1991 Volkswagen Passat GT 2.0 16v petrol from UK and Ireland


Excellent retro VW


Coolant leak, and thermostat, repaired fairly cheap.

Oil pump and sump replaced, probably the most expensive thing.

Light switch broke - a real pain as it happened at night-time.

Erratic idle traced to small fuel leak, fixed by a mechanic at a service for a small fee.

Not much more other than general wear and tear - cam belt, oil changes, tyres and so on.

General Comments:

A car I bought years ago, but was one of my first, and apart from that oil pump listed above in the faults, it never let me down, and I don't think it was taken care of by the previous owner. It had missed some oil changes and was likely driven hard.

When I acquired the car however it got the care and attention it needed and was also driven correctly; the odd fast overtake for fun was about as hard as it got driven after repairs. The GT Passat model was the best you could get before the VR6 came along, and it was fast enough with plenty of power while doing around 37 MPG; can't say fairer than that for an early 90s car. Gear change was very tight and felt more fun than it should have been; a lot of reviews for this car when it was new said it was dull to drive, but I beg to differ, I found it a better drive than similar cars at the time. Could easily give your average family or even executive car run for its money in regards to refinement.

Comfort was a huge plus as well, lots of electric equipment and comfortable seats. Solid interior, which VW was famous for build quality - nothing broke apart from that light switch, but it was a rather silly design being a 2 stage press button rather than a disc that you turn on other cars. On the outside the car looked great with two tone grey and black styling colours, which were really an 80s thing, but it suited this car well along with its flat five spoke alloy wheels. Saloon model had a huge boot space and a cool looking but rather unnecessary rear spoiler.

When the car was 15 years old, I sold it to a friend for small amount of cash considering the mileage was getting close to 170K and it was not worth much by then. It was a popular car in the UK throughout the 1990s, and to conclude I would love another but GT models are rare - most were the basic CL or GL models back then and you saw lots of them about. But no one noticed this car as it was overshadowed by its smaller brother the Golf GTi - also an excellent car, but the Passat it worth a look if you want a retro VW that's a bit different.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th August, 2017

1991 Volkswagen Passat GL 2.0 from UK and Ireland


When Volkswagen was Volkswagen


Broken window winder - fixed by myself.

Coolant leak, traced to thermostat housing, common fault, easily accessed and replaced.

Erratic idle - required the throttle body be cleaned out, a cheap fix which only took a local mechanic 20 minutes and cost me very little.

All faults were acceptable at around 100,000 miles when all this happened, plus I don't think the previous owner took care of the car.

Engine burned a slight bit of oil as it got older.

General Comments:

A very nice car that in my opinion was underrated. The Passat from 1988 - 1994 (1990 onwards in USA) with the plastic front grille was very distinctive. Dated looking nowadays, but comes from a time when cars started to get really good. Honestly, this car was very modern to ride in, quiet and smooth. I've driven much more modern cars of similar types, family/executive saloons and hatchbacks, but looking back on this car it held its own. Consider that if I still had it, it would be 25 years old, and could compare to any similar car of the last 10 years in terms of comfort, driveability, and reliability; that's really quite something.

The fun to use manual 5 speed coupled with the 2 litre engine accelerated fine; not the fastest but was smooth. I believe it was the same engine used in the Golf GTi at the time. 36 MPG average fuel consumption was more than acceptable, and the car was 7 years old when I had it and this was still fine.

Being the GL model it had decent equipment, again, good for its day, but no air con and all the usual electronics you might find in a more modern car. To be honest, I wouldn't miss them and I never really had a problem with cars that were not "optioned" up. Electric windows and mirrors is a must though. The car had rear wind up windows and unfortunately, which as I mentioned above, was one of the very few things that broke on this car. That's what I remember most about it, it was one of the toughest cars I ever had; good build quality at a time when Volkswagen was Volkswagen.

A blown gasket killed it off in 2003 after my 6 year ownership and 170,000 miles, but as I mentioned, had it been serviced from new, I doubt that would have happened. It had patchy service history, but I took a chance on it. I tried my best to nurse it through its later years and it still served me well. A car I will always have fond memories off, and was way better than rivals at the time, I don't understand why it wasn't very popular here in the UK. Volkswagens now have a cult following and it's easy to see why in the 80s and 90s how cars like this solidified that image. It's so strong that I don't think the recent emissions scandal will harm their reputation too much - the loyal fan base will always appreciate Volkswagens, at least the older ones.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th January, 2016

12th Jan 2016, 00:14

"A blown gasket killed it off in 2003 after my 6 year ownership and 170,000 miles, but as I mentioned, had it been serviced from new, I doubt that would have happened"

Dude, it doesn't matter how well you maintain an engine, you cannot "maintain" a gasket. It simply fails to seal as it ages.

This is especially the case if it's the head gasket and the block is cast iron and the head is aluminum. The two different metals have different expansion and contraction temps. It's only a matter of time before this or any gasket fails to seal properly.