Want a family sedan or wagon that prioritizes reliability, sensibility and exceptional fuel mileage? Consider something from Honda, Subaru, Mazda or Toyota.
Want a family sedan or wagon that’s big on style, refinement and advanced technology?
Can’t afford that BMW or Mercedes? The Volkswagen Passat might be the answer.
The last-generation car featured sedan, wagon or “Comfort Coupe” four-door body styles, two available engines, available All Wheel Drive (AWD) and plenty of high-tech goodies.
VW’s two-litre turbo four-cylinder engine with 200 horsepower was standard on all models. The automaker’s 3.6-litre, 280-horsepower V6 was also available.
What owners like
For most owners, the looks, refinement, performance and driving experience of the Passat were big draws. A high-quality interior feel, plenty of power with either engine and long list of bells and whistles all earned praise.
What owners dislike
Common complaints include poor gas mileage on V6-equipped models, a stiff ride, and a trunk design that allows water and snow to spill into the cargo area when the trunk is opened.
An engine that seems to “misfire” or “hesitate” is likely suffering from bad ignition coil packs, a common VW and Audi problem on older models.
Note that the more complicated 3.6-litre engine suffers from a potential oil-pump bolt defect that could result in engine failure. As such, opt for the two-litre engine wherever possible, and get any extended warranty offered on Passat models powered by the larger engine.
Ultimately, the big draws to a last-generation Passat will be the driving experience, styling and relatively affordable blend of luxury and high-tech. Expect to pay a premium in the market for the vehicle, repair costs, fuel and insurance.