1996 Volkswagen Passat Reviews - Page 7 of 9

1996 Volkswagen Passat GLS 2.0 petrol from Australia and New Zealand

Year of manufacture1996
First year of ownership1996
Most recent year of ownership2002
Engine and transmission 2.0 petrol Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Dealer Service marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.2 / 10
Distance when acquired0 kilometres
Most recent distance68000 kilometres
Previous carMitsubishi Nimbus


I highly recommend this vehicle


Windscreen wiper motor replaced twice (first time under warranty, second time Volkswagen split the cost with me).

General Comments:

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

1996 Volkswagen Passat GLS TDI from North America

Year of manufacture1996
First year of ownership1998
Most recent year of ownership2001
Engine and transmission TDI Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Dealer Service marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.8 / 10
Distance when acquired90000 miles
Most recent distance176000 miles
Previous carToyota Camry


Once you pay for it, it's like driving for free! 50mpg


The only thing is a weird instrument package freezing issue that happens for about three months out of the year. If the temperature drops below freezing and there is a high humidity (like we have in the American Southeast), the speedometer and tachometer will both freeze in their respective maximum measurement.

Last winter, once I started having the problem, it showed that I was going 95 mph at idle and the speedo would bury itself at highway speeds; same with the tach. Once the cold weather went away, it slowly started "slowing down". Once the hot weather was here, everything turned back to normal.

A friend of mine has a VR6 97' GLX and his tach did the same thing but never worked again, so I consider myself lucky. The dealer just wanted to replace the cluster; the parts were $485 so I passed. The odometer always stayed accurate, BTW...

General Comments:

This is the most awesome vehicle I've ever owned. After 176,000 miles, I'm getting over 47 mpg on the highway and something around 38 mpg in town.

It is a runner, especially when under load. When you set the cruise at 75 mph and start climbing a mountain at highway speeds next to a V6 Camry or Accord, the Passat will leave them all in the dust and never even twitch off the set speed.

The car still looks new inside and out. I would like to find the same car in a wagon with a TDI, but it's beyond a needle in a haystack. I wish VW would allow the Passat to come back to the U.S. in TDI.

We liked the car so much that we bought my wife a new beetle with the same TDI engine. We've got about 32K on it so far with nothing but good things to say about it. Why doesn't everyone make diesels like this???

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th August, 2001

1996 Volkswagen Passat GLX VR6 from North America

Year of manufacture1996
First year of ownership2001
Most recent year of ownership2001
Engine and transmission VR6 Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Dealer Service marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.0 / 10
Distance when acquired75000 miles
Most recent distance82000 miles
Previous carPontiac Grand Am


The complete hybrid of luxury/sport


My check engine light would not shut off after I placed an after-market exhaust on the car.

General Comments:

A very overlooked car. It's that simple. Performance wise, it's a bigger version of the VR6 GTI/Jetta weighing only 200lbs more. Luxury wise, it's not much different than my Aunt's Mercedes Benz C-Class. The only bad point is the economy, maybe its because I have an intake, a chip, and an exhaust, but if you want economy, you might as well go out and buy a Honda.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th August, 2001

10th Sep 2001, 19:03

If you buy one with about 100K it will already have had all of it's bugs worked out of it. At about 80K it will need an O2 sensor which will illuminate the check engine light.

Average review marks: 6.6 / 10, based on 30 reviews