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Old 01 April 2016, 19:22   #1
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Tow car. What's out there?

My Amtrak locomotive, aka 2001 (B5) Audi A4 2.5 TDI Avant Quattro Sport is currently at 175k miles. I've been loyal to Audi, (considering the price of VAG parts) since 1995. Which currently leaves me in a quandary, as the A4 is due a timing belt this year. As part of the service, the water-pump and thermostat get changed as its inaccessible at any other time, and I'll do the auxilliary belts. All in all its a 6 hour operation, so I won't see much change out of 750. Over the years I've rebuilt brakes and suspension, renewed electrics and completed bodywork repairs, but doing a timing belt is outwith my area of expertise. If I keep it, then the engine is capable of 250k miles unless the rust-worm gets there first. The suspension was done 4 years ago, but if I keep it, then I'll replace the front arms with Meyle HD kit. That's another 300 and I'm doing the labour myself. Bodywork is pretty good. I treated rust spots last year and it looks great considering its age.

The resale value is laughable, and I'm considering cutting my losses and looking for something up to 4 years old, say 50k miles, up to a maximum of 14k.

To do this I'll sell the A4 and my wife's A2 (yes it's like the Thunderbirds fleet) and switch to something that's relatively fuel efficient, has enough torque to haul the boat (750kg unbraked) at weekends without developing a hernia and has a large enough boot-space to swallow the usual wet-weather gear associated with a couple of weeks on the west coast in mid summer. I've broken two sets of rear springs over the years, so I know hauling a trailer takes its toll eventually.

The Audi is a bit of a wolf in sheep's clothing, but it's old technology now which I accept. Do I really need 4x4 capability? Yes I live in an area that receives more than its fair share of snow during the winter months, but quite honestly, decent snow tyres on my front wheel drive Skoda which is my daily commute and its transformed.

Currently the Audi has the road tax equivalent of a national debt and commands a 295 annual premium for emitting 213g CO2. Fuel wise, then I can squeeze 44mpg out of it if I don't have a heavy right foot. Not bad for an old-school 155bhp V6.

So what's out there?

Here's what I like the look of. Feel free to add the pros and cons of each. Petrol, diesel. Right now fuel prices are fairly similar. I'm inclined to opt for diesel as I like the low end grunt, but I'm open to options. Needs to have running lights, xenon headlights, heated seats, leather interior, capable of achieving 50+mpg, front-wheel or AWD plus the usual safety list fitted as standard.

Audi A4 Allroad (lucky if it achieves 45mpg but it's sweet as a nut to look at)
Mazda CX-3, CX-5
Volvo V60
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Old 01 April 2016, 19:31   #2
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Hmm the repairs to your audi probably equal 6 months depreciation (maybe less) on a 15k car
Does that help ☺
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Old 02 April 2016, 01:52   #3
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and 750 for belt and pump you should find a garage outside of holywood
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Old 02 April 2016, 02:46   #4
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and 750 for belt and pump you should find a garage outside of holywood
The whole front of the car has to come off plus makes sense to change water pump and tensioners and auxiliary belts and tensioners plus probably an air con re-gas 750 not unreasonable
Sadly timing belts are no longer a 1 hour job on many cars
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Old 02 April 2016, 05:14   #5
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I would be tempted to keep the A4. If 750 is potentially going to give you another couple of years hassle free driving, then that's very low depreciation (presuming car is otherwise sound)

You would also need a towbar if you buy another car, I was quoted 350 yesterday for a towsure detachable (single socket) for my A4 cab


And your 295 road tax..... Try 505 on the A4 3.2 🙄😳
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Old 02 April 2016, 06:11   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beamishken View Post
The whole front of the car has to come off plus makes sense to change water pump and tensioners and auxiliary belts and tensioners plus probably an air con re-gas 750 not unreasonable. Sadly timing belts are no longer a 1 hour job on many cars
Well spotted. Local Audi independent garage charges 50 per hour. The genuine timing belt kit including water-pump, thermostat and auxilliary belts are around 300 alone. Bumper needs to come off, radiator put into service position, coolant drained, etc.

Heard a horror story on an Audi forum for someone that put their car to Audi main dealer to get the same job done. Apparently they put their apprentice mechanics on it, given the age of the vehicle, who inadvertantly over-torqued the tensioner-pulley bolt. Damn thing sheared 3 miles down the road and the engine went into meltdown.
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Old 02 April 2016, 06:16   #7
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Quote:
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I would be tempted to keep the A4. If 750 is potentially going to give you another couple of years hassle free driving, then that's very low depreciation (presuming car is otherwise sound)

You would also need a towbar if you buy another car, I was quoted 350 yesterday for a towsure detachable (single socket) for my A4 cab.
I transferred over the Witter towbar, which used to be on my 80 Avant TDI onto the A4. Know what you mean. Could always look for car that has one fitted.

Quote:
And your 295 road tax..... Try 505 on the A4 3.2 🙄😳
Ouch.
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Old 02 April 2016, 14:41   #8
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i have literally spent all day driving about looking at new tow cars, i feel your pain.

i can wholeheartedly recommend a 173bhp xtrail, i LOVE mine but i'm going to need to change to tow my 6.8 comfortably.

if you want a 2011 xtrail mint then hit me up...it is going this week. 60k on it, and EVERY extra you can buy (nav, camera yada yada) plus i've fitted DAB, heated windows etc...oh and a genuine 46mpg. it is sitting at 47.5 right now in my drive.

i don't know what i'm buying yet, it defo won't have a green badge, grand cherokee, sorento, shogun...i've ruled those out today so a good day shopping
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Old 02 April 2016, 14:48   #9
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Hi

Have you considered diesel offerings from Subaru.

My 2010 Subaru Outback took a bit of getting used to after a few generations of VW's but it's settled in well and has proven itself many times over.

Its permanent 4x4, has lots of features as standard, and does very good MPG when I'm not driving it.

The Legacy is more standard car like - no raised suspension, then there are the jeep types ones they make too.
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Old 02 April 2016, 15:43   #10
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Hi

Have you considered diesel offerings from Subaru.
Heard mixed things about Subaru. Parts more expensive than Audi, and neighbour on the west coast that effectively gave up on his new Forester after fault upon fault.
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