The Family Car Blog

A Dad’s quest to find the perfect family car

Test Drive Day: Honda 1, VW 0

As a loyal VW driver, this is not the post I was expecting to write. We have just spent an afternoon in Bay Ridge where many of the Brooklyn car dealers are located. If we were to have bought a car today, it would have been the Honda Odyssey, hands down. Why? Service.

The sales rep we met at Bay Ridge Honda was great. He was personable and understanding.

The Honda Odyssey Touring Edition drove beautifully

The Honda Odyssey Touring Edition drove beautifully

The VW sales rep at Life Quality Volkswagen on the other hand was perhaps the least helpful sales rep we’ve ever met and on the verge of being confrontational. In fact, I can pretty confidently say the we will not be visiting Life Quality VW again. The experience was so bad, we ended slamming them (like many others it seems) on CitySearch.

The folks at Life Quality Volkswagen have forgotten why they’re in business; because of the customer. All they wanted from our visit was a quick sale. It didn’t matter that we were doing research and loyal VW owners for the last 15 years. They didn’t care that we are about to have a third baby and that it was our only chance to get out for a test drive before our new arrival. The fact that we were there several months before our planned purchase really put them out. I can understand that they’d want a sale before the year is out (it’s not been a great year for car sales), but at the detriment of losing a sale for next year? Come on. It was a horrible experience that will quite possibly turn us away from VW for our next purchase.

What happened to Volkswagen?

Who stole VW's soul? The bad car salesperson.

We had an opportunity to drive the Routan SE, a less equipped model than we want. It was a terrible drive, but I’m not sure if it was the overall experience or the fact that it simply drove very poorly. There was no comparison to the Odyssey Touring model I drove. So for now, the Routan is off the list. It could have been such an easy decision for us.

So the research continues.

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November 2, 2008 Posted by | Candidates, Research, test drive | , , , , , | 1 Comment

2009 Family Car Fuel Efficiency

Buying a family car requires a bit of compromise for the eco-conscious family. If we were just buying any car our options for finding a fuel efficient vehicle would be easier.

If you’ve been following this blog, you know that we need a car that can accommodate three car seats. This either means we need a wider car that can fit the car seats or a larger car like an SUV or minivan that has a third row of seating.

When we consider fuel efficiency, the choice becomes pretty obvious. Here’s a chart I pulled together with the city and highway miles per gallon for some of the models in consideration and others mentioned to us as we’ve begun our research.

2009 Model Year Fuel Efficiency
Make Model City Highway
Chrysler Town & Country LX 17 24
Ford Explorer 14 20
Honda Odyssey EX-L 17 25
Toyota Highlander Hybrid 27 25
Toyota Sienna 17 23
Volkswagen Passat Wagon Turbo 23 32
Volkswagen Routan SEL 17 25
Volvo XC90 3.2L 14 20

The VW Passat Wagon is quite efficient with 23 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. We’re going to be doing more city driving thought which may make the Toyota Highlander Hybrid the best choice with 27 mpg in the city and a respectable 25 mpg on the highway.

When we get out for our test drives, we’ll see how we’re swayed. That should happen towards the end of October 2008.

October 4, 2008 Posted by | Candidates, Other Cars, Research | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment