2002 Volkswagen Passat 1.8 T from North America
Volkswagen has really, really slipped
There have been a lot of problems with this car. It's going to be hard to remember all of them, but I'll do my best!
Initially, the coils (the car has one for each cylinder) went bad, meaning the car would not start. Rather than replacing all the coils, the dealership replaced them one at a time, meaning that the problem happened twice before the recall forced them to replace the others.
Next, the trunk stopped opening. I am still not sure why this happened, but the release stopped working and the dealership charged a lot to fix it.
A very loud squeal developed after about 5,000 miles, and the dealership attributed it to 'brake dust' and stated that such noises were normal. I've been driving for 30 years, such noises are not normal. When the noise continued to intensify, we brought it in again (maybe 3,000 miles later) and they replaced the brakes and discs. At 8,000 miles!
The volume on the radio never really worked right: if you turned it down, the sound went off and you would have to turn it off and back on to get sound back. Even then, it wasn't guaranteed to work.
After about a year, the battery randomly went dead. The dealership handled this well, simply giving us a new battery for free.
Recently, the pollen filter seal broke, allowing a lot of water into the car. Also resulting from this, the brake booster and brake lines had water enter them, which caused the brakes to stick on cold mornings. Just yesterday, the brakes starting smoking. All the dealership did initially was replace the front brakes- it was only after repeatedly returning with the problem that they decided to drain the booster and lines, and that solved the problem.
First, I'll address the positives of this car:
The engine in this car (the 1.8 liter turbo) was extremely sporty and, combined with the suspension, the car was very fun to drive.
If I could do it over again, I would definitely go with a manual transmission- it's not as much fun having a fast car with an automatic.
The interior of the car was very comfortable, the lighting on the dash and console was very, very cool.
This was by far the most unreliable car I have ever owned. My son's 14-year-old Volvo with 175,000 miles has had to be repaired once since I bought the VW which, in contrast, has had to go in more than ten times.
The dealership was horrible when it came to fixing the car- to replace the brakes, they took four days... and that didn't even solve the problem!
Driving it anywhere away from home is taking a risk. It has had to be towed from our driveway five times because it wouldn't start, and once because the brakes wouldn't work.
I bought a Volkswagen expecting, at the very least, excellent quality and reliability. Instead, everything that can go wrong in a car (besides the engine blowing up) has. It has spent far too much of its life in the shop, burning through my wallet.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 22nd December, 2004
5th Jan 2005, 18:01
I have a 2003 Passat and I love it. Never a problem, very fun to drive, the stereo kicks butt!!! It is by far the best car I have ever owned.
1st Apr 2005, 09:31
I have a 2003 GL Wagon that was built in August 2002. At 27,000 miles, the only thing that broke was the glove compartment latch. The rest of the car seems very well put together and I am a long time Toyota Camry owner for comparison. With all the technological sophistication and complex electronics and wiring, I expect there will be more to fix on the Passat than the Camry. Toyota tends to avoid Turbos and I think their engine controls are less complex and more reliable.
I still love the way the Passat rides and handles and so far I think the extra cost is worth it. It sounds like the dealer's attitude can really make a difference. I have been getting good service from Mitchell VW in Canton, Connecticut.