I purchased my manual 1997 Passat new and always took good care of it and did the regular scheduled maintenance. It has over 100,000 miles and it has been great. It is now getting a little long in the tooth and I'm evaluating new cars for purchase. This car has been very good for me and very economical to keep for the past ten years.
The power / speed, style and leather interior, large rear seat leg room and large trunk, and good sound system. My car has always started and never has had to be towed or rescued. It has excellent heat and a/c.
I have owned nothing but VW's. They all have been reliable and great to drive. In 2000 we needed a bigger car as we were expecting our first child. We drove the new Jetta, and but it seemed small and sort of cheap. Then we saw the beautiful Indigo Passat GLX. It is a big, roomy sedan which drives and handles like a dream. The VR6 engine is the best thing VW has ever designed. The check engine or ABS lights have NEVER been on in this car. I bought it with 38,000 miles on it, now it has 96,000 miles and drives like the day I took it home. The first owner probably neglected a few things. It needed brakes, rotors, battery, etc. that first year, but the dealer covered everything. Find a good mechanic, do your maintenance, and this car will last!
The handling, interior, and trunk space. This car is very safe, it's a tank. My wife nearly flipped it in snow and after it was pulled from the ditch, an alignment was all that it needed. It drives beautifully. If I wanted boring, I would have bought a Honda or Toyota. The 5-speed manual transmission is the only way to go!
I replaced all of the door handles, window regulators, and headliner. The cup holders broke long ago. The locks will freeze in winter, so put her in the garage. These are small prices to pay for a true German sedan. Buy a Saab if you really want frequent, expensive repairs to go along with your nice ride. \
I am a new driver and this is the first car that I have bought. I didn't really pick this car, it was more seredipity that i found it. It was everything I was looking for, relativly cheap (under $4,000) spacious, and not an American car. At first it was great, then a couple of problems occured. Nothing too serious, a dead battery because of a broken relay, an alternator that stopped working. These are significant problems yes, but easly fixed and they are not harmful to the car or people inside of the car. Overall the car is very exciting, fast, and handles beautifully. Even with its problems it has been worth it. I couldnt have asked for anything more.
2.8 liter VR6. When you step on it, it goes. And the heated seats are great in the winter. Trunk has a lot of space. Rear passanger seats have a lot of leg room.
Gas milage is pretty low. 18/26 is not that much, but then again it does have a 2.8 liter VR6...
Like any other car, if you take care of the little things, the Passat will be reliable for as long as you wish to drive it. I have nearly 300,000 miles on mine, and other than VW's self destructing heater core, it's never, ever left me stranded. Its fuel economy is okay on the highway (27-30), but what makes this car shine is it's fun-to-drive factor. It's pretty nimble for it's size, and offers very predictable but sporty handling. It has enough room to move a small office, carry a 9 x 12 rug, or a Christmas tree (inside, trunk closed), and offers rear seat passengers enough leg-room to cross their legs withough kicking the driver! this is an all around good, fun, value.
The VR6 engine with manual transmission.
None that matter as this chassis has been retired. My only gripe is the weak window regulators - one tends to go every other year or so.
My 1997 Volkswagen Passat is a completely unexpected bad product from Germany! This is the biggest hunk of junk we have ever owned. We bought it with resonable miles on it. Shortly after owning it all the electronic issues began. VW mechanics removed entire dash to fix some of the problems which reset digital mileage. There goes the equity! I have had so many problems with this thing (I agree with all other comments made here..too many to list...). We thought many times about finding one of the hurricanes and leaving it in the heart of the storm. It has finally died and we will not be sad to say goodbye! Buyer beware...looking at the other years after this car, it doesn't look like Passat has fixed any issues with this car!