The New Passat is upon us
. What's also new about the New Passat launch is how
it's being launched. I'm talking about alpha:drivers. (news coverage
And if you figured me the kind of person who'd sign up, you'd be right.
The key perk not mentioned in the news article is that each Alpha:Driver gets up to a $1000 rebate on the purchase or lease of a New Passat.
Which begs the question of what to do when my current lease expires in March. Conventional wisdom states that if the residual value is higher at lease end, buy the car and keep it, or sell it for a profit. Otherwise, if the residual value is lower, walk away since the same car off the market could be had for less.
The $1000 rebate makes it tempting to get into a New Passat at the end of the lease, but it's not that simple. First, the entry price for a V6 Passat has climbed steeply. So steep, in fact, that an A3 DSG offers the same key features I'm looking for, for several grand less.
Second, since my last article, I've weighed my priorities in a vehicle, and the breakdown, in order of priority, is fuel economy (used with each revolution of the engine), DSG (used with each gear shift), wagon/hatch (used with the occasional trip home from the hardware store), and 4MOTION (used in only the most extreme driving conditions).
In that light, the vehicles that offer those benefits, in order of preference, are the A3 DSG (with 31mpg, DSG, and hatch), followed by the Jetta TDI DSG (42mpg, DSG, but no hatch or AWD), my current Passat (29mpg, no DSG, but wagon + AWD), and the 2006 Passat 2.0T Wagon (30mpg, no DSG or AWD, but wagon).
When weighing the prices, the cheapest is the Jetta, the most expensive the 2006 Passat even with the $1000 rebate check (which is in last place anyway).
And, by March, it's unlikely that VW will launch a Passat with TDI, or DSG, or 4MOTION. Jalopnik suggests
we won't see a Jetta Wagon of any kind well past March either. Which means my next car will probably be one of these configurations:
|'06 Audi A3
|'06 Jetta TDI
|'02 VW Passat GLX Wagon
|'06 VW Passat 2.0T Wagon
||25/30 mpg (est.)
The question is whether I'm willing to take the Jetta sans hatch in favor of its better fuel economy over the A3, or to remain in the Passat (residual permitting). The $1000 rebate is barely keeping the low-end 2006 Passat Wagon in the running.
To be fair, the Passat is a much larger car, and for those who need that extra space (breeders: I'm looking at you ;-), for those of you for whom a Jetta or A3 is too small, my recommendation is still to seriously consider the Passat. It's A6 quality and features at an A4 price.