2002 Volkswagen Passat TDi 130 Sport 1.9 130PS turbo diesel from UK and Ireland


A car you buy with your head rather than your heart


Plastic engine cover worked loose and rattled.

Tyres wear unevenly.

Uses a fair bit of oil (a litre every 2,000 miles or so)

General Comments:

Does what it says on the tin. Functional and dull, but comfortable, economical and effortless motorway transport.

Midrange torque from the 130PS turbodiesel is very impressive, and combined with a 6 speed gearbox, returns a steady 46 mpg. A bit grumbly from inside the car, but not too bad.

Steering overlight and lacking feel. Soggy ride and poor body control even in Sport trim. Not a driver's car by any stretch of the imagination, and quickly feels out of its depth when hustled along a twisty road. Newer rivals such as the Mondeo totally outclass it in this department.

Interior mimics the entire car - inoffensive, slightly bland, but soothing and relaxing. Ergonomics are very good, choice of materials first class. Seats are "500 mile comfortable". Noise levels generally low apart from aforementioned grumbly engine.

Reliable save for a few niggles. Hopeless and exorbitantly expensive dealers. 46 mpg average, 51 mpg best, 38 worst (German autobahn, where it recorded an indicated 135 mph incidentally). Add in very low depreciation and it's not an expensive car to own. Even with 76k on it, mine is still worth over half its new value.

A review I once read said the Passat was a car to respect, but not to love. Spot on really. I'd have another though because it does what it does very well, but only as long as I can afford something fun for weekends.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th May, 2004

19th May 2006, 17:09

My plastic engine cover rattles too, making it sound as though it's got a K&N induction filter kit on it! Wonder if it's an oddity or whether its some common fault on these TDi 130's?

2002 Volkswagen Passat GLX 4-Motion 2.8L V6 from North America


Highly underrated, wonderful automobile


Seat memory module replaced.

CD changer replaced.

General Comments:

This car is just as nice as my A6, but $10000 less. It has been much more reliable, but the VW dealer's technicians need better training or something. I will not take it to the local dealer as they cannot seem to fix anything, but go to a dealer an hour away which seems quite competent. If I wasn't close to a good dealer, I would not buy another new VW.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th February, 2004

2002 Volkswagen Passat W8 4-Motion Tiptronic 4.0 from UK and Ireland


I absolutely love this car! A wolf in sheep's clothing


Tyre Wear - with the car being 4wd, I only got 9,000 miles out of the original Bridgestone Potenzas RE040s, but have switched to Michelin Pilot Sports and hope for better results.

Tracking adjusted at 24,000 miles because of the tyre wear problem.

General Comments:

The W8 Passat is a real performer with effortless power.

Seats are like armchairs with support all round - great for long journeys.

MPG figures are not so good with an average of 18.5mpg over the last 15,000 miles.

With only 300 in the UK expect the W8 to turn heads... especially when you 'launch' the car at traffic lights!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th February, 2004

2002 Volkswagen Passat GLX 4motion V6 from North America


Great Car


Stereo went out at 8,000 miles. Was replaced with no questions asked.

General Comments:

This car is VERY fast. Too bad the maximum speed limit on cars is governed in America. The car handles extremely well. As with ALL cars, I would recommend buying a six cylinder. A 4 cylinder is more apt to incur problems due to the strain put on the engine.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st October, 2003

2002 Volkswagen Passat 1.8 from North America


A high performance repair shop statue


Within 1 month, the emergency brake button got stuck in the emergency brake. I was able to pry it out, and immediately drove it to the dealer where they replaced it.

Also early on, the rear trunk lock broke.

Also early on, I noticed a helicopter-like vibration when the sunroof, but no windows are open.

Also early on, I noticed a soap smell inside the car when using the wiper spray.

Five months later, both headlights blew out simultaneously when I turned them on.

Two months later, a slow leak flattened the left rear tire. I noticed that the four tires were Generals, but the spare was a Michelin -- the dealer says they should all be the same...

One month later, the first coil went. The engine light came on, and it needed to be towed to dealer.

One month later, the second coil went; another tow. Not enough parts for them to replace all the remaining coils.

One month later, the third coil went. I threatened them, they replaced the remaining two at once. But they had to keep the car for two weeks, and gave me a cheap subcompact car in the interim.

They said I should be happy that the rear windows haven't fallen into the door frames, because that happens on some models.

Two months later, another slow leak developed in a different tire.

Then it was great for four or five months.

Last week one of the bulbs in the right headlight went out.

Today I picked up the car, after the headlight replacement and an oil change, and on the way home the engine light came on again. I returned to the dealer. The catalytic converter has gone bad.

General Comments:

Very fun to drive -- great pickup, fast.

Reasonably comfortable and quiet.

Horrible nightmarish never-ending maintenance problems.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 24th October, 2003

6th May 2004, 06:07

Most cars with just the sunroof open will make that vibration sound. Just crack one of the windows and this sound will go away.

24th Jul 2004, 08:37

Yes, the coil thing was a debacle and shame on VW for not clearing this up immediately for free. I agree with the earlier comment. It's not unusual to get air turbulence on an open sunroof. Also, of course you smell soap when the windshield sprayer is used. That's what the air outside the car smells like and it's being sucked in through ventilation. It's no big deal.

As for tires, this is not in my mind a VW problem. Sure, if they put cheap junk on the car to save $ and raise profits, that's an issue, but this does not seem to be a problem that many of us are experiencing. Perhaps this is just bad luck. Sometimes happens.

So taking out the coils and things that are likely just unfortunate, it's not such a bad story, and people generally seem to love their Passats otherwise. But we all agree on our message to VW: WHEN YOU SEE THAT YOU HAVE FAULTY COMPONENTS, FIX THEM IMMEDIATELY FREE OF CHARGE OR LOSE MILLIONS MORE IN UNHAPPY CUSTOMERS. I'd bet the people in charge of delaying the coil recall got promoted. I know because I work for a similar company, and as long as you golf with the right crowd, you only get promoted. Only the peons pay for mistakes.