1994 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.8L VR6 from North America
As expected, the real hardware (engine, drivetrain, etc.) feels like it will last forever. Bulletproof.
Also as expected, it's the accessories that ruin the experience. I put 60K miles on the car in the first 24 months I owned the car. In that time, I still paid out thousands of dollars in repair costs (yes, in the 15 months after the short 24K mile warranty expired).
Problems included: air conditioning condenser (leaked), heater/air conditioning control panel (fried), trunk lock mechanism, sunroof mechanism (bound up), cruise control switch, radio, brake pads/rotors (squeaked, then burned up in only a few months), and worst of all, tires.
The original Continentals (which I didn't like anyway) showed premature wear at 18K miles (odd pattern, with belt wires showing through in spots). VW said they had abnormal problems with those, and switched to Goodyear Eagle GA mid-year (after my car was made).
They said call Continental. Of course, Continental said it was VW's problem. In the end, VW offered to prorate a new set of Goodyear Eagle GA (which I also don't like) for me, but since they charge so damn much for tires and installation at the dealer, it was cheaper for me to get them on my own!
The problem was, the stock 215/50 15 size (very sporting for a family sedan) is hard to match aftermarket -- these two tires were my only choices :-(
I knew of many stories of people not happy with the reliability of their less-performance-oriented, family-car-type VWs. Either VW builds the sporting cars better, or people are so enamoured with their VW's performance, that they disregard the maintenance problems...
Once again, VW scores huge bonus points with a car that was seemingly perfect for me (or so I thought). I was still flying high with my 1988 Scirocco 16V (and I still am, for that matter), but I now had a wife and child who had no appreciation for the Scirocco's intoxicating performance qualities.
I needed a sports sedan large enough for my family and their stuff, comfortable enough for my wife, fast enough for me, rare enough so I don't always see my car coming and going, and priced reasonably at a time when all my money was being spent on baby equipment.
Consider a black-on-black Passat GLX VR6 with 5-speed transmission, big fat tires on BBS wheels, HUGE interior and trunk, and lots of convenience and comfort toys. Very sporty.
Oh, and did I mention it's REALLY, REALLY FAST? Faster, in fact, than a BMW 5-series or an Audi A6, each of which were twice the price, and smaller inside too!
But, watch out for the SPEED. The car is VERY SMOOTH on the highway. 70 and 80 and 90 mph passes before you notice it (unfortunately, the police noticed it, and I almost lost my license in the first 6 months I had the car).
I LOVED DRIVING THIS CAR. Very good looking, very comfortable, the perfect compromise of adequate size for hauling the family and friends, and excellent handling for many smiles per mile.
Unfortunately, most VWs get stuck with very high insurance rates in the US. This, combined with the surprisingly high maintenance and repair costs we encountered (see above), made my wife swear she would never let me buy another VW again :-(
In a moment of weakness, I decided to cut my losses, and put a stop to the marital abuse I received everytime I brought home another HUGE repair bill from the VW dealer.
I sold my beloved Passat for a Japanese brand SUV. Reliable, yes -- fun, no. I miss my Passat every day. I count the days until I can replace this damn truck with a REAL GERMAN SPORTS SEDAN.
On the positive side, though, out of the car replacement negotiations with my wife, I came away with a bit of a consolation prize. As reparation for my incarceration time in SUV-hell, my wife will never dare suggest that I sell my Scirocco :-)
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 23rd December, 1999
25th Jun 2001, 04:32
I can but only agree with you. Fortunately or unfortunately I did not own a VR6.
I had a VW Passat 1992 with 115 HP.
I did love DRIVING this car. It was very comfortable, economic and fast... in Germany the speed limit on the Highway are very rare.
The repair cost is unbelievable... surprisingly high. My wife did not like it either. IMHO a second-hand BMW will also do :-)