1999 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8T from North America


Very good car, Volkswagen needs to increase their dependability


Arrived with bad manual transmission. Made grinding noise at highway speed. Bought on Internet new, but local dealer replaced transmission as part of warranty.

Trunk light does not work and alarm resets itself unless a door is opened when using trunk.

Check engine light just came on, dealer says it's the purge thing (filter?)...$200 incl labor, not bad.

General Comments:

I've had this car for five years and it's been a very good car. Great acceleration because it's had it's CPU upgraded to 200hp.

Chipped the engine cpu to gain a further 50hp (150hp --> ~200hp) for ~$400.

Amazing braking power, stock.

Although more maintenance is required than a Honda or Toyota, I feel Volkswagen makes a more drivable car. Equivalent Honda and Toyota sedans are boring, but may be more dependable.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th September, 2004

1999 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8 liter turbo from North America


Love the way it drives and looks, but repairs are costly


At time of purchase trunk light did not work (warranty).

Rear cup holder would not close (warranty).

Shortly after purchase car would not start after moving car short distances. First time this happened dealer towed car and replaced battery. Second time it happened dealer replaced temperature sensor (warranty).

Interior cloth window molding came loose and had to be replaced (warranty).

Antenna corroded. Replacement cost $90.

Antenna gasket cracked, allowing moisture into stereo components. Estimate for complete repair $469.

At 70,000 Oil plug was stripped. Dealer wanted to replace entire oil pan. Estimate: $500. I was able to find a mechanic to remove oil plug and re-thread pan for $140.

Coolant leak from corroded hose and clamp at 80,000. Cost to replace: $200.

Keyless entry remote has started to fall apart.

General Comments:

I am sad to report that I can emphasize with most of the reliability complaints listed at this site.

I've had other VW owners tell me the same thing happened to their antenna and oil pans.

After hearing a whining noise and seeing traces of oil from tailpipe, my mechanic said the turbo may need replacing, among other items. Estimate to replace turbo: $3300.

I have started shopping for another car, and it won't be a Volkswagen.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 22nd September, 2004

21st Feb 2007, 12:16

I'm not a mechanic, but I have read many reviews in which Passat owners have had to replace turbos. 2 things are crucial here. 1) Only use a good Synthetic motor oil here. (Mobil 1 preferably) The turbo motors almost require synthetic in order to preserve the life of the turbo. 2) Make sure you are doing regular oil changes (<3,000 miles) I know many manufacturers are saying 5,000 miles is fine, but unless you want to replace your turbo, use the proper oil, and change your oil at 3,000 miles, or even more often if you can afford to. My thoughts...

5th Dec 2009, 09:00

It should not cost 3300 dollars to replace a stock turbo. And I have 185000 on my Passat 1.8t and really no problems. Ignition coils is its only problem.

1999 Volkswagen Passat V5 2.3 petrol from UK and Ireland


A true motrway mile cruncher



General Comments:

This is a stunning car which is built to a very high standard.

The comfort level of this car is much higher than the audi A4.

The road holding is spectacular.

The V5 engine is economical, but powerful.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th April, 2004

8th Jan 2011, 16:51

Love the VR5 Passat. Have had my 1999 VR5 for 5 years; has been totally reliable, only needed a few suspension links and a battery. Fantastic build quality, still feels tight, which I think is brilliant for a car that's nearly 12 years old and 110k behind it. V5 engine sounds great, and is silky smooth. Luxury motoring for not much money.. Best car I've had. Love it.

1999 Volkswagen Passat Sport Estate 1.8 turbo from UK and Ireland


The best large estate car on the road?


Flat battery. The main dealer astonishingly did not seem to know what the correct replacement battery should be. The one they initially tried to install would not fit in the battery bay.

There's a multi disc CD player nicely tucked away behind a panel in the boot, but it can sometimes be reluctant to play some discs for no apparent reason, although it seems worse in the winter - a moisture/condensation problem I suspect.

Otherwise no problems, and everything still works as new!

General Comments:

I was amazed at how quick this car is, given that it is a large, presumably quite heavy car and only has a 1.8 litre engine. I expected it to be a little sluggish - not a bit of it! The turbo helps of course.

This car makes an excellent motorway cruiser, with a roomy if a little dull cabin, comfortable and well equipped with an excellent air con system.

It will still power away long after you have broken the speed limit, and the all-round disc brakes will stop you in a hurry if you need to.

The car does tend to wallow a little on twisty roads, and the suspension could be a little firmer given that the car is after all a "sports" model, but it goes where you point it and doesn't flinch.

It feels safe and solid too, the large doors with their high sills offering a hefty "clunk" rather than the usual tinny rattle when closed.

The load space on this estate car is enormous even before folding the split rear seats down; the roller blind style load cover and twin load area 12v power sockets are nice touches.

Under the luggage area You get a "proper" alloy spare wheel too, not one of those thin use-once "get me home" jobs.

This car spent the first three years of it's life as a rep's car, but absolutely everything still works and works like new. I've had this car for nearly a year now and I love it to bits - not the cheapest to run, but the best car I have ever owned, and by some considerable distance.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd March, 2004