New car time, thoughts, opinions?

Paco

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Shortly after I got my license, my mother bought an 03 Audi A4 1.8t (great car). Before that she drove a 92 plymouth voyager se which she gave to me. I've been tooling around in this lump of crap for the past 6 years. She's up to 160,000 miles now and I can feel her falling apart. I won't go into all the things that are wrong with the van, but it's time for a new car.

I was wondering if you guys could offer some opinions as to what my new car should be. There are a few specifics that I have to have.

Firstly is AWD. I would love to get RWD, but it snows too much where I live to go RWD. Also, I understand the whole business about most AWD cars being predominately FWD, and I know there are lots of great FWD cars out there, but I want AWD.

Next is an automatic style transmission. Yeah, yeah, I know I'm not a real man if I don?t drive a stick, blah blah blah. I live near Pittsburgh and we have too many hills for me to learn to drive a stick with a brand new car. Also, I?m lazy. I say automatic style, because I would prefer a tiptronic/DSG transmission to a traditional automatic, but would be willing to sacrifice if the price is substantially lower.

Finally, I need an engine with at least 200hp+. I'm tired of having to stomp the throttle to get onto the highway, or get moving period. I accept the fact that whatever I'm going to buy, it's going to require premium gas, so 4cyl turbo or v6 would be great.

My job requires I drive about 60 miles a day (~30 there and back) of highway miles, so better mpg would be nice. By my calculations the van is currently getting around 18-19mph highway, which is terrible for a 3.3l v6 which produced ~160hp well over a decade ago. So anything above that would be welcomed.

As far as styling goes, I prefer an unsuspecting car than one with tons of wings and wheel flares. Driving a van has also meant that I end up driving everybody everywhere because it's been easier to fit 15 people into the van rather than take multiple cars. I'm done carting people around, and since it's just me on the ride to work I would prefer a coupe or otherwise smaller car to a big sedan.

I'm also trying to get money together for a house in the near future, so $30-35k is going to be pushing the upper limit. I'd like to get something in the 20k range, but I'd rather spend more to have a nice car than buy something I'm going to be disappointed with in the future.

After searching the internets for what is available in the US new car market I have narrowed it down between a Subaru Legacy GT or a Volkswagen R32. I?m strongly leaning toward the R32 for a smattering of reasons, but I?m open to any suggestions, including searching for something used.

So? any recommendations you can think of?
Thanks much for any feedback :)


UDATE:

I pulled the trigger on a gorgeous 08 VW R32 friday afternoon.
I'll be headed down to the park this Sunday for some piccies and I'll make a big ole post sometime next week.
After the weekend I can safely say that I am absolutely enamored with this car!
Only 1 more hour til 5 and I get to drive her home from work, w00t!
 
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Spectre

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1. Don't buy new.
2. Get something certified used with a warranty.

1 + 2 will get you a much wider (and nicer) selection for your money.

Heck, if you want something disposable, get a used X-Type and take the Jaguar badges off. It's not a real Jaguar, but as a used car with a warranty (to take care of the inevitable transaxle failure) they're not bad, especially since it has a nice interior and NO RESALE VALUE WHATSOEVER. As a new car they're overpriced by an enormous amount and are not worth anywhere near what they're asking.

See: http://www.texascarsdirect.com/PublicWeb/UI/WebForms2/InventoryDetail.aspx?id=2978A

The 3.0L version with 231hp is maybe $1-2K more on the open market.

Other options include the Infiniti G35X and the Audi A6, all of which are in the price range you desire - if you buy preowned.
 

Suedschleife

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Both your picks are very good, even though I usually dislike the Golf there isn't anything bad I can say about the R32. The only little quibble I have with Subarus is their often bad interior quality, but the Legacy seems to be the positive exception.

I also think that a used + warranty is the smartest way to go, you don't suffer the big first year depreciation hit and it can still have the new car smell.
 

prizrak

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I would suggest getting a 1.8T A4 around 2005-06 with certified used warranty. It pretty much has everything you would want (cept it 180HP), there are plenty around that have Tiptronic trannies as well. In Subaru's I would suggest an Impreza WRX rather than Legacy mostly because you get a better power to weight ratio (AFAIK they have the same engine) and you would have a smaller car. One good benefit to both Audi and Subaru is that they are 50:50 AWD systems so they are not FWD most of the time :)

EDIT: Actually you might be able to get the 3.0 V6 A4 (230HP) with a Tiptronic if you look around. However you might have to go for an 04 to stay within budget. That does require looking around however.
 
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No Boss

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After searching the internets for what is available in the US new car market I have narrowed it down between a Subaru Legacy GT or a Volkswagen R32. I?m strongly leaning toward the R32 for a smattering of reasons, but I?m open to any suggestions, including searching for something used.

I'm guessing since you want "auto-like" gearbox you are talking about a New 08 R32?
 

asianthology012c

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in comparison of the subaru impreza and legacy, i suggest you go out and do a test drive on the both of them. but in my point of view, i would pick the legacy instead, more due to it's uniqueness - not a lot of people know about it, it's more comfortable and if you live on the state side, getting a bit more power out of the 2.5L GT engine is not that hard. i don't dislike the impreza, but i'm guessing it's more of kit car like vehicle where it can be a bit harsh sometimes for daily driving.
the audi isn't bad, but will be a pain in the ass for maintenance as it is rather costly and if you plan to mod it, it is rather expensive.
volkswagen R32...i don't have much thoughts about that....you can visit www.legacygt.com for advice. there have been people who drove audi before and a few who have driven the R32 i think.
 

Hidden_Hunter

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Sony

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Well since you want good gas milage and good performance It might be best to consider a turbo engine. Best of the lot in that manner. Tho If you live somewhere where its cold youd have to be more careful with a turbo (proper warming up longer than NA engine, cooling down period...) which can be sometimes annoying.
r32 is an amazing car though Im not sure how thirsty it is. The best V6 engines (or I6, Im not sure..like it matters really..) are bmw's. Best performance/consumption ratio. And they also offer 4wd (x).

Last but not least and I think a very good car is the new Mazda cx-7. You should try it out. As far as I know you guys in the states have much cheaper cars so you might get it second hand for an excellent price. It has a very good turbo engine with 260bhp (tho again im not sure how thirsty it is but if most of you daily travels include highways i think it wouldnt be a problem, factory states 28-29mpg for highway driving), great 4wd, automatic transmission,loads of space and Mazda reliability. And it handles excellent, like a sports sedan.
 
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SoxXpupPeT

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if your in Western PA and plan on using the car every day, through thick and thin, sun and snow then AWD like you said is the only thing you could get. i wouldnt get a Brand New car because there alot of money. id get a used car and with all the money id save from that give her whatever else she needs to make her better then stock. but if that isnt your taste then get a used certified car. there are plenty of them out there in a large variety of flavors. but my car suggestion would be the Subaru Legacy or Outback sedan. if you get the GT version itll come with 250 HP AWD room for 5 and decent looks. and most importantly subaru reliability
 

No Boss

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If you live in Western,PA you probably get similar winters as I do, even though I'm on the other side of the state and bit more north of you and you have the Great Lakes right above you. We all know how subarus are awesome in the snow and from what I've heard the R32 is great too.

As far as MPG goes, with the R32 even though it's only .1L smaller than the engine you currently have, your mileage will go up about 5-6mpg I believe (I've heard guys getting in the 30mpg range however). But I'm still curious as to your gearbox of choice... Your price range of 20k on the low side is indicative of a mkIV R32, but they never came with the DSG technology. The mkV R32 ONLY came with the DSG, but brand new they are near $32k-$35k. Just trying to clear stuff up.

Like everyone has said, go for a test drive. You really, REALLY, fall in love when that happens.
 

Ottobon

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IF you can afford the current R32 then get it. I had a chance to ride in one at a racetrack a few months ago and it completely won me over, despite the lack of speed compared to the RS4 of the same year, I honestly preferred the R32 to it. Put simply its the only car i know that is as comfortable as it is fun and vice versa. This comes down to a lot of little things about it, like the active exhaust system and the way the driving position makes you feel like your perched on the front of the car. Its honestly the ONLY car that at full speed, on a track, i could ride in comfortably without the inclusion of a 6-point harness, even then it was more comfortable then some fully prepped cars (namely the 302 Boss, which unhinged its seat in a attempt to throw me out of it)

I can't think of anything wrong with the Subaru, but then I'm absolutely sure its nowhere near as satisfying, comfortable, or fun as the R32

JC wrote a nice article about it awhile back, it was one of the few cars to ever receive 5/5 stars from him. http://driving.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/driving/jeremy_clarkson/article591649.ece
 
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prizrak

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IF you can afford the current R32 then get it. I had a chance to ride in one at a racetrack a few months ago and it completely won me over, despite the lack of speed i honestly enjoyed it more then the RS4 of the same year i rode in. Put simply its the only car i know that is as comfortable as it is fun and vice versa. This comes down to a lot of little things about it, like the active exhaust system and the way the driving position makes you feel like your perched on the front of the car. Its honestly the ONLY car that at full speed, on a track, i could ride in comfortably without the inclusion of a 6-point harness, even then it was more comfortable then some fully prepped cars (namely the 302 Boss, which unhinged its seat in a attempt to throw me out of it)

I can't think of anything wrong with the Subaru, but then I'm absolutely sure its nowhere near as satisfying, comfortable, or fun as the R32

JC wrote a nice article about it awhile back, it was one of the few cars to ever receive 5/5 stars from him. http://driving.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/driving/jeremy_clarkson/article591649.ece

The only thing I can say about the R32 is that its a bit pricey for what it does. It's too damn close to STi/Evo money.
 

ahpadt

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^ True, but the R32 does sound a lot better than the STi/Evo. :)

[youtube]Bpe6PY5_g-Q[/youtube]
 
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Ottobon

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^ True, but the R32 does sound a lot better than the STi/Evo. :)

actually that video doesn't do it justice, its much less raspy when the engines warmed up.

but anyways+1 to you for actually paying attention to the way cars sound. Its actually the only V6 on sale now (in the U.S. anyways) that actually sounds like a engine. It in no way has a diluted fart sound of a evo or a muffled thumping sound of a STI. I like the STI, but its honestly sub-par with how it could sound if Subaru wouldn't have fucked up the front exhaust ports so badly, it makes thudding sounds really well, but theres no crackle or fizz to the noise.


At the track event i mentioned, i was working primarily as the safety guy letting the cars leave the track in a organized fashion, so i got to hear 50+ different cars charge out onto the track, the R32 was the only car which surprised me, in that when i first heard it (at low RPM) i thought it was some sort of big displacement American engine (the way it crackles/rumbles at the same time.) Now i know when it gets into the RPM range it makes a completely different sound then a American V8, but the point is its genuinely entertaining to listen to.



Plus, the R32 vs a Evo/STIis like comparing a Aston Martin to a Dodge Viper, not the same thing at all.
 
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prizrak

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Plus, the R32 vs a Evo/STIis like comparing a Aston Martin to a Dodge Viper, not the same thing at all.

Well we can compare it to the A3 3.2. There is a 2K difference between an R32 and it but you are getting an Audi ( still built in Germany) instead of a VW(not sure where they build them these days) and a much better looking car.

Also if someone could confirm/deny, I heard that the VW 4motion runs as an FWD until it starts slipping.

P.S. Isn't the new STi being positioned as a direct competitor to the S3/R32?
EDIT: P.P.S. I just want to make it clear that I am not disputing that the R32 is an excellent car. What I am saying that my problem with it is the price, it is in the same range as the entry level "luxury" cars and is not much cheaper than MUCH faster cars.
 
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JakeRadden

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OK, left field (have I got the term correct?) suggestion Hyundai Santa Fe - nearly bought one the other day myself - it really surprised me!

Yes, you have the half-wit American term correct.
The problem with that is (going all cliche top gear here) when you've bought it, you will still have a Hyundai.

And I'd get an Audi, because it's a small Audi, which, next to Astons, are the coolest things on the planet in my opinion.
 

Ottobon

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Well we can compare it to the A3 3.2. There is a 2K difference between an R32 and it but you are getting an Audi ( still built in Germany) instead of a VW(not sure where they build them these days) and a much better looking car.

Also if someone could confirm/deny, I heard that the VW 4motion runs as an FWD until it starts slipping.

P.S. Isn't the new STi being positioned as a direct competitor to the S3/R32?
EDIT: P.P.S. I just want to make it clear that I am not disputing that the R32 is an excellent car. What I am saying that my problem with it is the price, it is in the same range as the entry level "luxury" cars and is not much cheaper than MUCH faster cars.

Good point to bring up. I wish i could say that the A3 w/ the 3.2 and AWD was a nicer looking R32, but its not. Actually its been called disappointing over and over again compared to its 2.0T FWD sister, Audi has the same problem (according to the press) when you compare the 3.2 Audi TT to the 2.0 Fwd TT. So in summation, if you want a sporty AWD car from Vw/Audi, forget "badge" and get the car that is actually worth its weight, the R32 Golf.
 

No Boss

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I love how we keep going back and forth about this, and yet the original poster hasn't even been back to read any of our input.
 
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