Need a wagon soon...

ben bwpearre at
Tue Nov 23 18:09:32 EST 2004

> The A4 is no smaller than the 325xi, so if these are contenders,
> space differences are not an issue.

Ah.  I didn't know the BMW was so small.  Thanks.  I could live with
an A6-sized car (the 200 really is cavernous)...

> The allroad is no worse for gas mileage than any of the other larger
> wagons.

>From Edmunds: the 2004 Allroad 2.7t with a stick gets 16/23 mpg.
That's horrendous, and it's presumably the most efficient of the
Allroads.  Edmund's doesn't have numbers for the 4.2 liter auto.

> The BMW does not have any significant reliability issues that I'm
> aware of.

I've heard anecdotes from a friend who owned one (2000 or
thereabouts), but I don't have a significant sample.

> Subaru does not have trans issues except for people who really abuse
> the cars- a guy I know autox'es his WRX regularly and has no issues at
> all- people need to learn how to shift gears properly and stop doing
> dumb stuff like 6500 rpm clutch drops.

That's the lie that Subaru understandably wants people to believe.  A
friend who owned one of these did NOT abuse it (he's not the smoothest
shifter I know, but certainly well within any reasonable profile (no
6500 rpm clutch drops, I hasten to add, and no clutch drops at all
except in deep snow)), and NASIOC was crawling with stories of WRX
tranny failure.  My friend's replacement tranny had glitches more or
less right out of the box, before he had a chance to "abuse" it.

Of course, if you put a high-performance suspension and a fiesty
engine in a sporty little car and then tell people that their warranty
will only be honoured if they drive it like a Buick and never go past
half throttle, then your ass is covered.  Suuuure.

There was also the fuel leak, and the radio that adjusted its own
volume, and the timing belt pulleys, ..., but hopefully they've fixed
these problems in more recent model years.

> I don't see how Subaru has a "better AWD system in their automatics."
> The DCCD system in my STi is about as state-of-the-art as Subaru gets.

Good point.  But I quote their specs for, say, the Outback 2.5i (and
on 4 other models chosen at random):

  Continuous AWD: Models equipped with 5-speed manual transmission
  utilize a viscous-type locking center differential with torque
  distribution configured at a 50/50-split front-to-rear. Also
  included is a limited-slip rear differential.
  Active AWD: Models equipped with 4-speed automatic transmission
  utilize an electronically controlled variable transfer clutch to
  distribute power to where traction is needed. Sensors monitor
  parameters such as wheel slippage, throttle position and braking to
  help determine torque distribution to the wheels with optimum
  traction. Also included in a limited-slip rear differential.

...and it's my understanding that "active" handles better in several
ways than "continuous", but this impression is secondhand.  If you
like "Continuous" better, please give me details!

As far as I can tell, this insistence that the manual tranny Subarus
all have "Continuous" (ie. viscous coupling) AWD and automatics have
something "better" is across their product line with the unique
exception of the STi.  But I got bored before I could check them all.

> for that use would be a Toyota Sienna AWD minivan. Around 25-27mpg

Thanks for the pointer!  It does indeed look like a nice car (except
for the parts that suck, as usual).  Center of gravity should be lower
than on an SUV, but the roof is still too high to get stuff on and off
as easily as a real car, or resist strong gusty winds.  But worth
looking at if I can come to terms with an auto tranny and lack of
Torsen and that cursed Toyota reliability ;)

...or perhaps Hyatt will serve me for another 100000 miles.  There are
some who would argue that she's just reaching the point of being well
broken-in ;)

Ben Pearre     1990 200TQA "Hyatt"

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