"I've had this car since '99. I've only kept it this long, because it's paid for. Like many other reviewers, I've had a lot of problems with the car beyond the normal maintenance. I've also replaced the door mechanism on all four doors multiple times, and three of the four doors don't work correctly right now. That is my biggest complaint about the car. Otherwise, the V6 engine has plenty of power, and the ride is decent. As far as a recommendation, I'm not sure how many people are in the market for a car from the mid- to late-90s. If so, stay away from the VW Passat."
"I have owned my 1995 Passat GLX (VR6, 5 speed) for 12 years. Over the years, I have been impressed by the overall performance. Brakes are solid, suspension well balanced, and the engine is powerful and sounds great."
"I bought my diesel Passat new in '96 for 19,600. It now has 255,555 miles on it. I brag about it all the time, especially with today's gas/fuel prices. I get 51 miles to the gallon!! Admittedly it doesn't have the acceleration of the non-diesel models. I bought it because I was on the road as a salesperson; I have taken it on 2000 mile trips (middle-aged woman alone). I've driven in all kinds of weather and almost always feel safe. Yes the door handles are stubborn, especially now. Yes I lost the driver's side window regulator once. The sunroof now leaks in a powerful car wash. I have hauled furniture, dogs, family, scrap wood and demolition material to the dump. Now I recharge the a/c annually. I replaced 1 bearing. Original clutch. Mine was built in Germany. I get 60k miles out of the tires I put on it. I have the dealer put synthetic oil in it. I did have to replace the radiator a couple years ago. I replaced part of the exhaust system once. Now I will need tires, brakes and a timing belt again, kind of all together, but I hope for another 100k miles. Anyone else have this great car?? When I bought it there were only 3 in this state. I feel very lucky. I bought the car (my first new car purchase after leasing several) for the long run...and we're still running. I love it, in spite of a few small faults."
"I bought the car from a used car dealer at 90K. Had nothing but problems from the start. First is started with windows falling into the door, doors not opening, flooding, then antifreeze began to leak on to the drivers side floor. We owned the car for 2 years, bought it for $4000, put over $1,500 into it and finally sold it for only $800 very disappointed!"
"How many cars can you drive 212k without replacing any front end part, alternator, starter, or clutch. I have done nothing but replace brakes, struts, filters, oil. It gets 50 mpg regularly and I've even gotten as high as 56 mpg. The car has a large tank which returns around 900 miles on a single tank. I did have two problems: an oil line to the turbo broke, due to a hanger that held it in place rusted and broke (due to the salt use in Maine). which I lost all the oil in the engine at 75mph. But it has survived! I also had a wiring harness chaff through which caused the car to dhort out and die in the rain. No car is without problems, however if you mantain this car it rewards you, in my opinion no other car was a better value."
"I bought this car new in 1997. It has been trouble from day one. This car has gone thru 3 transmissions. Both the drivers side and passengers side window have fallen into the doors 4 times each. Numerous electrical issues. Had AC replaced. Spedometer and odometer have not worked for the past year and a half. Cruise control broken. Trunk lock won't open. Right side door locks will not lock or unlock, must be done manually. Check engine light continually on. "Leather" seats ripped on both sides, exposing that they are not really made from leather. Drivers side window will not open or shut with power window button, glass must be pulled up or pushed down manually. Requires expensive, low profile tires which only last a maximum of a year. Over heats when air conditioning is on. Everything squeaks, rattles, or creaks. Other than that, excellent car!"
"Love this car, looks great, engine is tip top and gets great mileage. However, door handles have broken, trunk latch is broken, speedometer has broken, driver side window has broken and rear window control has broken. This is expected from an old car, so I can't complain too much. Overall, I love it, but it's a headache sometimes."
"Before I owned my car, it was owned by a family with several children. They bought it new and their kids definitely gave it a run for it's money. I got it and drove my brother and sister around for two years. Now I drive it about 200 miles a month between school and home plus all the driving I do in the city. The poor thing is 13 years old; it's been driven hard and it's probably time to give it up, but it is nothing if not reliable and I definitely love it."
"BOUGHT 11/2003 WITH 99,000 MILES. NOW HAS 125,000 MILES. VR6 ENGINE, MANUAL TRANS. STRONG ENGINE, SMOOTH SHIFTER. PEPPY. A BALL TO DRIVE - DRIVES LIKE A BMW. COMFORTABLE AND ROOMY. PROBLEMS WITH EXTERIOR DOOR HANDLES. MINOR PROBLEM WITH AC. REPAIRS AND PARTS ARE PRICEY. I AM ABLE TO DO MOST MAINTENANCE AND REPAIRS MYSELF."
"If your thinking of purchasing one of these VR6 passats or VR6 anything, rethink,..and run for the nearest Totota dealer. These engines and transmissions ( auto ) have a number of designe defects, leaving owners with huge repair bills. These units as well as the Jetta line are manufactured in Mexico and have a very poor QC standard."
"I bought this vehicle for a good price thinking it would be a good car to drive for a couple of years, and it has been just that.However due to the fact that it's an import, parts are more expensive so take that into consideration before buying.The tires alone on the car are very rare making them 3 to 4 times as much as a normal tire.The features I like are the heated seats which is great for those freezing cold days and while on that topic let me explain a huge fault on Volkswagons part the door handles, living in the midwest we have cold days and the I know when its really cold out I'm going to go to my car and the door is not going to shut, the locking mechanism on the door isn't on the inside like most cars so the extreme tempatures keep the door form closing.I've had to go as far as attaching a hair dryer to an extension cord to heat up the latch to get it to close and when I'm not at home i have to hold the door closed while I drive.Another flaw is because the 97 model was built so poorly almost all the work that you'd be able to do on your own on a domestic car, can't be said for this car, for example tranmisson fluid can only be put in with a special machine used at liscened Volkswagon Dealer, and to replace the altanator you'd have to lift the entire engine to get to it. Because I got a deal on this car I can't get to mad about certain things but just beware and do your research, but if you stumble across one that has had routine maintanance and you plan to keep up on it as well I recommend buying it."
"I just bought one for about 500 bucks and it was all messed up because of the privious owner did not take care of it. I got it, cleaned it out, filled with oil and surpizingly EVERYTHING works! I do have and oil leak... This car is super fast even with a beat up engine. no smoke, and never stalls out. love it. and yes the door handels dont work..."
"...for the numerous problems this make and model are known for. Great little car with expensive design flaws....Windows, door locks, cooling system, various sensors and sealed trans. I would recommend this vehicle to a friend only if the known design flaws have been addressed by previous owner(s)."
"It's a good car overall. Since it's reliable and get's better milage than kelly blue book says it does. I personally got 29 miles to the galllon on the highway. a mixture of city and highway is 25 miles to the gallon and 19 to the gallon is about right for city. I get complaints though that my old honda was more comfortable in the back seat than this car. the front seat is pretty comfy though just the back as much room as it has people say it just isn't comfy like my 97 honda accord was. but I like the way it handles at high speed Since I love driving fast it handles turns going pretty quick quite well. I think it's like a sport's car when it comes to handling. and it holds it's value pretty well. (unlike american cars)I'm quite an aggresive driver so if you need a car that can handle intense driving than look no further it's low price and great handling will ensure lot's of happinesss behind the wheel. I am not a volkswagon fan but I have to say I'm impressed with this car."
"I got this car almost 3 years ago, and since then I haven't stopped having problems with it. So far I've replaced the radiator and the fan motor, the thermostat, the rear struts, the water pump, the brakes master cylinder, rotors, and calipers, front and rear wheel bearings, wheel bearing seal, inner and outer tie rods, oxygen sensor and spark plug wires. Not to mention 3 out of the 4 doors do not open. It seems like I fix one thing, then 2 more things go. It's a lose-lose situation. I strongly think you should do your homework before buying any Volkswagen vehicle. I've just been reading consumer reports, and I wish I had before I bought this thing."
"I bought this vehicle used @ 55,000 mi. during 07.2002. It has had some problems cruise control works occasionally, a/c compressor needs replacing @ $1,200. I would probably buy another but, not recommend it to a friend."
"Very solid car, spacious and comfy, strong VR6 engine. Had almost all common VW problems: driver side door handle, power window elevator, sensors, auto transmission works not quite smoothly... But they are not big deals if you know how to buy parts on-line and get a honest repair shop(not dealer!)
Anyway worth my money."
"My 1996 Passat wagon has 105,000 miles and is in the shop more than not these days. We just replaced the transmission. I've had many problems with the electrical and the drivers side door. But I loved that car and will fix it and sell it to a friend. We just bought a 2005 Audi."
"Bought 96 VR6 Passat Sedan new. It now has 150,00mi. On the whole, it has needed repair a little too often, but so far nothing huge (e.g. engine or transmission). I've been able to repair everything myself. I wouldn't buy a new one again, but I did buy a 96 Passat Wagon (now has 115,00 mi) a few years ago because the resale value had dropped a bunch, and was a good value at that time, and I knew I could fix the common problems. The Passat has a good strong engine (VR6) but many other parts have had problems. This car is definitely not for someone who sends their vehicles to the shop for repair and finding a good discount VW parts web site is highly recommended."
"Well, let me list the problems
Window motors go out
maintanance light is always on
ABS light always on
leaky valve gasket
poor quality hoses
weak heated seats
super expensive to fix even on your own
cant do much on your own(spark plug wires)
no cup holders
Its no Honda"
"This car was great when i first got it used with about 150,000 miles on it. Then everything started to fail, all power window regulators/motors failed. The sunroof motor failed. That was ok for a while until the heater core failed (common on all VW's in this model year). The exhaust resonator rusted through, the drivers side door handle stopped functioning and the factory radio would work sometimes and not others... The VR6 motor has always been a plus.. probably the only one."
"The car looks good. It is fun to drive, when it works. Constant headaches. All 4 door handles have broken at least twice. You have to reach inside to open 2 of the doors. Lock on trunk broken. Motor that unlocks all of the doors continues to run for 1 minute after doors are unlocked. A/C has gone out twice. Transmission has broken twice (car is automatic). Water pump blew up at a dealer while waiting for a different repair job. Throttle body broken at 74091 miles. Mass air flow sensor broke at 76000 miles, causing the car to be inoperable untill fixed. Most VW shops won't work on this car. Dealerships rarely fix the right problems. Do yourself a favor and buy something reliable... an Acura perhaps."
"ive had mine for about 3 yrs now and well the trannty, ignition cylnder, rear windows, ac wheel bearings, and moon roof all quit working with in a month of eachother. for the amonut of money it would cost to fix it i could by 2 other cars
get somthing else"