My well-kept 10-yr-old Jetta: Should I fix & keep it or get an upgrade

The cost of a proper upgrade is quite steep and my ownership of this car has been relatively fuss-free, making the decision even harder.

BHPian MandarMax recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Hello, fellow BHPians,

My VW Jetta 2.0 TDI just completed 10 years this week. This car has brought me immense joy and taken me on numerous memorable journeys. The car's power and performance have never ceased to amaze me, and the mileage it delivers is just the icing on the cake. Together, we've explored different states like Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan, creating unforgettable experiences along the way.

The car has completed barely 60k kilometres so far (actually 599xx km as of today). I have maintained it well and carried out regular servicing. As much as I'd like to upgrade to a better car, the cost of a proper upgrade is quite steep. And except for some small dents and some required upholstery replacements, my Jetta ownership has been relatively fuss-free, making the decision even harder.

I need your help in choosing the best course of action:

  • Keep the car as it is, don't fix what's broken (as there are no mechanical issues), continue using it for another 1-2 years, and then sell it.
  • Sell the car now and buy a used, higher-segment car (e.g., BMW X1, X3, or 3 series) - since a new car is not practical (proper upgrades would cost over 40L)
  • Sell the car and buy a new, lower-segment SUV with more advanced features (e.g., automatic gearbox, better electronics, sunroof) - this is me being "practical", head over heart etc. etc.
  • Fix the car (replace broken parts, repaint, etc.) and use it for another 5 years, despite the potential resale value, risk of diesel ban (if that happens here) and parts availability concerns - Basically improve feel-good factor, make it look new and kill that itch to upgrade. I've also been toying with the idea of engine remapping to squeeze out more power. However, I'm unsure about the long-term impact on the engine and other components. I'd be thrilled to hear your thoughts on this.

To sum it up, I'm eager to hear your advice on the options listed above and any insights on engine remapping. Thank you in advance for your valuable input, and I can't wait to read your responses!

Here's what BHPian lsjey had to say about the matter:

Given that your usage is not much, and there are no issues with the car, suggest essential repairs only and use until EOL (or diesel ban) of the car. I don't think a diesel ban/more than 15 yr old diesel car ban will happen only in metros. So yes resale will take a hit, but you may not lose much is what I feel.

Doing performance modifications, unless there is a specific need doesn't make a good case. Just enjoy your car. Maybe do some cosmetic changes to satisfy yourself but I wouldn't recommend any other changes to the car.

Here's what BHPian revsperminute had to say about the matter:

We are almost in the same boat. I have an Octavia which will turn 8 this year. She only has 52k on the odo and I can’t even imagine parting ways with her.

My advice to you will be to hold onto the car. They don’t make them like they used to. Get a thorough service done and replace parts that bother you. These cars are timeless.

Here's what BHPian Dr.AD had to say about the matter:

Since your car is mechanically fit, and seems like a well-maintained car, you have the luxury of waiting and letting your heart decide the matter. Most such decisions are taken by the heart, and it is best to let that process happen over time.

When someone has a totally broken down car or needs a different car immediately for some specific purpose, that is a different matter altogether. They don't have the luxury of time to wait and let their heart decide something for them eventually. Thankfully, you are not in that boat.

I usually choose my next car not based on such "pre-determined" questions, but rather based on what tugs at my heart the most. So, I would ask you this: Is there a specific car that tugs at your heart more than your Jetta? If so, by all means, start your search for that specific car and get it whenever you can. Take your time. Let it be a nice and slow process. No need to rush into that since your current car is anyways fine.

And if there is no such car that you specifically dream of, then just continue driving your Jetta. No point in selling the Jetta for the sake of changing cars. But if you find a car that you loved for years, all the power to you to sell your Jetta and get that.

So that is my answer. Don't overthink this. Just let your heart decide the matter in a natural course of time.

To tell you my own experience, I found my BMW 320d the same way. I had a perfectly working car before that (I still have that car) and that car was fine for all my requirements at that time. But I always wanted to own a 3-series. That is something my heart wanted. I did not need to change the car for the sake of it. I did not want just any other car. I specifically wanted only a 3-series. So I started searching for it, and eventually found a right example and bought it. It took time, but it was worth it.

I am sure my next car will come through the same process. Once my heart wants something specifically and my heart knows exactly what kind of drives I will do with that car, which destinations I will go to, and what purpose that specific car will fulfill, then automatically the decision will evolve cohesively, and I will get that specific car. Again, not just for the sake of change. But for the sake of fulfilling different kinds of driving desires which can't be done with my current cars.

I am not sure if this makes sense. But I hope it does. So wait. Take your time. Enjoy your current car. And one day, let your heart tell you which car it wants next, and get exactly that car! That next car could be more expensive or less expensive, could be new or used, could be anything. It does not matter. There are no right and wrong cars. Do not let things such as "upgrades or downgrades" decide your choice. Those are superficial things. The only thing that matters is do you want that car badly? Whenever that happens, you will get your answer automatically!

Here's what BHPian androdev had to say about the matter:

Based on the pics, it seems to be a base spec MT model. You have already owned the car for 10 years. There are many fully loaded cars that would certainly justify an upgrade - be it luxury features or drivetrain options. If you are on the right side of 45 yrs, you will get another 10 years to enjoy a fun-to-drive car. This would be a good time to indulge in a car purchase if finances are healthy. I can’t be specific as it depends on finances and whether you will get the service done at ASS or not. Had it been a Jetta high line with AT, nothing below the BMW range can justify an upgrade. For base MT replacement, you can explore many options including many Škoda cars.

Automatic transmission, electric seat adjustment, led lights, better interiors (ventilated seats), better ICE, better performance and more exciting engines, keyless entry, phone integration, etc. are the features you will be getting just to name a few.

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