I bought the TC new in August 2004, paid $19.2K including taxes, few upgrades (ground effects, sway bars, metal shifter, metal pedals, lip spoiler and 6 CD changer), etc. The car is now 6.5 years old ...
I bought the TC new in August 2004, paid $19.2K including taxes, few upgrades (ground effects, sway bars, metal shifter, metal pedals, lip spoiler and 6 CD changer), etc. The car is now 6.5 years old and has 100K on the clock. KBB rates the private value at over $8K for a 6.5 year retention of about 44% (from total incl. price), and I frequently see used 2005 models advertised for well over $10K ... excellent for any car.
The TC has been a lot of fun over the years, it corners very well, is plenty quick (7.2-7.6s to 60, great for the class), nippy, has some go-cart qualities and is luxurious for a car of this price. The best of all is IT HAS NEVER HAD A PROBLEM ... it is now serviced at Sears (inexpensive and good quality service), the brakes have lasted with only the front pads changed, and it looks like new - under the hood (no rust), under the car (no rust - even the exhaust looks recent), on the outside (couple of dings and chips) and inside (when I can be bothered to clean it).
Features I use often that do not appear in (most) other cars are the large moonroof and small rear roof window, the single press up/down windows (great touch), the reclining rear seats (good for long trips with friends who are sleepy), the back seat is very roomy and has cup holders and storage, and the flat fold down seats from front to back to carry large items (2"x4"x8's, doors etc., when my Explorer SUV is off the road; the TC can actually haul longer items).
I do not know what the EPA smoke, but my TC has always got greater than 27mpg. 27-29mpg in suburban East Bay CA and 28-32mpg in my commutes in East TN; my last two fill ups recorded 32 and 31mpg.
Features I wish it had are improved seat fabric (in terms of dirt and dog hair repulsion), a 6th gear (to increase acceleration and also to reduce engine speed at 75+), electric seats and a rear wiper. These, of course are minor for a car of this class.
I love the way the car looks, especially the front end, however, the one thing I would like is the rear to be be less portly or bulbous ... and in fact the whole car to be slightly smaller and thus lighter.
At this time I am debating if I should trade it for a BMW 135i ... but I am so happy with the TC, it is a great little car. Part of the worry is that if I trade it, I may end up with a car that requires several trips to the dealership or a car that wastes money; money that can be invested in retirement or something else.
Lets face it, all cars are money pits, the extent to which it is a money pit should determine a purchase. Having a six figure salary does not necessarily determine that you should buy an expensive car i.e. a 135i at $40K , when you know it will lose $20K of that it less than 5 years and probably will require some after-sales repair and expensive servicing. If I keep the TC for 5 more years I will save $40K; and I think it will keep going for 10 years.
If you are considering this as a used vehicle with a known and good history at around $10K, buy it, it is a great car and you won't be disappointed!