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    Thread: What to buy? Reasonably fast, reliable auto 4cyl wagon/hatch

    1. 05-29-2012 12:40 AM #1
      The wisdom of car lounge..

      I just sold my 03 Maxima 6MT after 1.5yr of owning it. When i bought it i thought it really would be the car that I'd keep for a long time. It's got good power, good fuel economy (24mpg for me combined) for a 260hp 3.5 V6, and was comfy as hell. However it just had no driving feel, I took it to autoX, track days with R comps (keeping up with well driven S2000s), but I never bonded with the car. So I sold it.

      My previous car was a 88 Mazda 626 Turbo 5spd Hatchback, and I loved that car, and I miss it a lot. It was tough as nails, even though it went thru many autoX and many set of R compound tires, the car came back for more.. I did go thru a few turbos but that's my fault for boosting it to 15psi on a stock exhaust.

      I missed its practicality, it drove very well for what it was, and somehow I felt a lot more at one with the 626 than the Maxima when pushed to the limits.

      I'm now looking for an auto daily driver (GF can't drive stick), with good practicality, reasonable straight line speed, reasonable fuel economy, and easy to work on, and with a good driving experience.

      I've really look thru everything and none really meet my criterias., and i have the follow requirements:

      0-60 under 9sec
      wagon/hatch practicality
      reliable
      under $5000 budget
      prefer 4 cyl (easy to work on)
      25+ mpg hwy

      I've thought about the usual suspects, but they don't meet my requirements

      1. Focus wagon - too slow with auto (10+ sec 0-60)
      2. Legacy/Impreza wagon - too slow with auto
      3. Mazda Protege 5 - too slow
      4. Passat/Jetta 1.8T - not reliable

      I have a few wild cards.

      1. PT Cruiser Turbo (fast but not reliable?)
      2. Volvo V40 wagon (reliable or not? no idea)
      3. Volvo V70 2.4 LPT (reliable or not?)
      3. Lancer ralliart sportback (meets all requirements, but rare!)

      Any other suggestions TCL can come up with?

    2. Member nm+'s Avatar
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      05-29-2012 12:44 AM #2
      Focus PZEV (that is the 2.3) comes in under 9 seconds. Barely, but it is there.
      Hard to find outside of CARB states though. Yes, for once, CARB states got the best. Suck it everyone else.
      Quote Originally Posted by Ducky TSX
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    3. Member zane!'s Avatar
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      05-29-2012 12:48 AM #3
      The first Gen V40 (2000-2004 iirc) isn't the best for what you're looking for but with some work could be decent.

      I had an S40... I loved it for commuting but it wasn't at all fast, sporty or fun. More like comfy, squishy and nice to drive in traffic. The auto tranny in sport mode was okay but you'll have to feel it yourself. It was kind of a bitch to work on but it was doable. Throw some coilovers on it and chip/intake/exhaust and it may work for you.

      Mine was pretty reliable, better than a Mk4 1.8t. Got the occasional CEL but nothing crazy.

    4. Member dcmix5's Avatar
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      05-29-2012 12:49 AM #4
      Might be 10-15% above your money, but maybe not?

      Quote Originally Posted by Hawk View Post
      I'm filming this thread. Just thought I'd let everyone know. I've had some bad experiences with threads in the past.
      Quote Originally Posted by Fritz27 View Post
      I like when dumb people quote mechanical grip as a metric of whether or not a car is fun to drive. It's like saying McDonald's is the best restaurant because you get a lot of calories for your money.

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      05-29-2012 12:53 AM #5
      Volvo v70 I would get a P80 car

    6. Member bikerboy's Avatar
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      05-29-2012 12:54 AM #6
      Saab 9-5 Aero? Fits all your qualifications. Hell, even a non-Aero would meet all your qualifications, and T-5 is easy to tune and bring to Aero and beyond power levels. Manual wagons (especially Aeros) are hard to find, but fortunately you're not searching for the elusive manual Aero wagon.

      Having driven a PT Cruiser several times before, it's really a terrible car. I can't imagine that having a turbo strapped to it gives it any redeeming qualities.

    7. Member adrew's Avatar
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      05-29-2012 12:55 AM #7
      Later years of the Suzuki Aerio have a 2.3-liter with 155 hp. Styling is love it or hate it, but they are real, made-in-Japan Suzukis, not Daewoos.
      Improving the signal-to-noise ratio

    8. Member adrew's Avatar
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      05-29-2012 12:56 AM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by dcmix5 View Post
      Might be 10-15% above your money, but maybe not?
      Not available with an automatic.
      Improving the signal-to-noise ratio

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      05-29-2012 12:57 AM #9
      2010 Wolfsburg Jetta 2.0T / 1998 BMW 328ti

    10. Member zane!'s Avatar
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      05-29-2012 12:59 AM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by bikerboy View Post
      Saab 9-5 Aero? Fits all your qualifications. Hell, even a non-Aero would meet all your qualifications, and T-5 is easy to tune and bring to Aero and beyond power levels. Manual wagons (especially Aeros) are hard to find, but fortunately you're not searching for the elusive manual Aero wagon.

      Having driven a PT Cruiser several times before, it's really a terrible car. I can't imagine that having a turbo strapped to it gives it any redeeming qualities.
      Oooooh, forgot about the 9-5 Aero. I drove one of those and absolutely loved it. I would have bought it had my budget been a bit higher.

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      05-29-2012 01:00 AM #11
      I don't really have any experience with them, but a Saab would be worth looking into I would imagine. They seem to do everything your looking for and are pretty stylish as well.



      Edit: I see the 9-5 was already mentioned.

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      05-29-2012 01:02 AM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by r_fostoria View Post
      I don't really have any experience with them, but a Saab would be worth looking into I would imagine. They seem to do everything your looking for and are pretty stylish as well.

      go Viggen or go home.



      3dr is hot.

      2010 Wolfsburg Jetta 2.0T / 1998 BMW 328ti

    13. 05-29-2012 01:08 AM #13
      http://vancouver.en.craigslist.ca/va...995159160.html

      thanks for great suggestion.

      let me send an email to this one..

      this platform has been here forever so parts availability shouldn't be a huge issue?

    14. Member brandonwillyumz's Avatar
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      05-29-2012 01:17 AM #14
      Why not a GTI?
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    15. Member mike02467's Avatar
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      Something I bought at Weymouth Honda
      05-29-2012 01:22 AM #15
      mid 90's accord wagon would fit the bill. 4 cylinder in them is pretty peppy and they're way lighter than these tanks Honda is putting out today.

    16. Member nomad1721's Avatar
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      05-29-2012 01:52 AM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by adrew View Post
      Later years of the Suzuki Aerio have a 2.3-liter with 155 hp. Styling is love it or hate it, but they are real, made-in-Japan Suzukis, not Daewoos.
      umm, I'd have to go with no. Hell no. I bought one new, got a great deal on it ($9995 OTD), and other than a fairly peppy 2.3 engine (155HP) it was a disaster. In five years of ownership I have warranty receipts for over $13K in repairs:

      spun rod bearing (new engine)
      failed oil pump
      3 axles
      transmission replaced
      all three motor mounts replaced
      shift linkage replaced
      2 stereo head units
      3 headlights
      water pump (it literally exploded driving to the dealership to have an axle replaced)
      brake caliper nearly fell off when the bolts holding it to the knuckle sheared.

      I could go on and on... although the worst part of all of this was the horrendous dealer service. Never again, please stay away at all costs!

      I'm so glad I got rid of that POS
      Quote Originally Posted by hipster. View Post
      They ended up buying my Corrado, I offered to sell them my Bentley. But they didn't want to spend the $40 I was selling it for. Poor bastards.
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    17. Senior Member patrikman's Avatar
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      05-29-2012 04:43 AM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by brandonwillyumz View Post
      Why not a GTI?
      Because reliability.
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      05-29-2012 04:48 AM #18
      Matrix XRS

      Edit: nevermind, didn't notice auto trans requirement
      Last edited by guten_tiguan; 05-29-2012 at 04:51 AM.

    19. Member hinshu's Avatar
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      05-29-2012 04:49 AM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by guten_tiguan View Post
      Matrix XRS
      Quote Originally Posted by patrikman View Post
      Because reliability.

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      05-29-2012 12:10 PM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by patrikman View Post
      Because reliability.
      Vr6 was relatively reliable, wasn't it? Why not an older one with a vr6? Nevermind... has to be auto... teach that girl to drive a stick!
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    21. Member jepva's Avatar
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      05-29-2012 12:18 PM #21
      If you want reliability stay the hell away from the PT Cruiser.

    22. Member evosky's Avatar
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      05-29-2012 12:22 PM #22


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      Quote Originally Posted by MrSavvy View Post
      I'll break it down for you simple minded people. VWvortex. The VW stands for Volkswagen. And when you create a forum, admins can create sections within the forum. This forum has a section for general car chit-chat. The car lounge. So you see, even though it's a VW forum, you can still discuss other topics.

    23. 05-29-2012 12:26 PM #23
      It is not like driving a manual requires much brain power...
      Why not just teach her how to drive a manual and get a car you want.
      Why settle on something you do not really want, just for a GF?

      But if you must, I would look at SAABs.
      Last edited by Air-over-water; 05-29-2012 at 12:37 PM.

    24. Member Live-Wire's Avatar
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      05-29-2012 05:09 PM #24
      The V70 2.4T is probably the best bet of those choices. It has a very strong, linear powerband. Tons of room, and is pretty quick for what it is (probably 0-60 in around 8 seconds).

      Not too many issues with them (the ones they had tended to be ironed out with software updates). They do have fairly weak tie rod ends tho. They are super solid and durable tho, fairly easy to get half a million kilometers from one with routine maintenance. Turbo's seem to go around 350k kms. Rebuilding them doesn't seem to be extremely costly tho... guess it depends on whether you look at is as "cheaper then buying a new car" or if you'd scrap it and buy another banger at the first sign of requiring a bit of an overhaul.

      they are reliable, fairly easy to work on, have lots of support, parts are about the same as VW, sometimes cheaper (a lot of the time...) and way more durable then VW/Audi parts. On the older models it seems Volvo lowers the price on the parts for them. I was paying next to nothing thru a Volvo dealer for parts for my 960, they and my independent mechanic said Volvo parts div periodically reviews parts prices and will adjust them for older models to keep the old cars in service longer by making repairs more cost effective. Case in point, my 960 needed Nivomats; one year prior the shock (Nivomats are self leveling rear shocks used on many Volvo's) was something like $500-600 each. I got them for $250ish each thru the dealer... More then 1/2 off.

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      05-29-2012 05:11 PM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by brandonwillyumz View Post
      Vr6 was relatively reliable, wasn't it? Why not an older one with a vr6? Nevermind... has to be auto... teach that girl to drive a stick!
      12V
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      05-29-2012 05:24 PM #26
      Quote Originally Posted by jepva View Post
      If you want reliability stay the hell away from the PT Cruiser.
      PT Loser is more reliable than a GTI. YMMV.

    27. Member bryangb's Avatar
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      05-29-2012 05:26 PM #27
      GTI
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    28. Member bryangb's Avatar
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      05-29-2012 05:26 PM #28
      Quote Originally Posted by Spell Check Desk View Post
      PT Loser is more reliable than a GTI. YMMV.
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    29. Member mraguilar's Avatar
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      05-29-2012 05:44 PM #29
      Caliber

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      05-29-2012 05:47 PM #30
      Quote Originally Posted by bryangb View Post
      After having two GTIs that were plagued with nothing but problems (and the dealer as an arsehole about honoring warranty/dealing with it in the first place) I'd gladly drive my PT turbo.

      Nary a problem with it. Nothing. Aside from the fact it eats gas like a V8 but that doesn't make it any less reliable.

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      05-29-2012 05:48 PM #31
      Teach your girl friend to drive a stick, even an uncoordinated guy such as myself can handle one.

    32. 05-29-2012 06:05 PM #32
      Thanks for suggestions guys.

      I really like the Saab 9-3 hatch. Its shape and specs on paper reminds me a lot of my 626 turbo.

      And for the suggestions to teach my GF to drive stick..

      Matrix XRS is an interesting suggestion. It was apparently availilbe with 180hp 1.8L in 2003. However with that torque curve i think the automatic 0-60 won't be much faster than normal 130hp 1.8l.

    33. Member
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      05-29-2012 06:36 PM #33
      why not a 525i wagon, early 90s...may be hard to find but ours ran until 280,xxx and the only reason we got rid of it was because of a blown head gasket, body was in great shape, engine was still strong, car was awesome and just about everything on it still worked as well...maybe not meet your 9.0 seconds fast, but is an awesome cruiser and on the highway it would still have some pickup, def more so then my gfs little yaris...

      not this exact car per se but something like it



      ahh and this is def a straight 6 not a 4, so nevermind,
      Last edited by jagt21VR6; 05-29-2012 at 07:00 PM.
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    34. Senior Member J-Tim's Avatar
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      05-29-2012 06:58 PM #34
      4cyl ? You can't go past a Saab 9-5 Aero if you can find one in a good nick.
      The gloves are off, the wisdom teeth are out
      What you on about ?

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      05-29-2012 07:04 PM #35
      Previous generation Mazda 6 (hatch or wagon). Available in a 2.3l 4 or 3.0l V6 (hatch) or 3.0l V6 (wagon).



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