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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anybody have any ideas about reliability trends between Passat model years? Say, the difference between a '99 with 40K at 4 years old (off lease) and an '04 at similar age and mileage. (edit: an '04 Passat could have been purchased in '03 which means the car in question is coming up on 4 years old)

Backstory,

We're looking at getting a slight larger replacement for my wife's '98 Saturn SL1 (having a hard time finding room for both 90lbs and 55lbs dogs).

A local dealer has an '04 GLS 4-Motion 1.8T Tip Variant with 30K on the clock for around $20k. The only problem is that, after I got rid of my '99 GLS 1.8T, I told my wife to shoot me if I ever bought another VW.

However, that was for my vehicle and the priorities are different for her. Also, we're making more so I'm more able to part with my money for maintenance on a safe, comfortable, spacious cruiser for her and the dogs.

I like the known quantity/familiarity of the Passat and this one won't be autocrossed like my previous one (I have my RX-8 for that). I probably won't even chip it until she starts complaining about it being boring (if ever).

Still, if upkeep was anything like it was on my Passat, I'll look elsewhere.
 

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Sounds like you want someone to talk you into it! Go with your gut.
 

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if u want i can scan the consumer reports car guide they did on all the years.
LMK
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Loco:
Yah, I'm kind of looking for somebody to talk me into seriously pitching the idea to my wife... That's probably more dangerous than actually buying it.


Scott:
I have both print and online subscriptions to CR, so I should be able to get it. But thanks anyway.
 

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Consumer Guide gives the Passat a red dot (bad) for the engine, presumably because of oil coke, but green dots (good) for all other major systems. If you really want a wagon in this size and price class, you have very few options.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ahh, John, I believe the red dot is "good" while the black dot is "bad".

We (she, i.e. me by proxy) also like the HHR but my feelings are decidedly "ho-hum" on GM.
 

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Ahh, John, I believe the red dot is "good" while the black dot is "bad".

We (she, i.e. me by proxy) also like the HHR but my feelings are decidedly "ho-hum" on GM.
GM products may look good and drive nice when new ,but if you ever rent a GM product with half the miles of what a passat has ,it rides and feels like something with double or more the miles after being in a passat, or even a jetta !!!!!!!!!!!if thats what short term rental driving does to a GM product ,they can keep them ,ill stick w/my two passats 7 & 8 years old!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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I think I remember that either '98 or '99 had a higher incidence of electrical problems.
My 2003 4Motion gave me 56,000 miles of trouble free ownership - I traded it in on a low milage 2003 W8.
2004 1.8T should have been fed synthetic oil from the get go, so you should be safe there.
I did buy an extended warranty for the W8, just in case.
 

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GM is some what Ho hum reliability wise, I found them to be worse then my passat. Only advantages are parts are cheaper to come by
 

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Anybody have any ideas about reliability trends between Passat model years? Say, the difference between a '99 with 40K at 4 years old (off lease) and an '04 at similar age and mileage. (edit: an '04 Passat could have been purchased in '03 which means the car in question is coming up on 4 years old)

A local dealer has an '04 GLS 4-Motion 1.8T Tip Variant with 30K on the clock for around $20k. The only problem is that, after I got rid of my '99 GLS 1.8T, I told my wife to shoot me if I ever bought another VW.
[snipped]

Still, if upkeep was anything like it was on my Passat, I'll look elsewhere.
Is the dealer offering a warranty? Here in Toronto, we just bought a 2004 GLS Wagon under VW's CPO (Certified Pre Owned) deal. The car has a bumper to bumper warranty for 3 years or 72,000 mi. I was concerned about the reliability too but the warranty clinched the deal for me.

If you can get a similar warranty, go for it. If not, well... ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Unfortunately, it's not a VW dealer offering it so no CPO. Actually, that could work out well as the sales department of the local VW dealership have a checkered history (bait'n'switch, selling flood cars, etc).
 

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I think VW's CPO is over rated. I looked at a 2003 W8 CPOed (21,000 miles) Both ashtrays broken, rear center armrest broken, one rear door speaker grill kicked in, leather looked like it had never been cleaned, etc. Made we wonder how well it had been treated mechanically (bought at auction, too!)
And they wanted top dollar.
 

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I would take a look at Carmax. I just bought an '05 GLX V6 from them two days ago. I also checked Consumer Reports and was worried about the older models and especially the 4 cyclinders (they seemed to be rated bad). But 2005's and newer V6's were rated pretty well and Carmax offers multiple extended warranties. We opted for the 60mo/75k mile warranty which will cover the car to 100k miles since it had 25k on it. They have very reasonable prices. Just my opinion but may be worth looking into.
 

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Options that are not VW

We're looking at getting a slight larger replacement for my wife's '98 Saturn SL1 (having a hard time finding room for both 90lbs and 55lbs dogs).
The Passat is not particulary space efficient inside. Perhaps the compromises made for the 4motion option.... My brother has 2 dogs about 50 pounds each and there is "just" enough room in the back of our Variant for them.

safe, comfortable, spacious cruiser for her and the dogs.
May not be what the folks on this forum want to see, but he LW2, esp. with the V6 was not a bad car. Excellent cruiser and not nearly as bad as you might think in the twisties. Has a lot more room all around, and esp. in the back for those 2 large dogs. If she likes a manual, it was one of the few domestics with that option. And, since it was discontinued, they are priced very attractively.

I like the known quantity/familiarity of the Passat and this one won't be autocrossed like my previous one (I have my RX-8 for that).
Well, you have already commented on what was the known quantity about the Passat. Now, I've never owned a Jag or a Fiat, but age for age, mileage for mileage, the Passat has required as much attention--from a time perspective as well as cost--as any other 2 cars (and, if you choose only the Toyotas, then it is 3 cars) that I have owned in the past 20 years.

We like the Variant. But consider this. A few months after we got the VW, we picked up a '90 Camry in excellent condition. We intended to use primarily as a winter car and as the spare car when one of the others was in the shop. Around town, my wife prefers driving th Camry over the 1BE Passat. I think it is the fact that the Passat is a pretty heavy car that drives like it's a half-size larger than it seems from the outside. Maybe it's the more linear brake feel. Both of those are things you'd appreciate as an autoxer.

...if upkeep was anything like it was on my Passat, I'll look elsewhere.
Realistically, if you get a 1.8, the upkeep is going to be the same as any other 1.8
If this is a major consideration, then you might also want to consider a Subaru Legacy Outback. Love it or hate it styling. More room inside. More reliable. Less hassle to maintain. If you are willing to go newer, then the Mazda6 is a viable choice, too.

I have a pretty busy life. We bought used, and our car had been meticulously maintained at a dealer. Knowing what I do now, I'd rather spend a few more bones up front for a car that requires less attention than saving a couple grand and have to deal with the ongoing hassle of dealing with the little (and not-so-small) issues with the VW. I'm sure you know them (oil changes to what TB job means, etc.).

I can change the oil in that Camry, for example, without removing anything or getting anything soaked in oil. Heck, I can even find oil for it at ANY place that sells oil. And it doesn't cost me $5+/qt.
 

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jtaylor42,
Welcome to Passatworld and thank you for the informed post.
I also noted CR rates Passat as below average, but for the V6 it is average.
I say go for the newest you can. 2000+ has improved engine and control arms I believe. Mid year 2001 was the "5.5" facelift, like it or not. Then 2003 had fuel pump problems and in between years problems with the ignition coil packs. 2004 or 2005 seem to be the best but only time will tell...
 
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