Home » What Car Do You Want To Buy But Are Too Scared To Own? Autopian Asks

What Car Do You Want To Buy But Are Too Scared To Own? Autopian Asks


One difficult aspect of being a car enthusiast is being hopelessly in love with a car that you know you shouldn’t buy. You may think about this vehicle often and maybe even have an example saved in your Facebook Marketplace list, but you just can’t get yourself to buy it. Maybe the car you want is known for its performance but is also known for emptying its owner’s bank account. Maybe you work one of those jobs or live in one of those places where you’re expected to drive a certain kind of vehicle. No matter the reason, what car do you want to buy but are too scared to actually follow through with?

Some of you see me as a bit of a fearless collector. Currently, I own a Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI, a retired transit bus, a couple of BMWs, and a Suzuki RE-5 rotary-powered motorcycle. Any one of these vehicles can bankrupt a person when they break, but I’ve rolled the dice on them. Thankfully, if these vehicles ever do break on me, I could either just sell them or wait until I can repair them. I don’t need to depend on any of them to get me around.

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With that said, there are cars I want, but keep myself from buying. Ironically, one of those vehicles is a Volkswagen with a 2.0-liter turbo four from the late 2000s and early 2010s. These cars are notorious for timing failures. I mean, Jason’s wife’s Tiguan had a timing failure, even though Jason knew the crossover was a bomb just waiting to blow.

It’s a shame because so many cool cars came with that engine from the Holy Grail Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen SEL to the surprisingly capable Tiguan 4Motion. Of course, don’t forget that there are a lot of cheap GTIs with those engines But even I am too scared to pull the trigger.


While we’re on the subject of sketchy VAGs, another vehicle I want to buy but stop short on is the Volkswagen EuroVan. I’d love a EuroVan MV Weekender as a sweet factory camper, but I keep reading reports about automatic transmission failures. This wouldn’t be an issue with a manual transmission, but we didn’t get higher trim EuroVans in America with manual transmissions. It was hard enough to find a B5.5 Passat that didn’t have a dying transmission, so I’m not sure how quickly I want to repeat the process with a van.

Yes, all of this is patently ridiculous when you remember that I own a Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI and used to own a Phaeton. Both of those cars are known to break catastrophically, costing their owners piles of money. In my silly head, at least those vehicles are special enough to take the chance on, whereas a Tiguan and a GTI are cool, but not exactly V10 TDI cool.

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Another vehicle I want but am too scared to buy is an old Land Rover Discovery. I’ve heard enough horror stories from David Tracy and Rob Spiteri that I have yet to buy one. Yet, I’m still allured by a Disco’s off-road capabilities and excellent style.

Alright, so you know my fears and the vehicles that make me toss and turn at night. Seriously, I’ve lost sleep over buying a EuroVan once. Are there any cars that do that for you? What do you want but are too scared to buy?




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Dominic Leung
Dominic Leung
1 month ago

Ferrari F355: The routine engine out cam belt servicing

Mazda RX7 FD: rotary, nuff said

Any new car where there are so many electronics and cross dependencies that a broken taillight can lock you out from driving it…you laugh but I guarantee you this is coming

1 month ago

I’ve owned a 2013 JSW TDI for four years now, and I love it – it’s objectively a terrific car. I knew the stupid German car shit would arrive one day, I bought it anyway, and somewhere in year 3 it arrived. I love it anyway. During the years that I spent casually browsing for practical and fun-to-drive wagons/hatchbacks with a manual that would fit a bike, I came across a Craigslist ad in Florida for that Holy Grail Jetta – a 2009 JSW SEL with the 2.0 turbo. It was enthusiast-owned, had a few well-selected modifications, and was in great shape and a good price. I vaguely regretted not buying it until I bought my TDI.

Around the same time, I saw a Passat W8 wagon with a manual for sale nearby in Milwaukee – it was, in a way that will be familiar to many of us here, appealing in a dangerous way. I loved the idea of owning it but that for sure is a car I’d be afraid of owning.

I nearly bought an E90 wagon before I bought my TDI, and I wonder if that would have been a bad-good choice, too. I had once told a friend to slap me with a frozen bass if I ever bought a modern German car that was not a JSW TDI. So all the examples I think about in this brief are German.

1 month ago

The BMW 135i and the E60 530i Sport. I love how they look and I’m sure the 135i would be fun…when it wasn’t getting a new HPFP.

I’m not mechanically inclined after living without a car in NYC for 35 years, so it’s not something I’d even think to tackle. I’ll stick with my 3rd gen Fit that I truly love.

Tim Connors
Tim Connors
1 month ago

Literally any vehicle, but not because of the specifics of said vehicle.

Basically, I have a paid off older Highlander. I kinda want a different car and peruse listings for cars pretty regularly–minivans, basic sedans, hatchbacks, entry level sports sedans. Really a bunch of different cars that draw my interest for a bunch of reasons. The Highlander mostly works fine, though it does have a few quirks I just don’t care to fix. It is not exciting, but it is comfy enough and has room enough for 97% of what I need. But man, giving up on multiple years of no car payment just turns my stomach.

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