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  1. #1
    mtbr member
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    ... and if we just ... Subaru outback or VW Jetta Wagon TDI?

    Im in the market for a new car, Im looking at Subaru outbacks and the VW Jetta Wagon. I really Like the TDI the jetta offers, but the outback is 4-wheel drive. I live in south Florida and my job requires me to do alot of driving, Right now I have a SUV and the gas milage is Killing me. NOT LOOKING TO MAKE ANTI SUV RANT....PLEASE DON'T START. If anyone has any experience with these cars please let me know.

  2. #2
    Demon Cleaner
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    You probably already know this, but the VW TDI has a very active aftermarket crowd. Some Google searchs will probably find some of their forums. In particular, I understand that they are increasing the turbo boost to get something like 140hp while still getting over 40 miles per gallon.

    I don't own one, so this is just what I read when I was also looking into one.
    Bicycling is politics by other means.

  3. #3
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    Yeah, I have been reading on vwvortex.com about them.
    Thanks

  4. #4
    Still chuggin' along
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    I can't say anything about the Subaru but we have a '97 Jetta GL (they didn't have the TDI at the time) that has about 110K mile on it and its still going strong. TONS of trunk space! I've never seen a "small" car with that much space and still be comfortable in the back seat. I can fit my bike back there w/o taking the wheel off- I have a 15" frame though.

    My husband drives about 55 miles/day to and from work and fills up the tank every 7 or 8 days. He's love to have the TDI for his commute!

    But, we really love it and he's planning on getting a Passat later this year b/c we like the Jetta so much.

    Cheers,
    Kristina

  5. #5
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    Man...
    I don't know, I would think you're on the verge of going bigger...

    Audi A4 or S4 Avant.
    -or-
    Audi Allroad

    Don't discount this bad boy either:
    Volvo V70R 300hp.

    My comments on the VW Jetta are it absurdly tiny rear seat and lack of rear leg room. I was looking at that car as a sedan and was blown away. I ended up getting a Volvo 850R. Volvo>VW.

    Also, check out the Volvo V50.
    Last edited by ; 01-18-2004 at 06:34 PM.

  6. #6
    Paintbucket
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    Can't see where AWD is going to do you a whole lot of good in SoFla. The real advantage is in snow country.
    Zippy for president

  7. #7
    dispensing truthiness
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    agree

    Quote Originally Posted by wooglin-at-home
    Can't see where AWD is going to do you a whole lot of good in SoFla. The real advantage is in snow country.
    Yeah, 4WD in Florida? Why?

    FWIW, I like Subaru's and have had mixed experiences with VW's.

  8. #8
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    The reason for the 4wheel drive in florida is that Im a new construction home inspector. Some time I have to go down some not so great roads.

  9. #9
    Demon Cleaner
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    None of them have a transfer case, or much ground clearance, so I wouldn't want to "really" use them off road. I've always found that fwd worked fine, even in muddy or sandy conditions. Takes a bit of thought. But works. In super slick mud it isn't hard to get stuck even with AWD. Do any of them have locking differentials?

    I'd want a reall 4x4 if I was going to have to go offroad/sand/mud. Maybe a four door Toyota or Nissan pickup.

    But then I'd rather have a Forester or Jetta TDI for on road and use my bike off road!
    Bicycling is politics by other means.

  10. #10
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    Consumer reports rates these cars equally high overall. They give the VW higher marks for fit and finish if body panels and interior trim. They give the Outback higher marks for interior space. I drive an old '96 Outback for a work truck. I really abuse it and the suspension at 145,00 mi. is just as stiff as ever. AWD is very useful to me at work (residential construction) and biking (Chattahoochee national forests). My personal opinion is that the Outback will suit you better if you use the vehicle at work. However, if your not in a hurry you might wait till late summer when 2005 models become available. Ford is introducing a larger AWD wagon called the Freestyle, and Mazda has a wagon based on the Mazda6 sedan. Check out coverage of the 2004 Detroit auto show.

    following is a subliminal message sponsored by Subaru: {...............................} welcome to the club.

  11. #11
    ballbuster
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    I say you can't go wrong either way. I have a '96 GTi and an '87 Jetta, both with a zillion miles, and they both are solid cars. I have many buds with Subies (frickin hippies and they are all thrilled with them. My opinion is that the Jetta is more capable on-road than the Subie. VW just has their act together when it comes to handling and railing in corners. Gobs or torque, and where you need it, in the low band of the RPM range. IMO, the VW stuff sings on the road to me in a way that Asian cars do not, Subies included.

    That said, reliability tends to be better on the Subies. VWs have more issues, but not so many that I'd steer you away from them. VW motors tend to go for high mileage and stay tight. I'm up to 126k on the GTi, over 220k on the Jetta, and my old Scirocco had 310k before I sold it. All still going strong.

    Subie's AWD is a nice system, but consider that you have to drag an extra 400 lbs of AWD gear with you at all times, dragging on your car's efficinency. Real world Subies tend to get around 25-26 MPG, which is a lot of gas for a small car. The gas Jetta gets closer to 30 MPG. I wonder how the new 6 speed manual fares?

    Also the Diesel VWs, as most diesels, spew a lot of pollution compared to Gas. OTOH, you use 40% less fuel to begin with.

    I'm considering the same issue myself. The old beater Jetta needs to be retired at some point, and I'm still drooling over having AWD capabilities in a good street car, or getting the same old sameold I've been buying since I was 16. I really dig the way VW puts cars together, but something that handles mud and snow, and still handles on an on-ramp carosel really appeals to me. I can learn to live with the lack of refinement in the looks of the Subie, but the Jetta is soooo attractive, especially with the sport package with 17" wheels.....tastey!

    So, sorry, I'm no help! I'm split too!

  12. #12
    Witty McWitterson
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    So what it comes down to is this: Do you REALLY need the AWD of the Subie? I'd suspect maybe not. FWD cars can be surprisingly capable on gravel, you just gotta be careful and precise.

    And this comes from a two Subie family. Like many here, we'll be looking soon, and the TDi is a strong contender. Boosting the boost to get 140hp is certainly appealing too...I'll have to look into that one!
    Just a regular guy.

  13. #13
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    ... and if we just ...

    Thanks for all your help...Im just going to keep on reading and doing my Pros and Cons for now.

  14. #14
    tl1
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    Having mucho experience with VWs among friends and myself I'd advise getting an extended warranty for as long as you are likely to own it if you decide to get it. They almost always have issues that can get very expensive if not warranteed. The VW is probably a nicer driving road car though.

    I don't know many people with Subarus but among those that have them they don't have many breakdowns and are very happy with them.

  15. #15
    sh*t disturber
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    Wink Any way you slice it.....

    Quote Originally Posted by airbag
    Im in the market for a new car, Im looking at Subaru outbacks and the VW Jetta Wagon. I really Like the TDI the jetta offers, but the outback is 4-wheel drive. I live in south Florida and my job requires me to do alot of driving, Right now I have a SUV and the gas milage is Killing me. NOT LOOKING TO MAKE ANTI SUV RANT....PLEASE DON'T START. If anyone has any experience with these cars please let me know.
    The Outback is a great CAR. My wife (aka Spike) has had hers for almost 4 years now. It's been very reliable, gets great mileage and is great for hauling all the stuff associated with outdoor activities. She has a hitch mount rack for the bikes and lately we've just been throwing the skis in the back when we go XC. You cannot beat the AWD system on Subarus either. The car handles the road like it's on rails. Very sure footed. I've had a V-Dub in the past and they're well made cars. To me, the Outback is more geared to outdoor activities. I wouldn't mind getting one some day, but the his and hers Outbacks in the driveway might look a bit too cutesie.

  16. #16
    Jed Peters
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    If you get a subaru, get either the 6 cylinder model or a stick. The 4-auto is simply gutless.

    I've owned both a GL (1988) and a VW Jetta ('97) and the Jetta has been more reliable (knock on wood.)

    When I lived in Tahoe and Montana, the Subaru was key. In FL, no reason to get a 4wd IMHO.

  17. #17
    Chrome Toaster
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    Having had two VW's, a 93 Corrado SLC and 96 Jetta GLX I doubt I would ever buy a VW again. They were nice cars and super fun but honestly, their reliability was less than impressive. They had all sorts of failures in stupid little things, then all sorts of electrical problems and overall were just a maintenance nightmare. In 2002 I decided to buy a Subaru Impreza and so far I have been loving it. I drive about 60 miles to work, the car has almost 40,000 miles on it already and has not even given the slightest problem so so far so good.
    As far as the driving goes I honestly prefer the feel of the subaru. It feels more stable at high speed than the Jetta, definately corners better, and the AWD makes a noticeable difference particularly in wet roads. After driving an AWD car I would definately consider it a strong point for any other car I buy in the future.

  18. #18
    sh*t disturber
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    Most definitely......

    Quote Originally Posted by Zonic Man
    If you get a subaru, get either the 6 cylinder model or a stick. The 4-auto is simply gutless.

    I've owned both a GL (1988) and a VW Jetta ('97) and the Jetta has been more reliable (knock on wood.)

    When I lived in Tahoe and Montana, the Subaru was key. In FL, no reason to get a 4wd IMHO.
    The only knock I have against Spike's car is it is a tad gutless. She doesn't have a heavy foot like me, so it doesn't bother her. If I were to get one a few years ago (before the 6 cylinder), I would have got the manual tranny. The 6-banger is definitely a better choice I've heard. I really should test drive one. There is a dealership here in town which has an "obstacle course" for you to try in an industrial area. When Spike bought her car, I got to try one out and I couldn't believe the things he was letting us drive over and through. He had me hitting potholes at high speed, going over curbs without slowing down, and climbing some very steep hills. It was great fun.

  19. #19
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    Airbag, it sounds like you've had your fill of opinions, but now that you've created the best Subaru forum on the net you have an obligation to inform us of what you decide to buy. Good luck man.

  20. #20
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    yeah Will let everyone Know what I end up with, and thanks again for all the great post.

  21. #21
    Jm.
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    The HS3.0 is definitely not gutless. It has lots of torque and if you are driving along you gotta be carefull with the gas because too much will cause you to rocket forward when it downshifts. Definitely not in a lethargic fasion. I've also driven the 4cyl ones as well, and like zonic says, there's not much too it.

    I agree with most people though, AWD is virtually a necessity in some areas, while in others you might as well save the gas because it will never really help you. In many places a good FWD, maybe with some traction control like I have, is all you'll never need. It'll get through some pretty nasty icy/snowy conditions as well. True AWD is greatly superior, but unless you get a lot of snow, have a lot of hills to go up and down, have completely ice-over roads, it's not needed.

  22. #22
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    I wish I got 25-26mpg on my 2000 Outback...

    ... but it's more like 22-25 when I drive "normally." It can get a little better if I don't, oh, I don't know, use the gas pedal to accelerate, and can get a lot worse when packing four guys and bikes. It is awesome in the snow and on fireroads, though. I'm glad I have it this winter.

    I don't know for a fact, but I've heard the TDI motors burn as clean as gasoline motors, and the gas milage is great. Since my Outback is pretty damn slow, I can't imagine the TDI is dramatically slower.

    Bottom line: Can you fit four guys, their bikes and their gear comfortably in the TDI wagon, and do you need to do so? You can, in fact, do this with the Outback.

  23. #23
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    Sort of had both...

    I had a Passat TDI (a '97, I think) and it was nothing but trouble. That was back in the day of the 2 year/24k mile warranty. Things went south about 2 weeks after I hit 24k. Too much to list but I got out of the lease early. I would hope that they have worked the bugs out by now but people really seem to love or hate VWs.

    My next car was a 2001 Outback wagon. Loved it so much my wife got one too. Around 30k, I smelled maple syrup. Smelled it a few weeks later on my wife's car (she was around 25k. Turns out both cars needed the head gaskets replaced. After that happened, we both ditched the cars.

    I have 13k on a 2003 4Runner SportEdition V8 and she has about 3k on a 2004 Highlander V6 AWD. We love both of them so far.

  24. #24
    rack admirer
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    didn't you get an MB wagon?

    Maintenance intensive, but cool. I was hot on a 300TE for a year, but the maintenance has since scared me away.

  25. #25
    Fartographer
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    Love My VDC

    I've put over 50,000 miles on my 2002 Subaru VDC since I got it in July of 2002. Solid 90 mph cruising under most highway conditions. The H6 motor has lots of power, and the easily accessible 3rd gear helps keep the revs up. It's definitely a compromise between off-road and highway. Feels a bit harsh in the dirt, and a bit squishy when cornering hard on the road. But it's been a good compromise for me. Like a lot of Subaru owners, my next car will probably be a Subaru, too.

    John
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