1999 Volkswagen Passat TDi Estate 1.9 turbo diesel from UK and Ireland
A vehicle of good quality, let down by poor design
Alternator pulley seized, dealer could not remove pulley from alternator, so had to replace alternator (the pulley is a clutch type).
Both rear brake calipers seized. Had to be replaced.
Doors lock and unlock themselves. Cause faulty rear hatch lock solenoid.
Fuel filler flap refused to open. Wiring fault between switch and fuse. Pig of a job!
Lacquer peeling off most body panels. (Paint is original, not repaired). Seemingly a popular VW and Audi trait if you search on Google.
Exhaust heat shields broken away from mountings and rattle. Cause was dissimilar metal corrosion.
All front suspension arms replaced due to failed joints. Expensive job due to seized pinch bolts.
Tailgate rusting below rear window.
Rubber air intake hose split. Very small hose, very big price!
Reversing light switch failed (switch on top of gearbox, very difficult to get at).
Front brake calipers replaced due to unbalanced operation.
All in all, this car has been a great disappointment. My first VW and definitely my last. Okay, it is a high mileage car, and failures due to wear and tear are expected. I have previously owned high mileage BMWs and Porsches that have been totally reliable. The thing that annoys with this car is that most of the problems are down to poor design. I do my own maintenance whenever possible, and this vehicle will frustrate any DIY mechanic with its pointlessly complicated and poorly thought out design.
By far the most expensive car in terms of maintenance that I have owned. The only car I have ever owned that always needs work to pass an MOT.
If the car wasn't so economical (I can get almost 60mpg on a long journey), I would have got rid of it by now, but in any case, its days are numbered!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 5th September, 2010
Well it sounds like usual wear and tear stuff, nothing major league really. I have owned a 2000 (W plate) Passat TDI 115hp version for 4 years, and yes the boot/tailgate solenoid has refused to work intermittently, and the wishbones have needed replacing.
As has the clutch and dual mass flywheel, A/C fan and it's had a leak on the rad, needing a new radiator, but all this is normal stuff. New Mondeos are inherently poor when it comes to clutches and flywheels, but cost around twice as much to replace.
I bought the car as an ex demo / VW garage car with 80,000 miles on the clock. She has just rolled over 246,000 miles and still goes strong, it never ever lets me down, even with a damaged flywheel it ran for 5000 miles before the problem was rectified.
I think the VW Passat surpasses itself with quality and reliability. Yes things break, they do annoy you, but all cars have problems, let's face it. As for the BMW and Porsches you have owned, I couldn't comment as I never owned one personally, but sounds more like luck than anything else. My friend owns a BMW 5 series 2002 model, and has had far more problems than my Passat, and mile for mile, mine has cost a lot less than his.