the non-turbo cars are the ones to get. The turbo cars were susceptible to HPFP issues. So, looking at a 328i or 330i is the way to go. You’ll still need a rebuild of the VANOS system at some point (usually closer to 100k miles), and other bits will go wrong. As long as you feel comfortable working on the car (or find a good independent repair shop) you’ll save a mint over having it dealer serviced. Also, if you can find one with the manual transmission you’ll save the headache and cost of getting the autotranny serviced.

    Also, the fact that it’s a dime a dozen means parts are going to be readily available for a long time. Some of your other choices would scare me just on parts availability. Though, a Saab would be fun.

  • JayP

    If you’re looking in the high teens, you can get a Focus ST with a warranty.
    I’d shopped a bunch of used cars- Passat CC AWD, VW R32s, the like. CPO warranties were crud- 1 or 2 years max and I already have 2 cars I’m wrenching.

    Try one out.

  • Thanks for the shout-out on the Turbo X. Here is some of the info: This is the differential for a 2010 Lacrosse: This is a differential for a Turbo X with the same exact part number: I checked car-part and used Lacrosse diffs are $420-500 in my area. Also, since the Century is in the running now, I vote for that

    • Tamerlane’s Thoughts

      Any Century parts found in the Lexus LS or Avalon?

      • I know the Ignition Coils interchange with the Tercel and Paseo and the Air Filter is shared with the Tacoma/4Runner. I am sure there are others. Let me know what you are most concerned with and I will take a peek

        • Tamerlane’s Thoughts

          Are you joking?

          • dead_elvis

            I’m going with “no”:

          • I wish I was but Coil Part no is: 90919-02213

            Here it is in the Century parts list:

            and here it is listed for the Tercel and Paseo

            Air Filter is Part no 17801-35020 and here it is in the Century Catalog:

            And here it is on Amazon listed for Tacoma and a few others:

  • Maymar

    Alternative solution – build a V50chero!

    I like the Saab though, and should be a decent lateral transition for you if the Volvo’s treated you well.

  • A4 Avant 6MT?

  • engineerd

    You should invite each of those sellers to comment on this and try their best to convince all us innerwebz commenters to buy their vehicle. Then sit back and watch the fireworks.

    • mzszsm

      Have you cross shopped a Crossfire though Jim?

      • engineerd

        Why would he do that? Those things are hor…

        You almost had me there.

        • I’m sure they’ve stopped monitoring Redusernab by now. There’s no reason to think they’re the type who would fruitlessly yet doggedly pursue something year after yea… Oh. Right.

          • Alff

            Driftruck FTW!!!!!!

            • mzszsm

              Nie kolego, Polski Mustang POLONEZ!!1!

              • You both make excellent points. Can I vote more than once?

  • Jeff Glucker

    Yeah I vote Century… no question

    • Sjalabais

      The more people say “vote”, the more I notice the lack of a poll up there. What kind of democracy is this, huh?

      • America Style: we comment on blogs at a 100000:1 ratio to the rate we vote.

    • Tamerlane’s Thoughts

      I’m going to start a series on it, maybe. First step, FOIA requests to NHTSA to see what successful and unsuccessful Show or Display applications look like. If I am unsuccessful, the 2nd gen Century (2nd of 2) will be permanently barred from Show or Display status.

      • I’ve always stayed on the far side of the 25-year rule, mostly due to personal preference and pathologically shortsighted cheapness, but the potential results of that FOIA request sound like the makings of good reading.

      • I would be interested to see the process and what you can accomplish. You might be able to bring back the virtual crash test they used for the Escort Cosworth if you try hard enough

      • mzszsm

        It’s possible that you have thought this through very carefully and wish to keep what you will do close to your chest cause it might be sort of in a grey area. Alternatively you have not thought about this much past the show or display application. So here’s what I thought about when I had my own stupid ideas.

        You might actually get the approval based on limited production. But what then? You need to pass emissions and in CA that means CARB. You might have an alternative plan there. Say you can get it registered without odious restrictions, now you need insurance, that will be more difficult. The ways you can get around the limited use part of the show or display permit I can think of will not really work for the insurance, especially if you ever do run into trouble and need to make use of say a limited use agreed value policy.

        I would ask some people for ideas. I did a google search and Sean Morris turns-up as the fellow that got the show or display exception for some R32s. Maybe get in with him. Also there must be some other ways outside of show and display cause I saw this hint on these tags in Nashville and it’s not on the NHTSA list. So maybe reach-out to Jeff Lane. Jay Leno could know more CA particulars though.

        • Tamerlane’s Thoughts

          41,000 Centurys produced since the 1960s!

          • Sjalabais

            The math doesn’t add up.

          • mzszsm

            That’s not good, you’ll need to narrow your application down to a smaller set, like second gen with certain engine, best if Toyota gave it special name too.

  • Jaap

    My father allways bought a BMW, if he could afford one. It suggests life is simple. But I allways buy a Passat, if I can afford one. I think a W8 is something to go for. But then the outdated looks. This is pointing out to be a rather complex issue. I wish you all the luck.

  • Juliet C.

    🙁
    I feel so sorry for you!

  • JohnComposMentis

    I was going to say the Lexus because it’s rare, interesting (straight 6!), and classy. I would want to look into the availability of parts and service support from Lexus dealers or reliable independents. Those Yelp reviews are really scary, though. The asking price for the BMW is only $3,000 more, and 3-series wagons are more like a dollar a dozen than a dime a dozen, so I think that would be my choice.

  • Dude.

    • Sjalabais

      Outstanding choice…but almost 30k$? Wow.

      • Hey, that’s just the asking price. Everything is negotiable.

  • I say Go Saab.

    Death or glory.

    It’s better to regret something you have done than to regret something you haven’t.

    • I may have to inscribe that last line over the entrance to my garage.

      • mzszsm

        Garage? Congrats!

        • Thanks! We bought a fixer-upper house with detached garage several months ago and finally got the house to livable status a few weeks ago. This is an early shot of the garage; it’s not quite full yet….

          • Rover 1

            Room for another twenty to thirty vehicles! What happened to that microcar collection that was up for sale a few months ago?

    • That saying may be a clever way to get other people to take risks for your amusement, but its not always so true. For example, say you’re propositioned by a beautiful woman who might be HIV-positive. I’m pretty sure in that case you’ll regret the doing much more if she IS than the not doing, if she turns out not to be.

      • Sjalabais

  • Dana M. Hilliker


    Here is your replacement for the Volvo it’s still a 6speed wagon and it has Honda reliability! With the money leftover buy a crazy turbo Vtec setup and have something just as quick

  • Top-dead-centre

    Is there a chance of a buyback of the totalled vehicle, then fixing it up and getting a salvage title?

    I’m a little curious where the $9k+ repair figure comes from; the damage in the picture doesn’t appear too terrible. Other than the rear door and its glass, and the bumper cover/bumper, what else got crumpled?

    • NapoleonSolo

      My thought exactly. The taillight’s not even cracked.

    • Tamerlane’s Thoughts

      I am considering it.

      • I would let the insurance adjuster know as lots of times they will sell back at a very low price to save on transport and auction costs. A buddy of mine had an F-150 that was totaled out recently and they wrote a check for $8100. They offered a buyback price of $819 if he wanted to keep it.

  • Facel Vega

    B5 Passats look great on the outside and feel like econoboxes inside, and the W8 is a pretty mixed blessing at best. The Saab is nuts, and you’d be nuts to buy one. I also doubt it would really drive any better than the Lexus or the BMW. I have always liked the sportcross, just as I have always liked the V50, but when I tested about fifteen cars recently, I bought a 328i wagon. It easily crushed all the other options in person enough for me to swallow the BMW douchebag connotation it also inetivably bestows. But why the automatic?

    • Facel Vega

      and by the way, my daily driver is a 9-3.

  • Of what’s been presented? Saab. 100%.

    It’s the kind of automotive bad decision that you’ll be happy to regret.

    There’s also a certain DS Wagon for Sale at a certain Oakland-based body shop for a mere $6500…

  • Lokki

    VW W8: What are you? crazy? Google Cam Adjuster solenoids for these babies. Then Google the transmission problems for them. Besides – have you never talked to someone who has owned a VW ?

    SAAB – This looks like great fun, but I suspect there’s a Viking Funeral in Its future… As part of an insurance scam since that’s going to be the only way to get any money out of it after you fail to find a greater fool who will really believe he can find the replacement part that you couldn’t get.

    BMW – 2008 was not their finest hour. That was the generation that made me start leasing my BMWs so they would be long gone before the warranty died. CPO? Sure, but four coils and four window regulators, and the time they would!n’t let me leave the dealership till they replaced the tail light wiring… Well – I loves em but I don’t buys them no more.

    LEXUS – You know that this is the one – if it can pass an independent mechanic’s inspection, and if they will actually sell it to you for cash. A lot of these places make more on the financing, repossessing, and reselling than they do on the car. They really can make a lot more that way than on a cash deal. The Lexus has one more advantage. You know you can easily sell it to somebody if your Crown plan actually works out or another dream car comes along. Can you say that about any of the others?

  • Kiefmo

    W8? Better have deep pockets.
    Lexus? One of the best-looking bodies Toyota ever penned. Dead-nuts reliable and probably not bad to drive. Have it independently vetted and don’t worry about the sketchy dealership.
    BMW? zzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzz
    SAAB: Run. Fast. In the other direction. I have a friend with the 9^3 packing the lower-tuned turbo V6 (FWD), and he can’t keep coils in it to save his life. They keep dying. He’s resorting to a custom-built setup that will allow him to use coils for an LS motor, that’s after burning up a piston and replacing the long block.

  • 1977ChevyTruck

    Where are all these “common” BMW wagons?!?!?!?!

    Seeing any wagon in my area is a rare occurrence in itself, but a BMW wagon? There is all of three BMW wagons of any spec, or year in my local classifieds, and that’s including area with a population of over a million. (Edmonton Area)

    • dead_elvis

      Proper BMW wagons always turn my head. Even in Seattle, they’re not an everyday sight. (Maybe on the eastside, but I don’t have much cause to go to that side of Lake Washington, fortunately.)

      • Sjalabais

        In wagon country Norway, there are neighborhoods where you can’t throw a stone without hitting one.

  • motoridersd

    The E91, when had with the M Sport package and a manual is a completely different animal and brings it from dime a dozen to V50 manual levels. My 2011 Alpine White E91 with M Sport is only 1 of 4 in the US. They are of course, very hard to find.

    Pros: The drivetrain is pretty bulletproof and easy to fix.
    Cons: OEM parts are not cheap

    If I had been able to find a Saab 9-3x Wagon when I was looking, I would have jumped on that. The Lexus was also one of my faves but I never ran into one while looking either. I wanted a Legacy GT Wagon, but the only year they were available with a manual was 2005, and coming from a 2008 Legacy Spec.B, I didn’t want to go down a few model years.

    It sucks when sleazy dealers get their hands on the cars that we want. There’s a guy in Ohio that buys up M Sport E91s and then jacks up the price.

    • Tamerlane’s Thoughts

      I’m really dreading dealing with the dealer with the Lexus IS wagon. My last two cars were purchased from private parties who were true hoons in spirit.

      Thank you for your input.

      • motoridersd

        You’re welcome! Would it be difficult to find an Indy that can help you with the IS Wagon? I doubt it’s under warranty so what would you need the dealer for? Also, I’m not a fan of champagne, and although this one has pretty low miles, here are some other options from private parties:

        Yellow with 138k in San Diego (I know I’ve seen this yellow SportCross on the road in the past years)

        Silver with 133k in LA

        Silver with unlisted miles in Denver

        Black one with 55k in Miami (guy wants $20k though)

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