1997 Volkswagen Passat Diesel Review | Edmunds.com

1997 Volkswagen Passat Diesel

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Volkswagen Passat Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 1.9 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 90 hp @ 3750 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 32/42 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 1997 Volkswagen Passat

  • Info is not yet available.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Huge interior with lots of leg room, superb seats, excellent road manners

  • Cons

    2.8-liter V-6 responds sluggishly when harnessed to automatic transmission

  • What's New for 1997

    GLS model vanishes from radar as Volkswagen prepares for launch of all-new Passat in mid-1997.

Full 1997 Volkswagen Passat Review

What's New for 1997

GLS model vanishes from radar as Volkswagen prepares for launch of all-new Passat in mid-1997.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Best engine and tranny combo

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Vehicle: 1996 Volkswagen Passat

I love my passat, I bought mine with 127K miles and it has 291K now. It's roomy, comfortable, and a pleasure to drive. Has good all around visibility. True the door handles are a pain and the window regulators go, but the car has never let me down and I get about 43 mpg average. It's paying for itself. Important to find a good diesel vw mechanic as most shops haven't a clue. My goal was to keep it until 300K, but I'm going as far as I don't have to do any major engine work. It's going to be a sad day when I retire this baby

Love it!

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Vehicle: 1996 Volkswagen Passat

I bought my car from my brother in South Dakota for $100. It had been abused, and ran without oil, so my dad and I had to completely rebuild it. After finally finishing this job, I know all about my car, and I love it. Even with it's peely paint. Best first car ever. I plan to keep it, and fix all my own problems for the rest of my life. :) Thank you Volkswagen! I love you!

Dependable work-horse

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Vehicle: 1996 Volkswagen Passat

I purchased my '96 TDI used with 125k miles, and it has turned out to be one of the most dependable cars I've ever owned. It now has 273k miles on the original engine. I'm quite impressed for a diesel, it's much quieter than Mercedes, does not smoke, burn oil, and it consistently gets 42-48MPG. I drove from Sacramento to Kennewick Washington on ONE TANK of diesel. Over the years, the car has began to "age", and as such, the door handles are faulty and cease up, the cup holders broke off, lid to glove box broke, and AC switch broke one really hot summer day. Other than that, this is a very comfortable driving, easy handling automobile that I will drive until the doors fall off.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

680,000 and still running

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Vehicle: 1996 Volkswagen Passat

I have been a VW fan since 65". This was my third VW, and my first wagon. I loved it, and still do, its had a few problems, door handles, wheel bearings, gears, speedometer, window motors, rust, spindles, locks, and Volkswagen scalloping back wheel wear. These w's, you either love em or hate them. This vehicle needs better headlamps, the plastic interior was shoddy, half of it busted. The cup holder snapped off, the glove box, broke, little thing like that can piss you off. The seat rails screwed up. The heated seats, were replaced but, the seats were never the same. The odometer went at 181 k, and it was 1200 bucks to fix. This car is fun to drive but you must have patience.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

I like it!

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Vehicle: 1996 Volkswagen Passat

I bought my 1996 Passat with 119,000 miles on it. It now has 161,000 and still pulls strong. I have had to replace belt tensioner, water pump, and other numerous little items that you'd expect to change at 150,000+ miles. Make sure that you have the intake cleaned after 75,000 miles! They tend to smoke more on start up with clogged intakes (typical for TDI's). The best gas mileage that I have gotten is 53 hwy in the summer, The worst was 39 mpg, in combined driving using winter diesel. The car feels solid and well built, except for the door handles. It is not an eye catcher, but it is rare. The stock seats are too stiff. Also, you lose noticeable power with the A/C on. This car has an excellent turning radius. It makes a great daily commuter.

Still one of the best

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Vehicle: 1996 Volkswagen Passat

This is the finest all around car I've ever owned: comfortable, quiet, amazing mpg, and a blast to drive. With sport suspension it handles like a sports car. The TDI diesel motor is powerful and fast, and extremely reliable. With 142,000 miles, it stilll has the original clutch. Its only downside is some of the VW body parts: door handles, window lifts. Everything else continues to work well and we still get 45 mpg on the highway, in a mid-size wagon, running it on 100% biodiesel-- an American grown, renewable fuel.

Talk About The 1997 Passat

1997 Volkswagen Passat Discussions See all Started By

Passat TDI was offered in 1996 and 1997 and certified for 1998 and dropped at the last minute by VW. It is amazing how high the residual values are for the 1996-7 year Passat TDI. The wagon in excelle...

Passat came out in 1998 IIRC, and it's really only had a face lift since then. The platform dates back to the 1997 Audi A4. It's over due for an update, IMO....

outback. I'll get to that later. I acquired my Passat Variant , which was nearly impossible to test drive at any of the THREE VW dealers in the South Jersey Area, especially to test the 4-Mo GLX Var...

Gas Mileage


  • 32
  • cty
  • 42
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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