"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."
"I bought my 04 Passat GLX used (2 previous owners) with 73,000 miles. Thought it was a good deal but had major issues within first 2 years. (1) Both CV Joints replaced (2) Cam Seals - twice due to dealer error (3) Water pump (4) Belts replaced (5) Fuel Pump replaced at 103,000 (6) Purge valve replacement recently. The list could keep going. The water pump and belts were precautionary when the cam seals went. That repair alone cost me $1600. If it wasn't for that repair I would have gave this vehicle better ratings. Just had bad luck with Volkswagon this time. Wouldn't recommend my vehicle to someone else but maybe a similar model."
"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!"
"Owned since new (7 years now)...no major problems, although several recalls. NEED to keep up with maintenance schedule and change Timing Belt/Water pump at 65-80K..do not wait until 105K (as manual indicates). Would never buy Used unless I had all documented maintenance records. Wife loves the way the car drives, also very sturdy/safe."
"I own one of these things. never again will I own another. Continued to have problems with this car. It has cost me a small fortune to try and keep it running. Everytime that I have taken it to the shop for repair it has cost me over $700. I have put more money into repairing this car than I paid for it. I had always beleived that VW were good cars. Maybe the old one, But not this one . Please stay away from this car. I wish I would have."
"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 have had this car for 3 years and its a great car. It was 1 year when we bought it and it still looks new. No major problem. The car as good milage and excellent comfort and lots of space for cargo and a big Dog."
"This car has 8 cylinders and still gets about 23 MPGs. Has plenty of power and is deceptively fast. Great touring car. Very quiet interior, controls are well thought out and placed. Very easy to put 500 miles on in a day. I love this car and would recommend it to anyone.. but it is expensive to maintain and to operate. High octane gas required, oil changes will run about $100.00(takes 9.0 quarts of oil) and it has to synthetic oil."
"Bought my VW Passat Wagon (2003 model) with 1.8 engine and 5spd manual over a year ago. Car had 123,000 on it then, has over 150,000 now. Yes, it cost about a grand to do the timing belt/water pump/cam tensioner routine maintenance. I would have tackled that if I currently lived where I had a garage, but I don't, and it's -30 here in the winter.
I put good tires on this wagon (Michelin Pilot Exaltos) and keep the oil changed in it. A few things (power mirror, cruise control, center caps for wheels, rear windshield wiper) have given me some trouble, but for a 10 year old car with over 120k miles on it, I'm not shocked or dissappointed. I either fixed or had repaired the few minor problems I've had with this car. Overall, my wife and I love the car, love the power, love the handling, and LOVE the fuel economy. We've seen 32mpg on interstate roadtrips, and have never seen less then 26mpg with lots of town driving. We will buy another Passat wagon as soon as we have the cash for an upgraded year."