Absolutely wonderful car that replaced my 2008 Cobalt SS that was a nightmare. Bought with approximately 87,000 miles on it.
The GLX has every feature you can imagine. Leather seats are a dream in terms of comfort. Being tall (6'5"), finding a vehicle with ample legroom is difficult. The B5.5 Passat has plenty of legroom, and plenty of legroom in backseat with front seat all the way back. An adult can easily sit behind me.
Black interior with wood-grained accents looks great, and the blue & red lighting looks awesome at night.
Exterior appearance is classy with smooth lines. I do have a small spot of rust starting on rear hatch, near license plate lights. Will address after this winter.
Rear hatch gets very stubborn and hard to open. Applying graphite to shocks seems to loosen them up to make them manageable. I need to apply a small amount of graphite and work them up and down about every three months.
I have had to replace one rear brake light. Wasn't hard, but also wasn't convenient to replace. Cannot detach outer light assembly for easy replacement. You need to open a small access panel in trunk to get access to the circuit board to replace.
Drain holes under battery and from sunroof can become plugged. If so, water can come into glove box and/or right side floor of car. I noticed a small amount of water in glove box, so I cleaned the drain holes under battery box and problem solved.
I have an upcoming appointment to replace timing belt and water pump. It's a few miles over for this preventative job, but I'd rather replace now than after a break. I'd recommend replacing the water pump when installing a new timing belt, as the pump has plastic fins which can break down. Replacement pumps have metal fins. As the Passat has an interference engine (like most vehicles now), you want to replace at the recommended interval to avoid additional damage if the belt goes (avoiding valve job).
Living in a very snowy area (about 150" per year), there are high amounts of salt used on our roads. There is no rust underneath on the tub or frame, which surprised me. The only rust I have noticed is mentioned above, which should be an easy fix.
I have noticed that service prices at the dealer are high, but I don't understand why many don't use independent shops for repairs. The parts cost are not any higher than other domestic or Japanese vehicles I have owned. Dealers are typically was overpriced.
The car is simply fun to drive. From the smooth exterior, the toys and comfort of the interior, to the great handling, it is by far the most fun vehicle I have owned. That shocks me to a degree, as this is the first used vehicle I have purchased in 15 years. I was typically buying new every three years prior. The short story on the reason I purchased my Passat is I was coming off a lease on a Trailblazer, and in addition had a lemon in my Cobalt, so I decided to get something new. I couldn't decide on what new vehicle I wanted, when I came across this VW and decided to purchase it as a bridge until I decided on what new vehicle I wanted. Now a year and a half later, I've been so happy with this VW that I decided not to get anything.
I would definitely recommend this VW. This is my first VW (have owned mostly Chevrolet in the past, and one Mercedes, Kia, Ford, Dodge and Nissan) and would definitely consider another in five years when I get the new car fever again.
I did quite a bit of research regarding the Passat before I decided to purchase. One main recommendation I have is avoid the 1.8T GL and GLS models. The 1.8T is prone to oil sludge. That carries over to the 1.8T Audi's, as well. Same engine. A smaller note is that you can only run premium fuel in the Passat. I believe the minimum octane is 91, which is hard to find around here, it's either 87, 89 or 93. It runs great with 93.
Other than that, and this applies to any used vehicle you're considering, make sure to have a trusted mechanic give it a thorough inspection before you purchase.