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.
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).
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||27/31 mpg||Y||Y||N||~$28,000|
|'06 Jetta TDI||35/42 mpg||Y||N||N||~$28,000|
|'02 VW Passat GLX Wagon||25/29 mpg||N||Y||Torsen||N/A|
|'06 VW Passat 2.0T Wagon||25/30 mpg (est.)||N||Y||N||~$28,000
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.