In Reply to: To buy-older e34 wagon or newer Passat wagon? posted by David Car-man on October 19, 2001 at 00:15:36:
However I think the Passat might be the right choice for you.
With a baby on the way, you need a reliable get in and drive car, not a potential project. e34's are durable but complex cars. They can run forever, but things break all the time.
Either way, your kid is going to trash the car. Your wife is going to want to sell it in a few years.
The Passat with the manual is a fun car to drive. With a manual transmission, the base turbo 4 is quite fast, but you have to work with the motor to get the power. The v6 isn't much faster, but is a bit more forgiving if you shift early/late. Wanna have some fun on a test drive? Downshift a v6 car from 5th to 3rd going 60mph and punch it...
The Passat is front drive, and will always handle like a front drive car, but you aren't buying this car to autocross so... For everyday driving the handling and ride are quite good, better then 99% of the cars out there.
The biggest shortcoming on the Passat is the interior. Maybe a bit nicer then what they put in my old '91 GLI, but it is still a VW interior. Everything feels cheap, the cup holders are a joke and the optional leather is thin. I'd give it 6 years at best -- If you buy a '99, the interior will look worn out in 3 or 4 years.
The e34 wagon is quite a bit larger then the Passat. If you need the room, it might be worth the hassle.
I love BMW's. I currently have an e36 for myself but with a baby on the way I want to get my wife a wagon of some sort. Seeing as how I can't really afford an e39 wagon I'd like to entertain the idea of getting an e34. My dilemma is that I don't want to make a bad decision as far as mileage and newness goes. In other words, I don't want to buy something that I'll end up wanting to sell in a couple of years because it's too worn out. I like the passat wagons alright and could get a 98 or 99 for under 20k but as I said, I love BMW's. Maybe I just need a little confirmation from some of you e34 owner's out there.