2003 Volkswagen Passat TDI Comfortline 1.9 turbo diesel


Excellent highway sedan


Alternator clutch blew at 144000km; replaced at a cost of 150 euros.

Some high pitched, squeaking noise, when the air conditioning is engaged. Most likely it's from the belt or one of the belt wheels.

General Comments:

Considering the odometer reading, there have been very little extra repairs. And the extra repairs (mentioned above) that had to be done; they have been very reasonably priced at the dealer.

Though this is the low power 100bhp version of the 1.9TDI Passat, the 250Nm of torque pushes this car very nicely. Overtaking is very easy, and you can feel as the turbo wakes up at 1900 rpm.

Seats are very comfortable and I can get an excellent driving position, though I'm 185cm tall (6' 2").

Fuel economy of the car is phenomenal; I live 100km (62 miles) away from my work, and thus I drive at least 1000km every week. I can continuously get fuel consumption at around 5.3 L/100km (app. 45 US mpg). This car really saves money!!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th August, 2007

2000 Volkswagen Passat Comfortline 1.8 20 valve


Approach with care, it has many off days


Interior lights failed soon after delivery.

Coolant leaks.

Petrol breather pipe blocked.

Brakes always been squeaking like some old bus!

Central locking had a nasty habit of opening itself after parking. Alarm would sound for no reason as well.

Water pump bearing broke.

Relay failure and windscreen wiper motor packed up, a 3 day job to fix this.

Stones jam in the alloys causing screeching.

Often jumps out of second gear.

Finally, (and it IS because it's being sold) the interior lights are playing up a gain. Full circle!

General Comments:

A massive disappointment and costly irritation, what's happened to the famed German quality these days? Checked with a couple of other owners and they are similarly depressed. All these faults in a less than two year old car. The dealer has been faultless, friendly, loan cars free etc, but no NEVER again a VW or Audi product. The handling is too soft, steering too light and the 20 valve engine is clumsy in traffic. On the positive side, the interior looks and feels posh, it's quiet and roomy, but I don't trust it any more. I'm buying a new Primera, my wife's British made Almera has been totally faultless so fingers crossed. Caveat emptor with VW I'm afraid.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 22nd July, 2002

1996 Volkswagen Passat TDi Wagon 1.9L


Great as long as it doesn't get too cold!


I bought this car from a colleague at work who had bought it from new in Dallas. As it was an American model it had many expensive features as standard and was bought for a good deal less than a similar model would have cost in Finland.

Everything went just fine until the winter... The engine starts first time everytime. The heating works well and reacts quickly, it is a great car and extremely fuel efficient. The only real problem that I have had is that as soon as the temperature falls below zero the locks freeze open; meaning that you can unlock the car but then you can't close the doors!

I have tried every kind of grease and oil known to man and nothing works. This happens because the manufacturer tried to save weight and space by making the lock frame out of plastic and the moving parts out of metal. I have since heard from several others that this is an inherrent problem with the Passat. If you live in a cold climate forget it.

Central locking vacuum piping took a leak and a valve had to be replaced which was expensive.

Passenger electric window only works when it feels like it..

I had the first servicing done at a smaller VW dealer in Helsinki and they were terrible. The car was vandalised whist in their possession and in the end my insurance had to pay for it as they were so stupid about everything. I have since had the car serviced by another VW dealership (Stockmann in Pitäjanmäki) and they were absolutely fantastic; so it just goes to show you that it isn't fair to judge all by the same bad-press.

General Comments:

The Passat is basically a great car - especially as the TDi, but don't rely on it in the winter.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 1st April, 2001

24th Jan 2004, 11:40

Freezing door locks is extremely common on these cars. I live in Norway, and with temperatures below -30 degrees Celsius the locks on my 94 wagon have been a minor nightmare. It took me some years to figure out a way to avoid the problem. This is how to fix it:

1. Remove the plastic cover and clean it.

2. Use Q-tips and alcohol and clean all moving parts (really really) thoroughly. Let dry (use a hairdryer).

3. SOAK the locks with silicone grease (spray box with nozzle). Then use a thin anti-freeze oil (Eisfrei etc.) on top of this. Take especially care with the tiny knob under (?) the lock.

4. Seal the joint between the door and lock with silicone grease (tube).

5. Coat the inside of the plastic cover with silicone grease (tube).

6. Replace plastic cover. Dry off excess grease, but make sure there is a watertight seal between the plastic cover and the door and between the cover and the lock.

7. Give the locks a squirt of silicone grease every autumn.

I did this two years ago, and my locks have worked fine ever since. My passat has been extremely reliable. I have driven it 197.000 km, and except for a broken horn button, there has only been exchange of normal wear parts. It is a warm (yes, I have the petrol engine) and predictable car on winter roads.

8th Nov 2004, 10:53

Thanks for the advice! My 96 Jetta & 99 Passat do the same thing here in Oklahoma, USA. Will try it.