1996 Volkswagen Passat from North America


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 from North America


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 from North America


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 TD Umwelt L 1.9 from UK and Ireland


Reliable old faithful


Rear wheel bearings and shock absorbers all round. 1 broken spring.

General Comments:

I only had it for a month, but it's been in my family and fully dealer maintained since new. Nothing other than wear and tear items have been replaced. Still on original exhaust, clutch, starter, waterpump, alternator at 148,000 miles which is reasonably impressive! Only real downside is performance which is very leisurely although she is quicker now than she ever has been!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th August, 2005

14th Nov 2005, 17:06

Just as an aside as I wrote the original review I should mention that I had the rear brake shoes replaced today. They were original. Brakes had been an issue for a while and the car was booked in for work. Unfortunately they didn't hold out. To be fair the mechanic said the brake drums and cylinders were fine if a little rusty.

Got n/s rear wheel bearing replaced at the same time as it had slight play which was identified 2 months ago at MOT. Bless her, she does seem to have an appetite for these as I know that this is the fifth on the n/s rear from new. Must qualify this though as I replaced one myself at 123,000 miles as it was getting noisy. On investigation it was apparent that whoever had replaced the previous bearing had left lots of the worn bearing in the housing and not changed the grease. Hence one knackered bearing after a short space of time. Still never had a front wheel bearing yet though!

19th Apr 2009, 18:20

Wrote the original review and comment. Got rid of the old girl at 170,000 miles.

Only additional items that were needed since then were a starter motor. Got a replacement TDI 1996 (last of the old shape) which I currently have. A mere 137,000 on this one with no problems.

May I warn anyone thinking of buying a new shape Passat 2005 onwards. DO NOT. I sell VW cars (new and used) for a living, and anything since 98 on is superficially lovely. Refinement and handling etc. are top order, but reliability is very poor. Lots of electrical and software problems. 05 - 07 Passats are very troublesome. AVOID.

Buy an Accord if you want total reliability or Korean marques. VW is running on the badge on the bonnet. US consumers knew this long ago. Time for European consumers to realise I think.