Sport, performance and utility
Original battery failure within 5K miles of purchase (warranty).
Plug wires replaced to correct rough idle (warranty).
Intermittent operation from the dealer installed key-less lock system (warranty).
Brakes updated to ATE slotted discs @ 90K miles.
Clutch & CV boots replaced @ 100K miles.
Key-less lock system removed @ 100K miles (draining the battery).
Main serpentine belt idler failure @ 105K miles, belt & idler replaced.
Water pump failure @ 110K miles, water pump & belt replaced.
2 oil sender failures (leaks) @ 110K miles.
Clutch slave replaced @ 110K miles.
After-run water pump replaced @ 110K miles.
The last 20K miles SUCKED, but you deal with it.
Maintenance issues aside, this is a great car. Performance, interior room, build quality, and so forth. VW really thought it out from a utility standpoint. The new Passat shares the name, but is more sport Taurus philosophically. The B4 Passats are tight and more fun to drive. The 1.8T Jettas are closer in terms of overall feel to the B4's than the new Passats.
Mileage is EXCELLENT with the VR6! But... you have to use 93 octane. I saw an immediate 3 MPG gain when I changed from 89 octane. This offsets the price increase and lets the engine management run the spark advance up. The car feels much better with 93. Daily average mileage is 27.5 MPG.
At 115K miles and no wrecks since new, it is just starting to show spot rust at the bottoms of the doors. The cloth interior has held up wonderfully too. The leather interior looks worn out on every similar mileage B4 I have come across whereas the miracle of synthetic fibers seems to be true. The car gets shampoo'ed each spring and vacuumed as needed.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 17th May, 2001