1998 Volkswagen Passat SE 1.9 TDI 110bhp from UK and Ireland

Summary:

Bliss!!

Faults:

Air con hose split lost all gas...

Cam seal slightly leaking...

And two CV boots in one year..

General Comments:

These cars are the muts nuts; this is my 5th Passat and always loved them for reliability and comfort.

I have all the diagnostic software, so I do mess with the electronics like retarding the timing for better mpg; not that it needs it, but still every little helps.

All I can say is get one; just make sure it's a 110 bhp and stay away from the later 115bhp PD engine, as these require a special oil, and if not used, it will wreck the engine...

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th February, 2008

1998 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8T from North America

Summary:

Costs a lot, but it's worth every penny you spend

Faults:

I bought this car used in 2001 with 65,000 miles. Windsor Blue with gray cloth int. Right from the start - the suspension started creaking - also was recommeded (when brought in for this problem to a VW dealer) that I should change the timing belt, which included new water pump, along with an exhaust recall, which replaced almost the entire exhaust and catalytic converter at no charge, but the timing belt & pump and parts was over $1,200.00. Tires also needed replacement - not the cars fault - but replaced with the stock Michelin's. Both upper control arms and lower ones (cause of the creaking) was estimated at a $2,000.00+ Repair, which I declined at the time - so the car kept on creaking. German Passats in Europe have a grease fitting for these areas, so they don't need replacement at 60,000 miles and don't creak. The U.S. versions do not, (or the ones they send here). I know I looked and went to a German dealership - they suggested I get a needle grease fitting and fill the boots with grease - which I did, and eventually grease worked into the joints to temporarily stop the creaking. Cost was price of the needle and cylinder of grease and a dirty shirt. About $10.00 bucks. (It was an old shirt). To be continued later.

The following year in 2002, had all maintanence performed as recommended, and the high cost involved with this. Check engine light comes on and off, and car vibrates when it does - replaced three sensors and or modules each at an average cost of $500.00. Car still has problems, but are now intermittent, only when you heat it up, shut it off, then restart it. VW badge on engine never stays on (least of my worries) - don't buy the replacement, it won't stay there long. Better to just leave it off. (after three of them - trust me). Creaking is gone for the moment - but stay tuned.

2004 - kept driving it, not much changes - dealt with the engine light and vibration problems - needed brakes - replaced rotors and put on ceramic pads - flushed and bled the system - high cost! Belly pan dropped off and the dealer tried to blame me - I was just calmly driving along at sub-light speed and it broke free and dragged itself to uselessness as I pulled over in highway traffic. Could not just remove on the side of the road, (I tugged hard) so I drove straight to the dealer who did all of the oil changes, and had a heated debate (which I won) and told them to replace the retaining pins next time when they do the oil change, since only 'one' was left on, and could not hold it up during normal driving conditions. My nerves were shot after that one, let me tell ya.' I'm an old car restoration guy who has performmed years of car service in the past - that experience and know how is what won my argument (can't B.S. me because I probably know more than the Service Manager did) - God help the mother of two who doesn't know anything about cars - the Service manager would have ate her for lunch, and it wouldn't have been her fault. At the cost of about $150.00 bucks - this pan is needed to keep out snow and road debris.

2005 to present. Just got the Passat back at 125,000 miles with major repairs all over the vehicle. Those creaking upper wish bone suspension parts and all the lower ones, tie rod ends, (they were very loose from the days of creaking) front brake lines were cracked and needed replacement along with a new bleed, and the master cylinder sump had a hairline crack, which needed replacement as well. ABS module was going on and off constantly by now - this needed changing and reprogramming, speed control module was shot - add it to the list, also radiator flush, power steering flush (I could hear my hard earned dollars flush), interior air filter, tune up (complete), exhaust down tube cracked - also replaced with a clamp and gasket, valve cover gasket (this was not cheap), and oil change and the 120,000 mile service check up to boot - $4,100.00 bucks total for all repairs and they told me they gave me a "deal." This is probably true - but the car is only worth that right now if I were to sell it.

After all of this, you would probably think I hate this car, but the truth is, I would not have repaired it if I didn't think it was worth fixing. The paint and interior is like new, everything still works (some electrical quirks which are intermittent like the left rear power window - only works on cold days - but it works at the switch on the door, so is it really worth mentioning?) I love the way this car drives & handles, in snow also - using the Michelin MXV4 195/65/15 radials. With all the repairs done from bumber to bumper - this car is better than when I bought it back in 2001 used. I just drove a few hours to New York and was getting 32.3 miles per gallon with the tiptronic transmission. It's an expensive car to maintain, but the finished product is worth it in the long run - just be ready to spend when neccessary. Car has never left me stranded ever, in any kind of weather (Connecticut winters). I'm really impressed with this car overall, but it is expensive to maintain, and stay on top of the problems that come up. I bought an Audi Allroad as a result of this car (which is 90% Audi A4) and love it, but this car is still my daily driver. Maybe because I'm an ex-Corvette owner, and this is actually less expensive than that car was to maintain, probably the reason why I'm so positive about this Passat.

General Comments:

I plan on getting another 100,000 miles out of this VW before I'm done. I can't replace this car for $4,000.00 dollars any day. A new Passat or good used one will be three to five times this cost. I like what I got. I regularly drive between 70 and 90 miles an hour on the highway - this car is smooth as glass! Even with all it's quirks...It's a keeper. Better than an Accord or Camery or Maxima (And they ain't all perfect either - the Japanese manufacturers have caught the "Detroit Rip Off" desease and the quality has dropped a bit and they ain't cheap either) - it's heavier and just feels better at all speeds. I spent time on the autobahn as well in Germany and Austria - I wouldn't drive another brand at this point, unless I wanted to spend even more (Audi, BMW or Mercedes). Hope this helps you make up your mind.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd October, 2007