21st Sep 2005, 09:26

I agree, if the car is rated to use premium fuel, you must not get cheap with it. An extra dollar or two at fill-up does not bother me if it means avoiding more expensive repairs later. I have a European car that is rated for 89 octane fuel. It is an oddity I know, but I never put regular in it. It amounts to about $1.25 extra per tank, which I think is a small price to pay for good, reliable performance.

23rd Sep 2005, 22:28

This is the original reviewer responding to the 1st commenter. Your comments may help others out.

I have a couple of this to say. First, the highest octane available in the US is 94 and that is only in select markets. I am not in any of those markets so the highest octane available to me is 93. Most stations carry 87, 89 and 93 with a few having 87,89 & 91. VW recommends 89 octane.

Secondly, ethanol and octane are mostly unrelated. What I know is that the more ethanol, the less the performance or mileage etc. In the US 10% ethanol in gasoline is common. Most engines do not know that 10% ethanol is being burned and the nature of the car is unchanged. Ethanol by nature is a more stable molecule so all things equal in an engine, the ethanol fuel gives less energy to the crankshaft. This is why I buy pure gasoline, no ethanol.

For the first year I ran 100% gas and 89 octane as recommended. But in the back of my mind, I remembered the salesman stating that it is OK to ran 87, I will just not be able to get peak performance from the engine. After a year with the data I collected (gal used, miles traveled, $$ spent) and the on-board computer data on miles-per-gallon (mpg), I switched to the 87 oct. There was no significant change to anything. The car drives exactly the same. The mpg is identical. The car is great. With gas at $2.70/gal here for the 87 oct and 89 oct at $2.80 it is worth running as I do. You might consider trying it yourself.

As far as the 2nd comment goes, maybe you're right, but there is not even a hint of engine deterioration after 35,000 miles. I am very good about maintenance on the engine, using high quality oil and filters and I am not hard on the gas, clutch or brakes. I believe the car will serve me well into the future if I am able to keep the maintenance as I do now.

Thank you both for your comments! --GCC.

26th Jan 2007, 20:52

Original reviewer here. It's been 50K miles now and no large problems to speak of. I have noticed some hesitation during cold starts. I think it is the vacuum tubes again. I hear from other owners (thru the web) that the vacuum tubes are, in fact, a known problem. There are vacuum tube kits (4 tubes) out there that I am considering for purchase.

I have changed some maintenance parts, 4 tires, air and pollen filters and wipers. Basic maintenance really. The overall mileage (0-50k miles) is right at 30mpg! I think a new "high-flow", reusable air-filter is soon to come and maybe some new plugs. Anyone have any suggestions for filters or plugs?

Overall, my Passat experience has been great. From what I hear about VW lately, I'd better keep what I have for a long time. And there is really no reason to get a new car given the success of this sample.

I'll probably write back again after 75K miles. Stay tuned.

21st Apr 2008, 15:41

I have a 2003 GLS Passat with the tiptronic auto transmission,

I would've preferred a 5 speed but at the time none was available but I am satisfied with it, besides, 3 of my other cars are standards and hopping into a car and just selecting D once and awhile is nice.

23rd Apr 2008, 19:44

I've owned a 2003 Passat for 3 years now. Purchased it with 55K miles, and it's got nearly 80K now. Only significant things to repair thus far is brakes, exhaust pipe, and general maintenance. Otherwise, I LOVE the car! Fuel economy is great, 5 speed means get up and go for the 4cyl 1.8 turbo engine. Yes, the air conditioning does cause a "drag" on the engine, but I've owned other 4cyl 5 speeds before, and they all seem to do the same thing. If you're prepared, you just hit the A/C button "off", get into the space you need, and hit the A/C button back to "on". Can't say enough great things about this car! Love the warming seats for winter, love the side mirror warmers in winter, and even find it to be quite comfortable for longer rides. Really, no complaints! I have a great servicer for the vehicle as well! My 6'5" husband can sit comfortably as well! Rear seat has pretty good leg room for adults also.


15th May 2008, 21:24

The Perfect Car! I am taking care of mine. I think it will be a classic.