I highly recommend this vehicle
Windscreen wiper motor replaced twice (first time under warranty, second time Volkswagen split the cost with me).
My red Passat is outside all the time and although it is polished only once a year, it still looks as new with no fading and no rust. The paint is BASF 2-pack (same as BMW).
Mechanically, I have run it on Mobil 1 since near new and change oil every 10000 kms. The engine runs better than new. The exhaust system is original.
The 8-valve 2-litre engine is remarkably torquey, moving this quite large car effortlessly. Takeoff with my auto is brisk.
Interior room is legendary and greater than any other 2-litre sedan I know, certainly more than the BMW and Audi. A particularly good feature is the spring-loaded instant height adjustment on the driver's seat that allows different drivers to quickly change to a comfortable position.
Handling is quite sporty, helped by aftermarket 6" alloy wheels and Yokohama A509 tyres. Ride is firm, partly due to the wider low profile tyres fitted. The car is extremely tough, surviving a huge pothole on our major national highway. I thought it had at least damaged a rim but it did not even need a wheel alignment.
The 1996 Passat and the equivalent Golf are the last of the simple, rugged VWs. They were under-rated by the market thanks in part to boy-wonder motoring journalists who despise anything that will not burn rubber at any speed. For practical, economical and comfortable family motoring they are superb. Body quality makes them an excellent long-term proposition, especially when combined with the legendary Golf 8-valve 2-litre motor that will run to 400,000 kms with normal servicing.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 13th January, 2002