1999 Volkswagen Passat GL from North America


Drivers Beware


Electrical problems; starter, alternator, door locks, power window control failures.

Engine failure, oil leaks, water pump failure, broken hood release.

Engine surging and sudden acceleration after stopping at red lights. I narrowly avoided collision with car ahead of me.

CD changer replaced twice in first year.

Turbo charger replaced twice within first 100000 km; luckily this was covered by standard and extended warranties.

Power side-view mirror control - five replacements in four years; Since the last time it broke, I now adjust these mirrors manually...just like in the old days.

Brakes squeal constantly, and require replacement far more frequently than in other cars that I have owned.

Expensive fix for a "rough idle" experienced a few weeks following a timing belt replacement.

Many other problems; just recalling them and the related financial burden... and my thoughts regarding VW are most impolite.

General Comments:

The car drives well... when it works. Too bad it works so infrequently.

I'm a regular client at my favorite care rental outlet. I test drive their cars frequently while mine is in the shop for yet another expensive repair.

Volkswagen "Customer Care" is a joke.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 5th July, 2003

1st Apr 2004, 21:36

1999 Volkeswagen suddenly surged forward as I was slowing at traffic light. Threw car in reverse and it surged back at full throttle. I almost hit cars both forward and back. Car refused to stop even though I was practically standing on the brakes. I had just had brakes done last month so I know it wasn't them either. Could be a throttle, engine, or trans problem. Any comments? (turning off the engine key saved me)

20th Sep 2004, 13:04

I experienced sudden acceleration while driving my 2004 I-4 turbo at 60mph on highway. This occurred on Sept. 19, 2004. I almost rear ended the car in front of me and avoided the accident by putting the car in neutral while the engine revved to >5,500 rpm.

I was able to reproduce the problem while stationary in neutral the next day. The floor mat was removed to ensure this was not the cause (floormat was locked in place and too short anyways to depress the pedal.

The car has been experiencing rough idle. I was advised this is because of sludge in the engine oil when the car was taken in for oil change at ~10,500 miles. (~2weeks ago)

This car is dangerous to drive and the dealership advised that they are unaware of any such concerns.

If you have experienced the same please advise.

22nd Dec 2005, 08:47

If they fixed it, there was a problem. Time to lawyer-up.

9th Dec 2008, 10:45

Passat 99 1.8 turbo... wow, that's all I have to say. Problem after problem, electronic especially... My car is the garage as we speak and they still don't know where the problem is... Sucks sucks sucks. Never ever again Volkswagen!!!!!

1999 Volkswagen Passat GLS 2.8 V6 from North America


For a Motor Trend Car of the Year, my hindsight says to set my standards a bit lower next time


I bought this car as a demo with only 2200 miles on it. Since then, I have had the following problems.

At around 18000 miles, the car wouldn't start. It had to be towed to the dealer and was diagnosed with carbon buildup on the valves. A can of carbon remover was added to the gas after the valves were cleaned, and the car ran fine.

Approx. 1000 miles later, the ribbing on the drivers side headliner came off. It was replaced with a new part and covered under warranty.

Had brakes done, only to find out the rotors cannot be turned due to the thin construction. Cost of new front brakes, $600.00.

Now, replaced fuse to the radio leaving the radio in "safe mode". I tried to reactivate the radio by entering the code, but have had no success. I took it to a dealer, and having no success either, told me I would have to have a new radio installed. Contacted VW and was told nothing could be done.

General Comments:

The car hugs the road and is fun to drive.

I don't remember having this much trouble with a Jeep which was deemed to be unreliable.

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

Review Date: 6th June, 2003