"Love this car. I have driven it for over 103K since bought. Timing belt is the most intensive job. Done around 80K can run about $800 if not DIY. Since I am a DIYer and a car nut, I have no problem with the extra attention this car and most German cars need. You need to know what does what and look out for potential issues. This is not a honda or a Toyota appliance. It is meant to be driven. Also, it requires regular maintenance and does not take kindly to neglect. I love the way it handles, though not on stock 15" tires. Power delivery on the 1.8T and V6 is smooth and adequate, stock. I still regularly hit up to 30-32 mpg on the highway, loaded. I only scored it low on recommendation because it is not for everybody with regards to maintenance. Other than that, I could not be happier with it. It is the longest I have ever kept a car."
"I bought the car barely used and have thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a great blend of comfort, fun driving dynamics, and utility. It has held up well with regular maintenance and daily use. At 156K miles, it still is tight, rock solid, and fun to drive. I plan to keep it until I drive the wheels off of it - 300K seems reasonable"
Cons: "things break down like dominos when at upper miles"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Car was great and problem free until about 70K. Then unrelated problems kept coming and coming: no heat, leaking coolant, thurmastat, leaking gasket, rear defrost, regulator in door (works window), etc. Made all repairs at dealership, but new problems persisted. I thought it would run until 110K . Now spending too much time and money repairing and just want to get rid of it.
When it worked, it was great. Loved it. Only complaint was it was a little underpowered. Great ride, sharp looking and very convenient. Even with problems mentioned above, car never failed to get me where I needed to go and never overheated."
"I've been driving this car for about a year and it's had over 200,000 miles on it since I bought it... still runs great and is a very dependable car. I took it out during the recent snowstorm and it heated right up and kept me and the engine warm without skipping a beat. In the summer, the AC is very cold and is quick to work even on the hottest of days. I definitely recommend!!!"
Pros: "Solid German driving dynamics! DAS AUTO! Torque!"
Cons: "Lack of horsepower"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"There are not many German engineered vehicles like the Volkswagen Passat TDI sedan and wagon. They have best heated seats. The blue and pink diode gauges are a nice added touch to the interior. I wish that VW had this car in a GLX that would offer the automatic Climatronic and the rain sensor, auto dimming interior mirror, pwr. seats and last but not least the pwr. folding mirrors. The B4 passat wagon is hands down the best built and reliable Passat on the market. I would highly recommend this vehicle."
"I've had my Passat for eight years and it has never needed any work outside of routine maintenance. Volkswagens are extremely reliable and comfortable. Were it not for a few cosmetic issues that have popped up over the years in addition to my dog eating three out of five seatbelts in the car, I would be driving it into the ground. The car has always been fun to drive and easy to maintain."
Pros: "Comfort, Luxury for a low price, Sporty drive."
Cons: "City Mileage burns the wallet"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"The Car is great to drive around in. I have the 4 cylinder 1.8L Turbo, FWD. The car has comfortable seats, and the gas and break pedal give you the ability to increase speed very quickly or gently slow down. This car is fun to drive! Purchased at for 8k at 87,000 miles. Get this car only if it has quality car-fax and has been given premium gas. The car requires high maintenance and don't expect to get away with anything less than synthetic oil! make sure waterpump and timing belt are done before 95,000 miles. City mileage is not the greatest ( I get around 18mpg, Highway around 23-25mpg)"
"I bought my 2002 VW Passat after a terrible series of sour lemons. I've been very pleased with the car especially since I did buy it used not knowing what I was getting myself into. The big drawback in this endeavor is the fact that I am college student so yes, there is a definite "scarcity" in money! Getting repairs and maintenance has been a pain but well worth it. So, yes I didn't realize that VW was in the league of Mercedes, BMW, etc. therefore parts and service would be more than other cars out there... Yet, I am very pleased with my VW. Plus, I couldn't believe it when people told me they were envious of my Passat but hey, it does look pretty nice. Do yourself a favor, if you don't like Hondas; check out the VWs."
"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."
"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."
"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 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."