Re: 2009 Car and Driver 10 Best Cars - no Lexus, no surprise?



Have you *driven* a VW? They really are head and shoulders above their competition, and have been since the introduction of the first GTI.

Possibly, but they are out of reach for the average person.

I think I'd take a Cayman over any of those cars you list.
Nate
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In article

Yep. Owned one.
And after that, I wouldn't buy a German car with YOUR money. (Been there, done that.)
And yes, I "get" German cars. German cars are the expensive, pouty, and high-maintenance mistresses of the road. Damn, they are a fine, fine ride...
....but then the maintenance and pouting kicks in.
At some point, without unlimited funds, you are at a decision point: continue the high-priced, high-maintenance fun, or go back home and enjoy your reliable Lexus wife of a car, patiently sitting there waiting for you to get over the midlife crisis.
Oh sure, she's not as sexy as the German car, and she doesn't handle at the edge like the German car. She's also not as fickle and high maintenance and pouty, and she agrees with you much more of the time. She's always there and never complains, and you come to realize there's more to life than a high-maintenance relationship with a pouty, high-maintenance woman--no matter how sexy she is or how fun the nights out with her can be. Because when she lets you down and demands more of you than you have to give, and treats you like dirt, you're standing there all alone outside the club, looking and feeling like an idiot.
Your Lexus wife would never, ever do that to you.
And the occasional fun night out isn't worth what you end up paying for it, both financially and in time wasted while you wait for the German car mistress to be in the mood to play.
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Elmo P. Shagnasty wrote:

I don't get it. I drove cheap beater VWs for years and other than a Corrado or Passat (of which I've owned neither, although SWMBO had a Corrado) they seem to be the Dodge Dart of German cars, albeit a little more fun to drive (unless you managed to find a Dart with a 340 and HD suspension) Parts for 80's WCVWs are for the most part pretty reasonably priced as well and working on them yourself is not all that challenging, once you get a couple special tools (notably a cutaway socket for the strut nuts, a set of triple squares, and a few other minor things.) I had four different VWs and my mom another, as well as several friends who also had various models, so it's a little hard to say "I got lucky with my car, most of them aren't like that." The only reason I don't have one today is the lack of good junkyards in my area, nor did the parts stores stock anything for them - everything had to be mail ordered; the VWs I like are all either still on the road or have all been crushed a decade ago. I could easily be tempted by, say, an '81 Scirocco S however.
Now if you insist on an automatic transmixer, yeah, those are not the most reliable. Automatics are not a strong point of really any German car.
Now your characterization might better apply to something like a Porsche, but I ran the cost/benefit analysis and went ahead and bought an old 944 anyway. And, really, if you just plan for a couple grand worth of maintenance/minor repairs a year, it'll serve you well and you'll be much happier than you would in, say, a contemporary Celebrity and your cost of operation still won't come close to approaching a new car payment.
nate
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N8N wrote: \

Well, I drove the first GTI, which is why I haven't driven one since. I like keeping my fillings *in* my teeth when I start the engine....
Yes, I know modern VWs are a far cry from a Wabbit GTI, but I still have never been able to get the "VW = crap" association washed out of my brain.
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Diff'rent strokes, I guess, the one car that I've owned and sold that I regret selling to this day was an '84 Scirocco. I had a Wabbit GTI as well, and the only reason the 'roccet gets the nod was that the Scirocco was German built while the Wabbit was Westmoreland built, and therefore had a more attractive dash and interior. Other than that they're pretty much the same car, and I'm an idiot for selling the 'roccet nate
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N8N wrote:

I had a cow-orker who owned a circa '84 GTI, and kept that thing until maybe 2001? 2002? I forget. In its day, it was a scary-fast and nimble little thing (if you could handle the gobs of torque-steer). But I lost track of how many accessory brackets (PS, AC, alternator) shook themselves to pieces on that car- that was the ROUGHEST 4-banger I've ever felt, and that includes the VW-based engine in my Dad's gone-and-not-missed 78 Plymouth Horizon (which also tended to break alternator brackets and carb mounting flanges from the vibration). I can understand the desire not to waste a few horsepower on balance shafts and just live with the natural 2nd order imbalance of an inline-4, but HOLY COW! The early Mopar 2.2 had no balance shafts either, and it wasn't half that unpleasant.
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There was something wrong then, because I don't recall any of my old VWs being noticeably unpleasant. There's a bit of a buzz, yes, but no worse than, say, a GM 3400. They did come from the factory with pretty weak front engine mounts (front of engine, that is, not front of car) in what I assume was an attempt to tame what vibration there was. Unfortunately they were weak enough that on an older car they'd need to be replaced otherwise they'd go metal to metal with predictable results. Must have just been the rubber degrading over time, as it wasn't in an area that was prone to getting sprayed with oil from a leaky seal/gasket/whatever. The right fix would be to use a mount with stiffer rubber from a Diesel-engined car, but many shops would simply use the part that the book told them to, which would fail again, etc. Also when replacing a mount one should loosen all of them and rock the engine/trans around to let it settle; installing a mount without doing this could make it fail quicker than it would otherwise.
I ran a Diesel mount on my 'roccet and didn't notice it being particularly unpleasant. If you tried to give it any appreciable amount of throttle below 1500 RPM it would buzz like hell but I wouldn't consider that being particularly kind to the bearings, and the solution to that problem is easy. Balance shafts wouldn't have helped with that anyway - that's not a balance issue, that's the operator lugging the engine combined with a low cylinder count. My 944 has a 2.5 liter 4-cyl. (*with* balance shafts) and it's even worse in that respect.
nate
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