7/17/09 5:34 p.m.

My future wife is going to school in Kansas City (around 240 miles) once a week for classes. I drive a 00 Passat with just under 100k and she has a 98 Intrigue with around 118k. Which would be more reliable and/or which would be the lowest cost per mile? The Passat is mine, and I would like to keep the mileage low, but I don't want the Oldsmobile crapping out on her either.
My 30v V-6 is a 5spd and is just a great car. Hers has the 3.8 Liter V-6 that has made GM famous. they both get around the same mpg. Ideas, suggestions?

The VW is worth more, so my idea would be to drive the Oldsmobile into the ground, but I want her to be safe, and her to use the car that will last the longest.

mattmacklind SuperDork
7/17/09 6:25 p.m.

Well, in the Olds, over time and miles, the window motors might die, the A/C may go out, the stereo may mysteriously blow all speakers, the interior trim may fall off, the suspension and alignment might cause a vibration at a random speed between too slow and too fast on the freeway, and it might not start one day. It will, however, likely continue to run pretty much forever, I would think. I'm not dogging the Olds, BTW, I like the Intrigue, please don't take offense. There should have been a Regal GS supercharged equivalent. I'm just rehashing my experiences with the last US car I drove, which engine wise was damn near indestructible and didn't have the development time of the 3800 behind it.

I don't know anything about the Passat, but since its worth more and more costly to repair, I'd say rock the Olds.

shuttlepilot Reader
7/17/09 7:16 p.m.

oh boy, here we go again.

I would choose the Olds, THAT VW likes money and lots of it.

Here is my VW end of life formula. most VWs = should be crushed at 100k B5 Passat=should be crushed at 50k

My euro snob friend had enough of his at 60k and sent it off to terrorize the next owner.

Stealthtercel New Reader
7/17/09 7:18 p.m.

I say rock the Olds too. Your friend is familiar with it, which counts for a lot, and I agree with the previous poster that little stuff may fail on the Olds but the big important stuff will probably just keep going. Also, doesn't the Passat take premium fuel, whereas the Olds is happy on Econo-Swill? That makes a cost difference even at the same mpg. I'd say, make sure the Intrigue has really good tires and wish her well. Try to have something nice on the table when she gets home!

NGTD HalfDork
7/17/09 8:40 p.m.

I have a 99 Passat.

She should drive the Olds.

RoadWarrior New Reader
7/17/09 9:34 p.m.

Former '99 Passat owner... get the olds if you like having money in your pocket.

joey48442 SuperDork
7/17/09 9:48 p.m.

I would think the olds would be nicer out on the freeway.


ansonivan New Reader
7/17/09 10:46 p.m.

I was hoping for some sort of head to head fight to the death between the two cars ideally ending with both vehicles on fire.

neon4891 SuperDork
7/17/09 11:03 p.m.


Rufledt New Reader
7/18/09 12:02 a.m.
shuttlepilot wrote: most VWs = should be crushed at 100k

hmmm that explains alot about my '98 jetta... hit 100k and about everything stopped working. or falling off. and i took care of that thing! fun car, tho

mad_machine SuperDork
7/18/09 12:19 a.m.

101,000 miles... the alternator fell off.. yes.. off.. of his Jetta TDI. He had to practially take the front end of the car off to put it back on.

Rocks the Olds..

Raze Reader
7/18/09 9:31 a.m.

Olds FTMFW, my mom had a 94ish Olds Eighty Eight LSS, needless to say most of the interrior/window motor issues happened, but that engine was still running strong with 230k miles on it, it was the trans incidentially which needed 3 minute warmup before it would shift gears for the last year before she traded it in but other than that it was still running after 15 years of monster miles, I think the only thing she had on the engine go was a coolant hose, an alternator, and a starter in all those miles, which isn't too shabby for a GM...

Rufledt New Reader
7/18/09 10:24 a.m.

at 100,300 miles or so my right rear window fell into the door. on the interstate, in february, in Wisconsin. that was a very cold trip.

Greg Voth
Greg Voth Associate Publisher
7/18/09 10:42 a.m.

I had a 98 Buick Park Ave with the 3.8 supercharged motor. I bought it at 187,000. Sold it at 217,000. At 200,000 the transmission went out. The drivers side window regulator was bad causing it to need help. The steering rack finally sheered off its mount after loosing two of its bolts and I continued to ingnore it for a while.

I loved the car. It returned close to 30mph on the highway (crappy city since I couldn't keep my foot out of it) and ran a 15.5 with a homemade intake and a slightly smaller pulley.

Billy_Bottle_Caps New Reader
7/18/09 2:08 p.m.

Olds, no question


Travis_K HalfDork
7/18/09 2:22 p.m.

The problems i know of with the olds are engine fires either from oil leaks, or a backfire exploding the plastic intake when you start it, and the transmission going out. Its probably more reliable, I still wouldnt park it in your garage though.

curtis73 HalfDork
7/18/09 8:44 p.m.

Olds. I work at a foreign auto repair garage. For the love of all that is holy, don't send your loved ones out in a Passat. No offense, but they are nightmares. Glad you have one that is treating you well.

Nitroracer Dork
7/19/09 9:34 p.m.

Gonna give one more bit of praise for the Olds Intrigue. My family put 180k on one and it never needed any major repairs. Sure the build quality in side wasn't the best but it was dead reliable. Now mom is cruising around in a slightly newer 02' regal and it hasn't given us any issue either.

docwyte New Reader
7/19/09 10:27 p.m.

Had an 01.5 Passat 1.8T since new. It was one of the best cars I've owned. In the span of 100k miles we replaced... 1 set of tires 1 set of brakes 1 timing belt/water pump 1 MAF

That's it. Sold it for blue book in 1 day on Craigslist.

junkbuggie New Reader
7/19/09 11:06 p.m.

Olds. rock solid cars.

Mikey52 New Reader
7/20/09 12:08 a.m.

H'lo! I've a friend with a Buick Regal with the same drivetrain. He's the 3rd owner, there's 225K miles on the thing, he's had it since about 105K, and it's just in the last couple months started to cost him more than regular maintenance money. He figures it'll cost him about 1500 bucks to get the engine fixed, and he's not willing to put any money in it. He's had it long enough that it seems like forever, but it looks to me like 1500 would make it go another 200K. Pretty good return, it seems to me.... I'd say go for the Olds, keep decent tires on it, and drive it until you're done with the need for dependability.

slefain Dork
7/20/09 9:28 a.m.

As a Passat owner, I vote for the Olds.

The Brown Stig
The Brown Stig SuperDork
7/20/09 9:48 a.m.
joey48442 wrote: I would think the olds would be nicer out on the freeway. Joey

Actually the Passat is awesome on the highway until all the ball joints self disassemble!

andrave Reader
7/20/09 10:00 a.m.

This turns into more relationship advice than car advice, but as long as she is girlfriend and not wife, let her put miles on her own car.

NGTD HalfDork
7/20/09 9:15 p.m.
docwyte wrote: Had an 01.5 Passat 1.8T since new. It was one of the best cars I've owned. In the span of 100k miles we replaced... 1 set of tires 1 set of brakes 1 timing belt/water pump 1 MAF That's it. Sold it for blue book in 1 day on Craigslist.

Big difference in reliability between the B5 (98-01) and the B5.5 (01.5->) from what I understand.

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