1999 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8 turbo from North America

Summary:

Comfort during long distances + high MPG + turbo + good hauling capacity = equals fun family car

Faults:

Runs like a top!!! Excellent MPG average 30+.

Recently passenger side window motor works great, sounds like a blender on low.

Complete control arm kit, with hardware for left and right.

Broken oil dipstick funnel.

Mirror control module.

Catalytic converter gasket.

Rear wheel hub.

Cabin air filter.

Timing belt and tensioner.

Rear hatch piston.

CVT complete driver and passenger side (DRIVE TRAIN).

Power steering pump (from junk yard) $40. Make sure to flush.

Car stereo, apparently so useless and faulty you can go to the junk yard and get them for FREE, and then pay $25-30 to get the safe code!!!

Plugs.

A/C compressor belt.

Rack and pinion.

Mind you, I got this from a dealer who got it from auction. It was in a minor front end collision.

Replaced all parts for less than 2G's by doing it myself.

Don't be afraid to do lots of research. Research saves lots of $$$$$. Had I taken it to the dealer, it would have cost at least 6G's.

General Comments:

Note: make sure you upgrade your oil to specs 5w-40. Not many manufacturers make this oil, however it will save you from a blown engine. It will also take away any of the pinging or knocking you hear, almost immediately. When you switch over to the new oil, go for a long drive 1000 miles. If you have any sludge in your oil, you will want to heat it up as much as possible for as long as possible. Make sure you change the oil filter when you change the oil.

It's a good idea after your long 1000 mile road trip to change the oil filter, not the oil. Wait another 1000 miles, then change the oil and filter. This will ensure you will not clog your the screen on the oil pick up. If it gets clogged, your temperature gauge will let you know; it will spike!!! Turn off the engine immediately!!! This will save your engine. Don't let it get close to 260 degrees.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th March, 2011

1999 Volkswagen Passat TDi Estate 1.9 turbo diesel from UK and Ireland

Summary:

A vehicle of good quality, let down by poor design

Faults:

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.

General Comments:

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

29th Oct 2010, 14:07

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.

Neal.