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Old 07-21-2020, 10:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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My Current Jetta ALH TDI 01M vs Gen 2 Prius?

I bought an 02 ALH TDI Jetta (automatic unfortunately) from a friend at work. It has rusty rockers and A/C system doesn't work....likely a bad compressor.

The car will be used for long highway commutes. Sometimes the commutes are nice trips from Fredericksburg, VA to Charlottesville, VA with no traffic but sometimes will be from Fredericksburg, VA to DC. Could also be little traffic but could also be 50 miles of traffic jams depending on the shift that I get stuck working.

I bought the car for $500.

I wanted to get away from the enthusiast forums for both cars and get some unbiased opinions.

For starters it has the unreliable 01m transmission. However, there is a bit too much pressure to need to switch over to the 5 speed by people who think that driving stick is the best thing since sliced bread. I have enthusiast cars with stick so I am a bit burnt out with the alleged importance of needing to drive a stick. I do understand however that there is a large MPG penalty for the automatic but I am not doing too bad at 47 mpg highway.

I don't like the fact that the timing belt job is a bit much for a DIY and that the engine is interference. I have done t-belt jobs before on interference engines but a faulty tensioner grenaded on me at idle right after the job scarring me from doing my own T-belt for a long long time.

I also don't like having to turn my car into a "guru" to have it worked on. I worry about handing someone cash and something going wrong.

On the flip side, I like how the diesel sounds and I like the 750 mile tanks. I just have a few other fun cars that I'd rather be working on than this one.

Still, with the Prius I have to worry about the Hybrid Battery. The ripoff rate is very high in this area as well. I have never purchased or seen a car on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace that didn't have major issues.

The Jetta has lower property tax here because it is older and I'd imagine the insurance is lower.

I hear the Prius is more like an appliance....but really I have my enthusiast cars for the non-appliance feeling....I have no desire for a modified Jetta TDI.

Lastly, I live off of a gravel road. It's impossible to keep vehicles clean and I therefore don't want anything that I have to keep clean externally. The Jetta is already ugly and I am not so sure that I'd care to keep the Prius clean either.


Keep the Jetta? Go to a 3.5k - 5k range Prius only to find out what is really wrong with it even though it is supposed to be super reliable?

Better the devil I know?

Help! Lol!


Last edited by ukiltmybrutha; 07-21-2020 at 10:34 PM..
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Old 07-21-2020, 10:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'd say the Prius is more reliable based on the Jetta being an automatic and general reliability of Toyota vs. VW. But I'm not a VW guru by any means.

TDI Jetta and Prius will get similar MPG on the highway but the Prius will win around town. I've become a bit of a manual enthusiast myself after buying an Insight but I say a $500 car isn't worth a manual swap until the auto trans gives out, and before that you'd have to decide if the car was worth keeping at that point.

If it was a $3000 Jetta vs a $3000 Prius I'd say get the Prius.

If you put $3000 into a $500 car to make it good then you have a good car for $3500.

If you buy a $3500 Prius you won't know what might be wrong with it.
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Old 07-21-2020, 10:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpg_numbers_guy View Post
I'd say the Prius is more reliable based on the Jetta being an automatic and general reliability of Toyota vs. VW. But I'm not a VW guru by any means.

TDI Jetta and Prius will get similar MPG on the highway but the Prius will win around town. I've become a bit of a manual enthusiast myself after buying an Insight but I say a $500 car isn't worth a manual swap until the auto trans gives out, and before that you'd have to decide if the car was worth keeping at that point.

If it was a $3000 Jetta vs a $3000 Prius I'd say get the Prius.

If you put $3000 into a $500 car to make it good then you have a good car for $3500.

If you buy a $3500 Prius you won't know what might be wrong with it.
You are right all the way around. I forgot to mention it has pretty low mileage for an ALH at 172k.

I could wait to swap to manual in theory but that would be the last thing to do as mentioned...if I really want to do that.

I could have the t-belt changed and ride this summer out with no ac.

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Old 07-21-2020, 11:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I say keep the Jetta, do that belt job/usual maintenance and if things start going south, sell it cheap to someone.

Best case scenario, you get a good few years out of it and save some cash for the next car.

Worst case scenario, you get couple of months and it grenades. 500 bucks lost. Life is a gamble anyway


I myself recently bought a 200Ä passat. Maybe i got lucky, maybe i dont. At the moment it works fine.
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Old 07-21-2020, 11:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'd much rather keep the Jetta. Most likely a Prius worth 10 times its purchase price would take a while to recover the investment.
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Old 07-22-2020, 06:12 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I have owned a 2003 Jetta Wagon TDI (5 Speed), a 2005 Prius, and a 2009 Prius.

I had the TDI for 10 years and 240,000 miles. The TDI averaged 46.5 mpg in mostly highway driving. It would do 50 – 52 mpg steady state cruising at 70 mph. The engine was fine but interior parts started failing at about 200K miles. Radiator Fan, HVAC blower motor resistor pack (twice), 2 window regulators, glove box latch, center console latch, moonroof seals, A timing belt was $1000 10 years ago (replace the water pump at the same time). You will need to clean the intake manifold about every 100K miles because it fills up with soot from the EGR. Diesel is more than premium where I live today but that varied on location.

I bought the 05 Prius used (2 years old / 22K miles) I sold it when it was 12 years old w/ 147K miles. It averaged 46 mpg in mixed driving (50/50). It would do about 45 mpg steady state cruising at 70 mph. The repair we had was replacing the 3 way valve that diverts coolant to the thermos. It isn’t required but throws the CEL which means the car would fail inspection. That was $93. The rest was maintenance by the book and you will never need to replace the brakes. Ours has more than 75% of the pad left.

I bought the 09 Prius used (4 years old / 62K miles) I sold it when it was 10 years old w/ 115K miles. It averaged 42 mpg (the last 3 years of my wife driving it 7 miles to work killed the mileage). Again the only repair was the 3-way valve.

The last I looked you could get a refurbished Prius battery pack for about $1000 and a new one from Toyota for about $2200. That is if it fails where timing belts are guaranteed cost. The hybrid battery is plug and play.

In the end the Prius was larger, cheaper to run and more reliable. The VW was more fun to drive. Both did gravel Forest Service roads fine. Given the choice you have, I would drive the Jetta, not do the timing belt at 200K miles as see how long it goes. I can’t see spending $1000 on a rusty $500 car.
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Old 07-22-2020, 06:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks for all of this. Just the idea of the T-belt job grenading after 11 hours of work is hard to swallow. So is the thought of paying someone to wreck it for me!
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Old 07-22-2020, 08:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Timing belts may not be so great, but honestly what scares the hell out of me the most are the tensioners more than the belts themselves. At least in my country it's not unusual to get rid of tensioners and to just use a shorter belt instead.
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Old 07-22-2020, 09:16 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cRiPpLe_rOoStEr View Post
Timing belts may not be so great, but honestly what scares the hell out of me the most are the tensioners more than the belts themselves. At least in my country it's not unusual to get rid of tensioners and to just use a shorter belt instead.
You are right. It's the tensioner that usually gives. When I say "timing belt" I meant the whole ordeal/experience of changing it.
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Old 07-23-2020, 02:21 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSH View Post
I have owned a 2003 Jetta Wagon TDI (5 Speed), a 2005 Prius, and a 2009 Prius.

I had the TDI for 10 years and 240,000 miles. The TDI averaged 46.5 mpg in mostly highway driving. It would do 50 Ė 52 mpg steady state cruising at 70 mph. The engine was fine but interior parts started failing at about 200K miles. Radiator Fan, HVAC blower motor resistor pack (twice), 2 window regulators, glove box latch, center console latch, moonroof seals, A timing belt was $1000 10 years ago (replace the water pump at the same time). You will need to clean the intake manifold about every 100K miles because it fills up with soot from the EGR. Diesel is more than premium where I live today but that varied on location.

I bought the 05 Prius used (2 years old / 22K miles) I sold it when it was 12 years old w/ 147K miles. It averaged 46 mpg in mixed driving (50/50). It would do about 45 mpg steady state cruising at 70 mph. The repair we had was replacing the 3 way valve that diverts coolant to the thermos. It isnít required but throws the CEL which means the car would fail inspection. That was $93. The rest was maintenance by the book and you will never need to replace the brakes. Ours has more than 75% of the pad left.

I bought the 09 Prius used (4 years old / 62K miles) I sold it when it was 10 years old w/ 115K miles. It averaged 42 mpg (the last 3 years of my wife driving it 7 miles to work killed the mileage). Again the only repair was the 3-way valve.

The last I looked you could get a refurbished Prius battery pack for about $1000 and a new one from Toyota for about $2200. That is if it fails where timing belts are guaranteed cost. The hybrid battery is plug and play.

In the end the Prius was larger, cheaper to run and more reliable. The VW was more fun to drive. Both did gravel Forest Service roads fine. Given the choice you have, I would drive the Jetta, not do the timing belt at 200K miles as see how long it goes. I canít see spending $1000 on a rusty $500 car.
I can't believe I missed this post. It didn't seem to be there before.

Thanks.

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