Thinking about replacing the daily with a TDI

So OPPO, a hair over 2 years ago I bought a 2012 5 spd focus hatch that I thought I would drive until the wheels fell off of it, put them back on and drive some more. It’s about to roll over to 100k and needs nearly much work as it is worth though and I’ve frankly fallen out of love with it. The car needs a new cat, bunch of other emissions gear, windshield and then when thats done I’ll still have he same car that’s ok, but no longer tickling my fancy. Also the quality on Fords in our experience has really dropped over the years (just got rid of my wife’s Flex for similar reasons)

Early 8” snowfall a few weeks ago

I commute about 50 miles round trip but gas is cheap right now. I work downtown and park in a garage so don’t really want anything that large. I’m a large guy (6’ 2” 200#) and don’t fit in a Miata so that’s out.


I’m a big outdoors guy and love to kayak, camp, hike, hunt and explore as much as possible. I take long road trips to interesting places and my focus hatch has seem more gravel, dirt and mud than most Jeeps do. I’d love a 4Runner but they’re expensive and I’m cheap. I’ve test driven a few Subarus and like them, but don’t love them and new is out of my budget and used they’re not great values...

Lot of gravel roads and a few low water bridges to get here

Long story short I’ve been mulling this around for a few weeks now and last night while searching I came upon something interesting...

Apparently a local dealer group has recently bought a large amount of VW TDIs and has literally 400 of them listed right now. They’re cheap ($8-12k depending on miles and features) and I’ve always liked them. I test drove a Jetta sedan TDI a few years ago and definitely enjoyed it. Sedan’s don’t to it for me but either a golf or sportwagen TDI would check basically all of the wants outside of AWD (and I can live without that).

Mmmmmm..... diesel wagon.....

So this is a long winded way to get there, but does anyone on OPPO have experience or recommendations on things to look out for on a TDI sportwagen? I know there are a good deal of GTIs around here and I’ve seen a few that have tempted me in this search too. There aren’t many manuals (even though I’d love one) so I’ll probably end up with a DSG model. They’re all old enough to be out of warranty (or will be soon) but low miles and I’m not afraid of turning a wrench, but I also don’t want something that breaks down regularly as my daily/road trip vehicle (I have my Scout for that!).


If I don’t buy one of these I’ll probably buy a base model lightly used Frontier instead, all other trucks are either crazy expensive or bigger than I want.

Thanks for any input OPPO!

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