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Title pretty much says it all: who were the competitors of the legendary B5 and could other brands even compete? I'm mostly curious about the 96-2000 competitors and how the d-class segment was priced at the time.
 

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In the US, the Camry and Accord were the main sellers in the mid-sized segment. I am not counting domestics as I did not really keep up with them at the time. For the wagon, the Subaru Legacy was the closest in size and space.
 

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Title pretty much says it all: who were the competitors of the legendary B5 and could other brands even compete? I'm mostly curious about the 96-2000 competitors and how the d-class segment was priced at the time.
I bought the Honda Accord wagon in 1992 because I couldn’t get the Passat wagon that I dearly wanted with a sunroof that I wanted even more. Then I traded that for a Saab 9000 because the Accord’s footwell was too small for hubby's size 16 feet. So, I would add the Swedish wagons to the list of competitors.

I finally got my Passat wagon in 2010: a 2008 VR6 4motion wagon. Still driving it with 175K miles ‘cause nothing compares but I’m looking around a lot harder these days. Waiting to see the pick up now that I live in AZ;-).
 

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I think the Saab and Volvo were quite a bit more expensive. For size, driving and styling, they were similar to the Passat.
 

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Since it's the B5 being asked about, the 1st gen V70 is a better match.
 

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We found only two comps, if one includes pricing: Subaru Legacy and Saturn LW200, both, of course, discontinued soon after we bought the Passat wagon in January 2001. My wife went for the high bidder of the three, and we have been VW/Audi drivers ever since, after a history of nothing but domestics (Ford Pinto wagon, Chevrolet Chevelle coupe, Dodge Aries K wagon, Dodge Spirit sedan). The two Dodge products were completely gutless, but otherwise eminently satisfactory. We still plan to keep the Passat as long as we reasonably can, and we just bought a 2016 Golf Sportwagen, which we also like, but of course those are now being discontinued, as well.

Suffice it to say we are huge fans of wagons based on sport sedans, and we get frustrated every time they appear to be making a comeback, then dying out again. Americans do not know what they are missing.
 
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