Pros: Very roomy, lots of leg room, lots of Power, Excellent handling & cornering
Cons: Rattling sounds, lots of minor problems, expensive parts
I purchased this car in 1993 and I have the GLX model with the VR6 engine. I drove it up to 160000 km, and the car was sold for $ 5000 U.S.
The experience was a love and hate relationship. Here are my thoughts:
Looks - Front of the car looks a loaf of bread, the back looks good, side looks good as well (personal opinion)
Room - Excellent leg room, especially at the back, and seats are very comfortable, good lumbar support. Hugh trunk space, seats can be folded down too.
Engine - Powerful engine, but engine temperature is quite high, noisy engine too.
Handling - as with most VWs, this car corners very well. Car is very stable at 100 mph, far superior than Japanese or Domestic at highway speeds.
Transmission - I ran into transmission problems twice, and I heard transmission problem was common to Passats. First time was fixed, second time replaced. Transmission was not smooth at all, car yanks with gear shifts.
Electronics - Lots of electronic problems. VW has difficulties making dash switches, I had 6-7 switches which needed replacement, each cost about $ 50 U.S. From power windows to heated seats, ...........overall lots of electrical problems. You cannot press 2 power window botton at the same time or else windows will stop going up. Windows can only go up 1 at a time, which I think is extremely stupid.
Structure - Car is rigid, but produce lots of rattling sounds when going over rough roads, suspensions are not the best and the ride can be bumpy at times.
Rust - All Passats have this problem. The support column between the front and back door has a rust spot. Because of the design, that area traps water and will starting rusting after 1 year of ownership. I find this problem with all Passats.
Interior fitting - VW did a bad job with dash fitting, there are lots of gaps and joints with flaws. You will see misaligned dash boards, joints and gaps all over the interior.
Cooling system - I had to replace the fan 3 times in this car. Orignal parts are costly. This car has severe cooling problems.
Paint job - This is the best part about the car. Paint is extremely high quality the car shines better than my BMW at 160,000 KM, the paint looks like new.
Factory Alarm - Common to a lot of Passat, the factory goes coo coo frequently. If you park it under the sun or heat, the factory alarm goes off by itself and its a nuisance to your neighbours. I repalced the unit, but the problem came back. Eventually, I had the dealer disabled the factory alarm for me, and it solved the problem.
Overall this is a car has a personality, it looks wierd, handles exceptionally well, it is rough, powerful & roomy. I loved the car because of its handling. But the loads of problems which comes with the car is bothersome & costly.
I suggest you buy this car only if you are a VW fan who is willing to live with VW personalities. And for a second hand car, I would consider Hondas or Toyota.... VW parts aer extremely costly and you sure will be visitng your shop frequently.
Before considering this car, you must (1) know a good garage who wont rip you off, (2) know how & and where to buy after market German Parts, instead of original VW parts. Bosch makes a number of parts for VW and they are just as good, but cost approx. 1/2 of the price.