After about 13 years of ownership, 162,500 miles, and waaayyyy too much time spent here (with over 5,000 posts!), my period of B5.5 ownership is soon coming to an end. Hans, my GLS 1.8T M/T Anthracite Blue Wagon will soon be headed out of my garage.
I had decided that while he may (or may not, depending on buyer) make a fine vehicle for somebody else, the worn interior (saggy door cards, trashed sticky plastic), rattles and squeaks (rattling wiring harnesses beneath fragile interior panels, squeaks from some failed suspension part, again), and the advent of oil burning (1 qt or so/5k... not bad, but not the zero like I was used to) it was time to pass the baton. I want a replacement, I can easily afford one, and I certainly have gotten decent life out of this car. Yes, I could fix everything wrong with him for less than a single-year's payments on a new vehicle, but it'd still be an old car showing its age.
I've started the process of finding and paying for a '17 Honda CR-V (Obsidian Blue EX-L with grey leather, with that new nifty 1.5T engine and what is, by all accounts (don't laugh) a well-sorted CVT) Is it the equal of my beloved Hans? No. It's better in some ways (I won't miss having to thumb through my well-loved Bentley every couple months), worse in others (let's just say the steering feel isn't exactly going to shame a 'vette.) But if you want that versatility and cargo room today, a CUV is where it's at. (And on (hopefully-rare) occasions where it will require service? Being able to clearly see the ground from the engine bay will be a refreshing change.)
Also in the running were a Golf SportWagon... this close to buying one a few one a few months back, but an incompetent dealer, and then VW killing the Limited Edition nixed that plan. It's a fine car, but VW's precarious position in the US because of the TDI scandal, the near-inability to now get one with the new safety features, price increases, and my ambivalence about the seating position took it out of the running. Also in consideration was the CX-5, but I'm tired of waiting for Mazda to get their act together, tech-wise, and the fact that Mazda's are about the only cars in this area with panel rust gives me pause. (As does the reputation for interior noise in the model.)
His most likely fate is just trade-in (I'm not willing to endure Craigslist to extract a few hundred bucks; I don't trust anybody who's never driven a B5 before to not start smoking the clutch), where I honestly have no idea if he'll head to a junkyard or be picked up by some used-car dealer willing to take a big risk. I know he's in excellent overall mechanical shape, driven gently original brake pads went to 150k!), well-maintained, with fairly fresh tires, shocks, brakes, with a t-belt (and coolant flange) only 5k old, but the demand for 13-yr-old M/T high-mile station wagons of legendarily dubious reliability ain't exactly high. If somebody told me "SirWired, what would be a good car I could use for basic, versatile everyday transportation, for not a lot of money?" I don't know what my answer would be, but recommending a car like mine wouldn't be it; it's just too much of a crap-shoot, maintenance-wise.
(But hey, if anybody reading this thinks Hans sounds like the perfect car, perhaps to replace a used-up '98 or something that's gone all sludged up... I'd certainly sleep better at night knowing he's not headed off to the crusher right away. I'll even toss in my spare VW supplies and my Bentley, and if you ask politely, an old netbook with VCDS-Lite pre-loaded.)
I've had some good times here, but All Good Things Must Come to an End. I have a lot of good memories of both the car, and interacting with the people here, and I'd be lying if I didn't say I'll miss you guys.