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Old 02-03-11, 09:10 PM   #1
MangoPumpkin 
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Anyone have any experience with these cars?

Volvo's or VW's?

We are looking at getting a second used car. Probably around an '02 to '05 model. I was looking at either a VW GTI or a VOLVO V50.

I've never driven either and wondered if anyone has any comments, suggestions, or bewares about either brand.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 02-03-11, 09:21 PM   #2
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I've never owned a Volvo but hear nothing but great things about them, I did (regretably) own a VW.....biggest POS I ever owned! Literally fell apart on us! The fact that the drive train was working great meant nothing after the third brake light fell off, the door handles fell off, the electric window buttons broke off, almost every sensor went bad, the door panels fell off, the torbo went bad, the oil pump went bad, the side airbags went bad, the front airbags went bad, the engine light went on ever other week. All this (and some things I'm sure I just can't remember) within the first year of owning it! So personally I'd be leaning towrds the Volvo! Like leaning where my head was almost touching the floor!
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Old 02-03-11, 09:27 PM   #3
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i have an '02 Volvo XC70. get the extended warranty if you buy one!!! we have needed well over $5K in repairs over the last 2 years since we bought it, most was covered under warranty, but still a pain in the ass to deal with. I know other volvo owners who look at me funny when i mention our problems, so your mileage may vary.
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Old 02-03-11, 09:32 PM   #4
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So that's a negative for both. I know with used cars, you're going to have trouble, pretty much no matter what. Expensive trouble if you go foreign. I know firsthand, we have an Audi now.

Is there a better choice of car you'd pick for those years if you could go back and change it? I'm leaning towards the Volvo now but just read a bunch of stuff on how they lose power at random intervals. (V50 Models) Lovely.

Thank you two for the help
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Old 02-03-11, 09:41 PM   #5
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Beware cars owned by kids...Automatics...Any specific model has it's weaknesses...

Here are mine


I think MKIV's (1999.5-2006) are pretty well regarded in the sophistication department. Reliability? Not as good as it's peers.
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Old 02-03-11, 09:51 PM   #6
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I like the first of your two cars, SB. A little similiar shape to the Volvo V50 2005



Here's ours now:

I like the 'wagon shape and having the space in the back. The GTI is obviously smaller but has better gas mileage. I do a lot of driving from PA to Ohio and want something reliable and gets decent gas mileage.
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Old 02-03-11, 10:10 PM   #7
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Thanks! I heard once that it you had to explain more than 10 things to someone borrowing your car before they drove it, that the car had character. The white wagon has got character. The sedan is identical in model, year, engine, transmission, origin and has similar mileage. I would drive the sedan to Ohio.

In your case, you might be best with boring japanese cars.
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Old 02-03-11, 10:11 PM   #8
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FWIW, a friend has a Volvo Cross Country w/75K miles - absolutely outstanding vehicle. Only a couple of minor problems (one of the headlight wipers went bad, and there's a little bit of trouble with the tailgate latch). She normally gets a new car every 2 years, but has been holding on to this one for over 5 now, she likes it so much. Handles great in the snow, and has room in the back for 2 large dogs. Seat heaters are nice, too.

With VW's, I've heard of issues with trim and electrics. I'm told that the VW's in the US are different from those in Europe as ours are made in Mexico, and the European versions are made in Germany - different build qualities, I understand.
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Old 02-03-11, 10:21 PM   #9
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There are books on how to buy a car. Get one.

Avoid Volvo

Hyundai is worth looking at.
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Old 02-03-11, 10:32 PM   #10
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There are books on how to buy a car. Get one.
Avoid Volvo
Hyundai is worth looking at.
I plan on doing more research and reading before I buy anything. Just wanted to see if anyone had any personal experience with the brands.

Thanks
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Old 02-03-11, 10:33 PM   #11
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With VW's, I've heard of issues with trim and electrics. I'm told that the VW's in the US are different from those in Europe as ours are made in Mexico, and the European versions are made in Germany - different build qualities, I understand.
I was just reading the same thing about where they were built. Thanks for your info, btw.
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Old 02-03-11, 10:48 PM   #12
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I do a lot of driving from PA to Ohio and want something reliable and gets decent gas mileage.
Honda - boring, but dead f'n reliable, and good gas mileage. Never drove a Volvo, but hear repairs and maintenance are pretty expensive. Had a VW Golf - fun car to drive, had some electrical problems.

Love my Subaru Forester, and would get another in a heartbeat.
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Old 02-03-11, 11:02 PM   #13
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I did tech consulting for a foreign auto servicer (but really work on anything) for a 3 1/2 years. Anyway, I saw many many cars through. Worst offenders make wise, were Volvo, Mazda (and Fords based on Mazda platforms), and Mitsubishi. Never saw a single Honda or Toyota. Or come to think of it-- Subaru.

If I had to pick between the two, I would go VW because it is a more known quantity to me personally (in-laws, buddies, coworkers drive 'em).

Useless Personal Crap Dept.
My personal preference amongst all available makes and models considering TCO would be something like a late model (2001 or newer) Camry.
If fuel economy was the primary constraint: Hyundai Elantra (but they're crazy expensive right now because of that).
Without regards to acquisition cost or TCO: Outback XT with the 5sp SportShift. What a awesomely fun car to drive-- for a "wagon".

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Old 02-03-11, 11:09 PM   #14
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Love my Subaru Forester, and would get another in a heartbeat.
+1 on the Subaru. They get plenty of love from the outdoorsy types round here. Hanging out at packet pickup every other dang car is a Outback. . . followed by tie between CR-V and Odyssey.
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Old 02-04-11, 12:21 AM   #15
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I have driven nothing but VW or Audi since 1980.

I have had a number of great cars that have given me no trouble at all.

Regular maintenance and they just keep going.

I will be buying another this year for my daughter.
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Old 02-04-11, 08:23 AM   #16
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I plan on doing more research and reading before I buy anything. Just wanted to see if anyone had any personal experience with the brands.
Those two brands have terrible reliablity, buying one used is a near certain monetary disaster. I'd look at a used Toyota Camry or Nissan Altima.
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Old 02-04-11, 08:40 AM   #17
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Thanks to everyone for the input. After reading what you guys have wrote and things I've read online for the specific vehicles. I think I'm going to pass on either. I'm looking at Hondas or the Nissan Altima now. For what I need it for it definately makes more sense then something that will cost a small fortune to fix.

Ugh I hate having to be an adult and all practical like. Thanks again!
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Old 02-04-11, 08:45 AM   #18
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+1 for Hyundai. My family has an '02 Elantra that I have been driving (like the crazy drugged up teenager that I am) for the past four years. It has over 120,000 miles so far and is holding up just fine, it's never needed major maintenance except for when I blew out the rear shocks. Gas mileage is alright too.
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Old 02-04-11, 08:50 AM   #19
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+1 for Hyundai. My family has an '02 Elantra that I have been driving (like the crazy drugged up teenager that I am) for the past four years. It has over 120,000 miles so far and is holding up just fine, it's never needed major maintenance except for when I blew out the rear shocks. Gas mileage is alright too.
Really? My momma had a Hyundai brand new and it took a crap about two years in. I can't remember what was wrong with it though. I'll have to ask her. I've noticed from the boob tube commercials they look a whole lot different now then they did and are getting a better rap. I'll have to look more into them. Thanks!
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Old 02-04-11, 08:58 AM   #20
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Both our girls learned to drive in a Volvo. The old 'Box on Wheels' models from the mid '80's. Very safe car. The younger one eventually killed it, but it got the job done.
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Old 02-04-11, 08:59 AM   #21
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I posed this question to a friend of mine who is a VW.Audi enthusiast. He said avoid the MkIV and get a plain mark V Golf. This would be 2006-9, I think. Also make sure it has the 2.5 liter engine. The 2.0T is junk. He said auto or manual will be fine.
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Old 02-04-11, 09:11 AM   #22
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Hyundai is hit or miss. I know some people who have them and love them, others who have been through hell trying to keep them on the road. VWs are made to fall apart around the 100k mile mark, and all the ones people I know have owned have done this. Wheel bearings that go out early, turbos that need replacement, electrical gremlins that rival Lucas Electronics, etc. As for Volvo, I know lots of people with early 90's and older Volvos who love them. On the other hand, those with more recent ones seem to have odd issues. Things like front suspensions that won't stay in alignment. Your Audi is just an expensive VW. The engine may make a bit more power, and the interior is probably a bit more plush, but all the underlying problems are still there.

My father's Hondas, as well as the one I now have are reliable inexpensive cars. My friends with current generation Civics are also all happy. Personally, I like the way my 2002 Accord feels driving it over my friend's 2008 Civic, but that's driver preference. The fit is an awesome stuff/efficiency car, but it drives like a floppy refrigerator box on wheels. Toyotas also have a pretty good rep for reliability as I've seen in friends' cars. The Hondas are slightly lower on the niceness scale, but a bit higher on the reliability/durability scale.
As far as hatchbacks that are good on gas go, the only one I have personal experience with is the Ford Probe/Mazda 626. Awesome car in every way. Unfortunately, as old as they are at this point you aren't going to find a nice one.
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Old 02-04-11, 09:25 AM   #23
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My wife and I have a 2001 VW New Beetle, which shares a platform with the Jetta. I'll skip the Beetle-specific issues we have/had and concentrate on the platform-specific ones:

Other than normal wear & tear issues and the usual repairs one would expect to have to make on a car with close to 150k miles on it, we've had no problems. We've had to have the engine rebuilt due to a broken timing belt, replaced the clutch a couple years ago, had suspension parts wear out, as well as the usual sensors going bad. We've been lucky that we have a non-dealership mechanic that does great work faster & cheaper than the dealer.

It doesn't do well in slick road conditions, but that's more a function of our tires than the car. My brother had a Jetta until it got totaled recently. He had no issues with it, but it was only 2-3 years old. I wouldn't mind having another VW, just not a Beetle. VW made too many engineering compromises to get the car to fit the shape (headlights/taillights that are a PITA to replace a bulb in, for example).
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Old 02-04-11, 09:49 AM   #24
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Take a look at Consumers Report on reliability. VW is bad and plauged with problems. Volvo is pretty good. The only bad thing is they use lots of proprietary parts and are built that require special tools. Lot's of garages don't spend the money to buy those and your choices of where to get repairs done are limited. While Hyundai's are good lately, I would saty away from older models.

But there's a lot more to cars than reliabilty - how they look, how they handle. what you can easily carry in them, fuel economy (lots of smaller cars require premium fuel), etc. I think it's like buying a bike - get what feels good.
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Old 02-04-11, 10:03 AM   #25
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I posed this question to a friend of mine who is a VW.Audi enthusiast. He said avoid the MkIV and get a plain mark V Golf. This would be 2006-9, I think. Also make sure it has the 2.5 liter engine. The 2.0T is junk. He said auto or manual will be fine.
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