1996 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.8 from North America


A good car, will try to hold on to it as long as possible


So far the car is running great. I had a 1993 Passat, and my new GLX VR6 is a rocket compared to it. A very solid car, enough power and great handling to compete with the top auto makers.

My top speed was 245KM/H - only for 2 seconds with automatic transmission. The car doesn't look like a Camaro, but it sure can keep up with it.

General Comments:

VW has to think of a better way to hide the electrical connetctors, they are fragile to cold weather and dirt.

The foglights break easily from highway debris

VW should add a spoiler on the rear trunk just like the Jetta.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th October, 2002

1996 Volkswagen Passat TDI from North America


Great on fuel, but not terribly comfortable with lots of repairs, just like a North American car


A leak in the windshield seal allowed water to seep into the electrical system, causing some dashboard lights to flicker on and off, at will.

The locks freeze easily. You're often able to open the door, then unable to close it because the latch freezes.

A short-circuit appears to have occurred in one of the heated seats. The seat starts to smoke when I turn on the seat heater, and it almost caught fire -- I notice smoke and a brown burn mark on the back of the seat. So now I don't dare use the heated seats.

A passenger door handles is sticky. Had it replaced using a Volkswagen part by a licensed mechanic who specializes in Volks. The thing still sticks.

The AC is toast. It doesn't cool at all. Had it tested for leaks last summer. None were found, so the freon was topped up. This got the system going, but it still wasn't cool enough for my liking -- would have expected better for a near-luxury car described as a Poor Man's Audi.

When the AC did work, the car lost power. This car typically roars up steep hills at 75 MPH -- set the cruise control and it holds its speed well on any incline. However, when you turn the AC on, the car lost all power on hills. I would set the cruise to 75 MPH and the vehicle would struggle to stay at 60 MPH.

The windshield heater isn't very powerful -- certainly not powerful enough to burn off the icy condensation that we get in a Canadian winter.

The rear defogger also isn't very powerful. It takes a long time to burn off fog and ice. Before buying the Passat, I owned a Nissan Sentra Classic, the cheapest car Nissan sells. It had a better windshield heater and better rear defogger than the Passat.

The clamps and mechanisms that hold the windows on the driver and front passenger doors have both rusted out and have had to be replaced in the past year.

General Comments:

I was lured to this car by its size -- very roomy, especially in the back seat area -- and its tremendous fuel mileage. Not to mention the fact that has that famous "German engineering." It's even built in Germany, not Mexico.

Fuel wise, the car is unbeatable. It just goes forever on a full tank. It has fair-to-good passing power. The gears and clutch are responsive.

Perhaps because of its size, it's hard to turn. Also the high back-end makes it difficult to back up, since you have no idea how close you are to anything. The trunk is huge, very roomy.

Because of its interior size, it's generally comfortable. However, I find that there is almost no floorspace for the driver's left foot. It is crowded in by the wheel well.

Volkswagen also lacks many of what I would call "creature comforts". This car has no glove compartment and just one cup holder -- and it's not even accessible to the driver, since it's in the back seat.

The front seats do not push back very far. At 5'9", I'm comfortable. But I can imagine anyone over 6' would find it cramped on their legs. The leg room in the back is very generous, however (at the expense of the people in front).

Volkswagen's motto is "Built for drivers." That might be the case, but wouldn't it be better if they were built for people? If they were, the cars might be more comfortable.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 22nd August, 2002

17th Dec 2005, 23:14

"Built For Drivers" is Pontiac's Motto

"Drivers wanted" is VW'S Motto.

8th Sep 2006, 14:07

I now have 193000 miles on this car. The more serious probems that I have had are the fuel injection pump ($1500) and vacuum pump (after replacing the master cylinder and many other components before figuring it out, and a rubber pully that came loose from the rest of the pully causing a bad squeal. Other than these problems, I drive 80 miles per day at 80+ MPH. It is still fun to drive.