1999 Volkswagen Passat VR 6 from North America




I have experienced overheating problems with this vehicle. All the tubing that connects the hoses had to be replaced. The Volkswagen dealer replaced the head gasket at a cost of 1800.00. Thought it might be a cracked head; made them check it and it was OK.

All the door handles broke. The one on the passenger front broke off in my hand.

Makes a funny noise in the front end like a transmission noise (like its in low gear) don't know what that is.

A/C will come on intermittently.

This car is beautiful red with 18" alloys. Looks good in the driveway, but I will never buy another Volkswagen.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 18th July, 2006

18th Apr 2011, 10:14

I got my Passat three years ago. I love it and it has lots of power. It's hard not to speed. It feels the same at 130 as it does at 80mph.

The car has not been cheap. I purchased the 2.8 litre 30v DOHC at 138000k, and the used car dealer ruined the transmission with a power drill and J B Weld to flush it. That was 2500$, and at 150000k the throttle body went out, costing 1000$, and the cats were getting clogged. I cut those out at home.

At 165000k, the lower intake gasket was leaking oil into the engine. That was 800$, and I replaced the tie rods and ball joints (not uncommon for the mileage). Now the car drives better than when I bought it, and I feel I got the bugs out.

My advice is always have your mechanic look at a used car before you purchase, and get under it to inspect and look for anything out of the ordinary.

She's got 173000k, and runs, looks, and all controls function like new.

18th Apr 2011, 12:36

I have owned several VW/Audi vehicles over the years... the best way to enjoy these great cars is to lease one... especially the 199.00/229.00/249.00 month specials they have once a year... the shorter leases and zero down ones are the best....

Buying a used VW/Audi is not always a wise option unless you know the history of the car... and even expert mechanics have told me the VW/Audi is not their favorite car to work on... but these cars are a lot of fun, especially if you get the high performance versions... just add gas and head to your favorite designation... hopefully through a nice twisty backroad...

1999 Volkswagen Passat Wagon 1.8 turbo from North America


Sexy, sporty, inevitably unreliable - roll the dice


Found this "fine, pre-owned European car" advertised on eBay by a private dealer in Pennsylvania, but closed the deal over the phone. Before the dealer could ship it to me, the anti-lock braking system module failed. They replaced it at a cost to them of $1300, so they said. They assured me it had passed a 100+ point inspection and that it was in "excellent mechanical condition."

Despite two assurances from two different salespeople that the car was a non-smoker, it arrived reeking of smoke. They agreed to pay for a full detail, which did not eliminate the problem.

The driver-side mirror adjustment knob was broken off when it arrived.

The black plastic shroud under the engine compartment came loose on the way home from the place the dealer shipped it to. The highway chewed it to pieces. Dealer agreed to reimburse for the cost of replacement.

Took a 400-mile road trip the first weekend we had it. Drove well - quiet, fast, comfortable, with a slight alignment issue. Was very happy with my purchase at this point.

Passenger-side rear window regulator broke at 53000 miles.

Transmission began having trouble at 53000 miles/3 months after we bought it. Coming to a stop came to be an act of faith, as the car's engine/transmission did not want to stop turning despite letting off the gas and putting on the brakes. We got used to that. Then the tranny began slipping halfway through intersections or when pulling out into traffic. Didn't get used to that. Shortly thereafter, it gave up the ghost completely.

The local dealer and an independent VW garage both diagnosed complete trans. failure and recommended replacement at a cost of $5500. We had owned the car for seven months at that point. We gave the used car dealer an opportunity to fix the problem. He offered $500 and told me I should have purchased an extended warranty (true). I offered him another chance to fix the car. He declined. We brought suit against him. One year later, he settled. He paid us the purchase price of the car plus a $1000.

General Comments:

Take Home Message:

Consumer reports rated this car highly. Never buy a car sight-unseen. Don't ever trust a used car dealer. There are not enough honest ones out there to warranty giving the good ones the benefit of the doubt. There may not be any "good ones" by the way. Don't ask a smoker to tell you whether or not a used car belonged to a smoker - it smells normal to them. Buy an extended warranty from your local credit union, Sam's Club, or Costco (the dealer marks those up 50-100%). Make friends with an attorney who doesn't mind taking a fight for the "little guy" once in a while, pro bono if possible.

My suit prevents me from putting the name of this dealership here in my review, but if you're having bad vibes about the one you're negotiating with, write me and I'll tell you if it's the same one. Alternatively, buy a car from a private party after you have it inspected by a mechanic, and buy a warranty.

Finally, cars are mechanical things. Mechanical things break. Put the name of the most reliable car you can think of into this website and you will find lots of positive and negative reviews. You can't win, it's not an "investment", it's an EXPENSE. Grin and bear it. Thank you sir, may I have another...

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 26th June, 2006

3rd Mar 2010, 07:29

It sounds to me to be a harshly used car (previous owner).

And that you just had bad luck with a few things like the shroud and sunroof drain clogging, and flooding the interior... not so much a "BAD" car as much as a bad luck situation.

6th May 2010, 16:55

The VW Passat of this era is well known for the flooded passenger footwell (even in Germany where I used to live)... in fact my 99 1.9T wagon flooded each and every time it rained last year... my German VW specialist told me the luck I had is that the TCU is well sealed and so the water did not penetrate it.

I just forked out USD 1500 on a general overhaul of some core engine components, including a timing belt and waterpump change... I will drive her another year, and if she is still fit, I will quickly sell her and get Japanese...