"We bought our Passat new in Jan 1999, and it's still going strong. Very reliable car, no maintenance other than regularly scheduled stuff, and the occasional replacing of light bulbs. I think we were lucky and got a good one.
Electrical problems are happening, though. The Temperature gauge no longer works. Also, our AC went out 3 years ago, and I refuse to pay $2,000+ for a new compressor. We were very disappointed when the AC went bad. Also, parts are breaking on the inside...molding has come down around the rear windows...small stuff like that.
Mechanically, our Passat has been a very sound, reliable station wagon. We had one oil leak but it was fixed for free thanks to the 10 year/100,000 mile power train warranty that came standard on the '99. We hope to keep it for well over 10 years.
The reason I gave my car 3 stars for quality is due to the AC going out, and temp gauge not working, and the small things breaking on the inside. Mechanically it has been 5 star wagon.
Having said all of this, I'm not sure I would buy another Passat, though. They are expensive to buy new."
"I own a 2001 Passat GLX and while the drive is great, the maintainence of the car is a nightmare. The parts and labour are just too expensive. for e.g. to replace a single light bulb cost $29/- . Routine maintainence items (other then oil change - $80/-) typically cost in excess of $600/-. Also my car has done only 67,000 miles and already many major parts are breaking down (engine mounts, radiator leaks etc.)and I am looking at expenses in excess of $3000/- to get them all fixed. I have always done all the routine maintaince and service as recommended by VW, however I still have such a steep repair bill. I cannot wait to get rid of it and will strongly recommend against buying a VW."
"Owned car for 120,00 of it's 190,000 miles. Very well built, still original exhaust, clutch, engine & transmission (5-spd). Car still gets 30 MPG, does not burn or leak oil. Still fast and smooth. Never had a car (American or foreign) that is better at everything it does that this car. It is very safe, with airbags up front, and sides, as well as torso bags in seats. Looks as it did when new, a testament to how well they are put together, and the quality of the materials inside. Couldn't be happier with its overall performance."
"I have owned this car since day one. 165,000 miles now 12 years later, original clutch! For some reason parts have come way down in price, so a good used vehicle to own. The check engine lights are always on on these cars, you need to service the emissions tubing and system regularly. If you do not, it may cause oil leaks on the engine which, on the V6 engines can be near impossible to fix without major dissasembly of the entire engine! This car has a ton of pep even at 165k, good on gas with the 4 cyl turbo. Easy clutch to drive. I would buy another one in a heartbeat."