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dankspeed
dankspeed New Reader
9/2/10 4:35 p.m.

VWs I'm thing A3s Saabs I'm thinking 9-3s and 9-5s Volvos I'm thinking 850s and V70s

Second part of the question is which one is easier and/or cheaper to fix?

Discuss

conesare2seconds
conesare2seconds New Reader
9/2/10 4:51 p.m.

The answer to both is "not VW". I'd own another Saab, I'd own a an 850 or V70, but will never buy another Jetta.

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy HalfDork
9/2/10 4:57 p.m.

Euro = not cheap, at least short term.

Volvo is probably the best of the three, but if you are used to Chevy cheap, you'll be crabby.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 Reader
9/2/10 6:01 p.m.

I vote Volvo, but it's close between them and Saab. VW has a lock on last.

dankspeed
dankspeed New Reader
9/2/10 7:45 p.m.

I've owned mostly Hondas so I'm thinking either of the three would be more work than I'm used to. I must say though the older I get the more I want something more refined, more "mature" if that makes any sense. I owned two A2 Jettas and swore I'd never own another but I know nothing about the A3 chassis. Almost bought a saab wagon with a bad motor but even a few saab mechanics told me to run from saabs. One mechanic said they were way worse than VWs in terms of reliability.

oldtin
oldtin HalfDork
9/2/10 8:31 p.m.

I've had Saabs and VWs. Parts fell off the VWs.

CaptainSpaulding
CaptainSpaulding Reader
9/2/10 8:33 p.m.

The A3 chassis VWs are fairly solid. 189k on my mine and I have been driving it from austin Texas to Denver Colorado once a month. Parts are fairly cheap and they are pretty easy to work on.

SlickDizzy
SlickDizzy SuperDork
9/2/10 8:36 p.m.

Run away from a VW. You thought A2 VW's were bad? I weep at the thought of A3's...too many friends have lost their souls to those wretched cars...BTDT. Both recent Volvos and Saabs tend to be a crapshoot, but the Saabs seem to be the worse of the two. 9-5s seem to be pure trouble, despite the sharp styling. "GM-ified," if you will (vs "Ford-ized" Volvos). If we're talking C900 Saabs vs 700/900 series Volvos, then it's a whole different ballgame.

And they will all be just as hard to fix, considering they are all transverse FWD. Parts costs will be similar. Look for an 850R/V70R or a Saab 9-3 Viggen if you really want to go down this road. Honestly a BMW would probably be better suited from a build quality/maintenance standpoint if you can handle the RWD.

CaptainSpaulding
CaptainSpaulding Reader
9/2/10 8:58 p.m.
SlickDizzy wrote: Run away from a VW. You thought A2 VW's were bad? I weep at the thought of A3's...too many friends have lost their souls to those wretched cars...BTDT. Both recent Volvos and Saabs tend to be a crapshoot, but the Saabs seem to be the worse of the two. 9-5s seem to be pure trouble, despite the sharp styling. "GM-ified," if you will (vs "Ford-ized" Volvos). If we're talking C900 Saabs vs 700/900 series Volvos, then it's a whole different ballgame. And they will all be just as hard to fix, considering they are all transverse FWD. Parts costs will be similar. Look for an 850R/V70R or a Saab 9-3 Viggen if you really want to go down this road. Honestly a BMW would probably be better suited from a build quality/maintenance standpoint if you can handle the RWD.

Care to explain the A3 hate. All of mine have been pretty darn reliable.

SlickDizzy
SlickDizzy SuperDork
9/2/10 9:22 p.m.
CaptainSpaulding wrote: Care to explain the A3 hate. All of mine have been pretty darn reliable.

From my experience, it's basically an A2 with more weight, a totally dildo-tastic interior, twice the electric crap to go wrong, and a smaller engine bay. I don't think I've ever seen one without a CEL on. A2s are worth more than A3s around here, which must say something...it feels like a Buick compared to an earlier VW. Most infamously, a buddy of mine had an A3 Golf 2.0 auto that played cassette tapes backwards and shifted into random gears at will.

YMMV, but I run away screaming from them.

To be fair, the Saab 9-3 dashboard is one of the worst I have ever seen, worse than any A3 VW.

NGTD
NGTD HalfDork
9/2/10 9:31 p.m.

I had an A3 Golf, dead-nuts reliable. Never threw a CEL..........

It was a TD.

Seriously probably the most reliable car I have ever owned. Didn't have a lot of electric junk.

mad_machine
mad_machine SuperDork
9/2/10 9:34 p.m.

I will only say this.. having never owned a watercooled VW or a volvo, I can't comment on them. I am however parting out my 100,000 NG900 in favour of running a 233,000 classic 900

CaptainSpaulding
CaptainSpaulding Reader
9/2/10 9:38 p.m.
SlickDizzy wrote:
CaptainSpaulding wrote: Care to explain the A3 hate. All of mine have been pretty darn reliable.
From my experience, it's basically an A2 with more weight, a totally dildo-tastic interior, twice the electric crap to go wrong, and a smaller engine bay. I don't think I've ever seen one without a CEL on. A2s are worth more than A3s around here, which must say something...it feels like a Buick compared to an earlier VW. Most infamously, a buddy of mine had an A3 Golf 2.0 auto that played cassette tapes backwards and shifted into random gears at will. YMMV, but I run away screaming from them.

More weight. Yes thats true. Nor sure what a dildotastic interior is. My 94s interior has worn rather well. The only problem is a torn side bolster on the driver side seat. Most likely from my 6'2 220lb fat arse sliding in and out of it and the large bolsters of the sport seats.

The engine bay is actually larger as it was designed to fit the VR6.

Twice the electronics. Not sure on that one unless you are referring to a CIS car compared to a Motronic car.

A2s do bring more money than A3s. Most prefer the styling of A2s and I suspect that A2 GTIs and GLIs will continue bringing more money for some time to come. I dont believe that is has anything to do with one car being better than the other.

Well you probably have not seen that many A2s with a MIL light on. hmm wonder why that is.

Ah yes the AG4 auto trans is a pile. Cant argue that.

Yes I suppose that a optioned out VR6 Jetta would feel like a buick compared to a ealry M2 GTI. Kinda how a MK2 feels compared to a MK1. Not all MK3s are heavy pigs. Did you happen to read the GRM stories on the white Golf sport.

CaptainSpaulding
CaptainSpaulding Reader
9/2/10 9:41 p.m.
NGTD wrote: I had an A3 Golf, dead-nuts reliable. Never threw a CEL.......... It was a TD. Seriously probably the most reliable car I have ever owned. Didn't have a lot of electric junk.

Never actually seen a MK3 Golf diesel. Lots of Jettas but never a Golf.

SlickDizzy
SlickDizzy SuperDork
9/2/10 9:47 p.m.
CaptainSpaulding wrote:
SlickDizzy wrote:
CaptainSpaulding wrote: Care to explain the A3 hate. All of mine have been pretty darn reliable.
From my experience, it's basically an A2 with more weight, a totally dildo-tastic interior, twice the electric crap to go wrong, and a smaller engine bay. I don't think I've ever seen one without a CEL on. A2s are worth more than A3s around here, which must say something...it feels like a Buick compared to an earlier VW. Most infamously, a buddy of mine had an A3 Golf 2.0 auto that played cassette tapes backwards and shifted into random gears at will. YMMV, but I run away screaming from them.
More weight. Yes thats true. Nor sure what a dildotastic interior is. My 94s interior has worn rather well. The only problem is a torn side bolster on the driver side seat. Most likely from my 6'2 220lb fat arse sliding in and out of it and the large bolsters of the sport seats. The engine bay is actually larger as it was designed to fit the VR6. Twice the electronics. Not sure on that one unless you are referring to a CIS car compared to a Motronic car. A2s do bring more money than A3s. Most prefer the styling of A2s and I suspect that A2 GTIs and GLIs will continue bringing more money for some time to come. I dont believe that is has anything to do with one car being better than the other. Well you probably have not seen that many A2s with a MIL light on. hmm wonder why that is. Ah yes the AG4 auto trans is a pile. Cant argue that. Yes I suppose that a optioned out VR6 Jetta would feel like a buick compared to a ealry M2 GTI. Kinda how a MK2 feels compared to a MK1. Not all MK3s are heavy pigs. Did you happen to read the GRM stories on the white Golf sport.

I probably have a bit of a chip on my shoulder but I just don't like them, maybe I've only seen PO-beaten ones before but they just seem so much more complex while being somewhat more cheaply-built and fatter. Then again, I've pretty much been discouraged by all VAG products at this point, I had an '88 Cabriolet, a modded '84 Jetta GLI, and two Audis, and found all of them to be finicky and expensive to maintain despite the rare fun-when-at-100%.

Still, I believe I can say in confidence that a Volvo or the right Saab would be cheaper to run.

CaptainSpaulding
CaptainSpaulding Reader
9/2/10 9:53 p.m.
SlickDizzy wrote:
CaptainSpaulding wrote:
SlickDizzy wrote:
CaptainSpaulding wrote: Care to explain the A3 hate. All of mine have been pretty darn reliable.
From my experience, it's basically an A2 with more weight, a totally dildo-tastic interior, twice the electric crap to go wrong, and a smaller engine bay. I don't think I've ever seen one without a CEL on. A2s are worth more than A3s around here, which must say something...it feels like a Buick compared to an earlier VW. Most infamously, a buddy of mine had an A3 Golf 2.0 auto that played cassette tapes backwards and shifted into random gears at will. YMMV, but I run away screaming from them.
More weight. Yes thats true. Nor sure what a dildotastic interior is. My 94s interior has worn rather well. The only problem is a torn side bolster on the driver side seat. Most likely from my 6'2 220lb fat arse sliding in and out of it and the large bolsters of the sport seats. The engine bay is actually larger as it was designed to fit the VR6. Twice the electronics. Not sure on that one unless you are referring to a CIS car compared to a Motronic car. A2s do bring more money than A3s. Most prefer the styling of A2s and I suspect that A2 GTIs and GLIs will continue bringing more money for some time to come. I dont believe that is has anything to do with one car being better than the other. Well you probably have not seen that many A2s with a MIL light on. hmm wonder why that is. Ah yes the AG4 auto trans is a pile. Cant argue that. Yes I suppose that a optioned out VR6 Jetta would feel like a buick compared to a ealry M2 GTI. Kinda how a MK2 feels compared to a MK1. Not all MK3s are heavy pigs. Did you happen to read the GRM stories on the white Golf sport.
I probably have a bit of a chip on my shoulder but I just don't like them, maybe I've only seen PO-beaten ones before but they just seem so much more complex while being somewhat more cheaply-built and fatter. Then again, I've pretty much been discouraged by all VAG products at this point, I had an '88 Cabriolet, a modded '84 Jetta GLI, and two Audis, and found all of them to be finicky and expensive to maintain despite the rare fun-when-at-100%. Still, I believe I can say in confidence that a Volvo or the right Saab would be cheaper to run.

Cool. I can respect that. I dont care much for Jap cars. Dont know why I just dont like them.

11110000
11110000 New Reader
9/2/10 10:00 p.m.

The Volvo will probably be the most reliable. Most parts are actually cheap, unlike some other Euro makes - just don't buy them from a dealer.

The things that break on a Volvo will be ancillary equipment. This will aggravate you, but it will not prevent you from driving the car.

mtn
mtn SuperDork
9/2/10 10:09 p.m.

Have had a Volvo V70 very recently, still own a SAAB 9-5. Barring catastrophic failure on the SAAB (and it CAN happen), they're about the same. I'll give the edge to the Volvo though without a doubt, seems like its been in the shop less. Keep in mind though, that the Volvo we'd had since new, the SAAB we didn't get until 70,000 miles.

Carrera4
Carrera4 Reader
9/2/10 10:24 p.m.

Have you considered BMW? They seem to go on forever. I found a low mileage 93 e36 sedan for under $5000. Parts prices seem to be on par with what I was paying for parts for my 850 wagon of the same vintage.

KartRacerDad
KartRacerDad New Reader
9/2/10 11:54 p.m.

I had a black 2door '85 900 turbo that i loved. It would blow off a frequent vacuum line and they have "VERY" shaky transmissions, but they were by far the best looking.

doc_speeder
doc_speeder Reader
9/3/10 12:03 a.m.

I've owned a bunch of Mk2 VW's and 2 Mk3's. I really don't understand the hate. The Mk3's are basically just heavier, more refined, more comfortable Mk2's. I like them both. The Mk3's are soft and wallowy stock, but a properly damped and sprung suspension with the right sway bars totally transforms them. They seem to be typically European, in that they will take lots of abuse, but they don't like neglect. I've had very good success with mine.

PubBurgers
PubBurgers Dork
9/3/10 6:09 a.m.

I too have driven Hondas most of my life. The wagon i bought from you is still going strong after 8K miles.

My wife had a 96 Jetta 5 speed until someone decided to run into it. The drivetrain and suspension were solid but the electrics were garbage. If the random electrical bits all worked it would have been a great, if boring, car.

I currently drive a 92 Volvo 740 turbo. Easy as crap to work on and parts aren't too expensive. It currently has 266K miles and the only things that don't work are the AC and heated seats. I love it.

Never owned a Saab.

Jacques

bravenrace
bravenrace Dork
9/3/10 7:33 a.m.

In reply to dankspeed:

None of the above. Especially if you are used to Honda reliability. If you want more mature, get an Acura.

Powar
Powar Dork
9/3/10 8:40 a.m.

I've never had a Volvo or a VW, but I do have a few friends who have/had each. The '03 GTi that a friend had was nothing but trouble, but it was modified and a VERY amusing drive. The two Passats in my circle- one B3 and one B5- were questionable at best. Exploding heater core, random electrical issues and a borked shifter are the things that come to mind immediately. I actually really liked the look (and the power) of the GTi, but I'd have to get a good deal on one before I'd be willing to put up with the issues that came along with owning it.

The FWD Volvo 850 was owned by a friend who came from money. They bought the car new and turned no wrenches on their own stuff, and AFAIK, they didn't have much (if any) trouble out of the car. The Inline-5 sounded AWESOME, too. I just don't like the look of those cars, and they're almost all automatics, which takes them out of the running for me. I've been told that Saab does FWD better than Volvo does (by people I trust, and who have owned both), but I have no firsthand experience to prove nor disprove the statement.

Now to the car that I've owned from your list- the 9-3. I had a 2001 9-3 that I bought in 2006 from the original owner. It had 85k miles or so on it, I think. It had been well-maintained and came with the records to prove it. 5-door. 5-speed. 2.0 Turbo. It regularly got 32MPG (lots of highway), and carried lots of stuff in the cavernous hatch. The only things that I can remember doing to the car myself in the 15-20k miles that I put on it was replacing the Mass Airflow Sensor, installing (and eventually removing) some light modifications from GenuineSaab.com and doing oil changes. The DI Cassette never failed, but was replaced under recall. Some fuel line clips or something or another were replaced under recall as well. My total out-of-pocket for repairs was somewhere around $120 for that sensor, IIRC. I sold the car to my aunt, and it is her daily driver to this day. It is over 130k miles now, and aside from wear parts like tires and brakes, she's had to replace a window regulator, A/C compressor (and the belt it killed) and the associated pulleys. Its still getting great fuel econ and seems to be holding up well to her use.

YMMV and all that.

81gtv6
81gtv6 HalfDork
9/3/10 8:44 a.m.

I have never owned a VW or a Volvo but I have had 3 SAABs, 1 pre GM and 2 GM ones. From the talk on this board my experience seems atypical but all of mine have been very good. I did get a ppi on the all three and the two newer ones had extensive service records. Service records are the key to a newer SAAB, the turbos do not take kindly to neglect and replacing motors and turbos will get expensive quickly, but if they were taken care of they will serve you well. Will they be Honda reliable, probably not but they will not be VW bad either. If you have any questions on what SAABs to look at let me know.

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