Winter replacement car

Roger M. Woodbury rmwoodbury at
Wed Dec 4 08:17:46 EST 2002

I vote for an 89 200 Quattro Avant.

The car has all the utility of the station wagon, and plenty of poke for the
most part.  The 5 cylinder turbo engine will run forever with a little
appropriate maintenance, and the engine is easier and less expensive to work
on than is the later V6 cars.  Because it is an 89, they will be available
at less money than something made in the next decade. (Although why that is
the case, defeats me:  there is literally no difference between the '89 and
the '90.)

I replaced my '89 with a '94.  We use the car as the primary car, although
it is technically my wife's car.  My V8 stays at home most of the time,
because my wife finds the restricted front foot room of the V8 to be less
comfortable for her than the wagon.  We have taken the car on a couple of
long trips, including a trip to Florida and back over Thanksgiving '01.
Here is what we have found:

1.  The 200 Quattro with manual transmission "felt" faster than the 100 with
its automatic transmission.  I doubt that it really was, or at least was
much faster.
2.  The 200 Quattro was MUCH less expensive to work on, although neither car
has cost very much.  Right now, the 100 is having a new timing belt, water
pump, rollers, tensioners etc....MUCH ore expensive than the timing belt
service for the 200 was.
3.  The 200 Quattro that I had delivered a steady and regular 22 miles per
gallon overall.  The 100 is about the same, although on one trip of 500
miles this fall, we averaged slightly less than 26 miles per gallon.  The
trip included secondary, Interstate, and mountain driving from the Maine
coast to the New Hampshire mountains and back.
4.  The 100 Quattro is MUCH more comfortable than the 200 Quattro was, due
chiefly to its newer body style, and quieter ride in general.
5.  The overall cost of the 100 will be higher than the 200 was.  Tire
selection is smaller for the 100 than the 200, as fewer tire companies make
tires in the 195/65/15 size.

And then, there is the automatic transmission and the simple fact that the
heavy, 100CS Quattro Avant has only 172 horsepower.  The automatic
transmission is computer controlled and supposedly adaptive.  I find the
transmission works very smoothly and well in general, but is lazy unless you
learn to use your right foot to control its shifting.  The problems are not
related to the transmission, but to the low power output of the engine.  In
southeast Florida traffic, we felt that the car was quite underpowered, and
required a heavy right foot in order to make the car really move with the
flow.  Here in rural Maine, the car is nearly perfect, as we do not believe
in traffic in Maine, and most of the roads are secondary, with the
capricious weather and relatively low speeds generally possible (legally),
fitting the bill of the 100CS extremely well.

But for a winter beater, I would vote for an 89 or 90 Quattro Avant, and
look for one that has had the same owner for, say sixty thousand miles, so
you can get some feel for the kind of service that the car has been required
to give, and the kind of service that it has received.  If you buy something
with around 125,000 miles, a good one will cost around $5 grand, and last
another 125,000 miles with no trouble.


More information about the quattro mailing list