1998 Volkswagen Passat SE 1.9 TD! from UK and Ireland


A good, reliable and economical car


This has been one one the most economically cars I have had. The size is good and the ride is comfortable. I have not had any major faults until now when my n/s rear door went into a "deadlock" position (2nd time it has happened) and the repair cost is nearly £400.

The boot light keeps coming on at its own leisure (we have 2 of the same model and the other one is doing the same)

I have also got a problem with the automatic gearbox. Especially when the car is cold it keeps "jumping", and it is going in for a check up tomorrow. It seems it losses oil and due to a pressure failure the "jumping" occurs.

General Comments:

I think the Passat TDI (would only buy diesel) is a very good car with a nice shape.

I would consider changing the car in a few months to Skoda Octavia TDI which is virtually the same car, but with a lesser price tag. It seems good value.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st May, 2006

1998 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8T from North America


Original Owner


1.9k miles Trunk Release not working.

5k Passenger window out of track.

5.4k replace window regulator.

10k coolant leak replace coolant temp sensor.

15k Replace Engine Head 3 weeks in the shop.

17.5k Replace coolant temp sensor.

23.6k New battery.

30k New tires.

35k New Hazard Switch.

38k Replace right front CV boot.-cracked.

General Comments:

I bought the car in Jan 1998, it was a demo with 1800 miles. For the first two years the car was in the shop frequently, it was annoying, but everything was covered by the warranty. They provided a rental while the head was being replaced.

I have kept meticulous records of my expenses during the past 8 years. The car has cost me $1.00/mile to operate it for 41k miles. Yep, Ive spent $41,000 dollars on this car in the past 8 years, and of that $41k only $1k has been maintenance and upkeep.

The car stickered for $24k (sunroof, tiptronic, CD changer), I got it for $22k, but with taxes and finance charges I paid $29k in car payments. Insurance has run me $6.5k for the past 8 years, Registrations fees $1.7k, gasoline $2.7k and the aforementioned maintenance $1000.

In those 41k miles the car has gotten 25.1mpg on premium gasoline. I’ve changed the oil and filter 12 times. The first 4 changes were done by the dealer at 5k, 10k, 15k, and 17.5k. After that I began changing it myself with synthetic oil. Mobil 1. After reading many posts online I am a little concerned by those early dino oil changes, I am considering a Auto-Rx treatment this summer to remove any possible sludge build-up in the engine.

As for the timing belt issue I am not too concerned, as the original owner of the car mine has a 10yr/100k mile power train warranty. Still I plan to replace all belts, hoses, fluids along with the water pump and PS pump next summer as the car nears 10yrs and 50k miles.

I have too much money in this car to try and trade it in. I am hopeful that I can get 100k miles out this car with only another $3-$5k in maintenance. Figure (battery, tires, brakes, tie rod ends, maybe coils) I’m going to keep on plugging anyway.

Well those are the cold-blooded numbers of the car, so how has it been to own.

I rarely drive it as it is my wife’s car. But she has been pleased and that’s pretty much what counts. When I do drive it even now after 8 years, I am still impressed with it. She rarely opens the sunroof so I’ve had no problems with that. It is comfortable on long trips, but we’ve only ever gone on one. So the mileage is about 98% city driving.

It still looks pretty good, but has the usual door dings and a gash in the front bumper where she ran it into a stop sign during a snow storm. I guess it could do with a nice detailing and maybe some new floor mats.

So I have a pretty good looking 8 year old car with 43k miles. It is long been paid off and the insurance rates and registration fees are dropping. I am going to keep it going as long as the wife is happy.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th January, 2006

27th May 2006, 01:06

$1000 in maintenance for 8 years is nothing. Seems to be very reliable. Please remember the person included insurance, gas, registration and car purchase price in his calculation. You must have misinterpretted the review.

29th Oct 2009, 13:20

Thanks for the detailed cost breakdown and concise thoughts/feelings! Most posts are by people who do not seem to have a grasp of English, and their reviews are based not on facts but their reactions to small problems. If you believe what you read on this site, the Passat is a terrible waste of time and money, which is simply not true.