1998 Volkswagen Passat Sport 1.8 T from UK and Ireland
Easily the best car in its class!
The only mechanical failure to date was a sensor on the coolant level, although I suspect this was broken by the dealer I brought it from (non-VW) prior to collection, as I didn't notice it before and the RAC inspection missed it too.
Other than that, faultless. Usual consumable items, e.g tyres, managed to get 4 Michelins for £292 at ATS and rear brakes discs and pads, supplied and fitted for £200 at a main VW dealer.
After 2 years of misery owning a 2.0 Vectra SRI, this car is a genuine ray of sunshine. It actually feels like its been built with care, everything fits snugly, the doors shut with a reassuring thud and it feels generally solid on the road.
The VW dealership have always been very helpful, especially when compared to the general ignorance that greets you at my three local Vauxhall dealerships (I'm not bitter honest!). Its only been in for routine servicing and brakes as nothing, but on these occasions they have collected my car and returned it to me cleaned inside and with the last service costing under £100 - something I never experienced with the Vectra!!
At the end of the day the car is what it is, a large family saloon. All the things you'd expect such as reasonable fuel economy, comfortable cabin, a safe reassuring drive, reliability, etc. - it delivers well and more.
On the performance side of things, in my own opinion I wouldn't buy anything less powerful than the 1.8T for this car. Even this engine feels as if it struggles to move the car away with any great pace at low revs, saying that when the revs are up, it will comprehensively embarrass most 2.0 rep-mobiles and even keep pace with a GTI Golf - If that's how you get your kicks!. With the Sport pack on the car seems to handle well, the seats are a bit firmer in the front and the whole car sits noticeably closer to the ground than the S or SE, plus you get the sexy carbon trim in the cabin!
In summary, if you want a safe, well built, understated quick salon at sensible money there is no better choice than the Passat. The build quality lives up to the name, the servicing and insurance won't make you bankrupt and its quick and responsive enough for it never to get a bore to drive.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 4th February, 2003