1996 Volkswagen Passat


I love the car, but have had enough with the expense of keeping it on the road


I've had constant electrical faults with this car. I love, love, love to drive it, but have to consciously budget for the next breakdown and very expensive repair.

General Comments:

The car goes like a rocket. I drive from Washington DC to NYC on the NJ Turnpike and it is an excellent drive. Handling is superb, even in the city. Very quick, responsive and has the best foam seating I've ever experienced in a car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th July, 2006

1996 Volkswagen Passat 1.7 turbo diesel


Look elsewhere for a reliable car


All doors will not open from the outside.

Trunk will not open with the key.

Windows fall out of the guides.

Steering rack / pinion came un,bolted from the body.

General Comments:

This car runs perfectly and delivers the advertised mileage (50 mpg highway).

Now all you need to do is get a chassis and body for the car.

It's too bad that VW decided to cut corners on all the body parts.

You end up spending the fuel savings on repairing the body & chassis.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 9th January, 2006

19th Jul 2006, 17:10

I think your negativity on the car is unwarranted. I have not had "any" problems with the car I have and I bought it used 1996.

6th Sep 2006, 20:20

Um... you single-handedly put 120,000+ miles on this vehicle, and that's all that went wrong during that time? And you're complaining? Jeez, I wish I could afford to be that picky.

1996 Volkswagen Passat GLX VR6


A true four door performance car


I recently purchased 16" rims compared to the OEM 15" rims. Unfortunately the original rims had a 215 tire width whereas the 16" had a 205 width. I can totally tell the difference in handling especially on the freeways. It is a 4 door sedan and requires proper tire size to fit the handling.

The VR6 engine lacks the low-end punch you'd expect from a V6 engine, but considering it is a 5-speed manual, I let it rev a little higher before I shift to get into the power band.

General Comments:

This is a great car. The VR6 engine has plenty of power, although it's a bit sluggish below 3,500 rpm. You'd be surprised at how well this car matches up with the little Japanese imports on the roads.

Interior is awesome for the price I paid. Sunroof, leather, heated seats, you name it, it's a luxury car.

I've had plenty of friends tell me how comfortable the car is during long trips.

Trunk space is massive. I have yet to completely fill it up.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th September, 2005

1996 Volkswagen Passat GLX


It has been great having this car


I had to get the transmission rebuilt, however I knew it has something wrong with the transmission when I bought it.

Other than that, it was great!

General Comments:

I had this car for 9 months now, and I can't say how much I really love it. It has been reliable, in both winter and summer. I didn't have any problems with it (other than the transmission).

The electric system is great, I never had a problem with it so far. I think the german people did a great job on this car.

One thing I guess it maybe of a concern to anybody who wants to buy this car, it's running cost is so expensive. But I guess it's worth it.

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

Review Date: 25th April, 2005

1996 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.8 VR6


A wonderful car for those that love sports car handling, but it is finicky and needs care


Front Hub Bearings had to be replaced at 64,000 miles.

General Comments:

This car handles like a sports car, but can carry four adults comfortably and has a large trunk too.

The disc brakes are excellent.

My car has an automatic transmission, however a 5 speed manual would let the allow the VR6 to rev into the 4000+ RPM range where it really struts its stuff!

Terrific highway passing capability. However, with the automatic it is a little slower than I prefer from a standstill.

The paint is terrific. The car is over eight years old and still shines like a jewel.

The leather interior has likewise held up beautifully.

The car needs to be maintained meticulously or it will not run correctly. You cannot beat it to death and neglect maintenance like you can get away with doing to most Japanese brands.

Change the oil religiously. Keep an eye on your tires and keep them aligned. Watch all fluid levels. Keep the chassis and doors lubed.

The check engine light comes on too often. The sensors in the car are too sensitive and the light is activated for transient conditions that are not real problems.

The ABS system is too sensitive and sometimes activates when not actually necessary.

The "Premium Audio" system is dated. Consider replacing with an aftermarket system, but make sure the installer knows how to do so without messing up your diagnostic system!

If you live in a cold climate, keep the car garaged. The door locks have a nasty habit of freezing up!

I have known other people that disliked this car intensely. The complained the car needed too many repairs. However, my own experience has been mostly positive.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th February, 2005

20th Feb 2005, 01:08

From the original author:

I mistakenly gave the dealers too much credit in the numeral ratings! Volkswagen dealers charge extraordinarily high prices to work on their cars. Parts are costly for this car. Overall, maintenance costs are high because some things will wear out over time and replacement parts will cost you. If you find a good independent mechanic that knows Volkswagens (like I have) use him, because he will make your ownership experience much more enjoyable!

I also did not adequately describe the sheer joy of driving this car! Even though it is over 8 years old, it out handles all but the most expensive machines out there. I regularly look for winding, twisting roads to drive on just for the fun of it. At 80 - 100 mph the car is rock steady on the road and ready for more!

If you are cruising on the highway and need to pass another vehicle, you won't believe the reserve of power the V6 has at highway speeds. Stomp on the gas and the other car disappears behind you quite quickly.

Around town the gas mileage is only fair, about 19 to 20 mpg, but when I cruise on the highway I usually get 27 to 29 mpg from the VR6.

If you are looking for a Passat of this vintage, make sure it has been well maintained. If it has, I highly recommend it IF you can afford to repair the car now and then, because it is a hoot to drive. If you can't spare the cash for maintenance and repairs, buy a Toyota or a Honda.

19th Apr 2008, 02:18

I agree with your review of the car having had a 96 glx myself. The high speed passing ability is quite nice. I would recommend to anyone looking into one of these cars to find one with the 5 speed. Low end torque from the engine is weak.