"This car has had a bad rap with sludge issues but that is for the careless owner. I have had mine since new, 120,000 mi, 7 years, and the factory battery is still in it. Superb family car, still very tight after all this time and very safe. The ONLY complaint anyone might have is that the preventitive maintenance at 100k is very expensive, timing belt, water pump etc need to be done and it is VERY important, this takes over 7hrs and costs north of a grand. Small price to pay, this car owes me nothing!"
"This 4 cylinder turbo engine Passat gives very good gas mileage on freeways. I get closer to 31 mpg on free ways. But during city drive I get around 24 mpg. It's a sturdy vehicle with good controls.
The thing I don't like about this vehicle is the maintenance expense, especially if you take it to VW dealer. In addition, I noticed I had an issue with its moon roof operation which was very difficult to isolate and fix.
Also, this vehicle had too many recalls.
In the end, I would recommend this vehicle for its road comfort, sleek style and sturdiness."
"I bought my 2003 1.8L Passat new. I now have 94,000 miles on it. Never once has it broken down or not started. I always try to put the premium fuel in it (have you seen the gas prices?? :) and use the good synthetic oil from VW. Oil changes are $65, but good for 10,000 miles. It pays off.
I've also driven it many super slippery winters in Michigan, and watched people slide off the highway. This car handles EXCELLENT on snow. Never once have I lost control or slid sideways on ice/snow.
I rear ended a woman in a drive-thru, and as she pulled away she had a massive hole in her bumper - and my car had a thread sized paint chip.
The back seat is a bit snug. I have a large Britax car seat, which takes up any room for other passengers. My son constantly kicks at the center ash tray and power outlet. I'm tempted to tape is shut. Big distractor while driving.
This is my 7th VDub. I'm hoping they design a hybrid .. I'd be all over that."
"I'm a very long term VW fan. My first car was a 1962 Beetle. over the years I've had plenty of cars, but he VWs are still my favorite.
I currently have a 2002 Passat GLX 4Motion Wagon with the 2.6 liter V6. We love this car. It has been very comfortable and quite reliable.
As with all cars, we've had a few maintenance issues that were quickly addressed by the local dealer. Problems to date include: Leaking sun roof; plugged sun roof drains (recall issue); slight slipping of the transmission during acceleration between 35 and 50 mph. That's about it.
One thing to keep in mind regarding service, always use synthetic oil (VW recommends 5W-40).
So, back to the car...
Quiet, comfortable and dependable. We can haul around more stuff than my father-in-law can in his Toureg! Mileage has been pretty good, about 23 mpg on average, peaking at 30+ mpg on the highway.
if you enjoy affordable quality German engineering, consider the Passat."
"Bought a 2002 GLS Wagon at 52K miles. So far I have driven 3K miles and had no major repairs. Driving and handling is superb, however I feel the base model 1.8 liter - 4 cylinder- Turbocharged engine is bit underpowered at 170 HP, especially if you live in hilly areas carrying 3 or more adults plus luggage. This wagon is certainly not a performance car by any means. If given an option, opt for V6 or W8 engines. Also, it jerks quite hard when you shift gear after startup, not while driving though. Gives about 18/24 mpg. Monsoon stereo is very good. Other than that, it has a lot of space, 4 basic electrical outlets, tons of safety features, AC works fine but takes a toll on mpg. A good basic people hauler."
"I bought this car with $85,000 miles on it and have had nothing but trouble from day one. I have has to replace the transmission, fuel pump twice, oil pump and a number of other items since I have owned it. The gas milage hasn't been that great either. I would never buy another passat."
Pros: "Great design, car is SOOOOO quiet in and out."
Cons: "TOO MANT SENSORS!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Good car at first, then the sensors start going out. Hit a bump in the highway and get an airbag default that's going to cost $3k to repair. Drivers door breaks for no reason, another $400 to repair. Inline emission switch goes out, $550 for the part, $250 to install grand total of that repair is 4889.65. Seat belt sensor fault, had it diagnosed and it will be another $349 repair. Bottom line, don't buy this car unless you have a few thousand dollars just sitting in your bank account for repairs."
"We bought this car new in 2003, Passat Wagon 1.8T. There are things I really love about it, but it has been costly to maintain - certainly compared to our other car which is 5 yrs older. The big issues I have had are routine replacement of brake rotors (haven't seen others mention this, but, I have never replaced rotors on any other car - these cannot be turned.) Also, the water pump had to be replaced at 40K?! So, they convinced us to do the timing belt at the same time to save on the labor cost of doing it later (apparently you are right there when doing the water pump and the whole front of the car has to come off). Now, I'm at 86K and am told the water pump is leaking and we should do it all again for $1300??!! The original maintenance recommendation is not until 90 - 100K. Shouldn't the cars parts last longer than that? We have replaced 2 CV boots, fuel pump was replaced under recall. The driver seat broke under warranty (it again has creaks and pops - not a big deal but, cannot be fixed, only replaced for $1000), am being told the motor mounts need to be replaced. We have maintained this car to a "T." Every check up has been done - synthetic oil has always been use and premium gas. All done at the dealer. For those people who think these things are because the car is not being maintained - it's not always....what more could we have done? Except buy a different car. Maybe it's just a lemon, or maybe it's the dealership that's doing the repairs - I don't know. It's sad. the car gets very good gas mileage, runs great, is very solid and handles beautifully after 8 years. But, it's expensive to maintain. I don't work full time, so the trips to the dealership aren't a huge hardship, but it's still a pain. Great car - never left me stranded, but high maintenance/cost in my opinion."
"I bought this 04 Passat when it was 4 years old with about 62k miles on it. I love the styling and standard features, the AWD in the snow was amazing in this Colorado weather. But at about 80k miles, I started having problems. Electrical issues- warning lights going off for no reason, headlights not working, display on the dash fading in and out. Replaced head gasket, coolant tank, some hoses and belts etc. due to coolant and oil mixing- cost about $2k.
Replaced ENTIRE engine at 86k mile due to cracked engine block- oil and coolant were mixing inside the coolant tank- gasket was not the culprit. Now, more warning lights, every time I turn right the car beeps and says "warning: brake fault: STOP". I just had the brakes checked and they were fine. So, can't wait to dump this lemon as soon as possible. It has cost me hours of no pay from work, $600 in rental car fees and thousands in repairs."
"Bought this used from a dealer, a year later am dealing with engine sludge due to the previous owner not putting synthetic oil in the car. The costs for premium gasoline, synthetic oil, and the ridiculous maintenance make this car unaffordable for the average person. Maintenance on a VW generally requires some part of the car to be removed - so you get charged an extra few hundred dollars for labor. I bought a VW because my previous VW Beetle was great and very reliable (despite ridiculous maintenance costs), but this will be my last VW and the last fistful of money I throw at VWoA."