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1996 Volkswagen Passat

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Consumer Reviews & Ratings

Overall Rating
6.7
Out of 10

Based on 77 Ratings for the 1995 - 1997 models.

Review this car
more rating details
  • Value
    7.5/10
    Quality
    7.1/10
  • Reliability
    7.0/10
    Performance
    7.8/10
  • Comfort
    7.9/10
    Styling
    7.6/10
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Best (German car) bang for the buck.

By on Wednesday, April 02, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 225,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Brakes, Suspension, Engine"

Cons: "Electrical quirks"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"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."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Excellent fuel economy: 40 mpg average

By on Wednesday, November 06, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 220,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Would own another, they are that good!"

Great Car for European Car lover

By on Wednesday, May 01, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 145,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Roomy, looks good, good in snow, responsive, rare"

Cons: "Expensive parts, no front cup holders, money pit"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"Bought this car at 137k miles. Loved it after I drove it, got it at $1200, which was about half the kbb, and a month goes by and I find out the sun roof is leaking. Spent $400 on labor and an entire new sun roof. Another few months go by, then this car left me stranded in a neighboring city due to it overheating. Take it to the mechanic, they tell me it's the water pump, replaced it, another $500 for the pump and labor. I take it out from the shop, and the dang thing overheats again before I even make it home down the street no more than a mile. Next I replaced the thermostat, $100, and now the windows are randomly going down when I close them, which is another venture I do not feel like going through, so I am selling it after replacing everything really mechanically wrong with it. I love this car, but I was looking for a $1200 car to get me to work, but instead I got a project that I am over a thousand dollars into."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

I LIKED IT

By on Monday, July 02, 2012

I owned and sold this car
Reason: MOVING

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "FUN TO DRIVE"

Cons: "HEATER PROBLEMS"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"IT WAS A GOOD CAR, ONLY PROBLEM WAS HEATER-CORE."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Nice car but lots of problems

By on Thursday, February 02, 2012

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 150,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
6/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"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."

8 people out of 8 found this review helpful

fun to drive powerful great gas/mileage

By on Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I own this car

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "very powerful"

Cons: "parts hard to find and usually expensive"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"problems with door handles and windows,easy fix for experienced mechanic,replaced coil pack,car has heated seats leather enterior(fair conditioin) body fairly clean 1 rust spot,1 dent on rt front fender ac is fully charged but needs switch or something/worked great when switch was bypassed,needs front passenger window track fixed/replaced overall a decent dependable car"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

GLX-buy it only if you are a DIYer

By on Monday, January 02, 2012

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 175,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
3/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "doesn't leave you stranded..powerful and torquey"

Cons: "small things breaking are like water torture"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"Bought my car with 100,000 miles on it. Drivetrain(manual) has been reliable. Strong engine and great handling, but as others have noted, the small stuff will drive you crazy. the previous owner had extended warranty that had expired. I know why she sold it. It was in the shop about every 2 months. Even the instrument panel failed. These are our repairs: window regulators, leaky windows, door handles(of course!),heater core, cooling system leaks (upgraded parts solved this), fuses mysteriously blowing, 2 clutches, clutch pedal, heater controls. Oh well, now it's like an old dog. Gonna keep it til it dies."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

second vehicle

By on Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 185,500

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "fun to drive, large area, sneakily fast"

Cons: "annoying electrical problems to fix"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I just bought this car and in the month I've had it even with 185500 the engine is still really strong and surprisingly more efficient than I had read"

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

really great car.

By on Friday, November 18, 2011

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 240,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "everything"

Cons: "nothing."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"i love this car. absolutely no flaws"

love driving the car but gotta accept aging quirks

By on Monday, September 19, 2011

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 155,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Great drive, engine, handling, performance"

Cons: "windows, door latches break with age, cup holder is a terrible add-on design"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I bought this '97 black exterior, black leather interior GLX with 6k miles on it. My guess is the previous owner lived in the south bay of SF (san jose, palo alto, mountain view, etc), bought it in the winter, got to summer and said "holy solar flares, it's an oven in here!" I live in SF, where it's never summer and never hot, so it's the perfect car for SF and maybe Seattle. But trips to wine country, east bay in the summer, and a late spring road trip to AZ/UT (canyon country, Moab, GC, etc) are brutally hot. Love the way this car drives. Even with 150K miles, still drives and handles great. Incredibly fun, responsive to slightest nudge on accelerator, comfortable to be in the cockpit all day. The bad news: the details. All 4 power windows have needed to be replaced cause the clips break and the windows stop tracking correctly. The sunroof broke once too, and over my mechanic's advice I asked him to fix it (and it works now). I gotta have my sunroof and radio, those are must-haves for me. I had the same issues with the door not latching shut in cold weather (winter morning in Tahoe) and had to wait a few hours until the sun warmed it up a bit). The door handles are horrible -- they look fine but the operation is not intuitive; I've had to instruct every friend and family member that they need to do both push (with thumb on handle base) and pull (latch out away from base), just pulling doesn't work effectively and eventually weakens the door latch. Currently, both rear doors don't open from the outside anymore; have to open from the interior. The stock rims are an odd 215/50/15. Only 1 remaining all season tire model left that I can ever find on tirerack. But love the rear log room in this vehicle; far more than comparable Audi A4, BMW 3 series, Infinity G35, Toyota Camry etc. I bought this car partially for this reason, so if/when any 6'3" friends are in the back seat I don't have to move my seat up. And I never do. Huge trunk for size of car too. Long story short: love the car and if I went back in time 10 years would buy it again 10 out of 10 times, but unless you find one with only 50k on it, don't recommend buying it now ... unless you stock up on tires or switch to a different sized rim."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

1997 VW Passat

By on Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 113,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
5/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"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."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

96 vw glx vr6 not so great

By on Wednesday, February 23, 2011

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
3/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

"I absolutely hate hate hate this vw ... I bought it from a friend 3 years ago and yes it is a 96 and I know it will have its problems but the problems I have had is by far the worst compared to my eighties volvo! I have replaced a bearing a tie rod a water pump a crank sensor some other sensor all the door handles break often they decided to put the most cheaply made door handles ever I mean it is endless with repairs it has been in the shop more then I have had it ... however when it does have a good day I do enjoy the sunroof and the style of the vehicle I would only recommend to someone if they truly love vw and understand how much they break"

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Sensible peoplemover

By on Wednesday, November 10, 2010

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

"I have owned this car for 15 years now and have nothing but good things to say about it. I liked the design and the practical aspect of a station wagon. Not as bulky as a minivan or SUV, but with more space than a sedan. Excellent performance and reliability on this wagon. Total repair costs so far are approximately $ 1,200. Would purchase another VW Passat station wagon but found out that VW is no longer selling them in USA, now that the NMS will be built in Tennessee."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

GLX VR6

By on Thursday, October 07, 2010

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

"loved the car however wouldnt recommend to someone unless they have the money to replace parts every 3 months :/"

no hybrid could match

By on Sunday, September 26, 2010

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

"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."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

By on Monday, April 26, 2010

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

This customer did not provide a text review.

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

very good buy

By on Tuesday, April 13, 2010

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

"my father bought this car 4 years ago and the previous owner had poorly maintaned it, so the first few times it went to the shop it cost about $500 each time but after about 3 trips it hasnt let me down in the 3 years ive driven it nearly daily. it has been a very good car, mileage ranging from 39.5-57.25 averges 45 on a regular basis"

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Reliable and Dependable; Great Value

By on Wednesday, March 24, 2010

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

"I bought this car used from a colleague in 1998 and have owned it since. Despite having a tough life being used mostly for city driving in the northeast and being parked on the street where it's been assaulted every winter by salt and sand trucks and plows as well as potholes, it has virtually no rust and has held up very well. During my last auto inspection, the mechanic commented on how tight the front end is. Never had a breakdown or a major mechanical failure in the 12 years I've owned it."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Ok Car if you have it

By on Thursday, March 11, 2010

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

"bought this car 3 years ago and have change twice refurbish water pump and auxiliary pump once, angine still ok, oil leak but no a problem, CC does not work since bought it, as far as door handles that people complaint, mine did not open doors, so I look at it and all I did is adjust the screw for the locks, which is locate on the side of the door cover with a plastic, you should remove it and tide the screw and done, as far as sun roof motor, junk yard motor from a jetta works, so far my trasmision fail in the begining, but once warms run good, dont know why."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Deceiving, yes?

By on Sunday, January 24, 2010

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

"You think it's a big wagon with a lazy engine but... w/ the 5-speed manual and it's advanced VR6 engine, you'd be amazed at how fun, yet very practical this vehicle is!"

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

By on Saturday, December 26, 2009

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
5/10

This customer did not provide a text review.

1997 Passat TDI manual

By on Wednesday, November 18, 2009

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

"I bought my Passat TDI from Carmax with 12,000 miles on it twelve years ago. I am now at 151,000 and still smile when I walk out to get in my car. I am 6'5" tall, and even with my seat back all the way, there is still plenty of room for someone to sit behind me. It has had its challenges over the years...had to replace the ECU in 2005, and have had to replace window regulators, door handles, locks, headliner, and should replace the gear shift boot and emergency brake boot. The Passat handles well, although I would not say that it is sporty. It's compliant over bumps on the highway, and continues to be fun to drive with the manual transmission. Given the huge, well-designed trunk, we have used this vehicle for family vacations, and I used it for years as a traveling office when I was in sales. The engine has always been serviced with synthetic and runs very well. The turbo allows me to keep up and merge with highway traffic, and the cruise has kept me out of trouble. It's been a great vehicle....and I've always averaged between 45 and 50 mpg...durability, economy, looks that don't go out of date...what more could you ask for in a vehicle?"

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Kind of boring but great to drive

By on Monday, November 16, 2009

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

"Owned my '95 GLS 3 years now. 35 mpg (w/4 cyl eng) highway, 28 in town. Quite reliable and can hold a LOT of stuff (back seats fold to extend trunk). Door handles required minor adjustment (or else they drive one crazy), sunroof motor failed: easy, cheap repair. Was able to replace the expensive, small battery with a cheaper, bigger one. Replacing the spark plugs for a tune up, however, is a real challenge. Maybe I got lucky but this car, while looking like every other car, has been very good to me."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

This car is unbeatable

By on Sunday, October 11, 2009

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

"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..."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

VW should be held accountable...

By on Saturday, May 30, 2009

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
7/10

"...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)."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

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