2002 Volkswagen Passat SE 1.9 turbo diesel (130PS) from UK and Ireland


A crate at 70,000 miles, but great up until then


Was impeccably reliable until about 70,000 miles then the following in the last 14k (all out of warranty:

Clutch judder (common fault and nearly £800 to fix)

Have had to replace almost the entire front suspension due to knocks, creaks and clonks over bumps. Apparently, 70,000 miles is good going for front suspension on a Passat!! Nice to know these things when you're paying a big bill.

Water leaking into the car because of a blocked drain channel (design fault and common problem)

Alarm developed a mind of its own (common problem caused by the water getting into the car)

Inside edges of rear tyres scrubbing (worn bushes, another common problem)

Temperature gauge "quits" after about 20 minutes of running. Switching the ignition off and on again cures it. For another 20 minutes.

Pipe popped off the intercooler reducing boost to zero. This car can barely move its own weight when that happens. Oh, this is a common problem also.

General Comments:

Great car in many ways. Classy, comfortable, lively, economical, refined and good looking (in my opinion)

Was the model of reliability for 70,000 miles. Didn't have to so much as replace a bulb. Sadly, once it got to 70,000 miles it was like it had been pre-programmed to self destruct.

Had I followed the "offical" VW dealer route for all of the above repairs, I would have spent over £2,000 on unscheduled repairs in the last year. By using independents, I managed to get it down to half that, but still appalling on a supposed quality product.

The disinterest and rudeness of VW dealers has to be experienced to be believed.

I want rid of it, but having just spent a grand on it, I want to get my money's worth. I still really like driving the car, but I don't trust it any more.

The least reliable and most expensive to maintain car I have ever owned, and I have owned two Alfasuds and a Rover SD1!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 11th August, 2006

2002 Volkswagen Passat Sport 2.0 petrol from UK and Ireland


Good to drive, but reliability is a disgrace


Car ran beautifully for about 4000 miles and then it all started going wrong, as follows:

Warnings for "Low coolant" and "check brake pads" go off at random, despite aforementioned coolant level and pads being just fine.

Intermittent stuttering under acceleration until the engine has warmed up.

Climate control display sometimes shows garbage. You don't want to know what I have been quoted to have this fixed.

Popped two ignition coils (still stutters though)

Fuel consumption has gone from 34 mpg average to 26, yet my daily commute hasn't changed. Nobody can tell me why.

Scrubs outer edges of front tyres visibly from about 4,000 miles. Geometry has been checked by 2 VW dealers and proclaimed within spec.

Knocking wishbone bushes started in the last 500 miles, as has a groaning power steering pump.

General Comments:

I gave up my plasticky, but reliable 1996 Mondeo 2.0 Ghia for this car having been seduced by its gorgeous interior and handsome styling, not to mention VW's reputation for quality and durability.

It's an ex lease car from one of the biggest fleet management companies in the country. It's clearly been cared for (the interior and bodywork are both immaculate, and the car has never run so much as a mile late for a service), but as it approaches 97,000 miles, the repair list just keeps growing.

My Mondeo had 150k on it and was still as dependable as clockwork.

I prefer the Passat as a car, and apart from slightly numb steering, it drives beautifully. However, the days of VW building cars to last seem long gone. This is the most unreliable vehicle I have ever owned by a long chalk, and someone at VW needs to have a serious word with their component suppliers.

Interior quality is good though, which is nice when you're limping it to a garage for yet another problem to be fixed.

A terrible disappointment.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 13th March, 2006