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1996 Volkswagen Passat

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Consumer Reviews & Ratings

Overall Rating
6.8
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
    7.9/10
  • Comfort
    7.9/10
    Styling
    7.7/10
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Per Page:  5 | 10 | 25
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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."

11 people out of 11 found this review helpful

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."

8 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Best Investment I've Made

By on Tuesday, October 21, 2008

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

"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."

8 people out of 8 found this review helpful

tough

By on Wednesday, March 26, 2008

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

"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"

6 people out of 6 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."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

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

Trouble, trouble, trouble

By on Thursday, July 24, 2008

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
2/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
8/10

"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!"

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Worst car I ever owned

By on Sunday, July 20, 2008

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
4/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
4/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

"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!"

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Very satisfied

By on Thursday, July 26, 2007

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
10/10

"I purchased this car new and have had great luck with it!"

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

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

Nice

By on Monday, October 20, 2008

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

"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."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Driven to death

By on Tuesday, March 11, 2008

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

"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."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

POOR MAN'S BMW

By on Saturday, January 05, 2008

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
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

"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."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Passat

By on Sunday, December 30, 2007

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
2/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
6/10

"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."

3 people out of 3 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."

2 people 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

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

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..."

2 people out of 2 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

This is my first vw

By on Thursday, March 19, 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
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

"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."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

This car is junk!

By on Thursday, January 24, 2008

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
2/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
4/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
5/10

"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."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

By on Monday, November 26, 2007

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
9/10
Comfort
8/10

"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."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

5 star

By on Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 270,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"best car ever made"

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!"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Solid

By on Monday, November 19, 2007

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
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

"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."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

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