This is my 2002 Volkswagen Passat Wagon (or Variant, Avant, short bus, shooting brake, estate, etc.) 1.8T (Turbonium!) 5-speed manual. I ordered it 20 October 2001 and received it sixteen weeks later 9 February 2002. That's a long time to wait but I'm particular. Not many dealerships stock wagons with a clutch. I chose the blue silver metallic paint, gray cloth interior, Monsoon® sound system, Homelink® and the "Luxury Package" consisting simply of a glass sunroof and 15" alloy wheels. I traded the alloys back to the dealership for 15" steel rims and a little credit toward the negotiated price and added my own aftermarket BBS wheels right away (first mod!).

Why a Wagon?

First of all, let's get our terms straight. When most people in the US think "station wagon" their thoughts turn to some horrible 4000 lb. (or more) monstrosity of American Iron from the '60s or '70s they drove in high school either because that's what mom would loan them or that was all they could afford. I'm sorry to tell you but that's what we call SUVs today. That's right, you big macho men in your big ol' Navigators and Suburbans are driving 40 year old mommy wagons less sporting than an '84 Accord. So there. The modern wagon has a European flair where it has thrived whereas the American wagon mutated into something horribly truckish. The modern wagon has a competent suspension and an excellent chassis and comes in excitingly sporty forms such as the Audi RS4, a 380 hp twin-turbo all-wheel-drive überwagen. This Passat is certainly no sports car but it holds its own, has plenty of luxury, plenty of interior room and an excellent ride.

Why would I get a wagon, a known GT sports coupe fanatic? The 928 has been doing double-duty as daily driver and sport/track machine quite competently for five years but the time has come to exceed both its personalities without the disadvantages of one or the other. The Passat is a very large car that can carry a variety of cargo and passengers in comfort and the 1.8T has a very reliable record. Stage One complete. Now that we have a very practical daily driver I plan to sell the 928 and use the proceeds to buy a track car. I'm tending toward another Porsche — a 951. I'm replacing a V8 for a pair of turbo fours so I guess it evens out. :-) With a (more or less) dedicated track car I won't have to worry about compromises in the tires, springs, dampers, ride height, power band, amenities or getting to work on Monday after tagging an Armco on Sunday.

Nevermind all that nonsense. I like wagons. I've wanted a screaming yellow Audi S4 Avant for a while now but just couldn't swing the price tag. My goal is to get a pleasurable daily driver without draining the fun car budget. As long as I can stay away from the tempting modifications I think I'll be okay.