Great as long as it doesn't get too cold!
I bought this car from a colleague at work who had bought it from new in Dallas. As it was an American model it had many expensive features as standard and was bought for a good deal less than a similar model would have cost in Finland.
Everything went just fine until the winter... The engine starts first time everytime. The heating works well and reacts quickly, it is a great car and extremely fuel efficient. The only real problem that I have had is that as soon as the temperature falls below zero the locks freeze open; meaning that you can unlock the car but then you can't close the doors!
I have tried every kind of grease and oil known to man and nothing works. This happens because the manufacturer tried to save weight and space by making the lock frame out of plastic and the moving parts out of metal. I have since heard from several others that this is an inherrent problem with the Passat. If you live in a cold climate forget it.
Central locking vacuum piping took a leak and a valve had to be replaced which was expensive.
Passenger electric window only works when it feels like it..
I had the first servicing done at a smaller VW dealer in Helsinki and they were terrible. The car was vandalised whist in their possession and in the end my insurance had to pay for it as they were so stupid about everything. I have since had the car serviced by another VW dealership (Stockmann in Pitäjanmäki) and they were absolutely fantastic; so it just goes to show you that it isn't fair to judge all by the same bad-press.
The Passat is basically a great car - especially as the TDi, but don't rely on it in the winter.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 1st April, 2001