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.

General Comments:

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

1998 Volkswagen Passat V6 Synchro Estate 2.8 V6 petrol from UK and Ireland


A second hand V6 4WD bargain


The engine has a slight mis-fire, acceleration is non-linear, this improves with 97RON or higher fuel, but is not eliminated.

The exterior temperature gauge sticks to very high readings even when the temperature has dropped considerably - the one in my 156 V6 was spot-on.

When accelerating gently with plenty of steering lock on, there are strange (if not that bad) noises from the front end, and the steering wheel jumps about slightly.

General Comments:

I bought this as a tow-car (for my Caterham 7) and day to day car. I didn't expect it to be as much fun as my Alfa 156 V6 was, and it isn't! It is however a highly competent and capable car, and very comfortable for long journeys.

The handling is pretty good once you accept that it rides quite high on quite soft suspension. Cornering is quite good, especially on poor surfaces, but it does rise and dive too much under acceleration and braking.

The engine has heaps of torque from 2500 revs, but it seriously lacks character compared to the Alfa 2.5 V6, it makes little or no noise below 4500 revs and lacks high-rev performance.

The flywheel is heavy, making gearchanges ponderous, the gearbox itself is a bit of a mess, with a long, imprecise throw.

The comfort of the car, the driving position, and quiet cruise, and climate control etc are all superb.

Despite being heavier than the Alfa, it returns better mpg (usually around 27mpg), except at very high cruising speeds where the aerodynamics presumably cause issues.

The car has the same engine, front suspension, and much of the same drivetrain as the Audi A4/A6 2.8 Quattro for much less money second hand.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th September, 2002