How reliable are Audi's? Any suggestions for good snow car w/ decent fuel mileage?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by mgartner0622, Dec 22, 2011.

  1. mgartner0622, Dec 22, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2011

    mgartner0622 macrumors 65816

    mgartner0622

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2010
    Location:
    Colorado, USA
    #1
    I know this is an odd place to ask this, but I trust the MR community much more than a site like Yahoo! Answers. :p
    Anyways, I'm currently in the market for a new car. I really would like to buy a Honda Civic (maybe the SI model because of the increased performance and manual transmission) or the Honda S2000 (Yes, I know it only gets 25MPG). However, every time it snows here I have second thoughts and start looking at all wheel drive cars, such as the Audi A4 Quattro.
    Now, for as long as I can remember nearly everyone I know has told me that Audi's are only good until about 70 thousand miles, and then the car should be traded in, because that's about when Audi's require the owner to invest serious amounts of money to keep the car running. I have a GMC Yukon Denali to take if the weather gets really bad, however I would prefer not to take it as when the AWD system senses snow, it reduces the highway mileage to about 11mpg. I'm looking for a car to drive 80 miles a day (round trip), and one that's not gutless on the highway for passing either. Currently, my Camry is one of the best 2WD cars I've ever driven in the snow, however even it has problems once I get off the freeway and drive up to my house, as there's about 3 steep hills I have to worry about. This is what concerns me.
    Basically, I'm wondering if an Audi A4 is a good car, meaning will it go to 150k with not that much of an investment, and if it won't what is a good car for under 20k that will?
    Thanks for any suggestions.
     
  2. steviem macrumors 68020

    steviem

    Joined:
    May 26, 2006
    Location:
    New York, Baby!
    #2
    My dad had an Audi convertible with quattro a few years ago. It was a 1997 with 40k on the clock. It had one thing go wrong with it and that was the hydraulic reservoir for the roof sprung a leak. The reservoir was £20 but the labour was around £120/hour and they needed 3 hours to replace it at a dealer. That was about it, they took it to a German car specialist after this for services, he then thought he should 'grow up' and bought a Mercedes C class, which wasn't as good, now he's on a 2007 Audi convertible again.

    I would believe if it is cared for and serviced properly, it should last more than 150,000 miles.

    I myself would really like an A4 Avant if Tesla doesn't do a nice midsize car with a 300mile range in the next 5 years...
     
  3. acidfast7 macrumors 65816

    acidfast7

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2008
    Location:
    EU
    #3
    I love Audis and wouldn't drive anything else.

    I recently bought this as my beater car for Germany.

    1994 Audi A4
    1.6L 8v 100hp (good fuel efficiency for 1994 - 40mpg highway at 80mph cruising, 30mpg at 100-100mph cruising)
    5 speed
    no A/C (nothing to break)
    roll down windows (nothing to break)
    cloth manual unheated sets (nothing to break)
    factory first aid kit (stay safe)

    for 2500€

    130000km without any problems

    don't listen to the pro-US hype here, Audis are great, especially if you know anything about them. except for the b5 s4's that tend the blow k03s.

    but seriously, the person that told you to trade them in at 70k should be shot in the head
     

    Attached Files:

  4. tktaylor1 macrumors 6502a

    tktaylor1

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    #4
    I have an audi with 140k on the dash. I bought it used and had it about a year and a half. It seems like something is always wrong with it. I am constantly nervous while driving that something is going to mess up. I have had to replace the battery, 2 engine coils (two separate times), brakes, tires, and one of the wheels (of all things). I don't think I will ever get an Audi again. There are wiring issues out the wazoo. Honestly I would stick with the Civic, that is what I am looking at next, or a Scion tC.

    So far in the year and a half I have had the car, I have spent:
    800 on tires
    125 on brakes
    360 on engine coils
    like 150 on the battery?
    200 on the wheel

    I haven't fixed any of the wiring issues yet, not really planning on it. It's just loose wires.
     
  5. acidfast7 macrumors 65816

    acidfast7

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2008
    Location:
    EU
    #5
    also, much more important than 4wd/quattro are proper snow tires.

    i'm not talking about these all-season crapsters either ... look into some really good Nokian tires (made by Nokia, ironically).

    they're mandatory in most places in Europe, but not in the US yet.
     
  6. steviem macrumors 68020

    steviem

    Joined:
    May 26, 2006
    Location:
    New York, Baby!
    #6
    How many miles on the clock did it have when you bought it?
     
  7. tktaylor1 macrumors 6502a

    tktaylor1

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    #7
    like 133ish
     
  8. sand_man macrumors 6502a

    sand_man

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2011
    Location:
    Johannesburg, South Africa
    #8
    Stay away from the 2003 multitronic gearboxes but other than that Audi is relatively solid...
     
  9. Rooskibar03, Dec 22, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2011

    Rooskibar03 macrumors 65816

    Rooskibar03

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Location:
    State of Denial
    #9
    OP (Side note I see you're in Colorado. So am I and I sold Audi for 8 years before moving to another brand)

    Are Audi's reliable? There is no straight answer to that question. Here is something to keep in mind. Audis are built for a German customer first and foremost and then the rest of the world is allowed to have the car. A typical German customer is going to keep his or her car much longer then a US customer and the car will be driven much differently then we do.

    Here is the difference, a German customer will take care of his car. When a major service is called for, he does it. The car is cared for much differently then a US customer will. Time after time I would watch service tell a customer you need "XYZ" and it will cost you several hundred dollars only to watch them just say "just change the oil and Ill take my chances" That attitude doesn't fly with a German car

    Lets face it, a Honda, Toyota, ect is BORING. You will (could) never drive one of those cars like you drive an Audi and thats the trade off. If you did the car would fall apart and cost you just as much to service as an Audi.

    Audi service is $100-130 per hour. Parts are double or triple what an import car is. You will spend more money to care for the car. But you will enjoy your car more.

    Are you looking for something that is both a luxury car and fun to drive or are you looking for lower cost maintenance? You mentioned all wheel drive? Maybe a Subaru if you want less cost and all wheel drive. However it is amazing how much Subaru wants for routine maintenance. ($399 for a 15k service, who are they kidding?)

    I went back and reread your post and this question stood out. Any Audi under $20k is not going to get you to 150k miles without spending a good chunk of change to get it there. But if you do spend the money you will have a car that drives like it has 50k miles on it. Buy a cheap Audi and you will will be cussing yourself within 6 months.

    PM me if you want to just chat cars, Ill get you my number and I'm happy to give you the no BS story. I also have the name of the best non dealer Audi shop in town if you go that route.
     
  10. acidfast7 macrumors 65816

    acidfast7

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2008
    Location:
    EU
    #10
    This is a good point. I just changed the Alternator (Lichtmaschine) in what is generally considered preventative maintenance at 10 years or 120000km. You'd never do that in the US.
     
  11. mgartner0622, Dec 22, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2011

    mgartner0622 thread starter macrumors 65816

    mgartner0622

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2010
    Location:
    Colorado, USA
    #11
    I went back and reread your post and this question stood out. Any Audi under $20k is not going to get you to 150k miles without spending a good chunk of change to get it there. But if you do spend the money you will have a car that drives like it has 50k miles on it. Buy a cheap Audi and you will will be cussing yourself within 6 months.

    First off, let me clarify. When I say "new" car, I mean new to me. I've been looking at plenty of 07-08ish A4's with around 30k for about 18 thousand. That seems reasonable to me, and they are about the same price as a Civic SI with the same miles.
    What you said about the maintenance makes a lot of sense. Many people I know just have the change the oil every once in a while and keep their car till 120k and trade it in. With my Camry I generally stay on top of the maintenance in my car but I do occasionally just wait till a belt breaks or something makes noise to get it replaced.
    With an Audi, if I follow the maintenance schedule and get everything taken care of that it says to, can I generally expect it to be reliable or could there still be unexpected things going wrong with it? I do want the car to last, and I don't mind doing work on it either, I just don't want to be shelling out 4 thousand at 80k miles because the transmission went out.

    On a side note, I'm in Castle Rock.
     
  12. r1ch4rd macrumors 6502a

    r1ch4rd

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Location:
    Manchester UK
    #12
    I have an A3 Sportback 2.0 TDI and it just hit 100,000 miles.

    The car is generally very reliable - I have had no serious problems with it. A bit of trim came off that cost about £50 to put right and the brake light sensor went, which was another £100. Most of the cost there was labour.

    Some maintenance tasks are a pain. For instance, you can't change the front bulbs without taking some of the front of the car apart - £40 to get a dealer to do it. Luckily the cam belt had just been changed when I got the car, but that is a big expense at around 70k miles.

    Overall though, I love the car and would recommend one if you can afford it. A massive step up from my previous car (a VW Polo, which was also very good to me).
     
  13. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    Joined:
    May 7, 2004
    Location:
    Sod off
    #13
    I would seriously suggest looking at a Subaru.

    Subaru drivetrains are just as strong as Audi drivetrains, are cheaper to maintain, and Subaru's AWD system is in some ways a superior design. At the high end they can compete with some Audis in terms of luxury features too. At the sporty end, any of the turbo cars or the H6 cars offer very good performance, again roughly competitive with many of the Audis.

    Don't get me wrong, I think Audis are great cars. On the whole they are going to be more luxurious than a Subaru, and they are prettier to look at. But they are going to cost more to maintain (and they all require premium fuel, if that is something you are concerned with), and won't get you up a snowy hill any better than a Subaru will.

    As others have pointed out, investing in good snow tires is critical. I live in Alaska and use Nokian WRG2s on my Subaru Forester; they are the best 4-season tire you can buy. If you want something more aggressive, consider the Nokian Hakkapeliittas - probably the best winter tires on the market. Though Blizzaks are a good choice too.
     
  14. steviem macrumors 68020

    steviem

    Joined:
    May 26, 2006
    Location:
    New York, Baby!
    #14
    Say what you will about the Finns, they know how to drive in the snow...
     
  15. OutThere macrumors 603

    OutThere

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #15
    My coworker put 180,000 miles on an '04 A6 wagon with only regular maintenance before handing it down and buying a 535xdrive. It's still very much running, and apparently fantastic in the snow.

    Whether it's front or all wheel drive, it's all about the tires anyhow. Snow tires make a massive difference.
     
  16. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    Joined:
    May 7, 2004
    Location:
    Sod off
    #16
    Living in Alaska, I can tell you that it's the 4x4s that always wipe out in the snow and ice - very rarely is it a little FWD car. The reason? People with 4x4s tend to place too much confidence in their vehicle. They neglect their tires, and drive too fast. In the apartment where I live, I park in between a Jeep Grand Cherokee and a Chevy Tahoe. Both trucks have worn out tires, and their owners peel out on the ice every morning trying to get up the hill outside out parking lot. Sending power to four wheels isn't much use if you are driving on bald tires.

    The worst are the guys (and yes, it is a man 98% of the time) with lifted trucks on huge mud tires. Mud tires are great in mud, and reasonably effective in snow - but horrible on ice. Not to mention that lifted trucks have huge blind spots. The result is inevitable, and bad.

    You'd be shocked at the places a crappy little FWD compact car with skinny snow tires can go if driven with a little care. ;)
     
  17. mgartner0622 thread starter macrumors 65816

    mgartner0622

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2010
    Location:
    Colorado, USA
    #17
    Everything you said in regards to large 4x4 drivers rings true here as well. I currently have some Big-O (local tire place) branded snow tires on my Camry and I can get places where friends with larger 4WD's can't, but on days like today, (currently 20" of snow outside and still coming down) even good snow tires won't really help a 2WD go up a hill. You're right about people placing too much confidence in 4WD vehicles. What people need to remember is that although you can get started a bit faster, stopping actually takes longer in a large 4WD because of the weight. Because of this I feel a lot safer driving my Camry, I can maneuver around and stop a lot better than most of the trucks and large SUV's.
    In regards to Subaru's, I've looked at them, and even used they tend to run nearly into the 30 thousand mark putting them out of my budget. (For a non-base model) Plus, when compared to an Audi, at least on the models I've looked at, the interior just seems more bare and spartan and more Japanese-esque, where you can really notice an Audi is a european car by the nicer fit and finish.

    Also acidfast7, I've never seen an Audi with cloth interior, no A/C, or roll down windows. I wonder if they even sell them in the US, as here they are more of a luxury brand.
     
  18. acidfast7 macrumors 65816

    acidfast7

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2008
    Location:
    EU
    #18
    yup, over here they're more like a nice ford taurus. I still see new A4s with cloth, no A/C and crank windows.

    also, FWIW, in the US look for a SAAB 9-2X Linear or Aero.

    it's an Subbie with a SAAB interior and AWD (I think Linear was fine to drive ... 172hp but the Aero was nicer ... maybe 227hp or so).

    also, your camry would be more than fine going up a hill with real snow tires (Nokians). when I lived in the US, I never saw them, but over here every car drives up the mountains to the ski resorts

    even the Renault Twin Go
     
  19. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #19
    Did the previous owner follow the maintenance schedule? That's the big question. If the used car you buy has complete maintenance records then you know, but if not, you have no idea what you're getting. For all you know, the oil could be 30,000 miles old and you're buying a ticking time bomb.
     
  20. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    Joined:
    May 7, 2004
    Location:
    Sod off
    #20
    At that price level I have to assume you are looking at a loaded, lightly used, recent-model Legacy/Outback with a turbo or H6 - or a WRX STi.

    Audis are more luxurious than Subarus, particularly the lower-spec Subarus. There's no doubt about that. The interior materials will be significantly more upmarket. In terms of price, it depends on what you're looking at. You have to remember that, pound for pound, Audis are always more expensive to buy and (crucially) more expensive to own. In terms or mechanical reliability, both are good, a Subaru will have less gizmos to break. Audis have a more rigorous maintenance schedule, and buying a used one without a complete maintenance history is more chancy than it would be with a Subie or other non-luxury car.

    I think it comes down to what you want. If you are restricting your search to upmarket luxury cars, then you won't be happy with a car that plebs like me drive. ;) In that case stick with the Germans. Any Audi/BMW/Merc with AWD will fit the bill.
     
  21. mgartner0622 thread starter macrumors 65816

    mgartner0622

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2010
    Location:
    Colorado, USA
    #21
    I've looked at regular WRX's and the STI models. On craigslist, there's 2004-7ish STI's with 130k miles that are 20 thousand, which I find insane considering the amount of miles on the car. (although I've driven a new STI and it would probably my top choice if I could afford/justify it.)
    It seems for twenty thousand you can get a slightly used base 5spd Outback or Forester with steel wheels, cloth interior, and not much in the way of extras. Meanwhile, for about the same price I can find a newer Audi A4 with a 6spd, 35k miles and pretty much every option. That's why I've been looking into them more lately.
    Worst case scenario I can wait a bit longer and continue driving my Camry. My goal is to get a car that I really will enjoy driving, and wouldn't mind holding onto for the next 10 years, or maybe even the next 15. I'm not looking for something just because it's decent in snow and gets good gas mileage, I'm looking for a car that I will love driving, and that just happens to be capable of going out on a snowy day. (Hence why I'm not even considering super powerful RWD like a 370z) I'm not the type of person that gets a new car every 10 years, I'm planning on holding onto whatever I get for at least the next ten.
    This is why it's so hard. I really like the Honda S2000, but it's a nightmare even with snow tires. The Civic isn't that bad, but as Rooskibar03 mentioned, they are all pretty boring cars.
     
  22. wordoflife macrumors 604

    wordoflife

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2009
    #22
    Audis are good cars and will last long if you do maintenance and get things serviced when they need to be serviced. This is typical with all German cars. If you service it properly, then the car will take care of you.

    Japanese cars, however, don't really need to be serviced to the book. German cars do. That's just the price you pay for these kind of cars. But you see that yourself (ex: Camry vs A4)

    As someone else pointed out, I'd look at Suburu. They don't need as extensive work as German cars do, but they're better than other Japanese cars when it comes to snow and stuff like that.

    Also, the Civic is really nice. The new one, that is. I was looking to buy one a few weeks ago since my Accord got totaled :( . You can easily hit 45 miles per gallon on it, apparently. Wouldn't hesitate buying that car. It's really really nice.
     
  23. thatoneguy82, Dec 22, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2011

    thatoneguy82 macrumors 68000

    thatoneguy82

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2008
    Location:
    Beach Cities, CA
    #23
    I've had two Audi A4s in the past several years and I've loved every single one. If you purchase the one that has the "quattro" which is their all wheel drive and combine it with snow tires, you're set. No need for chains. However, I didn't get an Audi for a third time (maybe will get another) because of the fuel mileage. I was driving in stop and go traffic every day from Redondo Beach to Downtown LA. That's about 60 miles roundtrip. I was averaging 20MPG. And I had to use premium gas. I was filling my tank frequently, and it got really expensive. It was almost ~$500/mo. But, I still love Audis, I want them to release a hybrid and I'll be all over that. Their current A8 hybrid is way too big and way too expensive.

    And oh, part of the price of Audi is the fact that it's a Luxury Car, the name and other features it has.
     
  24. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    Joined:
    May 7, 2004
    Location:
    Sod off
    #24
    WRXs of any type are a very dicey proposition used. It's like buying a GTI, a Civic Si or any other non-luxury performance car. They are generally abused.


    I looked at WRXs when I shopped for my Forester. Every single used example I found was beaten to a pulp by a young, male, aggressive driver. It's very hard to find a clean one that has been driven carefully and maintained.

    It's also worth remembering that Subaru emphasized performance over luxury in the WRX series. They have very high performance, but relatively cheap interiors. I don't mind them, but they are certainly not as nice as the german cars.

    For $20k, you should be able to find a lightly used 2009-2010 Legacy, Outback or Forester. It will probably have cloth seats but should have alloy, moonroof, and the full cold-weather package. Manual transmissions are not too hard to find. Some might have leather seats. A turbo or H6 will be scarce in this price range, though if you look hard you'll find a few.

    For the same money in an Audi, you're probably looking at an older car, probably a 2006-2008 A4 or A6 with 50-100% more miles than the Subies. They will have leather seats and a slightly fancier interior spec. They will be faster.

    On the one hand, the Subie will be a newer car and will cost less to maintain for the first few years. It will also run on 87 octane. On the other hand, the Audi is faster and more upmarket - but you'll be replacing belts and some other bits a few years sooner, and they run on premium fuel.

    Fuel economy is probably roughly similar between the cars, especially if you don't have a lead foot, but the non-turbo Subarus will be a little less thirsty than the Audis. My 2000 Forester averages 26-27mpg (manual transmission).

    As an alternative, you might consider:

    • A GTI - if you go to the trouble of installing an LSD, they are great in the snow - or look for an R32 which has AWD. Great cars.
    • An AWD Passat. Similar to the A6 but cheaper. The V6 and turbo are nice engines.
    • A Volvo S60R. 300HP, AWD. Hard to find but worth a look and in your price range - less likely to be beaten to death like a WRX.
    • And finally, here's one that will make you think I'm crazy - the 2004-2006 Volkswagen Phaeton. These were $70-$90k cars when new, but sales never took off in the US and they are forgotten masterpieces. The 8-cylinder model usually sells for under $20k these days. It is powerful, has AWD, handles great, the feature spec matches an S-Class/A8/&-Series.

    More exitingly, the 12-cylinder version of the Phaeton sells for a tiny fraction of its original cost - not much over your $20k limit. It's a 200mph car (with the limiter off, if you're silly enough to do that), but reliable and well-built. They are hard to find, but if you do a search on ebay or Auto Trader or a similar website you'll usually turn up a few, especially if you live near a reasonably large city.
     
  25. mgartner0622 thread starter macrumors 65816

    mgartner0622

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2010
    Location:
    Colorado, USA
    #25
    That also reminds me...
    Here in the rockies "regular" unleaded is 85 octane. I assume an Audi will not run on that... will a Subaru?
    Also, what will a Subaru run on? 85 as well or does it need mid-grade?
    If I keep the car for 150k miles fuel starts to add up, so I might as well figure that into the cost.

    Back to the cars, I've always like the GTI VW, it's just that again, it's not AWD, which at this point I'm leaning towards.
     

Share This Page