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1997 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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By on Tuesday, October 23, 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

"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."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Good used value for home mechanic

By on Tuesday, October 16, 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
7/10
Comfort
7/10

"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."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Horrible car

By on Tuesday, October 09, 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
2/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
4/10

"Well, let me list the problems Poor leather over heats Window motors go out Transmission problems Fan problems maintanance light is always on ABS light always on leaky valve gasket severly underpowered poor quality hoses weak heated seats weak ac super expensive to fix even on your own cant do much on your own(spark plug wires) no cup holders Its no Honda"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

German Reliability

By on Tuesday, August 28, 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
7/10
Comfort
8/10

"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."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Don't buy a VW

By on Saturday, August 25, 2007

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
5/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
6/10

"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."

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."

6 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Worth it

By on Tuesday, February 12, 2008

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
8/10
Comfort
8/10

"I bought this 95 from a small dealer with roughly 50k on it. Today, thanks to the snow I slammed sideways into a telephone pole, airbags deployed and the car is surley totaled (Insurance purposes).....but unbelievably after the tow driver got it to drive onto the truck (to my shock), I got him to let me drive it home....220,000 miles on it, a telepone pole later and the car purred like a kitten all the way home (except the open, smashed windows and passenger doors, sunroof etc). No check engine light, no leaks (no bumper). Now remember the car IS totaled, the bent roof etc are not repairable....but the beast handled the hit well. After such a hard hit, the car rolled home for an hour and a half drive. I hate to loose it. The engine, radiator, the steering, the frame etc... all held up to a big accident after being on the road 13 years and 220K. Yes there were a few problems, clutch around 80k, (normal), a couple sensors around 120k, ignition swich, an arching coil pack that would arc only when it rained (rather than replace it we sprayed it with silicone and that worked) that i did not replace, and infamous Volks Electrical issues that let to a window that went down when it wanted to. A dime kept it in the up position until one bad winter day when I decided to just open the door and disconnect the window rather than pay VW $500 to 'maybe' fix it. And yes the headliner peeled but that was the fault of the guy installing a new windshield. So read the complaints and the whining and remember, almost any car will need some repair after 13 years and 220K. Anyone can get a lemon even from a new car. With the book value around 3K it would have been a steal if someone bought it. But I couldn't bear to sell it. I loved it too much. Had it for 10 years or so-so I don't think the number of repairs or the severity of them was unacceptable. Oh and I always used Mobil 1 synth oil and changed it every 10-15K miles and syth trany (Royal Purple). Like another review, I had someone recently ask me if it was a new car. A nice detail and it looked spanking new in and out. No one believes it is a '95. So good luck. I don't know that I would buy a new Passat or even another used one as I think there are likely better deals to be had, but if I ended up with one I would certainly be happy enough. happy hunting"

6 people out of 7 found this review helpful

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."

4 people out of 5 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"

6 people out of 8 found this review helpful

DON"T DO IT!!! 96 gls passat auto gas

By on Thursday, February 07, 2008

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
3/10
Comfort
3/10

"If you know what's good for your pocket book.... RUN far from anyone trying to sell you a VW. I bought mine from my cousin the car dealer and don't talk to him any more. He refused to take the car back 2 months later when the camshaft needed replaced. But the nightmare goes on. I spent just shy of 1000 fixing that issue then afterward it's needed monthly repairs that average 800 dollars each ever since. I paid $3500 to buy it, and have spent about $7,000 since then trying to make some decency out of the money I've already spent, thinking what else can possibly go wrong? The TRANNY nOW!!!"

3 people out of 4 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"

2 people out of 3 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."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

throiugh the nose repairs

By on Sunday, May 04, 2008

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
2/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
4/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
8/10

"Major electrical defects. Engine troubles all the time. Expensive upkeep."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

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."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Get a Honda

By on Wednesday, April 15, 2009

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
7/10

"1997 TDI Passat, comfortable to drive, good mileage (45 to 46 mpg consistently), but a maintenance nightmare. Two transmissions, five water pumps, radiator, alternator, fuel injector pump, oil pump and all four door release mechanisms replaced twice ( Does not seem to matter if you get aftermarket door handles or the ones from VW, they break almost immediately). VW built reliable cars in the 50’s and 60’s but if you want a reliable vehicle now, buy a Honda."

2 people out of 4 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"

1 person out of 2 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

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

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

Reliable

By on Saturday, April 11, 2009

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

"I have owned 3 Volkwagens and have always been very happy. My 95 Passat VR6 currently has 245000 miles and is still going strong. Very reliable and very fun to drive."

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 3 found this review helpful

By on Sunday, July 08, 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
10/10
Comfort
10/10

This customer did not provide a text review.

2 people out of 9 found this review helpful

By on Saturday, April 12, 2008

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

This customer did not provide a text review.

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.

By on Friday, May 16, 2008

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
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

This customer did not provide a text review.

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