1999 Volkswagen Passat TDI 1.9 turbo diesel from Norway


Sehr gut


Nothing so far, but I feared the worst when I bought it, seeing as the car had 2 year old oil in it, and the engine sounded like a laundry machine. Oil filter and new oil, and voila, it was as good as new.

General Comments:

I originally bought this car to use it as a point A to point B car, but it has become the car I use on longer trips as well.

My first opinion of the car, was that it was just a little rat, not stylish at all.

That changed a few weeks, and 600 km later. After a long trip, I wasn't tired and deadbeat, the little "rat" as I called it proved to be quite comfy, and the look of the car was really growing on me.

Now it's winter, -10 Celsius outside, and it starts easily, every morning. I leave the car running for 10 minutes while I drink some tea, or finish my breakfast, and I'm greeted with a warm car.

The roads are slippery this time of the year, but the rat seems to have as much grip as it did in the summer.

Now and again I take it on the roads just to burn out some residue from the engine, EGR etc, which the car tells me it wants to do by creating a fairly strong exhaust smell. "Higher RPM" the car commands, and the pedal hits the metal, the car smokes for a bit, then the strong exhaust smell disappears.

The car is hilariously nice on the fuel, returning an average of 4.9 litres per 100 km of fairly fast driving.

The fuel consumption does go up a little when I've only been taking short trips with it at low speeds, but a longer trip with a heavy right foot fixes that (these cars were not meant to go 60km/h forever...)

All in all, this is a great car, and it has yet to disappoint me.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th November, 2016

15th Nov 2016, 21:48

Update: Now gone 435000. Still running strong. Gonna change oils and filters as soon as I get time. Oil consumption is pretty low, despite me currently using very thin oil on it.

The turbo has yet to fail (I've heard of people complaining about failing turbos), though it should be noted that I don't play around with the turbo on a cold engine, and after driving, even if the turbo hasn't been too active, I let the car stand, with the engine still running, for a little while before shutting it down, just to let the turbo cool down... this may be the recipe for a long-lasting turbo. I also make sure to tell my car that it's a very good car when it starts in extremely cold weather... a pat on the hood keeps it happy too. One must never forget to show the car some affection. The average driver thinks that a car runs on fuel. It will... for a while, but if you want to keep it running forever, tank up some love as well. Love, fuel, oil and coolant will keep it running forever. Remove one of them, and your car will fail you.

Take a little care of your car, and your car will care for you a lot.

20th Jan 2017, 07:39

Update: 440k, no repairs, started even at -30C, slow, but started no less. Great car.

20th Jan 2017, 18:56

Glad you're having a good run with the car - the 1.9TDI has always been a good engine (well, the early ones anyhow). How do you find the automatic with the diesel?

2nd Apr 2017, 19:44

Sluggish. It shifts OK, but I believe I would have more oomph with a manual... I tend to disagree with its choice of gears, however, but that's a matter of taste.

15th Oct 2017, 20:28

Update: 450k, still runs fine, but had to replace all vacuum hoses and injector hoses, they started falling apart due to age. Also replaced N75 valve and oxygen sensors.

The car is nearing the end of its life with cracked windshield, worn brakes, wheel alignment, springs, suspension and bearings.

This was only a car I bought to "use up", and have therefore performed minimal amount of repairs and service.

There's a high chance that I will buy another Passat in the future, but I have 2 other cars waiting for one crushing and one loving hand each. An Audi A3 and an Audi 80.

So long, my good, trusted old friend, so long.

1999 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T from North America


To buy or not to buy? Here's the answer


Various front suspension repairs. Costly (very).

Transmission electronic component. Not so costly, under warranty.

Various door/windows actuators. Very costly to repair and in parts. Typical issue.

Ignition coils. Expensive and typical issue.

Other glitches, mostly electrical that are often time expensive to repair in labor time and parts.

Front brake rubber (flexible) fluid lines cracked and broke while braking on the highway. The vehicle totally lost its braking power; managed to slow down using the hand brake. If you notice the front flexible brake lines to be slightly cracked at their lower end (where they connect to the brake caliper), replace immediately. This is the same for all 6-7+ year old vehicles.

General Comments:

This is a comfortable car, best suited for highway driving. It's economical (on the highway), very comfortable, including for tall persons, and the driving position is perfect and extremely well designed. The driving pleasure is relatively good, but again, especially on the highway. The car has some character about the driving feeling, and generally speaking it's very well balanced and put together.

Mechanically speaking, the engine and the transmission in this car are generally problem free. Some other components of the vehicle are also built to last.

However, there are some specific expensive components in the VW that are not built to last. Those include suspension components and several parts (actuators) that involve electronics. Please note that there are many suspension components, and quite a few electrical parts, so do not think there are only 2-3 parts that are going to break.

Do not buy second hand if you are going to have the repairs done at the VW dealer. I repeat, do not. Buy it only if you have a local mechanic specialized in European imports. It has to be specialized, because the labor on this vehicle is very specific. There are a lot of things that are very hard to figure out how to replace, compared to other vehicles.

If the car has been regularly serviced, the suspension components are OK, and the doors and windows actuators have been repaired (they usually fail after 7-8 years), this might be a good buy. I would suggest not to buy a vehicle that has more than 100K miles, or at least do not pay too much for it, say $2000-$3000 over that mileage.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd July, 2013

4th Jul 2013, 08:54

Your pretty much are right on the money, although I might question some of the repair intervals, as being overly lenient. I've owned both a late '80s Audi and late '90's VW Passat TDI. The TDI definitely had the best engine mechanically. The window and door mechanisms on both were ridiculously poor designs. Failed multiple times in under 200K miles. Electronics were more like Lucas than what VAG touts as German Engineering. Unless they are really proud of failures?

The dealer I originally bought my Passat from was the only good VAG dealership I have ever dealt with. All others were just a money pit. I eventually ended up doing all the work myself; at least then I was only getting ripped off for the part cost. And there are various online sources for genuine VAG parts, that are slightly cheaper than dealers. And yes, specialized shops are probably your best bet otherwise. But expect to pay well for the repairs.