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Buying question – lower miles vs better options

alspdx

New member
Location
Portland, OR, USA
Car(s)
‘95 GLX
I've been on the hunt for a GTI VII for a little bit and am narrowing in on two cars, looking for a little advice. I don't commute for work, mostly just use my car for errands in town a few times per week and short 1-3 hour freeway trips once or twice a month. I already have financing taken care of through a credit union.


Car A:
• 2016 GTI SE - Pure White
• Asking $22.5k
• 30k miles
• LP (no PP)
• 100% stock

The car is being sold by a small Euro focused car dealership. It was a 1-owner car that had been traded in to a Jaguar dealership and purchased by the selling dealer at auction. 100% stock, title is clean, and Carfax supports claimed history, shows that car has been on the lot for almost two months. Very very clean interior, exterior, and engine bay (probably detailed). Pre-purchase inspection at VW dealership came with high praise and a recommendation to buy, they also did some recall services including sunroof repair while they had it. Currently has only one key fob and needs 30k service. The service manager at VW suggests negotiating with the dealer to include a new replacement key and 30k service, trying for closer to $19.5-20k.

Car B:
• 2016 GTI Autobahn - Carbon Steel Gray Metallic
• Asking $18.5k
• 63k miles
• LP and PP
• APR stage 1 tune, TTRS clutch, and new brakes at 50k.

Car is being sold by the original owner. Well maintained, adult owned, very clean inside and out aside from some rock chips from normal freeway commuting, a little dusty in the engine bay (but nothing abnormal). Regular service records from VW dealership until about 40k miles, then records from a known/reputable VW repair shop including the tune, clutch, and brakes. Water pump was replaced under warranty around 10k, sunroof was repaired at some other point. Pre-purchase inspection is scheduled for tomorrow at VW. Price is probably somewhat negotiable, an offer would depend on outcome of inspection, probably would try shooting for closer to $17k.


So far my only real concern about car B is the additional mileage. It has good maintenance records which makes me a little less concerned (no records with the white car, just the Carfax and whatever VW has about recall services). I like the Performance Package and prefer the gray over the white. The Autobahn trim and APR tune are nice bonuses but probably wouldn't sway my decision much over SE trim and stock tune. The owner is in his mid-40’s, presents mature, and took great care of the maintenance and cosmetics. If the inspection comes out fine for the gray car, is there any reason I should skip it or choose the white car instead?
 
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Acadia18

Autocross Champion
Location
Rhode Island
In the end, 63k isn't that high of milage. It doesn't sound like you're really racking up the miles yourself. From what you're saying, it could take you 4 - 5 years to even hit 100k.

Car A sounds a bit overpriced, even for current pandemic pricing. I paid $18k for a 2016 SE with 30k miles a year and a half ago. $19.5k - $20k sounds more in line with the current market.
 

StorableComa

Autocross Champion
Location
Long Beach, USA
Car(s)
17 GSW S
I bought my 17 used with 40k on it. Depending on how the car was taken care of, and an inspection I wouldn't think twice about buying one with 63k. Given it sounds like the owner was responsible with it, and OTS tunes are pretty safe you should be good. Go for the one you'll enjoy the most, pocket the difference in an account if you want to be sure you've covered if something happens.
 

Luva

New member
Location
FL
Car(s)
2020 GTI SE
Hmm, sounds like both are good choices. I would naturally favor the higher trim package for a used car. As you know, the delta between a base model vs a fully loaded version gets smaller as a given vehicle ages. But, the stock vs tuned choice muddies up the water. I would naturally favor a stock car versus a modified and/or tuned car - all else held equal. This would be a no-brainer decision for me if the base model was the one with the tune.

So, here's my question. How much risk do you give to the tune and aftermarket clutch on car B along with the higher mileage? If not much, then go with car B. Otherwise, go with car A.
 

alspdx

New member
Location
Portland, OR, USA
Car(s)
‘95 GLX
I would naturally favor a stock car versus a modified and/or tuned car - all else held equal. This would be a no-brainer decision for me if the base model was the one with the tune.
Definitely one of the complications. Agreed that I would prefer one that had PP and stock tune, would be a slam dunk it if we’re the one with low miles too.

How much risk do you give to the tune and aftermarket clutch on car B along with the higher mileage?
I guess that’s why I ask.

Owner seems fairly mature, comes across as an “aging VW enthusiast” who wanted the tune to perform better while commuting on the freeway, but who also values his career and needed a truck to get better jobs (thus the sale of the car). I don’t believe the car has been abused, I just don’t see it in the condition of the car or in the lifestyle he lives (business owner, owns nice home in the suburbs, works a lot), but I could be totally wrong.

There is a history of records from work done by either a local VW dealership, or later, a reputable shop, so the aftermarket clutch and brakes I would trust to be done with quality parts (as well as all the other services, including oil changes). Hopefully anything questionable would come up in an inspection, but obviously they can’t find everything.

Just get the one that you want the most so you won't have regrets.
Thanks, I agree with not having regrets. At this point I’m thinking that if car B doesn’t turn out I’ll keep on the search, skipping car A because of color and lack of PP.
 

cb1111

Newbie
Location
Virginia, USA
Does owner B have a reasonable reason for selling the car?

Have you spoken to the repair shop about the car? Tell owner B that you'd like to speak the shop and see what reaction you get.

Here's my concern. The car was stock until 40k (maybe more). the guy dumps a couple of grand into the car and sells it shortly thereafter. Why?
 

IanCH

Drag Racing Champion
Location
MA
Car(s)
'20 GTI
Here's my concern. The car was stock until 40k (maybe more). the guy dumps a couple of grand into the car and sells it shortly thereafter. Why?
Same reason you hear here every day "wait until the warranty is up"
 

Shane_Anigans

Drag Race Newbie
Location
SE MI
Car(s)
2017 GTI Sport DSG
Here's my concern. The car was stock until 40k (maybe more). the guy dumps a couple of grand into the car and sells it shortly thereafter. Why?
Could be any number of reasons; loss of employment, surprise baby, found a car he liked better and decided to go for it... I mean as a general rule, are car enthusiasts known for their sound decision-making? :LOL:
 

alspdx

New member
Location
Portland, OR, USA
Car(s)
‘95 GLX
Does owner B have a reasonable reason for selling the car?
He bought a brand new truck. Something about missing out on jobs or having to borrow a rig when the job required hauling equipment or wood.

Here's my concern. The car was stock until 40k (maybe more).
He switched from the dealership to an independent shop after the warranty expired. The tune, clutch, and brakes were done at 50k. Not sure why he waited longer for the mods, maybe being around a shop where they tune cars got him thinking.

the guy dumps a couple of grand into the car and sells it shortly thereafter. Why?
I wouldn’t exactly say 13k is “shortly thereafter”, a lot of things can change over the course of a year.
 

cb1111

Newbie
Location
Virginia, USA
Same reason you hear here every day "wait until the warranty is up"
No, waiting until the warranty is up (or at least until you're sure there are no manufacturer issues) before major mods is prudent. Waiting, then dumping lots of money in modding and then selling it should raise eyebrows
 

cb1111

Newbie
Location
Virginia, USA
He bought a brand new truck. Something about missing out on jobs or having to borrow a rig when the job required hauling equipment or wood.


He switched from the dealership to an independent shop after the warranty expired. The tune, clutch, and brakes were done at 50k. Not sure why he waited longer for the mods, maybe being around a shop where they tune cars got him thinking.


I wouldn’t exactly say 13k is “shortly thereafter”, a lot of things can change over the course of a year.
Sounds like you've covered all the bases. If you have any nagging feelings about the seller then it certainly sounds like a good buy. Far better than option A.

On one of the watch boards I'm on, we always say "buy the seller, not the watch"
 
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