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Moving On Up - Upgrade Your Used Volkswagen With Help From Our Handy Guide

Benjamin Hunting
by Benjamin Hunting
November 18, 2011
5 min. Reading Time

No matter how much you might like the Volkswagen you have been driving, sometimes life's circumstances force you to trade it in for something a little bit bigger, a little more capable or a little more comfortable. Fortunately, with so many quality used Volkswagens on the market there's no need to set yourself up for a sizable monthly payment in your search for something better. In fact, chances are you can stay "in the family" and replace your current Volkswagen with a used VW that will offer you the additional features or utility that you are looking for.

Let's take a closer look at the used Volkswagen family of cars and examine the most common upgrade paths that link together eight of the German brand's most popular models.

01. You're Currently Driving: A Used Volkswagen Rabbit

A used Volkswagen Rabbit represents one of the better compact car compromises currently available. Looking for a practical commuter that is easy on gas and offers solid hatchback utility? The Volkswagen Rabbit's 29-mpg highway rating and 46 cubic feet of total cargo space (with the rear seats folded forward) have you covered. Want a small car that provides considerable thrills from behind the wheel without breaking the bank? A used Volkswagen Rabbit comes with a sporty suspension system, a 2.5-liter, five-cylinder engine that is good for 170 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque and the availability of either a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.


02. You Want To Upgrade To: A Used Volkswagen Passat

A used Volkswagen Passat offers Volkswagen Rabbit owners the chance to step up to a mid-size sedan that maintains the same engaging driving philosophy offered by the smaller compact. Depending on model year, used Volkswagen Passat models come with a variety of willing engine options (including a 200 horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and a 280 horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6), available all-wheel drive and a well-tuned chassis that adequately balances comfort with handling prowess.

The Volkswagen Passat's plus-size interior is perfect for transporting the family with a little more elbow room than is available in the Rabbit. The sedan's fuel mileage rating of 29-mpg on the highway the four-cylinder Passat is also a surprising match for the smaller car's efficiency.


03. You're Currently Driving: A Used Volkswagen Jetta

A used Volkswagen Jetta allows drivers to sample the pleasures of Euro-styling and handling without having to step up to an entry-level luxury sedan. The compact Volkswagen Jetta walks the line between affordability and premium motoring, with an elegant design both inside and out that rises above the standard small car trappings that buyers in its segment have become accustomed to.

Used Volkswagen Jettas can also be found with a range of efficient and powerful drivetrains, including a 170 horsepower, 2.5-liter five-cylinder, a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that is good for 200 ponies and a 2.0-liter turbodiesel that grinds out 140 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque. The latter posts fuel mileage of 30-mpg city and 42-mpg highway. A mix of five-speed and six-speed manual and automatic transmissions are available with the Jetta.


04. You Want To Upgrade To: A Used Volkswagen CC

A used Volkswagen CC offers Volkswagen Jetta drivers to stay within the premium European fold without having to pony up substantial luxury-car cash. A used Volkswagen CC doesn't just expand on the interior room available in the Jetta, but it also substitutes a dramatic exterior design whose sloping rear roofline is reminiscent more of a coupe than a traditional sedan.

Available heated leather seats, a sizable sunroof and HID headlights are just some of the high end features that be found on the used CC, and the vehicle also comes with the choice of either a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine (200 horsepower) or a 3.6-liter V-6 (280 horsepower). The latter can be paired with the option of all-wheel drive, and transmission choices for the sleek coupe/sedan include a six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic.


05. You're Currently Driving: A Used Volkswagen Tiguan

Used Volkswagen Tiguans are only now beginning to show up on the previously-owned market, as the compact SUV was just recently introduced as part of the German automaker's lineup. The Volkswagen Tiguan has been praised for its cargo capacity (up to 56.1 cubic feet with the rear seats folded forward) and its car-like handling, a characteristic it derives from its Rabbit platform-mate.

The crossover suv provides 26-mpg in highway driving thanks to the decision to pair the Tiguan with a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder that offers 200 horsepower and a broad torque band that peaks at 206 lb-ft of twist. All-wheel drive is available for drivers who frequently encounter the white stuff during the winter months, and buyers can select between models featuring a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission.


06. You Want To Upgrade To: A Used Volkswagen Touareg

A used Volkswagen Touareg is the next logical rung on VW's SUV ladder - and not just because it's the only other sport-utility vehicle in the company's portfolio. A used Volkswagen Touareg is virtually a custom-fit for families which have outgrown the Tiguan, as it offers a roomier interior, a more generous cargo area (featuring up to 71 cubic feet of total space) as well as a vastly improved towing capacity (as much as 7,700 lbs when properly equipped).

A used Volkswagen Touareg also brings more power to the table when compared to the smaller Tiguan. The full-size Touareg starts out with a 280 horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 and can also be had with a fuel-sipping (25-mpg highway) 3.0-liter turbodiesel six-cylinder unit that offers up 221 horses and 407 lb-ft of torque. Additional Touareg drivetrains include a 350 horsepower, 4.2-liter V-8 and a rare 4.9-liter V-10 turbodiesel edition that comes with 310 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are standard on every used Touareg.


07. You're Currently Driving: A Used Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen

A used Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen is often an attractive option for family shoppers who aren't quite ready to step into a minivan or SUV but who require more utility than a hatchback has to offer them. The Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen maintains the classy styling of the Jetta sedan but grafts on an extended cargo area that expands the vehicle's 16 cubic foot trunk to a much more substantial 32.8 cubic feet. Folding down the rear seats opens up a crossover-challenging 66.9 cubic feet of total hauling room.

A used Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen also benefits from the sedan's frugal 2.5-liter, five-cylinder base engine. This motor is good for 170 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque and turns in fuel economy figures of 21-mpg city and 29-mpg highway. Those who are looking for a little more zip can also locate a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder edition of the SportWagen that offers 200 horses. Like the Jetta sedan, transmission choices include five and six-speed manuals and a pair of six-speed automatic options.


08. You Want To Upgrade To: A Used Volkswagen Routan

There comes a time in every family's life when a minivan starts to look like the answer to a lot of daily transportation questions. A used Volkswagen Routan offers a way for moms, dads and the kids to enjoy all of the personal space they need in a package that comes with VW's distinctive exterior design and upscale interior accommodations. The seven-passenger Routan also provides the option of a load-leveling suspension system, a navigation system and a whopping 144 cubic feet of cargo room with the second and third rows out of the picture.

Used Volkswagen Routans (2009 - 2010) feature a twin-V-6 attack in the engine bay. The minivan's 3.8-liter entry-level motor generates 197 horsepower, while its 4.0-liter cousin ups the ante to 253 ponies. A six-speed automatic gearbox is standard with either unit, and fuel economy shows as 25-mpg on the highway for the more robust of the two power plants.



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